Analysis / Commentary

Best goals so far

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

After this Saturday’s matchup against NYCFC, Philadelphia Union head into the Leagues Cup break of the 2023 MLS season. Heading into the All-Star and Leagues Cup break, the team find themselves in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, eleven points off of FC Cincinnati’s blistering pace with twelve games left to play.

With the U’s frustrating start to the season, being in the position they are at the halfway point shows marked improvement from their slow start.

Whether disappointed, whelmed, or satiated, no matter which way supporters chalk the first half of this season up, the U have scored plenty of aesthetically pleasing goals. In an effort to reflect on the season’s first half, an exercise in ranking the ten best goals of the season is in order.

So, here we go!

10. Wagner first goal in USOC vs. Minnesota

After being subbed on in the 84′, Wagner didn’t take long to make his mark. The U went down 2-0 in this one, but never relented. Wagner temporarily kept the Union’s USOC hopes alive tying the game 2-2 in the 90’+4 with this well struck volley off the Torres looping cross. More from this game later…

9. Carranza finish off the ground vs. Columbus

Everything about this goal embodies what is so beloved about this Union side. Martinez wins the ball back strongly in the middle third and finds feet with a Ronaldinho-esque no-look pass. Gazdag carries and finds Bedoya out wide, who “hand-cuffs” Carranza with a low cross. The underrated part about this goal is how well Carranza does to put this on net, intentionally smacking it into the ground, causing it to jump over the keeper. A real goal-scorer’s goal!

8. Carranza long ball chested down between two defenders vs. NYCFC

The Union are truly lucky to have the number 9 play they have had over the past two years with Carranza. This goal is an example of great focus and “wanting it” more than everyone else. There is simply no other Union striker in its fourteen year history that could exhibit this level of speed, poise, touch, tenacity and finishing ability all in one body. Let’s cherish the moments we have with this lad.

7. Carranza finish off nice build-up vs. Colorado

Hey, it’s that Carranza guy again. Phenomenal ball from McGlynn to Mbaizo in build up, as Adrian Healey astutely points out on the broadcast. Whether the keeper should have parried this away or not, it is still a great finish from the top of the box first-time.

6. Wagner blast vs. Colorado

Great rip by that Wagner left boot. Good build up and interplay between McGlynn, Bedoya, and Carranza. Carranza does well with his back to goal to tee up Wagner for the blast and it finds twine.

5. McGlynn cheeky ball over top to Carranza vs. Atlas FC

This was the moment that the cat was out of the bag on McGlynn. A cheeky little ball over the top with the weaker foot, away, against a top Liga MX side, and playing on the biggest stage of his life. Carranza stretches to bring the ball down exquisitely, and finishes equally as well. Just an absolutely beautiful goal, thank the heavens for VAR!

4. Flach goal vs. Inter Miami

This Flach blast came after a nice little build-up. Martinez’s initial switch of play to Mbaizo is prime Brujo. Mbaizo patiently works his way out of the corner to find Gazdag, who flicks it elegantly to the feet of Bedoya. Ale holds it up well and sets up Flach who buries it in the bottom left like he ought to. Great finish!

3. Torres Maradona then pass to Carranza vs. Columbus

This trickery from Torres left us with nothing but high hopes for what was to come. A Maradona spin to a pin-point through ball on a platter to Carranza who finished it well first time? Yes, more of that! Unfortunately, it instilled some false hope. Yet, there is still time for Torres to contribute to the side in a meaningful fashion as we get later into the season.

2. Wagner free kick in the USOC in the 120′ vs. Minnesota

What a hit! Wagner’s left foot is truly lethal. An utter golazo in the 120′ to provide even more hope that the Union had a chance to move on in the USOC. Though, the Union met their fate in penalties, which have not been kind to the Union in recent history.

1. Jose Martinez banger vs. Orlando City

Number 1 couldn’t be anything but this Howitzer, and quite possibly the best goal in Philadelphia Union history. Not only was it a sensational rising strike off the volley that kissed the post tastefully, it came at an important time as it gave the Union a valuable road point tying the game 2-2 in the 90′. Add to it the amount of attempts that Brujo would routinely airmail, this goal is one for the history books. An absolute cannon.

Honorable Mention:

Julian Carranza filthy low curler vs. Montreal

Sullivan cross headed down by Gazdag to Carranza for a goal vs. Chicago

Heads up play by Uhre with a quick throw to Gazdag vs. New England

Uhre goal after quick break out, all one touch build-up vs. Montreal


  1. Carranza vs Montreal deserved higher

  2. Deez Nuggs says:

    I literally opened this expecting a list of one. Glad to be pleasantly surprised and reminded of some good stuff.

  3. Chris Gibbons says:

    How many years of “a large cloud of dust, limbs, and chaos – that somehow ended up in the goal” did we have to endure before celebrating and almost FORGETTING a list of goals like these??

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *