Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 4-1 Inter Miami CF

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union returned to winning ways on Saturday night at Subaru Park, thumping a Messi-less Inter Miami 4-1.

Jakob Glesnes, Julian Carranza, and Leon Flach scored first-half goals for the Union to put the game out of reach. Robert Taylor pulled one back for Miami after the break, but Philly forced an own goal to restore their three-goal lead.

Jim Curtin made two changes to the lineup that drew Orlando City on the road in midweek. Daniel Gazdag returned from international duty, supplanting Joaquin Torres at the No. 10, while club captain Alejandro Bedoya made his first start after an injury layoff in place of Jack McGlynn. Joe Bendik remained in goal with Andre Blake away with Jamaica at the Gold Cup.

The threat of thunderstorms subsided as kickoff approached, leaving a warm and humid summer evening. The Sons of Ben unveiled a tifo celebrating Juneteenth after club alumni Mark McKenzie and Paxten Aaronson struck the drum pregame.

Jakob Glesnes opened the scoring in the 14th minute off a corner kick. The service from Kai Wagner into the box was excellent, and the Norwegian center back rose up to meet it. His glancing header soared gently into the net, leaving keeper Drake Callender frozen in place.

Miami maintained much of the ball in the early going, but didn’t seem eager to actually challenge Bendik — a clear weak spot for the Union. Mikael Uhre and Jose Martinez picked up early yellows for fouls that didn’t seem even close to caution-worthy.

The visitors were forced into a change late in the first half after Franco Negri went down in his own box. He was unable to continue, so interim manager Javi Morales threw on Robbie Robinson as a replacement.

Seconds later, Julian Carranza made it 2-0. The attacker started the play by challenging for a deflected ball in the box from Gazdag. While Carranza didn’t win the ball, it bounced over him and right to Uhre, who laid it right back to his strike partner. Carranza made no mistake with the finish, putting his shot over Callender and into the back of the net.

A chant of “Who Needs Messi?” rang out from the River End.

A few minutes later, Benjamin Cremaschi flashed a dangerous ball right through the Union box, but Josef Martinez was a step slow and couldn’t tip it into Blake’s net.

Leon Flach made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage time with a perfectly placed shot from the top of the box. A rare spell of Union possession saw them work it around Miami’s part of the field, with Gazdag flicking a pass to Bedoya. The captain laid it off to Flach, an unlikely scorer, who put a classy finish into the back of the net.

The Union had barely a quarter of the ball in the first half. They exited with a three-goal lead anyway.

Curtin made an unusual halftime substitution, bringing on Matt Real for Wagner. It may have been injury-related, as the German returned to the bench with a heavily wrapped right thigh.

Miami scored a fortunate first goal in the 50th minute. The pink-kitted men worked it to Robert Taylor, open on the edge of the box. Taylor set up a curling strike that looked like it would be an easy save, but it took an unlucky deflection off the retreating Glesnes and into the net.

With Martinez’s participation in the game on a knife’s edge and Bedoya still working his way back from injury, Curtin swapped them out for Jesus Bueno and Jack McGlynn in the 58th minute. McGlynn nearly added a fourth to the Union’s tally moments later, lasering a shot from 25 yards that left Callender stranded. Only the post saved the goal.

The Union would get that fourth anyway thanks to some shambolic defending from Miami. In transition, Uhre got deep into the box and tried to play a cutback for Carranza. Attempting to intercept the pass, David Ruiz instead got just enough of a touch to dink the ball over the helpless Callender and into the back of the net.

Josef Martinez nearly pulled one back for Inter Miami with a shot from point-blank range, but substitute Nathan Harriel stopped the shot on the line, and the Union’s scramble drill prevented any other changes.

Philly once again put the ball in the back of the net, as a quick free kick from McGlynn sprung Carranza, who forced another Miami player into an own goal. But the linesman correctly judged Carranza to be offside, and the goal was waved off.

A happy sellout crowd at Subaru Park danced and sang as their boys saw out the final 10 minutes.

The Union are back in action with a rare Sunday match next weekend, when they’ll travel down to Georgia to face Atlanta United. The nationally televised kickoff from Mercedes-Benz Stadium is at 4 p.m.

