Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 4-1 New York Red Bulls

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union came back from an early deficit to smash a ten-man New York Red Bulls side 4-1 on Sunday evening at Subaru Park, continuing an extended run of dominance against their I-95 foes.

Jakob Glesnes, Damion Lowe, Julian Carranza, and Daniel Gazdag scored for the Boys in Blue, while Kai Wagner picked up three assists, though concern will surround Gazdag being forced off after sustaining a non-contact injury.

Omir Fernandez notched the Red Bulls’ goal.

Coming off a disheartening midweek loss in Toronto, Jim Curtin faced a selection headache in central midfield, with Jose Martinez and Jesus Bueno suspended and Leon Flach facing a long injury layoff. The Union manager switched to the 3-5-2, inserting Damion Lowe into the defense and starting Jack McGlynn and Alejandro Bedoya ahead of the backline.

The sun set over Subaru Park, bringing an end to a baking hot September day, as the teams took the pitch, moments after former Eagle Freddie Mitchell broke his mallet banging the pregame drum. Moments later, the Union’s 40th match of the season in all competitions began.

It wasn’t the start the home crowd would have wanted, as the visitors took the lead in the 11th minute. The Red Bulls rampaged through midfield, shrugging off ineffectual coverage from Jack McGlynn. Andres Reyes cut back for Omir Fernandez, whose first shot was stopped by Damion Lowe. But the rebound fell right to Fernandez, who one-timed past a helpless Andre Blake.

The Union responded by increasing the pressure. Jakob Glesnes’s cross found Bedoya for a dangerous strike from the center of the box, but Carlos Coronel did well to save. Coronel parried another cross away from the lurking Mikael Uhre. And he stoned a clever finish from Uhre, who had seemingly backheeled the ball into the net but for the keeper’s massive paw flashing out to parry away.

Eventually, Glesnes found the equalizer off a corner kick in the 29th minute. Coronel couldn’t get any distance on the punch, and the Norwegian center back hooked his shot home through a crowd of bodies. He celebrated his second MLS goal of the season emphatically in front of the corner flag, possibly feeling redeemed after a career-worst performance in midweek.

Red Bulls were reduced to 10 men in the 44th minute when Sean Nealis picked up his second yellow card of the game. In transition, Nealis flicked out his elbow to deflect a ball away from Julian Carranza. It was a particularly stupid way to earn your marching orders, and it meant the Union would play at least a half with a man advantage.

It seemed like Carranza had made the visitors pay in stoppage time, picking up a cleverly flicked ball from Uhre and finishing emphatically past Coronel. But the striker’s celebrations were muted, for good reason — video review revealed that Carranza was just a hair offside, and the score remained level going into the break.

Red Bulls nearly snatched the lead early in the second half, with a transition opportunity ending with Fernandez in a good shooting position. Blake made an excellent save, parrying the shot wide and maintaining the deadlock.

Damion Lowe gave the Union the lead, again off a dead ball. The free kick service, whipped in by Wagner, was perfectly placed in the middle of the six-yard box, and the defender laid out to head the ball past the stranded Coronel.

Within a minute, the Union doubled their edge, this time through Carranza. Philly pinged the ball around the Red Bulls half, eventually finding Wagner again on the left wing. He played a sweet ball to the penalty spot, where the waiting Carranza pounced, scything a sweet one-time finish into the far corner and giving the Union breathing room.

Tai Baribo replaced Mikael Uhre with just under 20 minutes to play, making his first appearance for the Union in MLS action.

Daniel Gazdag notched the Union’s fourth in the 76th minute, picking up a through ball from Wagner, getting behind the defense, and finishing cooly past Coronel for just his second open play goal of the season. But the celebration was short-lived, as Gazdag went down with no contact at the end of the play, grabbing at his leg and in obvious pain. Jeremy Rafanello replaced him immediately, another MLS debut.

Bedoya picked up a yellow card with about ten minutes to play, meaning he’ll miss the Union’s next game due to yellow-card accumulation.

With the win, the Union head into the international break in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, though they’re third on points-per-game thanks to a game in hand on Orlando City.

Thanks to the international window, the Union now take a much-deserved break before beginning a brutal stretch of seven games in 22 days. That stretch kicks off when Supporters’ Shield leaders FC Cincinnati come to town on Saturday, September 16. Kickoff at Subaru Park will be at 7:30 p.m.

