Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-1 New York City FC

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

An unlikely pair of goal-scorers — Jose Martinez and Chris Donovan — gave Philadelphia Union their second straight win, a 2-1 victory over NYC FC at home on Saturday night.

Andres Jasson added a late goal for the visitors.

Jim Curtin made five changes to the group that scrapped out a midweek victory in Nashville. Goalkeeper Andre Blake returned from international duty to replace embattled Joe Bendik, while Olivier Mbaizo got the start at right back. Jose Martinez returned from illness in midfield, and Jack McGlynn came in for Leon Flach. Up top, Mikael Uhre replaced the suspended Julian Carranza, partnering Quinn Sullivan.

With the Union returning home from a three-match road trip, the Subaru Park crowd was in good form on a sticky night in Chester. Sixers center Paul Reed banged the pregame drum, while Blake earned a loud ovation when his name was announced prematch.

Both sides tried to feel each other out in the early moments, with early moments of danger coming through hopeful crosses. The Union showed little interest in extended possession, opting for long balls toward the strikers at every opportunity.

That strategy paid off in the 23rd minute thanks to a quality finish from Jose Martinez. On the counter, Daniel Gazdag sprung Quinn Sullivan down the Union’s right wing. The youngster hit a looping cross over the run of Uhre, finding Martinez ghosting in at the back post. The midfielder smashed the ball first-time past Luis Barraza, sending the crowd into raptures.

Suddenly, the often off-target Martinez has become a goal-scoring machine.

The moment was dampened somewhat as Alejandro Bedoya hurt himself on the play and had to leave the match, with Jesus Bueno coming on for him. But the Union remained in the ascendancy, pinning back their rivals and hunting in packs for every loose ball. Sullivan stung the keeper’s palms with a powerful shot, the last real quality chance of the half for either side.

Making little progress in the second half, City manager Nick Cushing made a triple change after about ten minutes. City had a bit more of the ball, but not much to show for it other than a few shots popped over Blake’s bar. As the clock passed 70 minutes, Kai Wagner slid in well to break up what would have been a one-on-one with the keeper.

With about 15 minutes to go, Curtin introduced Leon Flach and Chris Donovan for Jack McGlynn and Sullivan, hoping to preserve the one-goal lead.

Donovan scored his first MLS goal just moments later, forcing some calamitous defending out of the NYC backline. It looked like Barraza would get to the throughball from Gazdag first, but he and his defender miscommunicated. The ball bounced right to Donovan, who tapped home into an empty net.

The hapless moments for NYC FC continued. Keaton Parks stayed on the goal line after he lost a header, and he was in perfect position to save his own teammate’s shot. When the flag went up for offside, laughter was the only appropriate response.

But City turned laughter into boos just seconds later. In the 86th minute, the Pigeons fired home through substitute Andres Jasson. Another substitute, Gabriel Pereira, cut the ball to Jasson at the center of the box. Mbaizo blocked his first shot, but the ball fell perfectly to the striker to blast home past Blake.

Suddenly, the Cityzens had life. They piled on the pressure for the first time all game, forcing Flach into a bad decision in his own box that nearly led to another goal.

Blake kept the scoreline level with a massive save in stoppage time, getting down low to stop a goalbound shot from the desperate Pigeons.


With that, the MLS season goes on pause for more than a month. The Union’s next action is in the Leagues Cup, as they’ll host Liga MX side Tijuana on Saturday, July 22. Kickoff from Subaru Park is at 8 p.m.

Three Points
  • Brujo scores. Jose Martinez’s second goal of the year was a thing of beauty. The Venezuelan continues to add to his game; he also spent some of the night at the No. 8 after Bedoya’s early exit.
  • Professional. You’d have liked the Union to seek out that second goal earlier, and the end was nervy. But Philly kept the visitors at bay for the vast majority of the match, and got the result they wanted heading into the regular-season break.
  • Leagues Cup? Next, we’ll see how the Union approach this brand-new tournament. Will some little-used players get opportunities? At minimum, it’s a welcome chance to rest Alejandro Bedoya, forced off early tonight with an injury.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Olivier Mbaizo, Jose Martinez, Jack McGlynn (Leon Flach 75′), Alejandro Bedoya (Jesus Bueno 27′), Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre, Quinn Sullivan (Chris Donovan 75′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Matt Real, Nathan Harriel, Andres Perea, Joaquin Torres, Jeremy Rafanello, Chris Donovan

New York City FC

Luis Barraza, Justin Haak (Thiago Martins 57′), Maxime Chanot, Tayvon Gray, Kevin O’Toole, Keaton Parks, Alfredo Morales (James Sands 57′), Mitja Ilenic (Gabe Segal 71′), Santiago Rodriguez, Matias Pellegrini (Gabriel Pereira 82′), Richie Ledezma (Andres Jasson 57′)

