Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 2-1 Queretaro

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

A stunning winner by substitute Chris Donovan in the eleventh minute of second-half stoppage time sent Philadelphia Union into the semifinals of the Leagues Cup and a date with Lionel Messi on Tuesday, beating Liga MX side Queretaro 2-1 at Subaru Park on Friday night.

Jesus Bueno gave the Union an early lead in the tenth minute, while Angel Sepulveda leveled things for the visitors midway through the second half.

An injury to Daniel Gazdag forced Jim Curtin to take the Hungarian playmaker out of his lineup, with Mikael Uhre slotting into his place as the second striker. Elsewhere, Jesus Bueno replaced Leon Flach in the midfield, while Olivier Mbaizo replaced Nathan Harriel at right wing back in the 3-5-2 formation. Summer signing Olwethu Makhanya made the bench for the first time, while Tai Baribo did not.

Moments before kickoff, Subaru Park lost power, causing a long delay. After about 25 minutes, the lights began to flicker back to life, but kickoff didn’t take place until after 9 p.m.

The Union wasted little time, taking the lead after 10 minutes through Jesus Bueno. An excellent pass from Jack McGlynn found Bueno running to the penalty spot, where his shot took a deflection and wrongfooted the keeper.

Neither side fashioned much else resembling a scoring chance for the rest of the tense, physical first half. Queretaro had a lot of possession without much purpose, while the Union sprang unsuccessful counterattacks. That state of affairs suited the hosts with their one-goal lead.

In the first part of the second half, the visitors dominated both the ball and field position, even if they were unable to challenge Andre Blake. Looking to freshen things up, Curtin swapped in Flach for McGlynn and Chris Donovan for Uhre.

But in the 65th minute Queretaro found an equalizer, an excellent finish from striker Angel Sepulveda. Jaime Gomez floated in a seemingly ambitious curling ball from the wing. It snuck just past Jakob Glesnes, and Sepulveda hit it out of the air first time with his left foot. The shot crossed Blake and found the back of the net.

With just under 15 minutes to go, Curtin threw on Joaquin Torres and Nathan Harriel, switching to a 4-4-2 with Damion Lowe and Olivier Mbaizo exiting. Julian Carranza also picked up a knock, and Quinn Sullivan replaced him. The setup — with none of Carranza, Uhre, or Gazdag on the field — seemed suboptimal for a potential penalty shootout.

But the Union started asking all the questions. Sullivan nearly found an 83rd minute winner with a powerful rifled shot from about 25 yards, forcing keeper Fernando Tapia into a diving save. Moments later, Glesnes blasted a free kick from distance that rose just over the crossbar. In the ten minutes of stoppage time, scramble defending from Queretaro just stopped Sullivan from hammering home at close range.

Seven minutes into stoppage time, Omar Mendoza hauled down Torres just outside the penalty area, earning his second yellow and an ejection. Wagner’s dangerous free kick deflected off the wall, missed Jack Elliott’s foot, and clanged harmlessly off the post.

Donovan, though, found his heroic moment in the final moments of the match. Fed by an excellent pass from Torres, Wagner made a run down the wing and curled his cross into Donovan, charging in to the penalty spot. His first-time finish beat the keeper and gave the Union the margin they needed to survive and advance.

Pushing and shoving broke out at the final whistle that saw two members of Queretaro pick up red cards.

With that, the Union are on to the semifinals, where the Messi show will come to town for the first time. That game will be at Subaru Park on Tuesday, August 15, at 7 p.m. With LAFC eliminated, the Union are also guaranteed to host either the final or in the third-place game, which will be on Saturday, August 19, against either Nashville or Monterrey. That means that next Sunday’s clash with FC Dallas will have to be rescheduled.

Three Points
  • Chris Donovan. What a moment for the Union’s unheralded striker, getting a late winner in a tournament. The recently signed Tai Baribo is competition for his place, but Donovan is staking his claim for more minutes.
  • Slacking off. The tying goal woke up the Union, but what were they doing before then? Curtin won’t be happy that they allowed an inferior Queretaro side to hang around for so long.
  • The magic of the Leagues Cup! The games just don’t stop coming, but this next one will have massive juice. Lionel Messi’s first-ever trip to Chester, with a trip to a cup final on the line. It should be a rocking atmosphere on Tuesday.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Damion Lowe (Joaquin Torres 78′), Olivier Mbaizo (Nathan Harriel 78′), Jesus Bueno, Jack McGlynn (Leon Flach 62′), Jose Martinez, Mikael Uhre (Chris Donovan 62′), Julian Carranza (Quinn Sullivan 81′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Holden Trent, Matt Real, Olwethu Makhanya, Jeremy Rafanello

Queretaro FC

Fernando Tapia, Jonathan Perlaza (Raul Sandoval 63′), Oscar Manzanarez, Kevin Escamilla, Omar Mendoza, Jaime Gomez (Joaquin Montecinos 80′), Rodrigo Lopez (Marco Garcia 63′), Jordan Sierra (Emanuel Gularte 70′), Pablo Barrera, Angel Spulveda, Camilo Sanvezzo (Ettson Ayon 81′)

Unused subs: Stellan Sakamoto, Alejandro Arana, Marco Gonzalez, Alberto Garcia, Jose Varela, Paolo Martin, Jose Raul Zuniga

Scoring Summary

PHI: Jesus Bueno — 10′
QRO: Angel Sepulveda — 65′ (Jaime Gomez)
PHI: Chris Donovan — 90+11′ (Jaime Gomez)

Discipline Summary

PHI: Jose Martinez — 48′ (foul)
QRO: Oscar Manzanarez — 50′ (foul)
QRO: Omar Mendoza — 77′ (foul)
QRO: Emanuel Gularte — 90′ (foul)
QRO: Omar Mendoza — 90+7′ (foul) (second yellow – ejection)
QRO: Angel Sepulveda — 90+9′ (dissent)


  1. I’ve been a Torres detractor since day 2, but that pass to Wagner on the game winner was sublime. DOOP!

  2. Just gotta say… Torres’ pass to Wagner down the left to set up the assist was beautiful. Worth the shout out.
    What a wild finish! Congrats to Union!


  4. Just amazing. Tuesday is gonna be unreal. Hoping I can score tix to it. Got to hang in the Tunnel Club this week. Won’t have that luxury next week. Security at the park will be insane from what the staff is telling me. Get there early!

    • Just tried to purchase a few tix. Of course the snakes a trying to maximize profit…. Such a hallmark of a second rate club. Can’t just act like they’ve been there before. I’ve already seen Beckham, Rooney, Ronaldo, Henry and zlatan. I’m sorry but I’m not gonna let union run a train up my ass for a Mickey Mouse mid season tournament just to watch another star rip my team apart. Good luck.

  5. Man, I was pissed at Jim for putting in Donovan for Uhre, but a) It didn’t matter, since Carranza had to come out for Sullivan anyway; and b) the kid made good. And good on him!

  6. So maybe having a brain fart. How was that not offside by a mile? Was the fix in and somehow they forgot it was a Philly team? Wowsers.

    In other notes was a pleasant surprise to see the young’uns inject some juice into a stagnant offense.

    • I looked at some photos and when you draw the line considering angles (not exactly perpendicular to the 18 because it is also in a slightly different slant due to camera angle), I think it really was the right call… goal.

      • Thanks! Leave it to apple tv to not have that better angle (or replays of any of the questionable calls). Buttheads!

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Remember the rule is last defender OR the ball. Donovan was behind the ball when it was played even though Kai had progressed past the whole back line.

      • Good on you. People forget that there are TWO lines for offside, and an attacking player keeping even with the ball is also onside.

  7. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Ok but did anyone notice that Donovan was really great in holdup play well before the goal? Like already mentioned, as excited as I am about Baribo, Donovan is earning his place as a real bench option, whether that be 3rd or 4th striker. I think 4th but we haven’t even seen TB yet. Also, maybe this means we can stop putting Sullivan at striker. Is this Fontana all over again? He’s so talented but just doesn’t seem to fit our schemes right now. Hope they find a natural position. He’s such a game changer

    • Sullivan is Fafa 2.0. He’s a winger and Union don’t have that position in any formation they play. Sell him, or trade in MLS to a team that will play him there for a ton of AM, it’s best for both parties.

      It’s a shame because I love his mindset on the field, always attacking, and his strike tonight wasn’t the winner only because the GK made a very good save.

      • I’d keep Quinn around how ever long it takes to get Cavan to sign a HG deal first. If those two are a package deal I’m ok with it.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I thought of Fafa too! I just don’t think we can realistically sell him to an MLS team. He’s way too good to only be getting $1-2M. We should be getting a $5M+ fee for him when we finally sell. Problem is, no one will pay that unless he proves his worth on the field. So far, he hasn’t had the chance

  8. Wow, what a finish!
    That being said, the Union have to find a way to use their speed up top the whole game. They weren’t getting anything for Uhre to run on to.
    Unfortunately, LAFC is up 2-0 at halftime so there is still a chance the Union may need to head there next weekend.
    Ref tonight was better than last game but still had trouble keeping control of the game.

  9. PhilliBear1872 says:

    Philli through, what a result and what a finish to the game. Really tough battle ahead against Messi FC, that being said I believe we are gonna be their first big challenge in this competition.

    Nice one to see LAFC AKA Bottlejob FC losing their matchup in the last 20 Ha Ha! Would’ve been nice to get some revenge though.

    Time to go avenge Charlotte FC and put ourselves through to another Final.

    Come on you Philly.

  10. Jesse Martin says:

    The refs definitely had Phillys back today. 10 minutes of stoppage time is an exaggeration. Plus the final goal is very questionable and deserved a VAR review. Concacaf officiating is horrendous.

  11. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Also I’ve been meaning to say for weeks: McGlynn seems to have really changed his physical attributes. He runs more, he runs faster, he’s stronger, etc. A lot of us thought his lack of athleticism compared to his elite ball skills would be why he’d struggle to get to Europe. But he’s really improved his pressing and defensive coverage this year, and he continues to create goals. He may not be in the Western Hemisphere next spring…

    • Andy Muenz says:

      He still has a LOT of work to learn to use his right foot in addition to his left.

      • I remember watching him loop a right footed floater behind the line in a national team youth tourney a while back and thought— damn that’s tuff.
        I think he’s able to play with both feet.

      • He hasn’t shown that recently. There have been several times the last couple of games where he had the ball in a position to do something with his right foot but instead decided to try to get into a similar position for his left foot but by then the window had disappeared.

    • I don’t know that he is faster. Maybe a bit quicker, and he no longer looks like he is lumbering around as much. Maybe it’s just a combination of seeing where the play is going better from a defensive standpoint combined with being more comfortable with his body.

  12. Andy Muenz says:

    Any update on Carranza? It’s going to be tough against Inter Messi if both he and Gazdag are out. Also, does anyone know what the yellow card suspension rules are for this tournament? Hoping Martinez hasn’t picked up too many.

  13. My three points:
    1. I think Donovan was closer to being offsides than people on here think. Looked pretty dodgy to me.

    2. What a time for Carranza and Uhre to go stone cold in front of net. They can’t even control a pass half the time.

    3. If they play vs Miami the way they played against this untalented Mexican team, the score will be Miami 5-1 Union. They better get their act together, pronto.

    (4. If what was said on here is true, Martinez is lucky the yellows are wiped.)

    • It won’t be 5-1 since the defence is still pretty solid but it definitely won’t be a pretty game

    • I didn’t see the liner raise his flag on the play where Donovan scored and the camera angle was not great. Think if he had raised his flag it may have stood as offsides with VAR being unable to provide conclusive proof otherwise. Same to be said for the ruling on the field during the game. I’m sure they looked at it but close enough that they could not overturn the call.

    • Jesse Martin says:

      Donavan’s upper body was definitely offside. If you compare the VAR review of Quinones of Club America and Donovan, Donovan’s was more offsides and Quinones’ goal was reviewed by VAR and called offsides. Very poor questionable refereeing in this tournament. 10 minutes stoppage was an exaggeration as well. Concacaf needs better officiating.

      • He was clearly onside. You keep complaining about the same things. 10 minutes, etc. Everyone else here felt 10 minutes was fine. As did the broadcast team. No one was surprised.

  14. A great game to watch from section 114, but what happened at the end, in the middle of the field?

    We saw the scuffle and then a couple of Queretaro fans behind us started getting ‘squirrely’, yelling at us we were racists for singing “Go home to Mexico” after Donovan’s goal.

    Too funny considering what they were saying throughout the match amongst themselves… I speak Spanish and understand… it was THEY who were the racist morons not Union fans of Section 114.


    • I think the emotions that had started midway through the first half finally boiled over after the game. Not sure what started that, but I think the whole thing started when Lowe let a Blake pass go out of bounds so a player could be treated but Queretaro didn’t think that was intentional so they didn’t give the ball back and quickly earned a corner which led to the first scuffle. After that, the game got a lot chippier.