Three Points (plus one)
  • Getting it done shorthanded. Without many of the usual suspects in central midfield, the Union managed to control the game nonetheless. Jack McGlynn did well playing in front of the back five, and two defenders scored goals.
  • Take advantage. Philly have not always done well up a man, but they made New York pay for Sean Nealis’s foolishness, not letting the visitors get back in the game and taking control of the match early in the second half.
  • Stretch run. After a merciful weekend off, the run-in will be very difficult for the Union, with three straight weeks with midweek matches and seven of eight games against teams in playoff position. Can the Union secure a favorable seed in the MLS Cup playoffs?
  • Daniel Gazdag. It didn’t look good when the Union’s star attacker went down after scoring his goal, although he was walking after the game with his knee heavily taped and wrapped. Hopefully the injury is nothing serious, because Philly will struggle if he misses extended time.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Damion Lowe, Nathan Harriel, Alejandro Bedoya, Jack McGlynn, Daniel Gazdag (Jeremy Rafanello 80′), Mikael Uhre (Tai Baribo 72′), Julian Carranza (Quinn Sullivan 85′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Matt Real, Olivier Mbaizo, Olwethu Makhanya, Joaquin Torres, Chris Donovan

New York Red Bulls

Carlos Miguel Coronel, John Tolkin, Sean Nealis, Andres Reyes (Hassan Ndam 70′), Cameron Harper, Daniel Edelman, Luquinhas, Frankie Amaya, Tom Barlow (Jorge Cabezas 77′), Omir Fernandez (Peter Stroud 70′), Elias Manoel (Kyle Duncan HT)

Unused subs: Ryan Meara, Dylan Nealis, Wily Carmona, Dru Yearwood

Scoring Summary

NYRB: Omir Fernandez — 11′
PHI: Jakob Glesnes — 29′
PHI: Damion Lowe — 57′ (Kai Wagner)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 58′ (Kai Wagner)
PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 76′ (Kai Wagner)

Discipline Summary

NYRB: Sean Nealis — 6′ (foul)
NYRB: Andres Reyes — 24′ (foul)
PHI: Damion Lowe — 37′ (foul)
NYRB: Sean Nealis — 44′ (handball) (second yellow)
PHI: Jack McGlynn — 45+5′ (foul)
PHI: Alejandro Bedoya — 80′ (foul)
PHI: Tai Baribo — 85′ (foul)

PHI Statistic NYRB PHI Statistic NYRB


Possession % 46.4 38 Duels Won 53
11 Shots 14 6 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 4 3 Saves 2
3 Blocked Shots 8 8 Clearances



Total Passes 325 18 Fouls 10
76.4 Pass Accuracy % 76 3 Yellow Cards



Corners 2 0 Red Cards 1
15 Crosses 6 2.1 xG







  1. They better not let Gazdag play for Hungary for the international break.

  2. Way to bounce back, Curtin did well to pick the right lineup. Rafanello debut was unexpected but he did well enough, Baribo looked lively and energised but fluffed his lines on his only good chance

  3. What in the world are you thinking leaving in your aging captain who hasn’t gone 90 and is sitting on yellow card accumulation when the game is decided.

    • Ummm….. who exactly would you bring in for him??? Bueno, & Martinez were suspended for this one. Leon Flach is likely out for the rest of 2023 due to injury. Odada and Perea have been loaned out…..

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I do think the bigger point is that the game was indeed decided. Could’ve easily brought Mbaizo or even Sullivan. But I do agree, this isn’t necessarily the match to nitpick rotation. We did very well given our limitations

    • Way to make a constructive comment. Maybe at the very least you could make a specific suggestion as to who to bring in, especially given that the third substitution was forced by injury.
      The team won 4-1 so stop whining about Curtin unless you can actually come up with a solution rather than just complaining.

  4. OneManWolfpack says:

    Good win. A needed win. You beat a team you are better than. That’s good. Settle in let’s go. You’re the 2nd best team in conference. Start acting like it.

  5. I thought Nathan Harriel had an excellent game. He did not cover himself in glory the last game. Tai Baribo looked energetic and it looks like he’s got pace.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      I swear Harriel wins every single 50/50 header. No idea if that’s statistically true but I absolutely love that Curtin rotates him in with Mbaizo now. They both deserve significant minutes

  6. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Another crowd of over 19,000 on a Sunday night holiday weekend known for the last summer weekend at the shore. Big win after a bad loss in Toronto. Is it me or the hand ball that lead to the second yellow that Uhre complained about, is that one of the few calls he’s gotten since he’s been in the league?
    Missing the midfield wasn’t really that noticeable as McGlynn and Bedoya played well in my opinion defensively.
    With the league getting the goat and the Apple deal starting to look like a winner, I wonder if the Union might look to expand the stadium finally? You would think there might he some games that they could sellout if it was expanded to 25,000.

    • Campus expansion and PAVED parking FIRST, please… but they are getting there but not yet close to being ready to expand, except for when Messi and his boy friends come to Chester… when realistically they should play at the Linc.

      MAYBE add <1,000 more seats to Riverend, or an additional scoreboard over Riverend… or just an America Flag would be nice!

      Find a place for Union 2 to play, not at Subaru.

      • If they move games to the Linc, I will immediately cancel my season tickets and stop associating with the club. Aside from Subaru Park being a much better place to watch a game, why do you want 65,000 Messi fans and 10,000 Union fans at a game.
        And why should Union 2 not play at Subaru? It gives them a chance to get on the same field where hopefully they will soon be playing?

      • John P. O'Donnell says:

        They are ready to expand and the stadium was designed to expand up to 30K I believe. They’ve had five or six games over capacity this year already and that should continue the rest of the year. The one thing you notice is a lot of young kids in the stadium…. Who one day become season ticket holders. You could easily add another level over the supporters section with no problem.

      • The WSFS Sportsplex will have a competition field for Union II. Observation a week ago says the pitch has been sodded.
        The rest of the stadium apparatus remains to be built, but the playing surface is ready to start growing and developing.
        I have never seen any written estimate of the competition field’s seating capacity. The diagrams and drawings suggest closer to 1,500 than 5,000. In other words Div 3 not 2. One would hope the capacity to expand to 5,000 is designed into it, but never seen anything to that effect.
        The stadiunm’ stands and press box will be part of the field house sand academy schoolhouse building(s). So it may not be ready to host games next year. But in the end Union II will be out of SubarubPark and have their own space.

      • As a consultant for a local concrete block manufacturer I was involved in discussions late last year of expanding the complex ONLY. NO plans for expansion of the stadium bowl or paving the lots.

        And Andy… I would cancel too. Almost ready anyway after the Leagues Cup money grab.

        Just saying that seems logical, to move the Messi game to the Linc, and frankly, Union management don’t care about you or me…how much were our increases for next year? Only care about Ben Franklins and NOT season ticket holders who won’t pay ridiculous prices to see any game, let alone one by the team that they have been supporting, never fail, for all years as a franchise.

        It’s the way of sports today. And unfortunately nothing we can do or say will matter. Poop!

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      Agree with a few things from your comment and the reply:

      A scoreboard over the River End would be appreciated but I’m not sure how realistic or expensive it would be, and yes more seats would be awesome. We’re definitely on the lower end of capacity in MLS.

      Uhre never gets anything. Reminds me of Monteiro. Opponents know they play physical so they go down at any contact then harass and foul them in return. Pretty messed up.

      Also sidenote I think you could argue for McGlynn or Wagner as player of the game, as much as I thought Lowe was great. We’re a totally different team with McGlynn out there. A gigantic difference

    • Vince Devine says:

      I thought I heard Tim McDermott state last year that they weren’t considering expanding the stadium until they had a significant number of people on the wait list for season tickets. They don’t want to spend without a guarantee of revenue (seems smart).

  7. First, two criticisms of the front office.
    Given that the game started at 7:55, why was it advertised as 7:30. It was lousy customer service not to give us a reasonable accurate start time.
    Second, why was some washed up gridiron player who hasn’t played in Philly in almost 20 years banging the drum on KICK CHILDHOOD CANCER night when there was also a Special Olympics game afterwards as well? It was asinine not to let either a kid with cancer or a Special Olympics player do it.
    The team was able to convert their chances, although it also seemed that the forwards were being extremely lazy about getting back onsides. I’m fine with Carranza mistiming his run by a split second on the goal that was called back, but at least a couple of offsides were from players who were standing around in an offsides position and then coming back for the ball. Other times they had to watch the ball go by since they knew they couldn’t play it. A lot of laziness.
    Great game for Kai. 3 assists and serving the ball on the other goal vintage Kai that we’d like to see down the stretch.

    • Thanks for pointing out the offside issue. I sit in 109, and have a particularly good position to watch offside developing. (Last night, I called Carranza’s offside as it was happening, unfortunately.) There is a bad tendency, especially on warm nights like last night was, for the strikers and top mids to commit what made me nuts as a coach: “lazy” offside positioning. I get being gassed after a long attack or a sustained run of play, but these guys should know to stay out of the play until the positioning issue is resolved. Dragging anchor to get back onside and then affecting the play is junior high level knuckleheaded stuff.

      That being said, good game, good result, beating the Red Bulls always feels good (even when they’re playing their gnatlike annoying worst) and Cincinnati lost, and the boys got the good result after that debacle in Toronto.

    • The game was nationally broadcast on FS1. Literally every MLS game (US games too I think?) on FS1 starts 25 minutes after advertised kickoff, so not sure we can blame the U for late kickoff time.

      • I’m not blaming the U for the late kickoff time, I’m blaming them for not telling us about the late kickoff time. I don’t pay attention to what games are televised where if I’m going to be in attendance. Given that they send about 3 e-mails with information about the game, how difficult would it be to tell us the actual start time.

      • Atomic Spartan says:

        Read PSP game preview or Tannenwald in the Inquirer. Both explained the delayed time for first kick

  8. Let’s talk for a second about Carranza’s offside call. In the freeze frame on tv, he’s off by a step. But here’s the thing about that… it seems to me Uhre is turning, making his pass more of a scoop — collect the ball and shove it along in a continuous motion. The freeze frame they used is from the beginning of that motion, but John Tolkin is running to get back, and by the end of that scoop motion he’s past Carranza. So should they be using the first touch of the ball as the moment to call offside? Or the release?

    • If Carranza was offsides, it was just barely. Heck – the sideline ref did not call him off in real time, it was the VAR ref who has the luxury of slo-mo & multiple view angles! If you get a chance, compare this offsides call in this game by watching the highlights of the Miami – LAFC game. In particular, watch Campana’s goal in the 83rd minute. He habitually plays offsides anyway, but since he plays with Messi, they don’t call it, as was the case in his goal here.

    • First touch. Search for “Torn Pass” and you will get your answer in depth.

  9. Wagner for game MVP, hands down. Those passes were just sick!

  10. I don’t mind parking on non-paved lots, but the delays getting to and from the lots because of poor planning and two-way traffic is galling. There are folks out there who could assist with a parking plan in which traffic for close-in handicapped spaces is routed in a special way and in which the other lots fill up first come, first served. Those who want to tailgate in the outer lots can do so. The problem is caused by folks coming later to park at close-in lots.

    The stadium itself is wonderful with no bad seats, although the seats under the scoreboard do not have the benefit of the replays, etc. It has been a general axiom in the entertainment industry for a long time that it is better to have an overflow crowd in a smaller venue than many empty seats. In the Leagues Cup series, I was there for both Miami and the first Queretaro games. The average crowd for the two nights was around 11,000. I think expansion of capacity would be a mistake.

    • In fairness, the Queretaro game, and the rest of the Leagues Cup were NOT included in the STH package. Add in the quick turn around between games, and the less than capacity attendances were to be expected.
      I agree on the paved vs un-paved parking lots. For me, the money it would cost to pave the lots, and then maintain them is better spent on other areas of the organization.
      TRE needs to be refurbished/renovated. The seats are starting to get beat up after 14 seasons, the area for the stage, the aluminum is starting to get REALLY beaten up from fans kicking them to make noise. IMO, I’d love to see the Union install a safe standing system (fold down seats) with railings (with cup holders!!) like Orlando’s Stadium has, and RBA now has.
      It would be great if the moved the stadium club to the bridge side, and then moved those suites to where the stadium club currently is (and subsequently “fix” the obstructed view seats along the side of the club). Maybe put a beer garden behind the river end?

      • I think it would make more sense to move the stadium club opposite the bridge side. I believe the people in section 106-108 get to use the club before games so it would make sense to move it closer to them rather than further.

      • Rich people problems…

    • Paving the lots can mean painted lines and traffic lanes, which should help with the absurdly bad traffic planning. especially now that more of the lots are unpaved.

      I do mind the unpaved lots when it has been or is raining, c’mon let’s get it done!

      • Does anyone know when they are going to get all those trucks off of the section of Lot A that’s currently fenced off?

  11. I believe that is a truck driving school.

  12. Kind of striking when the stadium expanding gets as much attention as the game itself! I’ll say watching the end of the game at home the boys have found some missing form. Maybe a turning point? The season is long and even longer when you play in multiple tournaments. The schedule will burn up the legs for sure! Rotation will be key to limit or avoid injuries. The leagues cup games were the same price for us as our regular season seats. I did opt in at the beginning so no need to go looking for tickets. The Queretaro game was pretty empty compared to the Mess-a-Miami game. I also remember hearing that no expansion of the stadium is on the docket till the season ticket wait list makes it feasible. No reason to have several thousand brand new seats empty!

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