Unused subs: Matt Freese, Stephen Turnbull, Nico Benalcazar, John Denis

Scoring Summary

PHI: Jose Martinez — 23′ (Quinn Sullivan)
PHI: Chris Donovan — 81′
NYC: Andres Jasson — 86′

Discipline Summary


PHI Statistic NYC PHI Statistic NYC


Possession % 56 40 Duels Won 39
5 Shots 11 8 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 3 2 Saves 1
1 Blocked Shots 2 9 Clearances



Total Passes 562 9 Fouls 9
82.9 Pass Accuracy % 89 0 Yellow Cards



Corners 6 0 Red Cards 0
11 Crosses 15 1.3 xG







  1. Imagine this game with bendik

    • No thanks…

    • I’m imagining him off the bench at Pat’s Steaks.
      . . .
      Maybe others seated in the ends may clarify with their close examination, but he seems a bit chubby in the midsection with heavy legs, and is naturally inclined to be so by his body frame.
      . . .
      Obviously, excess weight will hurt mobility, and he certainly struggles with mobility. Taking off even a small amount of excess weight makes a big difference with mobility.
      . . .
      From those who have observed him closely, does he have a fitness issue where it may be controlled to some extent?

  2. Great professional game to get us in good position for the last 1/3 of the season.

  3. Not much to offer tonight. Six really solid points these last two matches. I doff the cap. Golf clap. Carry on boys.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    From my comments in the match preview article, “I think Sullivan is the better choice to start with Donovan coming in off the bench.”. Always nice to be proven right.

  5. Also, Kudos to Senor Martinez. A terrific, level headed game. Just a short time ago, NYCFC would have pushed him to be suspended…. but Jose’s denial. Not a river….
    OK… we’re positioned for a run at hosting MLS Cup 2023. Now let’s focus on that. Good win! Doop!

    Could care less about Leagues whatever it’s called. Free tickets, sure. After that, nah.

  6. 1- Sullivan was the hungriest player in the lineup. Replaced by the new hungriest, Donovan. I wrote here early in the season when there were Donovan doubters that I had seen him several years at Conestoga and had seen what kind of player he was, coached in those formative years by one of the best High School coaches in the country , Dave Zimmerman, just give him some time. This was not a one-off.
    I think he did a lot more than just “tap in” a goal, he made a run he grabbed possession and he finished.

    2-Bueno has become a stalwart.

    3- i started calling Mbaizo “Spider”. He often looks like he’s got eight limbs.

    4- Listen to Dave Leno on 97.5 as soon as you get in your car. He has become a fantastic announcer/commentator.

    • The players’ family section of the club balcony was filled with Donovan jerseys tonight.
      A night to remember for the young lad.

  7. Sitting in 131 tonight. A little soupy but also a nice little breeze at times.

    Since you have already posted some good analysis, how bout some Everyman analysis?

    1) First time back at the Park this year. Snagged last minute lot G pass. Man parking just seems to suck if you dont have a pass, at least based on what peeps were saying. However, when are they going to repave? Tarmac is warped. Sheer death for even sober people. Only the Sixers should be breaking ankles.

    2)Despite just sucking in general, the NYC fan section was pretty damn loud. How is it they get to have a drum in our building?

    3) After leading at the halfway point of the Big Head Relay Contest at halftime, our row lost as the person at the end of the row didnt know they had to send it back the other way. Thrill of Victory, Agony of Defeat.

    4) Was great to see another Brujo goal, once it registered that damn he just scored another one.

    5) My 2nd half comment: “Thats the best possession I’ve seen since Linda Blair.” Weird looks from anyone under 40, little smile from everybody else.

    6) Nice win against a team we love to hate.

    • 1 and 2 I will take up with my season ticket rep. Good points

    • McMohansky says:

      Parking in Lot C was so absolutely terrible it turned off my first-time attending friend from coming back.

    • Wracked Opinion says:

      As a first time attendee and season ticket holder I’ve generally greatly enjoyed the atmosphere,plus experience when attending at Subaru Park.

      However I was / am stunned that the parking doesn’t suck: it totally blows.

      Agreed: too many poor, irregular surfaces.

      These creating circumstances of difficult, dangerous walking transiting to / from the parking lots to the stadium.

      Even if lots and paths are not paved… understandably for environmental considerations… IMHO the detail of strategic leveling needs to be performed.

      I’ve two other annoyances I with gameday experiences:

      1) Replays are limited at Subaru Park.

      At least certain ones: especially involving contact.

      For example, I was at the game where Blake was injured.

