Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 1-4 Inter Miami CF

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Lionel Messi and friends put an overawed Philadelphia Union side to the sword on Tuesday night, a 4-1 win for Inter Miami that sent the Boys in Blue out of the Leagues Cup in the semifinal in front of a full house at Subaru Park.

Josef Martinez, Messi, and Jordi Alves scored in the first half for the Herons, while substitute David Ruiz added a fourth late in the match. Alejandro Bedoya notched the sole goal for Philadelphia in an appearance off the bench.

Jim Curtin opted for a very defensive starting lineup, choosing a midfield trio of Jose Martinez, Jesus Bueno, and Leon Flach. Quarterfinal hero Chris Donovan was preferred to club-record signing Mikael Uhre up top, paired with Daniel Gazdag in his return from injury. An injury forced Julian Carranza to the bench, while Alejandro Bedoya made the bench for the first time in Leagues Cup.

The parking lots filled long before the 7 p.m. kickoff, and pink shirts dotted the seats at Subaru Park. Bernard Hopkins struck the pregame drum. During the pregame introductions, Messi’s name was met by a wall of noise, lots of cheers and even more boos.

It took Miami barely three minutes to take the lead, and the goal had nothing to do with Messi. A simple long ball from Sergii Kryvtsov snuck past Damion Lowe and on to Josef Martinez. The former Golden Boot winner got to it just ahead of Jack Elliott and rifled a first-time finish past Andre Blake.

The Union should have had an equalizer just five minutes later. A great ball from Kai Wagner sent Gazdag one on one with keeper Drake Callender. The Hungarian got his shot off, but Callender came out and managed to block the shot aside.

A moment of Messi magic made it 2-0 in the 20th minute. The Argentine picked up the ball and ran right at three Union defenders. Before anyone could put in a challenge, Messi smashed one low and hard from 35 yards out. It rifled along the ground, just past the outstretched hand of Blake, and into the back of the net.

Given the distance of the strike, Blake will probably feel he should have done better. But few, if any, players on the planet would be expected to hit one with that level of power and precision from so far away.

It was a nightmare start for the Union, and the energy came out of the building as Messi started to toy with the likes of Elliott in midfield. With Philly second-best to every ball, Damion Lowe and Jesus Bueno picked up yellow cards in quick succession for midfield tackles. The best moments came when the Union forced midfield turnovers, like one from Lowe that led to a long-range hit from Gazdag.

But Miami just kept going, and Jordi Alba made it 3-0 at the end of the first half on the counterattack. Robert Taylor picked the ball up in midfield unmarked and spotted Alves streaking down the wing, unmarked. Nathan Harriel was caught too far upfield, Jakob Glesnes was in midfield, and Elliott and Lowe were slow to react. Alves made no mistake with his finish, his first for the Floridians.

Boos — well-deserved boos — rained down at halftime.

Curtin switched things up at halftime, sending on Mikael Uhre for Lowe and Jack McGlynn for Leon Flach. This switched the Union back into the 4-4-2 diamond.

Ten minutes into the half, Donovan could have gotten an opener for the Union, grabbing a long ball from Wagner at the top of the box and taking a touch around the keeper. That touch, though, took him too wide, and his attempt at a nearly empty net soared aimlessly high and wide. Donovan almost beat Callender moments later with a header driven low off another Wagner pass. The Miami keeper got down well and just palmed the ball away from the net.

The Union were asking more of the questions, but they couldn’t find their shooting boots. Another Wagner cross found Uhre’s head, a deflection that fell to Glesnes at the back post. But the defender couldn’t get his body under control and popped the ball out of play.

With twenty minutes to go, Curtin threw on Alejandro Bedoya for Jesus Bueno and Quinn Sullivan for Donovan. The club captain got his side on the board off a corner kick just moments later, scything a bouncing ball through an array of defenders.

Miami restored their edge in the 84th minute, sending many fans to the exits. Messi drew the attention of two defenders, slipping in DeAndre Yedlin, who in turn fed David Ruiz. The substitute slid one into the back post, putting the game firmly to bed.

Although the Union’s quest for the Leagues Cup title is at an end, one more game remains, a third-place game with a place in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup on the line. That match will be on Saturday, August 19 at Subaru Park, with Philadelphia hosting the loser of tonight’s other semifinal between Monterrey and Nashville.

Three Points
  • Falling flat. On the biggest stage of the year, the Union fell flat, coming out scared and producing their worst first half of the season. It wasn’t good enough across the pitch.
  • Lineup blues. Injuries played their part in determining player availablity, but Jim Curtin’s choice to start three defensive midfielders in front of a back five didn’t pay off. It was too easy for Miami to build their lead, and the comeback always seemed like climbing a mountain.
  • Lionel Messi. He is, simply put, a joy to watch, a player unlike any who has set foot in Subaru Park. And the hoopla surrounding his appearance lived up to the hype. If only the Union had done the same.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Damion Lowe (Mikael Uhre HT), Nathan Harriel, Jesus Bueno (Alejandro Bedoya 70′), Leon Flach (Jack McGlynn HT), Jose Martinez, Daniel Gazdag (Joaquin Torres 87′), Chris Donovan (Quinn Sullivan 70′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Holden Trent, Olivier Mbaizo, Matt Real, Olwethu Makhanya, Jeremy Rafanello, Julian Carranza

Inter Miami CF

Drake Callender, DeAndre Yedlin, Sergii Kryvtsov, Kamal Miller, Jordi Alba (Noah Allen 87′), Dixon Arroyo (Chris McVey 87′), Sergio Busquets, Benjamin Cremaschi (David Ruiz 74′), Lionel Messi, Jose Martinez (Leo Campana 61′), Robert Taylor (Diego Gomez 61′)

Unused subs: Cole Jensen, CJ dos Santos, Ryan Sailor, Harvey Neville, Victor Ulloa, Facundo Farias, Robbie Robinson

Scoring Summary

MIA: Josef Martinez — 3′ (Sergii Kryvtsov)
MIA: Lionel Messi — 20′ (Josef Martinez)
MIA: Jordi Alba — 45+3′ (Robert Taylor)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 73′
MIA: David Ruiz — 84′ (DeAndre Yedlin)

Discipline Summary

PHI: Damion Lowe — 20′ (foul)
PHI: Jesus Bueno — 25′ (foul)
MIA: DeAndre Yedlin — 62′ (time wasting)


  1. Rough nite for Andre to have his worst night ever…some clinical finishing for sure too though. But damn Andre.
    another big game Jim Curtin nutsacks and overthinks. Three central defensive midfielders? how the fuck do you not send your best 11 available players out there.
    Flach over McGlynn? Terrible. Donovan? Come on man. How in the world did u ever expect to have any sophistication in possession against a team of that quality? I’m sick. The coach fucked up tonight.
    Bueno & Martinez would have been fine.

    • Second all of this. Union should have started the game the way they did the second half. Way overreacted to the Barca all stars being on the pitch. Really mystified by Blake’s performance. Worst game he’s had in ages. We didn’t stop a single shot they put on target. It’s been a while since we played like that at home.

      • + 1 on all of the above. When was the last time I us get thumped that badly at home?
        Jim blew it big time tonight. I was just staggered to see Flach and Donovan starting. Flach was clearly out of his element. A little better the second half, but Miami was clearly in a lower gear.
        Miami knew something about Lowe, who was clearly a target aside from the first goal.
        In a more macro sense, what bothers me about tonight is that a really awful side like Miami can bring in three high quality thirtysomethings and just dominate. It just doesn’t say much for the quality of MLS and the Union that we were beaten so badly.

    • Correct on this all. Most painful loss because of how thoroughly outcoached we were. Donovan and Flach were pure scared starts. Tata baited us into “possessing” the game and then just let their class beat us.
      Andre had his worst game ever but can’t really kill the guy too much.
      Damian was brutal as well. Ultimately though Donovan was where things went to die and flach was non existent,

    • I came here to rant, but Pachy already said everything I wanted to say. Jim utterly blew the lineup/formation. Starting Donovan over Uhre, and Flach over McGlynn, was baffling. I don’t know how the heck he expected us to score. Then Blake goes and has the worst game I’ve ever seen in a Union kit.