Three Points
  • Who needs Messi? Inter Miami certainly does, and a whole lot more. It’s rare to see a team so comprehensively dominate the ball for a half and produce so little to show for it. (Credit, too, to the Union for walling off any real dangerous opportunities.)
  • Back in rhythm. After dropping points in two consecutive matches, it was nice to see the Union take control early — especially ahead of a stretch of three straight on the road. (Believe it or not, Boys in Blue only have two home MLS matches in July and August.)
  • What the Flach? There’s a reason reports this week were that Werder Bremen are sniffing around Leon Flach as a possible summer transfer. Flach’s offensive game needs work, but there’s potential to match his excellent defensive work. His goal — a well-taken hit from the top of the box — was a big moment for the youngster.

Philadelphia Union 

Joe Bendik, Olivier Mbaizo, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner (Matt Real HT), Jose Martinez (Jesus Bueno 58′), Leon Flach, Alejandro Bedoya (Jack McGlynn 58′), Daniel Gazdag (Joaquin Torres 89′), Mikael Uhre (Nathan Harriel 72′), Julian Carranza

Unused subs: Holden Trent, Brandan Craig, Quinn Sullivan, Chris Donovan

Inter Miami CF

Drake Callender, Noah Allen, Christopher McVey, Ian Fray (Israel Boatwright 77′), Franco Negri (Robbie Robinson 38′), Dixon Arroyo, David Ruiz (Leo Campana 77′), Robert Taylor, Rodolfo Pizarro (Nicolas Stefanelli 67′), Benjamin Cremaschi (Harvey Neville 77′), Josef Martinez

Unused subs: CJ Dos Santos, Tyler Hall, Edison Azcona, Shanyder Borgelin

Scoring Summary

PHI: Jakob Glesnes — 14′ (Kai Wagner)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 39′ (Mikael Uhre)
PHI: Leon Flach — 45+3′ (Alejandro Bedoya, Daniel Gazdag)
MIA: Robert Taylor — 50′ (Benjamin Cremaschi)
PHI: David Ruiz — 68′ (OG)

Discipline Summary

PHI: Mikael Uhre — 15′ (foul)
PHI: Jose Martinez — 24′ (foul)
MIA: Robbie Robinson — 84′ (foul)

PHI Statistic MIA PHI Statistic MIA


Possession % 69.4 31 Duels Won 37
7 Shots 9 6 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 3 1 Saves 0
0 Blocked Shots 3 6 Clearances



Total Passes 689 10 Fouls 8
74.24 Pass Accuracy % 87.8 2 Yellow Cards



Corners 0 0 Red Cards 0
9 Crosses 7 1 xG







  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Not happy with those Flach rumors, especially given the likelihood of Wagner leaving.
    Those early yellow cards are somewhat worrisome, not so much from the Union perspective but they start to raise the question as to whether the league is giving instructions to PRO to start stacking the deck in Miami’s favor now that they have been on the front page of the league’s website for most of the last 2.5 weeks.

  2. 0.94 XG 4 goals. Nice.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    Yea I mean it’s hard to be upset with it. Improbable to believe they gave up 70% possession in the first half but were winning 3-0. Tough to learn anything tonight. Otherwise… welcome back Jose. That’s more your style. Too many turnovers sir.
    Here’s what I’m certain of.. MLS will do whatever it can or takes to get Inter Miami into the playoffs.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Yeah. Happy both games against them are done. Wouldn’t want to need a win late in the season and have the ref go full Messi to give them the advantage. Lord know with how bad they are, they need it.
      I feel sorry for the team that might have to play them in the playoffs, should MLS make that happen. Better not be the Union.

  4. Kickoff for next weeks game against Atlanta is 4:25PM
    Union barely got out of 1st gear tonight, and ran out 4-1 winners.
    Next game will be interesting.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Looks like Jamaica got a draw last night which makes it less likely that they will get eliminated in the group stage than if they had lost.
    Lowe got Jamaica’s goal and both he and Blake got yellow cards. If either gets another yellow and gets suspended for the game, I wonder if they can play that day for the Union instead?

  6. Miami were not good. Lots of passing the ball around and no real drive to move it forward. They were missing players and so were we. But thats the schedule. Stupid. Then we get to watch that drec. A lot of sloppy play from both sides. Looking at the match stats one would think the Union lost this game. They didn’t, and by the time the half rolled around they had the game well in hand! I think the Miami youngins were trying to impress the coaches and were trying to look like Man. City playing out of the back. But the ball hardly ever moved into a dangerous spot…or even much past the midfield. Good to see that variety of goals and goal scorers. On to the next.

