Match Report

Match report: Philadelphia Union 5-1 Queretaro FC

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

On a night that felt more like fall than the earth-scorching global heat waves of July, the Philadelphia Union did the soccer version of scorched earth, putting five goals past Queretaro.

First half

The Union trotted out their 5-3-2, a change from Saturday’s thumping of Club Tijuana in a 4-4-2.

Though the opening moments of the match were uneven, the home side had the run of play – Queretaro FC looked nervy, conceding dangerous fouls to Daniel Gazdag at the top of the box twice in the early going. The first was cleared harmlessly away, the second caused chaos in the box, a collision with the goalkeeper, and Gazdag smashing a half-volley into the net. The whole sequence was ruled offside though based on Damion Lowe’s initial header.

In the 11th minute, the game nearly changed. Make Uhre was given a yellow card for what looked like an elbow to a defender’s face while posting up. As the fouled player lay prone on the field, VAR reviewed the moment for a possible red. The harsher card was not given, but The Concacaf was in full effect – and the visitors were awake.

A few minutes and several harsh fouls later, there was no question that one of Liga MX’s worst teams were not here to gift the high-flying hosts a place in the knockout round.

In he 30th minute, all of the Union’s possession in the visiting end paid off. Receiving a pass from the back line with a defender all over him, Gazdag turned his man left, recovered a carom, took a dribble, and rifled a left-footed shot to the far right post. It was a “heart” goal, one in which the team’s ten could’ve bailed on the ball more than once – he didn’t, took his chance, and it paid off for a 1-0 lead.

The goal sparked more effort from the visitors again, but like most of Major League Soccer already knows, Queretaro found out that effort alone wouldn’t break down the Union’s stout formation.

In the 36th minute, some great possession by the Boys in Blue put the ball on Gazdag’s foot again on the right wing. He cut inside and found a slicing Julian Carranza making a run toward the penalty spot. Gazdag slipped his striker through but the Argentine’s first touch seemed too heavy – instead, it baited the goalkeeper off his line. Carranza poked the ball past the onrushing net-minder, forcing the visitor into fouling him. It was a penalty, clear as day, and Gazdag stepped to the spot for a chance at his brace.

He didn’t miss, driving the shot hard and low to the left. It was 2-0 Union.

Just a few minutes later, Nate Harriel rose high in the box to meet a Jesus Bueno corner kick, heading the set piece home for the team’s 3-0 lead. It wasn’t more than the hosts deserved, and they took that lead into the locker room shortly thereafter.

Author’s note: Bueno had a near-perfect game and is playing well enough right now that the team almost has to find a place for him on the field.

Second half

The second half started with several minutes of Queretaro possession – it lacked bite, but kept the hosts off the ball.

Philadelphia pushed their defensive line higher to change the tempo and it worked. The game opened up, but did so for both teams, with each having a chance and a half without much to show for it. In the 56th minute, the Union’s press forced a turnover that fell to Damion Lowe’s feet some 35 yards from goal. He settled, took a step, and nearly curled a shot into the far corner, top bins. Only a diving save pushed the ball over the bar.

Lowe did put the ball in the back of the new only a few minutes later off a perfect cross from Bueno, but was ruled offside for the second time on the night.

The Union eventually got their fourth goal though when they earned their second penalty of the night at the end of a pin-point, tiki-taka counter attack. Jesus Bueno won the initial ball over the top and was then on the receiving end of a perfect through ball from Carranza. He cut back to his right and was dragged down in the process. As is his custom, Gazdag stepped up to take the spot kick and slid the chance into the bottom right corner.

The Hungarian had his hat trick and it was 4-0 to the good.

In the 84th minute, the Union got lazy in defense and possession in their own corner. A miscommunication between Jack Elliott and Matt Real led to neither player attacking a rolling ball in the box between them. Querteraro’s players pounced, taking the gift and sliding a pass to the back post. Raul Sandoval was waiting to tap the chance in and the host’s clean sheet was dirtied from an unforced error.

