Union match reports

Match report: San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

For the first time in over two months, Philadelphia Union lost in MLS play, as a second-half strike from Miguel Trauco powered the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-1 victory at PayPal Park in California on Saturday night.

Jeremy Ebobisse opened the scoring for the Quakes early in the first half, while Damion Lowe got the Union’s equalizer just moments later.

Jim Curtin made two changes to the side that defeated CF Montreal at home last weekend, though he stuck with the successful 3-5-2 formation. Damion Lowe came in for Matt Real, sliding Kai Wagner out to his familiar left back role, while Jesus Bueno started for the suspended Jose Martinez. Back from the U-20 World Cup, Homegrowns Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan, and Brandan Craig all made the bench, while Alejandro Bedoya missed out again with a lingering muscle injury.

Former Union midfielder Jamiro Monteiro started for the Earthquakes; he started for Philly the last time they visited San Jose, in September 2019.

The Earthquakes welcomed their infrequent visitors by seizing an early lead through Jeremy Ebobisse. Cade Cowell latched onto a ball over the top and worked his way into the Union box, drawing the defense’s attention. He hit a cutback to Ebobisse, unmarked just outside the box. The striker hit a first-time shot, hard and on the ground, beating Andre Blake and nestling into the far corner of the net.

But the Union would equalize just nine minutes later off a set piece. Kai Wagner’s corner kick found Lowe, unmarked, in the box. The Jamaican fired a powerful header, which went through goalkeeper Daniel’s outstretched hand and into the goal.

Not long after, Lowe’s night came to an end as he appeared to pick up a muscle injury. McGlynn replaced him, returning to the side after international duty, and the Union shifted into a 4-4-2 to accommodate the change.

After the change, the match settled into a stalemate. Sure, the ball flowed up and down the pitch, but neither side managed to work the ball into truly dangerous areas. Mikael Uhre had the best chance of this stretch, arriving to the penalty spot at the same time as a lovely dummied ball from Julian Carranza, but this time Daniel made himself big and stoned the striker.

Right before the break, Carranza should have given the Union the edge. A well-worked move ended with Jesus Bueno cutting back to the penalty spot, with the goal gaping. But the onrushing Carranza fired the ball well over the bar, a shocking miss given his current form.

The second half started energetically, with Carranza stinging the keeper’s palms from a tight angle and Cowell popping a pair of chances over the goal.

Left back Miguel Trauco gave the hosts the lead with a fabulous strike in the 57th minute. Carranza misplayed a ball in his own defensive third, which was picked off by Monteiro and fed to Gruezo. Gruezo found Trauco outside the box, and the defender unleashed a powerful blast that left Blake helpless.

Searching for an equalizer, the Union ramped up the pressure. Carranza forced Daniel into another tight-angle chance. Curtin brought on Quinn Sullivan and Joaquin Torres to find a moment of magic. When that didn’t work, he brought on Chris Donovan.

It nearly came in the final moment of the match, when McGlynn ripped one from outside the area. The ball took a deflection and looked headed for the top corner, but Daniel pushed it wide.

And that was that. For the first time in nearly ten years, the Earthquakes had beaten the Union.

The Union are off next weekend, returning to action in 10 days with a midweek match against Orlando City. Kickoff from Exploria Stadium on June 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points
  • A bit wasteful. The Union had the better of the chances and had a big edge in expected goals. But the finishing wasn’t quite up to par, with Julian Carranza’s miss at the end of the first half proving costly.
  • Last gasp for the 3-5-2? With Damion Lowe exiting with an injury and midfielders like Jack McGlynn and Alejandro Bedoya either back in or soon to return, we might have seen the last of the three-back formation for a stretch — unless Jim Curtin wants to hand Brandan Craig his first-team debut.
  • Big picture. You can’t win ’em all, and the Union’s scorching-hot last six weeks have put them back in the picture for a top-of-the-table finish. Halfway through the league season, they’re on a 60-point pace, and will look to reel in league leaders Cincinnati over the second half.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Nathan Harriel, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Damion Lowe (Jack McGlynn 24′), Kai Wagner, Leon Flach (Chris Donovan 87′), Jesus Bueno (Quinn Sullivan 76′), Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre (Joaquin Torres 76′), Julian Carranza

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Matt Real, Andres Perea, Brandan Craig, Jeremy Rafanello

San Jose Earthquakes

Daniel, Carlos Akapo (Paul Marie 81′), Rodrigues, Tanner Beason, Miguel Trauco, Jackson Yueill (Judson 81′), Carlos Gruezo, Jamiro Monteiro (Jonathan Mensah 86′), Cristian Espinoza, Jeremy Ebobisse, Cade Cowell (Benjamin Kikanovic 73′)

Unused subs: JT Marcinkowski, Tommy Thompson, Michael Baldisimo, Niko Tsakiris, Ousseni Bouda

Scoring Summary

SJ: Jeremy Ebobisse — 8′ (Cade Cowell)
PHI: Damion Lowe — 17′ (Kai Wagner)
SJ: Miguel Trauco — 57′ (Carlos Gruezo)

Discipline Summary



  1. el Pachyderm says:

    I’m underwhelmed and unconcerned. Weren’t going undefeated for remainder of season. The push across these last 9 games got them steadied and well positioned… San Jose scored two very good gols. We could have too.
    So much is going to come down to who responds best to the final third of games after the upcoming one month layoff and multiple game event.
    Shrug. Carry on.

  2. Gruncle Bob says:

    Very poor defense, especially on the 2nd goal. Why does Jim change the shape??? Why not put in Real and move Kai in???
    Poor effort and poor play, and mediocre coaching. Yes, that happens – to teams that don’t challenge for titles. Perhaps they should have anointed SJ as the winner and not even bothered to fly out there.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      And if he put in Real and they lost, people would be asking why he didn’t put in McGlynn. Because of course the coach is to blame for 2 goals from outside the box combined with Carranza’s inability to finish.

  3. Didn’t see the match, but from the highlights it looked like our defense recovered well on the second goal and we’re just beaten by a particularly excellent shot. SJ’s first goal also required perfect placement, so props to Eboboissie for that, but I’m a bit surprised Dre didn’t stop it; looked like maybe he was screened.

    BTW, everyone talks about uncharacteristic it was for Carranza to have missed that sitter… but he misses 1-2 those every game. He’s still scoring in bunches because he’s getting so many chances, but every game he gets a brace he could’ve had a hat trick.

    • 100% on Carranza, Scottso. If he makes those sitters he is #1 the golden boot race by a good margin. Hope he keeps trying cause he works hard for every chance he makes…

    • Watching the replay, he seems to be uncharacteristically out of position, about 3 steps too far to his right. Correctly positioned, he gets to it.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Agreed on Carranza. It was only a week ago that he missed the sitter for the hat trick.

    • Once again, Carranza knew he was being set up for a golden opportunity and he wanted to watch his goal actually occur instead of watch it on replay. So once again, he instead watched himself put the ball over the bar. That cost us a draw point.
      . . .
      I wanted to reach right through the screen watching him do that. Here comes the setup pass, he picked up his head to watch his goal occur, his body and planting foot skewed accordingly, and he skied it.
      . . .
      I’ve noticed this shooting discipline problem repeatedly on our team, and now I’m also faulting Curtin for not spotting and correcting it.
      . . .
      This is basic sports physics, not simply in soccer. A Little League baseball coach knows and teaches this. A local golf pro teaching local duffers knows and teaches this. A football kicker knows and teaches this. If you pick your head up when making contact, you’ll usually pop it up. If you don’t then you’ll miss, foul, pull, shank, or put it in the woods.
      . . .
      We’re dropping too many points on a correctable problem.

  4. SoCal Surfer kit…
    Hate it.

  5. Just wanna put this out there to see if it makes sense to others — without getting into tactical analysis, etc., I watched last night’s match and found one glaring takeaway: the Union are…kinda slow. The youthful energy and pace of San Jose was evident throughout, and it really seemed to stymie the success Philadelphia has had over the past few weeks. Not to single him out, but Uhre just doesn’t have that extra step to beat good defenders one-on-one, which leaves Carranza as the best/only option for scoring in open play. We need a speedster in the lineup to quicken things, in my humble opinion…

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I disagree with parts of this. Uhre and Donovan are both faster than Carranza. Look at the number of times Uhre gets in alone behind the other team’s defense (remember about a week and a half ago when he scored against Charlotte but then was incorrectly called offsides).

  6. Where can you find the xG stats on mobile? It’s frustrating when your team has double the opponents xG and come up short (from the last time i saw the stat). Just the way the ball bounces sometimes.

    • fbref.com has xg stats. Says the Union were favored 1.5 to 0.6

      Ultimately, San Jose scored two (beautiful) improbable goals, and the Union didn’t over-perform their chances.