      I can only hope this travesty will at least motivate them against Monterrey. (Though maybe it will demoralize them…)

      I remember a year ago, people would talk about us losing Curtin to a European club. The thought was always ridiculous. Jim has (overall) done a fine job coach the U, but he is not European coaching material by a long shot. He wouldn’t last a year.

      • Wracked Opinion says:

        Curtin and the Union obviously did the league a “solid” by losing.

        They allowed the cash grab that is MIA… aka now America’s (soccer) Team… to continue: much to the joy, plus benefit of Apple, Garber, et al.

        Clearly everyone… except for hardcore Union fans… wanted MIA to win and keep “the show” going.

        Saturday will be another circus: with Messi’s uber-expensive arrival in Nashville and the corresponding hype.

        Surely he’s a quality player: but the MLS financial structure cannot withstand the competitive and economic imbalance that he creates.

        It is stunning to realize that the Union’s entire competive operandi, plus economics have been based on selling promising homegrowns to the world.

        Furthermore being surprisingly competive doing so.

        The arrival of Messi has changed the dynamics and economic calculus necessary to remain competitive in a league with Messi.

        Unfortunately the higher revenue necessary… largely coming from a sustained increase in ticket prices… is not sustainable.

        Last night’s match was an awful wake-up call for me on so many levels.

        Just UGH…

      • Andy Muenz says:

        That’s not a Wracked Opinion, it’s an Excellent Perspective.

    • I have watched a few games Philadelphia have played now that I have the Apple TV package. The team has been good up until tonight.

      The Philly goal keeper was horrific. It looked either like he was daring the shooters to aim for the wide open side he gave them or he was incredibly out of position for each goal.

      I wonder if he was on some meds or recreational drugs that affected his spatial awareness.

      I am not saying he should have stopped all four goals, but at least a couple of them. On a good night a really good goalkeeper could have had all four.

      I gather he was good at one time, but it looks like it is time to replace him, unless the meds messed him up and he promises to not take them in the future.

      • One bad game doesn’t mean we should replace a club legend…

      • I take it you are watching the Union only recently? Because that guy is the best keeper in the league, and has been for years. It is just unfortunate that he had the worst game of his career last night…

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Curtin tried to “play the team” he was facing instead of making them “play the game our way.”

  2. Phila union says:

    Crap game Crap league Crap opponent Crap tournament Crap Lineup Crap goalkeeper Crap offence Crap defense Good bedoya

  3. Karl Zeiss says:

    AYE FAM, what’s good? Stoping over the casino after the game and not even in the mood to down this LINENKUGGLES. That was a mess from beginning to end. JIM CURTAINS THE 44 YEAR LOSER.

  4. Silver lining in every cloud, we don’t have to watch them just barely lose in the final. They had their chances.

  5. DarthLos117 says:

    such a frustrating league, where money & know who can take a last place team to final contender in 2 months time.
    also curtin.

  6. Curtin badly botched the tactics and by halftime it was too late.
    Team wasn’t ready and looked scared in the first half, although fielding 8 defensive outfield players isn’t going to inspire a lot of confidence.
    Andre wasn’t good.
    I fail to see how the MLS and its sponsors going out of their way to create an unbalanced superteam is good for the league.

  7. Jim hamstrung his XI before the game started. That XI shouted “we are scared” and there’s no two ways about it. Our normal guys, all healthy, in typical formation could have gotten it done. Instead Curtin throws a duck and the team gets smacked around. Nothing short of an embarrassment that has absolutely set the club back in the eyes of casual fans who now have more fodder for their typical “why would I go to Chester bad American soccer” retort. Sickening loss and surprising managerial failure from Jim.

    Only positive was Ale getting a goal and McGlynn wrestling the ball off Messi a couple times. Poor Andre, I gotta stop thinking about it. Goodnight all.

  8. A God-awful performance by the team…played scared with a line-up that had absolutely no chance of success. And don’t forget the “couldn’t score in the Amsterdam Red Light District with 100 Euros” finishing!

    That being said, how can Miami be anywhere close to the salary cap limits imposed by MLS? There is absolutely no way some of the star players are playing for peanuts to allow the team to stay under the cap. I really can’t wait until MLS releases that info (they do yearly, but I have a feeling this year will be different).