The Union’s run of outside the box, left-footed finishes wasn’t over though, despite the match seeming to settle into a substitution-laden lull. Instead, Jack McGlynn took a few inches of space from 25 yards and loped a dipping shot into the far lower corner. It was a thing of beauty, at a moment when many viewers might have been ready to head to the parking lots.

The shot was nearly the final touch of the night too as the referee decided to call things at 90 minutes without any extra time. As a result, the Union moved on to the knockout round of the Leagues Cup – at the top of their group.

Philadelphia Union 

Blake, Wagner, Lowe, Elliott, Glesnes (Real, 65′), Harriel, Martinez (McGlynn, 65′), Bueno, Gazdag (Torres, 74′), Uhre (Donovan, 74′), Carranza (Sullivan, 74′)

Unused subs: Bendik, Trent, Mbaizo, Perea, Rafanello


Mendoza (Gomez, 58′), Manzanarez, Gularte, Barrera, Montecinos (Raul, 72′), Lertora (Rodrigo, 67′), Sepulveda, Sanvezzo, Sierra (Marco, 58′), Perlaza, Arana, Da Silva (Jonatan, 72′)

Unused subs: Kevin, Paolo, Marco, Guillermo, Ettson, Aiberto, Fernando

Scoring Summary

PHI – Gazdag, 30′

PHI – Gazdag, 39′

PHI – Harriel, 44′

PHI – Gazdag, 62′

QRO – Sandoval, 84′

PHI – McGlynn, 89′

Discipline Summary

PHI – Uhre, 11′


  1. Gazdag has more leagues cup goals then Messi… nice.

  2. Why is Torres so bad, and why can’t Perea get a game? Puzzling.

    • Bueno is better than Perrera. He should be Bedoya’s heir apparent at this juncture. Not sure on Torres, but can see why he doesn’t see the field much in league play.

    • John P. O'Donnell says:

      Torres in basketball terms is a ball hog. He gets in on goal and has a man open on his left and shoots the ball that looked like 20 yards right of the goal. He also looks worse after every appearance he gets on the field. With the window closing, I wonder if Ernst might make some moves out going on the roster?
      Bueno on the other hand just keeps putting in better shifts every time he sees the field. I’m not positive but with three in the back, the team seems more offensive while still only giving up a goal or less. Glesnes, Elliott and Lowe seemed to have GEL quickly. See what I did there?
      Also Liga MX isn’t as good as MLS at the bottom of the table. Leon needed a shoot out and beat a ten man team. Seems MLS isn’t that far away.

    • I know this might seem a bit controversial, but I think people are too hard on Torres. He needs improvement in his passing and finishing but he is constantly getting in to good positions and has a lot of potential to get better. Or he’s just not that good. Not sure.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Strong effort by the Union. Too bad there weren’t many people there to see it. It wasn’t much more crowded than an early round open cup game and future games could be worse since there won’t be fireworks to attract people after the rest of the league’s cup games.
    The last set of subs reminded me of a hockey line change.
    At least tonight they sang the national anthem, but it is still rude that they don’t play it for both countries.

  4. Here are the observations from Section 105:
    1) In the 10th minute, it looked as though Uhre might pick up a red card for his arm to the face of a Queretaro player, but the Union were fortunate that the referee deemed it only a yellow. This was Queretaro’s only real shot at winning because. . . .
    2) Queretaro were one of the least-skilled teams to play at Subaru Park in the last 5 years. I think they will have a difficult time avoiding relegation. The Union played well, but Queretaro were badly outclassed.
    3) Although both Gazdag and McGlynn had decent strikes on their respective goals, the Queretaro goalie was slow to react to both. Had those shots been at Andre Blake, they would have been saved.
    4) Andy was spot on–the stadium seemed less than half-full. Since I missed the Union-Tijuana match in favor of Brighton v. Chelsea at the Linc, I asked one of my friends whether the crowd was this sparse last Saturday. My friend explained that the Tijuana match tickets were on the season ticket plan; the Queretaro match tickets (and subsequent ones) need to be separately purchased.
    5) I think that the only reason that the National Anthem was sung was that it was Ashley Rice’ birthday, and the crowd gave her a very nice ovation.
    6) The fireworks were a nice touch and made for a festive night.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      1) I agree with yellow rather than red for Uhre. While watching the play live, I didn’t think that Uhre knew the player was behind him so while it was reckless and deserved the yellow, a red would have been harsh.
      4) For last night and subsequent leagues cup games, your friend is partially right. Although the games are not part of the season package, you had to opt out to avoid buying them and the opt out period was for about a week in March. So there are definitely people who bought tickets without necessarily realizing it.
      6) Fireworks were a nice touch but would have been more appropriate after NYCFC game since it was regular season and closer to July 4.