      • I thought that…. pretty petty of that squad, but very interesting to watch their assistant coach in the middle of it all at the end, pushing and shoving Martinez, I think… just a sad ending to a fun to watch game.
        Considering the scope of this tournament, the refereeing has been mind bottling. This guy was slightly better than the NYRB game, but man, just inconsistent as hell, wondering what games these guys are actually watching.

        Let’s hope the next 2 games are better. I can’t believe I’m typing this but I’d rather see Ted Unkle as long as MLS puts him up at a good hotel near Chester, this time!

      • I have the feeling that Tuesday will be even worse with fouls called ever time the GOAT crybaby whines.

  15. santo bevacqua says:

    Torres good ball played ahead to Wagner the linesman right there with the best view never put flag up for offside Donovan timed it—- goal, Union will prepare a welcome party for the barcelona geriatrics. I am sure Curtin will plan accordingly…..The depth created with the youth is so refreshing to see.. They are hungry and eager! Philly tough doop football is the beautiful game.

  16. I honestly thought the Queretaro goal was offsides. When the ball is originally played in, the Queretaro player looked behind Lowe. Lowe partially heads the ball and the same player comes back , knocks the ball wide, cross swung in, great finish. I just thought the whole sequence should have been stopped. I will go back and rewatch. Donovan was even so goal was good.

    • PhilliBear1872 says:

      Their goal was offside, but what can you expect?
      The nation is voting for Messi to win this cup to bring views to the league.
      We’ll struggle with referees on Tuesday given they will also want a Miami win.
      We move though, no surrender philli.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I just watched the replay and it looks like Glesnes was significantly behind Lowe and would have kept the Queretaro player onside on the initial build-up. Not definitive since he was off camera, but extremely likely.

  17. Joe Hassell says:

    Atmosphere at the stadium was great last night! I didn’t go to the last couple of Leagues Cup games where attendance looked sparse, but the stands were pretty filled.

    Martinez played passionately the entire night and was great winning numerous one-on-one challenges but frustratingly giving away a number of forward passes after winning the ball. Same with Mbaizo. It was good to see Harriel come in for Mbaizo, winning all the headers and locking down that side of field.

    Except for giving 10 minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game (deserved), the refereeing was poor. Queretaro’s plan was to continuously hack the Union players right from the kickoff. Both Uhre and Carranza were hacked mercilessly without hardly any fouls called, but if the Union breathed on a Queretaro player, the foul was immediately called. I was in section 124, and several out of bound calls that should have been Union balls were given to Queretaro. Hope Carranza (Gazdag & Bedoya, too) are back for the game against Miami. Glad the U kept their cool against the barrage of unsportsmanlike play of Queretaro (who the referees were obviously favoring). If you heard booing, it was NOT against the Union, it was against the poor refereeing.

    It was a hard fought game but glad the Union were able to get the winner in the final minute. Once the game was tied, Queretaro was flopping and slow walking at every opportunity in hopes of getting a tie and taking it’s chances in a shootout, where although there’s no guarantee of a win, the playing field is leveled.

    • I don’t think there were many more Union fans than the last few games (maybe a few since it was a Friday compared with Wednesday, Thursday, or Tuesday) but there were more Queretaro fans than visiting fans earlier in the tournament. Even with the sparse crowds, atmosphere has been like that for all of the games. Crowds have been passionate.
      I was thinking through much of the game that right now Harriel is better than Mbaizo.
      Ref was much better than the previous game. He let a lot go against both teams and ultimately gave 5 cards to Queretaro including the late second yellow.

  18. I swear, bueno gets better every game, When did he get so good? Why didn’t Curtin play him at all the first 2 years he was here and then out of nowhere decide that he was a starter?

  19. Andy Muenz says:

    Looks like Tuesday is sold out.
    Here’s a question, have you ever gone to a Union game anticipating getting to see an opposing player? My answer is once. When Vancouver came in 2012 I wanted to see Seba. Other than that, I could care less about opposing players (although I have cheered former Union players during intros).

    • I understand being loyal, but looking through a lot of the complications it’s the best soccer player in history coming to Philadelphia, It’s a once in a lifetime experience

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      I’ve done it a few times. Drogba. Wilfried Zaha. Kaka. David Villa (yes, I was there for that).
      When a player is great, I want to see them. (I also want my team to beat them!)
      Unfortunately, even as a new season ticket holder I wasn’t fast enough to get them for this one.

      • The price was steep, $400/ea + fees. If you opted in to the Leagues Cup back in March, you got your seats at your STH price. If you wanted extras…. you had to pay the going rate.

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