  7. Deez Nuggs says:

    Quick thoughts…
    Jose Martinez is irreplaceable.
    That was a winnable game. We had the best chances of the game. Just lacked a bit of sharpness and that’s why mls road games are so hard. Travel across the country and asked to play at midnight. Oh well.
    The xG tells the real story. We created. Keep doing that and we will be fine.
    It took two bangers to beat us. Lowe had a banger of his own.
    Jesus, ref, not EVERYTHING is a foul. Really. What is he going to call or not call. Whistles all night and very inconsistent.
    The one time the ball goes all the way through the six… the announcer kept saying “if Cade Cowell makes that run he’s got a tap in.” Take a look at Harriel’s position: he’s exactly in the right place to deny that run. Cowell actually takes a step to start the run and then pulls up when he sees there is zero chance of getting around Nate to the ball. Sometimes good defense is just positioning.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I don’t think Martinez would have been that much better than Bueno was. And if Carranza had finished the sitter, Bueno would have picked up the assist on it.
      And the announcers on Apple are a joke. Just before the first goal they talked about Elliott going over to pick up Cowell who got behind him when it was Glesnes. Anyone who can’t tell the difference between the two has no business being a “professional” announcer.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        There were a number of instances where there was a turnover or a soft-enough pass near Bueno where he turned to cover and let it go where Brujo would have went at it and probably won the ball. It’s plausible but not 100% for sure that Jose picks up Ebobisse on that first goal.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        I don’t know Jose changes the result. And Bruno’s cutback was excellent.

      Yes it was
      Cowell is a homer.

      Well done.

  8. West Coast Trips Suck.

    I know I am old but I was yawning at 10 40 when the game finally started. Even fine tuned athletes are affected a little by the travel and time change. Dont know for sure but I would bet a soft pretzel that the UNIONS away west coast record is statitically worse than games vs east coast away games. Both San Jose Goals were perfect strikes. Carranza was a half step off his game last , I am not worried at all. Watched the LAFC Game and they struggled against a middle of the road Houston team in a 4- 1 away loss.

  9. Everyone, we are in a new age of MLS soccer…

    Pre-Messi… and soon to be Post-Messi.

    But unlike Pre- & Post Beckem, this is a joke on all North American fans.

    Wait…. You’ll see.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I disagree. Not with the idea of Messi coming to MLS being a joke, I agree with that. I don’t agree that Beckham wasn’t a joke on the fans.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      What I’m most interested in is whether the Union will let us partial season pass holders get the Miami games, or will those be off limits so they can charge $10k a ticket?

  10. Disappointing game… We definitely could have won that. We out shot them and for most of the game out played them. Kind of like that one Miami game both of their goals were stupidly lucky. I think we’ll be able to quickly forget this game and move on to some more good results. Should have been a 1-0 win… (Also bueno has been looking really decent lately and is definitely looking like a reliable backup for Martinez)

  11. Andy Muenz says:

    Was looking at the international callup list that’s buried under all the Messi shit and Martinez is the only player listed for the Union. Their last game during the window is June 18 in East Hartford, so hopefully he’ll be available to get his yellow card in Orlando on the 21st.
    Orlando has 4 players called up. One of those is for Puerto Rico which plays on June 17 in Fort Lauderdale so he shouldn’t be affected. Facundo Torres plays for Uruguay which plays in Montevideo on the 20th. Wilder Cartagena and Pedro Gallese were both called up by Peru which plays in Japan on the 20th. So hopefully Orlando will be missing 3 players and the Union can get revenge for the loss at Subaru Park during the last international break.
    Fortunately the Union are not in any of the 6 games this coming Saturday during the international break. Orlando does play Saturday in Foxboro so the Union should be the more rested team. (Unfortunately, Miami doesn’t play next Wednesday so they’ll be rested for the Union. Fuck you Don Garber and the MLS schedule.)

    • Tim Jones says:

      I went digging about the call-ups on the internet over the weekend.
      Gazdag has been called up by Hungary, 2 matches in Qualifiers for Euro 2024.
      Mbaizo was probably called up for the friendly Cameroon had in San Diego Saturday night against Mexico. I have not tried to confirm that yet.
      Odada was called up, probably arriving by June 7th, to Kenya’s participation in the 4 nation’s tournament going on on the island of Mauritius.
      And Blake and Lowe were likely to have been called up for Jamaica for the friendlies in Austria preparative to the Gold Cup.
      My sources start with Wikipedia’s pages for the respective national teams. That does not work for Kenya, so I went to their Federation’s website and then followed my nose.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I’m guessing that after Saturday night, Lowe is out for Jamaica. Blake wasn’t listed for Jamaica on MLS and they did have other players listed such as Burke. If Gazdag is playing for Hungary (not listed on MLS website, but lets face it, they are too busy with Messi to be complete), he would probably be out for Orlando since Hungary plays on the 20th in Budapest.

      • Section 114 (Former) says:

        Mbaizo was in Cameroon’s lineup on Saturday night.

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