      • Eric Boyle says:

        I knew the game would be sparsely attended pulling into the lot. Despite the fireworks a considerable number of people left around the 80 minute mark. I agree the NYFC game would have been better but maybe the thought was to generate more sales for the LC midweek game.

        I forgot about the “opt out” part of the tickets until I got the e-mail telling me when my card would be charged for the round of 32 game lol. Another mid-week game apparently.

      • I agree that a red for Uhre for that would have been very harsh. He happened to get the guy pretty good, but it was not malicious or truly reckless. He was just trying to stop the guy from getting to the ball, and his face happened to be down there (as opposed to his chest or his shoulder).

    • There’s currently no relegation or promotion in LigaMX, so Queretaro are safe.
      Fun fact, one of Queretaro’s starting strikers last night was Camillo Sanvezo. A former MLS golden boot winner….. from way back.

  5. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Bueno was EVERYWHERE. I know Gazdag had a hat trick and all, but I think you could make a strong argument that he set the tone and deserved player of the game. He and Martinez made a great combo and I don’t recall ever once being nervous about conceding when they were both on the field. Also shoutout to Harriel who was also fantastic at both ends. Nice win all around. Granted, the opposition was quite bad.

  6. The Chopper says:

    It’s great being able to adjust lineups and formations, but it really seems like the 5-3-2 fits this group better.

    • It really does. Wagner and Mbaizo (and sometimes Harriel) are good wingbacks ( and we’re able to control the ball in and through the middle third a lot better. Everything seems to work better when we’re lined up that way.

  7. Muy Bueno. He’s turned into quite a dynamic box-to-box player after seeing very little first team action the previous two years. TBF, he did show this type of talent in Next Pro, but happy to see it translate to success at this level.

  8. Personally I like seeing the U go back and forth on formations.
    I agree that they seem stronger with a 3-5-2 / 5-3-2, but that gets all 3 of our starter quality CBs minutes at the expense of some of our starter quality midfielders like McGlynn.

  9. That game was so one-sided that I switched over to watch the USWNT at the 70th minute (and ended up missing the last 2 goals). Queretaro looked pretty sad.

    I am gobsmacked by Jesus Bueno. Dude was EVERYWHERE, doing EVERYTHING. Assuming he keeps this up, we really can’t keep him on the bench any longer. Right now I think you’d have to start him on one side of the diamond in place of Flach or McGlynn (or Bedoya, when he’s hurt). Long-term, he is now clearly the Bedoya replacement.

    Also, while there are many matches yet to play in this tourney, I hope you all realize that we could eventually be heading for a Union vs. Inter Messi semi-final match at the Sube…

  10. Andy Muenz says:

    Looking ahead, Sunday’s game between DC United and Pumas (UNAM) will determine the Union’s next opponent which can still come from any of the 3 countries in the tournament.
    Assuming my calculations are correct, here are the scenarios:

    DC wins in regulation – DC wins the group, Montreal gets second. Union play Montreal.
    DC wins in penalties – DC wins the group, Montreal wins the tiebreaker for second (head to head). Union play Montreal.
    Pumas wins in penalties – DC wins the group. Pumas gets second. Union play Pumas.
    Pumas wins in regulation – Pumas wins the group. DC United gets second. Union play DC.

    • I believe you are correct.

      And I believe we should be pretty strong favorites to beat any of them, especially at home.

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