      While this is a worst nightmare and obviously not a desirable circumstance, it was a part of the game that occurred.

      Because it happened at the opposite end of the field, it was impossible to see from my vantage.

      However only until I arrived home and viewed the match replay was I able to see what occurred.

      IMHO it’s nonsensical to deprive / punish attendees so.

      2) Along this line, the absence of a visible clock counting stoppage time at Subaru Park is annoying and again nonsensical.

      Seemingly simple fixes.

      But perhaps these only annoy me.

      Lastly, an important positive: it’s great to see the Union back on a winning streak.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        There are some restrictions imposed on what replays can be shown. Potentially controversial calls are not supposed to be shown, especially if the ref my need to go to VAR, because they don’t want the crowd to influence the decision.
        I believe not showing injuries is a Union call. I’m guessing they just don’t want to be morbid and glorify the injuries.
        Not showing stoppage time is a FIFA rule. And showing it is of limited value unless you are paying attention to additional stoppages. Last night, it was announced as 4 minutes and went just over 6. However, Martinez was down for just under 2:30, so really it should have been extended another 20 seconds or so. Personally, I use the stopwatch on my cell phone to keep an eye on it.

    • Eric Boyle says:

      I am in 130. The NYFC fans were particularly bad this time. Starting with disrespectful yelling during the anthem.

      Repave you say, were you in lot C? How about actually paving them and yes there are environmentally friendly ways to do it. I think it is just lot C and the VIP/SOB lots that are paved now. Lots of lakes to dodge if it rains lol. Parking has always been abysmal. I am in lot J and if you don’t sprint out of the park at the end of the game you are screwed. I am ready to try another solution like the famous Church lot!

      • Lot A is not paved, and only in deluges does if have puddles. There are occasional dead bleached and blue rats who tend to fall into the porta-potty blue water!

        My complaint is they changed the ability to get to the stadium from Lot A, by cutting off access to the sidewalk from Lot A to the gate. Now we have to walk thru an active parking lot and into head on entering traffic to get to the sidewalk that goes under the bridge and to the gate. I questioned Union Mgmt and their response was ‘it was a security issue’…
        But up till this season, it wasn’t?

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I included a comment about restoring access from the bridge to the gate when coming from Lot A in my feedback to them on the survey I got after the game. I also commented that almost all of the lights on the path from the bridge to Lot A were out after the game.
        Lot A is still great for getting out of in a reasonable amount of time even if you don’t rush out as soon as the game ends (or earlier).

    • NYCFC allowed SOB to bring drums into Citi Field, so we reciprocate. I’m sure the SOBs were louder and more enthusiastic so I guess it’s a fair trade off

  8. That was Donovan’s 2nd goal

  9. We live 4 hours from Philly so my kids, 11 and 8, only get to about 1 game a year. Since they were very little the Doop Song has been a highlight of those trips. So I was super thankful last night when the 11yo realized that Apple turns down the volume every time the Union score at home. Add it to the list of things about the Apple situation that are Bass Ackwards.

  10. What’s up with Matt Fraese? I thought we traded him so he could get playing time? Sure could have used him earlier this season.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Given the Gold Cup, he probably should have realized he’d be guaranteed to get a few games in with the Union this season.

      • After a certain point you have to make a call and he made his. Everything seems obvious in hindsight but clearly he was tired of never having a chance at being the #1. Even though he woulda gotten some games here this season, he woulda gone right back to the bench when Blake came back.

        So he probably made a choice and wanted a chance to start fresh somewhere else.

  11. Looking Ahead……..Nice win before the “break” Sullivan played well. Nice Assist and came very close to scoring again. Ditto for Bueno. He should see more playing time to spell Bedoya or Martinez when regular season restarts. I know I may be looking too far ahead, but I would be working on the field during practice coming up with a plan to Cincinati a different look when hey face them in the future . They know Curtins diamond so well.

    I thought Periera was pretty amazing. He gave the Union defenders big problems with his footwork. A player like him would be a nice addition off the bench from the Union, I had high hopes for Torres but he has had very little impact coming off the bench. Uhre looks kind of lost right now. As Taylor said the Union miss Burke. We need to pick up a veteran strong forward to do the dirty work and hold the ball till Caranza Gazdag and Uhere get in poition. I dont think Donavan is quite ready for that role in the playoffs.

  12. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Interesting comments after playing a budding rival in NYCFC that most of the post have little to do with the game. Times are good I guess.

  13. Gatekeeper at Cliff of Union Despair says:

    I am lonely.

    All alone with a rusting sun rocket.


  14. Does anyone know anything about this olwethu makhanya guy that’s coming to Philly? I can barely find any information about him on the web.

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