    Finally, doesn’t the fact that one star player can completely transform a team from the bottom to the top speak volumes as to the quality of the league. There’s no way Messi moving to most other leagues would create such a transformation. It’s pretty much announcing to the rest of the world that MLS is a crap league.

    • Delco Roots says:

      While I agree with the intent of your comments, I will argue that it’s not just Messi, but also Busquets and Alba who have turned this team around. But your core point is true – one month ago this was the worst team in the league, and now they are going to play for, essentially, a continental championship?!?! I hope Don Garber is pleased with himself, because I think this sucks for the rest of the league.

  9. Yup to all this. Rather than going head to head with Miami, Curtin flinched and rolled out an inexcusable lineup. One that Miami seemed fully ready to take advantage of. That combined with some worst ever individual performances and ongoing ice cold shooting doomed us.

  10. When was the last time union lost that badly at home? Ever?

  11. JFC. The path to the trophy was there with LAFC’s gag v. Monterrey. When will this team stop being star-crossed?

  12. OneManWolfpack says:

    Love this team. That won’t change. Jim blew it. Union blew it. Played like dog shit and deserved to lose. Bad time to play a bad game. Sucks. Still have a CCL berth on the line so get it together. And please go back to 4-4-2. Thanks

  13. Loss is 100% on Curtin.
    Wrong formation. Wrong Personnel. Wrong plan.
    Love the team, but beginning to think this is as high as they go absent an influx of cash, and a game-changing DP

  14. Stop fucking blaming Curtin, everyone. While his lineup didn’t work, at least he tried something. Any other lineup would have meant pretty much the same thing the way the team played. His plan was obviously to try to keep the game close and bring on subs like Uhre and Bedoya to try to win it late. It was a good plan that didn’t work in large part because Blake had the worst game of his career. No way for Curtin to anticipate that. Nor could Curtin anticipate Lowe losing his mind and standing around to keep Alba onside on the third goal.
    It’s not Curtin’s fault that Carranza is injured and that they have limited backups up top. If you want to blame someone for that, blame Tanner for not signing someone earlier in the summer window.
    Coaches rarely lose individual games. They can be responsible for a long term slump, but the Union are 5-1-2 in their last 8 and the 2 draws both ended with PK wins, so it’s hard to call that a slump.
    Miami’s players on the field were better than any lineup the Union COULD put out tonight. That’s why the Union lost.

    • I recognize your point abd there is merit but to not joke the manager responsible at all for starting a Drexel grad? For starting three of the sane exact type player when your surgeon in McGlynn was the only player in the entire 18 with the chops to find a pass?
      To absolve the manager of responsibility for playing afraid on their own field? I can’t do it.
      It may not be all his fault but it sure is shit is proportionally his fault.

      • I would have started Donovan too. I mean when’s the last time Uhre scored and the best he has looked recently was coming off the bench last Tuesday.
        Yes, McGlynn might have done better than Flach, but it’s not like he played great when he did come in. I mean he made one great play on Messi…and then dribbled it out of bounds.
        With 20/20 hindsight, Curtin’s best move would have been to start Bendik given how Blake played. And how much shit would everyone give him for that if they had instead lost 2-1 or something like that?
        If Messi was playing for the Union, they still probably would have lost tonight.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I disagree Andy. I put a lot of this on Curtin because to me he should have recognized that playing a 4-4-2 would keep them more compact in the middle and less likely to have that 1st & 3rd goal scored. The Messi goal, I agree, that’s on Blake. He played terrible and I’ve been commenting on this site as long as almost anyone I don’t EVER recall saying that… so that sucks that he came up small tonight. Playing Donovan essentially by himself was never going to produce anything. Yes it didn’t help they team overall played scared and like dog shit, and that Carranza was hurt, but I don’t think Curtin set them up for any success. That’s why I blame him first and most.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Blake was also out of position on the first goal and gave up most of the net. Donovan has produced more than Uhre over the last 3 months or so. He put out a lineup that he hoped would shut them down and hoped to grab a goal. Turns out, no one on the Union was going to shut them down last night.