  7. Surprised no mention of the really poor officiating. He let too much go, on both sides. And some really weak yellows, also on both sides.

    Messi will not enjoy playing with these talentless jokers. I doubt he’ll last more than a season before retiring (or going to Barca).

    • Atomic Spartan says:

      Ditto. His positioning especially bad. Frequently placed himself in passing lanes

      • I recall one play where Gazdag made a nice challenge then had to run around the ref to retrieve the ball. Of course he was beaten to it by a Miami player.

  8. 3 games in a week – a loss, a draw, and a win. And if you didn’t know the scores you’d say our best level of play was during the loss. Union vets definitely playing down (or up) to the competition so far this season.

    I was very hard on Jack last year and Leon this year and it’s great to see the competition for playing time has pushed both to improve.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      It was 2 games in half a week, the draw and win. The loss was 11 days before the draw. (Unless you’re predicting that next month they’ll lose in LA, draw in Nashville, and then beat the Pigeons in Chester).

  9. Here is the view from Section 105, obscured only partially by the presence of my youngest granddaughter, age 4, attending her first Union game.
    1) The prevailing mood in our section before the game was the thought that the Pink Men might bend it a Bendik, but even with long spells of possession, they rarely put it on goal. And when Bendik made his first routine save off a first half free kick without giving up a rebound, you who were listening to the radio broadcast might have heard our section’s collective sigh. I was surprised that Miami did not try more shots from outside the box to test Bendik, who has not distinguished himself thus far this season.
    2) Wagner’s first service was perfectly placed, and Miami’s man-to-man defense was pathetic. Note to Miami’s coach: Putting a physically-slight defender on the burly Jakob Glesnes is not a good idea.
    3) The referee let nearly everything go until whistling his first foul of the night, a yellow card on Uhre. I watched the replay of the yellow card called on Martinez; Martinez definitely fouled, but it should not have been a yellow card because the contact was neither maximal nor dangerous. If I had to choose, on balance I would rather see a ref let stuff go than call everything, but there is a happy medium there.
    4) I liked that Jim Curtin subbed out Martinez and Bedoya at the 57th minute. I thought that it might have been wiser to sub out Martinez up 3-0 at halftime, this was OK.
    5) We could see how well the Union communicated on defense, which can be hard to appreciate when you are watching the game on TV. I cannot remember Miami getting a good shot from the middle of the field until the very end of the game.
    6) I enjoyed seeing Leon Flach score–he has played very well for the Union and is an indispensable defensive presence.
    7) I am glad that they correctly changed Miami’s goal from an own goal, which is what was announced. The shot was on frame and it looked like Bendik had it covered, but he had no chance after the defection
    8) I don’t think that Messi will be pretty in pink. In a league where mediocrity (“competitive balance”) is the norm, Miami is pathetic. They defend so poorly that they are in danger of losing 4-3 even if Messi gets a hat trick. Yeah, I know both teams were missing players, but that is not a very good excuse. Miami took 9 shots from 70% possession, and most of them were weak. As much as I appreciate Lionel Messi and as much as I would enjoy seeing him play week to week, I would rather watch the Union without him than Miami with him.

    • Thanks for these great insights. On your last point. For the most part, I tend to think one guy can’t make much of a difference to a team. However, the state of MLS defending across the board is pretty poor. Much of the Union’s quality these last few years is because they’re one of the few teams that can defend confidently. Messi is going to pants many a centerback in this league. Get him the ball in and around the box and look out.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        He should look out when playing the Union because Jose Martinez will be coming for him.

    • On your 4., TV showed Martinez VERY upset when he was pulled, sat in the dugout sulking. I wonder if Jim is reluctant to pull him for this reason. On 8. I agree Messi won’t like playing with these guys one bit, but I expect Josef M to score a boatload of goals, assisted by Messi. Josef is wasted in this team as currently composed, but he’s a great goal scorer.

  10. Reffing stood out for being exceptionally uneven with poor positioning on his part interfering with the game several times. Felt like this would’ve been a good one to debut Craig instead of bringing in Harriel as the third center back. Kudos to early subs though.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I had suggested to my wife at halftime that they bring in Craig for Martinez and switch formations then (and avoid another yellow card for Jose…which came VERY close to happening).

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        Miami started going at Jose. I think they figured it was a chance to get an advantage.

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