    • Gruncle Bob says:

      1. Agreed, the cake was baked when Andre had his worst performance for the U. He has earned the right to have a horrible game. It sucks that it happened to be tonight.
      2. Mild disagreement on Lowe. He’s been playing progressively worse game by game. Was hot a long time ago, but after tonight is total dogshit. He shouldn’t see a first team minute until rehabbing in the Curtin doghouse. He should not be re-signed.
      3. Disagree, the U beat U tonight. It had nothing to do with star power. I didn’t see any “WOW” moments. I saw shitty goalkeeping and shitty defense.
      JC didn’t lose the game. Setting up defensively wasn’t a bad plan, but changing nothing when things went off the rails (after goal 2) was bad. Lowe, a defensive liability, who was responsible for goal 3, should have been ripped off the field for an offensive player. But no, he wasted 25 minutes, and another conceded goal, by doing nothing. His performance was not the difference, but was very poor.

    • By far, this is the sanest comment on the board. Carranza was hurt. Maybe if Burke or Santos was still around, the Union would have started 2 Strikers and been able to attack Miami centre backs. They departed and were not replaced. Couple of individual mistakes defensively and Goalie had a tough game. Move on, Champ League spot on line on Saturday.

    • Yes. Ultimately, the player performances lost this game. I still can’t get over the fact that we failed to register a single block or save. When they put a shot on target, it went in. Their xG was .6!

      However, Jim set this team up wrong from the beginning. The game plan was to sit deep and absorb pressure. What they needed to do was get after Miami from the first whistle. They played so much better in the second half.

      A coach’s job is to put his team in the best position to win. Jim did not do that. He’s probably tell you the same.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        You’ve actually pointed out one of the major problems with how the players played. “The game plan was to sit deep and absorb pressure.” How many of Miami’s goals were from the Union sitting deep and how many were on the counterattack? The team was designed to sit deep but didn’t play that way.

      • The first goal was a quick transition from about midfield. Lowe completely whiffs the interception and Blake, backpedaling concedes a pretty average shot. So two minutes in and your ‘plan’ is in tatters. you gotta chase down a goal.

        Look, Miami has the greatest player of his generation and two others who have forgot more quality than any player in MLS will ever have. But you don’t set up like that in your own house. And I think the Union showed that in the last half. That’s how they should have come out to begin with. That’s on Jim.

    • You are correct that coaches rarely lose individual matches. But this was one of those rare times. He simply set the team up for failure. If Blake had not had the worst game of his career, we would’ve lost 2-1 instead of 4-1. I knew from the minute I saw that lineup that there was no way we were scoring.

    • Aside from all the other comments about player selection, formation, and tactics… as a player, when you see a coach completely change your overall strategy to what appears to be “just don’t let them score” it changes your own mindset going into the game. Confidence drops and your are now basically fearful of the other team. Ultimately, that was Curtain’s failure and you could see it in the first half. They were so concerned about Messi and Busquets that they didn’t play normally. There was minimal pressure on the other players because everyone’s head was on a swivel looking for the other 2. Once the players realized they were in a hole (after goal #2) they stopped focusing on Miami and started focusing on themselves. You could see the game start to change. Confidence is hugely impactful at all levels and they were already thinking about Messi because of the hype. Jim then killed whatever they had left by going extremely defensive and conservative. This loss is 100% on Jim. Sure Andre made some mistakes but should have never been put in that position.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        You’re delusional if you think there was any reasonable scenario short of several Miami players coming down with food poisoning where Blake isn’t in a position where he has to make big saves. Some blame to Curtin, sure. 100%, no way. He wasn’t on the field and the players didn’t perform.

  15. Lazlo Hollyfeld says:

    Pretty lucky to even make it this far in the tournament to be honest. Not great throughout the knockouts; looked tired through most of it.

    Also, Curtin is and always has been a very conservative coach. I hope he reevaluates his style in the important games after this one.

    That said, can still get a CCC berth in the next game. Best not to waste of those home games

  16. Sham showing from the “supporters” groups tonight. Where were the Tammany Saints? The Bearfight Brigade? Sons of Ben leader bout to have a stroke pregame yelling at his own peoples about how they must sing certain songs. LOL. JOKE.

  17. Tampon for Curtsy says:

    Not bad for geriatrics, huh?
    LAFC. Showed you. Again.

    Star power wins. That takes money you will never spend. Clown pants Jimmy should have never been re-signed. He has once again demonstrated his level.

    You were told, for years……and didn’t listen. You still don’t-and never will. Grunts, talentless bumper car losers. Get out of the way. End the club Dave……

    • Master of My Domain says:

      That’s right bro. Us real fans who been here since day 1 aren’t blinded by his charm. LEFTY CURTAIN EXPOSED AGAIN.

  18. Lazlo Hollyfeld says:

    Pretty lucky to even make it this far in the tournament to be honest. Not great throughout the knockouts; looked tired through most of it.

    Also, Curtin is and always has been a very conservative coach. I hope he reevaluates his style in the important games after this one.

    That said: can still get a CCC berth in the next game. Best not to waste of those home games. This tournament was setup for Philly too do well

  19. Question for the group, did Sullivan do something terrible thst I don’t remember? It seems like he’s never entering unless it’s late and desperate or meaningless. It will be worse with Baribo coming on.
    For all of the excellent young players that have come through, especially recently, I always get the sense that Curtin is really hesitant to use them.
    B Aaronsen, starting to be used a little more, goes to Europe and immediately plays and is on the NT.
    P. Aaronsen, barely getting some sniffs.
    Mcglynn, forced his way into the lineup with injuries, as soon as Bueno showed promise is put back on the bench.
    Sullivan, never gets a legitimate chance.
    Harriel, forced in as one of only 2 options and still gets less time than mbaizo.
    Real, (rightfully) never gets much time.
    Craig, had to leave the team to even get in a game day roster.
    It’s not always the case but many of these are seen as potential stars. There is no situation where I’d rather see Flach over mcglynn, same with Donovan over Sullivan. I’d rather Sullivan get alittle run if games than uhre to be honest. Just something that piqued my curiosity given the lineup tonight.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      The problem is that from everything I’ve read, Sullivan doesn’t really fit into the system. He’s more of an offensive midfielder but not a playmaker like Gazdag. I don’t think he’d work as a lone forward, especially when the Union are looking to try and press hard. One thing Donovan did do last night was to run around a lot and press the Miami defenders. Sullivan doesn’t bring that.
      B. Aaronson was playing a LOT more than “starting to be used a little more.” He played most of the games in 2019 and then every game in 2020 (and I’m pretty sure he started most if not all of those).

      • That’s fair on Brendan, I was forgetting how much he played the last year.
        Agreed on Sullivan, but at some point the coach has to get the best players in the game. I’ll never give someone credit, especially as a lone forward, for simply running. Hustle is great but that’s not enough at this level, especially as a starter.

  20. PaulContinuum22 says:

    ESPN’s post match writeup was BRUTAL: “For opposing manager Jim Curtin it was more disappointment, with the Union having lost on penalties in last year’s MLS Cup final, exiting in the semifinals of 2023 CONCACAF Champions League this spring and losing in the 2021 MLS Eastern Conference finals.”

  21. 1) I was embarrassed for Andre Blake tonight. Andre usually positions himself well, but on the first goal by Martinez with Lowe defending, he was playing way too close to the near post and as a result, was beaten to the wide side. The second goal which was scored by Messi from 25 yards bounced twice. Until tonight, I had never seen such a goal

    • I think that in order to judge Blake properly, you have to look at the positioning of his defenders in relation to the attacking player and the context of the play.

      On the Martinez goal, both Eliott and Lowe are not even close to Martinez. So Blake is evaluating whether Eliott will be able to get into position to help cover the far post strike while he gets into position to protect the near post. Eliott didn’t get there in time, Martinez shot far post and Blake is having to cover the entire goal by himself which is extremely difficult even for Andre Blake.

      Similar on the Messi goal, Blake is expecting his defenders to close Messi down and force him to the left. However, they remained frozen and again, Blake has to cover the entire net vs (arguably) the best player of all time. Technically, there are very few players in the world who could hit that kind of shot. It was a 30 yarder hit with pace which barely gets off the wrong…that’s almost impossible to pull off.

      The 3rd one is just a comedy of errors by the entire Union side and again, Blake is put in an impossible position.

      • Blake looked so uncharacteristically bad that one has to wonder whether he threw the game on purpose.

  22. What a shit show…Jim sucks…how many times will his team have an opportunity to take the city by storm just to fail in epic fashion…a last min goal and shoot out loss in a cup final, 3 open cup final loses , and a chance to beat an undefeated Messi team in a semifinal..donovan over the highest paid striker on the team ever? What a joke..:.Blake shit the bed so bad, team as a whole did, just can’t get it done in the end ever…last year was the apex…we had to win that trophy……damn gonna be awhile

  23. This one is on Curtin. In the past he hasn’t backed down from opponents. I expect the Union to look like crap against Red Bulls and DC, who play similar to the Union in style. So those games are always going to be ugly slogs.
    But against the teams that actually play? That’s tailor made for Tanner’s 4-4-2 Red Bull Esque system. You know the same 4-4-2 that the Union have used to go toe-toe with LAFC the past several seasons? The most talented team in MLS before MLS Extreme Makeover Miami occured this summer.
    Lowe was a disaster in the first half. Flach wasn’t much better. Donovan is a sub, he’s a low budget version of Corey Burke. He’s not cut out to be a lone striker up top, at least not yet. His hold up play….. is lacking…
    Jim should have used the same lineup from last game, just put Gazdag up top for Carranza. If he wanted to bench Uhre, at least start Sullivan up there.
    Worst game from Blake in a VERY long time.
    Yes the second half performance was an improvement over the first 45 (difficult to be worse). That said…. Team and Curtin should have been booed off of the field tonight. If ANY other Philly team played like that tonight, in a semifinal/high profile game??? They’d be hearing it at the end of the game.

  24. Yeah, it was brutal. Watched from home, Twellman spent the entire pregame bigging up the Union (when he wasn’t sucking up to Messi)—“one home loss in last 38”; “most points in MLS over last 5 seasons” (as if that means anything), etc. Then they go out and play like a high school team, a bunch of deer in the headlights, Jim’s tactics and personnel all wrong, Andre has a complete pstinker, Uhre benched and exposed as less talented than advertised (and out of shape always, can’t play 90), Donovan spending the game running back and forth laterally to no effect, etc etc etc. (And if I never see Flach again it will be too soon.)

    But if you pull back the lens, this league is in trouble, and headed down the road to perdition. To pay Messi (or anyone) $50 million is the first step. Sure, MLS is riding high with Apple $$, but that can’t go on forever. Look at the English Prem…big money from Sky (Comcast, who see the coming of their cable money disintegrating) leads to big spenders (like Saudi, Boehly) coming in (like the Mas brothers in Miami), “financial fair play” becomes a joke (ignoring Man City’s cheating), spending outlandish sums on players ($100 mil on Declan Rice???), league overall becomes uncompetitive, fans of the 3/4 poor teams become disgruntled and stop showing up, the Super League arises, and it’s over.

    This is where MLS is headed, and the Union’ model won’t be sustainable. Last night is just a harbinger of the lurking disaster. The antidote could be they wake up and adopt an NFL-style business model, where all (OK, most) teams are competitive, and anyone can win the big trophy in any given year. To continue down the path they are currently embarking on is madness.

    Rant over.

    • Tell us you don’t pay attention to English football without telling us you don’t pay attention to English football.

  25. santo bevacqua says:

    I was tempted not to post on this one, but here is my take. Sorry for the loss to everyone, i found myself dreaming that a scrappy bargain basement team could beat a goliath of expensive combination of star euphoric team as Messi, as he is for real the real thing. HOWEVER…….the game was played mostly in the miami’s half field this position indicated that it was a good plan, we had more corners and way more touches and passes completed. I know it doesnt mean a thing. The game was lost because Blake got outplayed , in the first goal he cheated to the near post and was our of position, in the second goal he was backitrackin and goin toward the near post when the shot came in he again was cheating and not position himself centrally the third goal alba was left unmarked by harriel, the last goal at this point is irrelevant. The union had more shots and chances we did not go philly tough on this one…..we will look for an empty stadium saturday game. no sell out

  26. I was gonna come on here to vent, rant, and rage. I’m glad I read the comments first, it saved my blood pressure. I love you all.

  27. Absolutely… well said El Pac.

    It started earlier this week with the interview Curtin gave mooning over ‘playing the greatest player ever’!

    First off, Messi is NOT the greatest player of all time. Stop it. He’s the best player of THIS TIME.

    But you could hear it in Curtin’s voice all week…. and the players behaved ‘scared’ just as he said they wouldn’t.

    Just another important Union match with underwhelming motivation from the coach to win! Poop!

  28. That’s so Union….Can’t believe how bad this team looked. Andre as previously stated was way off, which has been a rarity, but I will say seems to be an increasing issue with him and his positioning. Could be a hang-over from injury but just seems to be a half step off. He got caught cheating to the inside post on the first goal and on the second he was backing up but went beyond what was needed and was caught. I think JC needs to stop trying to roll out all these formation changes especially in a short build-up. I think he handcuffed the team from the start and put too much emphasis on the Barca Connection then was warranted. Again over thinking can be a killer. I just wished he would follow the KISS rule..KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID. Roll out what has worked and then adapt if it is needed but don’t wait.

    Momentum… Inter Team is at its best after the change.
    The team is not even consolidated yet. Sorry, but they should be sounder in the next encounter (it doesn’t even mean they will win in the next match, but possibly’ll be seeing a more mature strategy in the match by both Inter and their opponents).

    As for players: ALL MLS players (foreigners included) have a good competitive (personal pride) reason now to upgrade what they’ve been doing so far.

    Better-designed strategies by Coach, players more committed… MLS is having a good momentum to really start taking off. Or back inside the ‘ravioli’ (as we say here in Argentina).

  30. Hard to argue with many points made above, even where reasonable minds differ such as Curtin’s lineup and strategy. My thoughts follow.
    . . .
    Only one team has nearly beaten the ‘Barca Miami’, having lost in PKs following a 4-4 draw. Playing defensively conceded momentum to their strength. The fight needed to be taken offensively. We’ve struggled on scoring, but that was our chance. Beating Miami will require compensating goals and pressure.
    . . .
    The team was spooked by the hype that caused fatal errors. Once they settled down after halftime,they played better, but it was too late. This is Phiily. Be Rocky with big challenges. It provides focus with determination.
    . . .
    We didn’t lose key players on card accumulation or injuries for the third place match. Picking up a CCP berth will be a sweet consolation to a bitter loss and be a nice payoff for the cup run. Against Monterrey, we’ll need everyone.
    . . .
    Were the bridesmaid again. Player development is essential and has been a key to our growth, but unless we also pay for obvious differences makers like Miami or LAFC have done in shorter existence, we’ll likely never be the bride. Sugarman needs to be a sugardaddy. How long, if ever, will it take for him to do what needs to be done if–and I ask if–he is truly committed to bring our first championship trophy of any kind home to Philly?

  31. Henry Scobie says:

    Perhaps I am being harsh but the majority of social media posts from the Union squad post-Inter Miami match have been one-on-one photos with Messi after the final whistle with either a fanboyesque GOAT reference or some other perfunctory “not the result we wanted” bromide. From what I saw only Kai Wagner issued an acknowledgement on social media that the performance in the semifinals was not up to par and that the consolation 3rd place match would be better. I get the starstuck-ness but I wonder if the players were more interested in their photo-op than playing a semi-final.

    I did not attend the semifinals match because as a season ticket member i did not opt in to the Leagues Cup in April and I could not afford the nearly 400 USD to buy back my ticket in the presale. But I watched the match on Apple TV and I was so thoroughly disappointed with the Union’s passivity and overall meekness which wells up in a starting XI and coach who are all afraid to lose rather thab desperate to win. What a shame.

  32. I don’t think Curtin got it right. Beat em in midfield, give em no time for the right pass. That said.

    Who we got? Did any of us know the name Gazdag, Glesnes, Blake, Carranza before they came here?

    We find hardworkers who can ball. We’ll never seen a 35 who is in the convo for greatest ever.

    Our coach does good with kids and underrated pros. He’s still a boss in my humble opinion. If you were here 10 years ago, MLS finals were an unmentioned dream and the playoffs were an improbable hope. He done a lot.

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