Union match reports

Match report: Philadelphia Union 3-2 Atlanta United

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

A first-half flurry from Philadelphia Union gave the Boys in Blue enough cushion to hold off an Atlanta United comeback, a 3-2 win on Wednesday night at Subaru Park.

Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre, and Julian Carranza scored before the break for the Union, while second-half goals from Thiago Almada and Edwin Mosquera nearly stole a point for the visitors.

Looking to snap a streak of five straight draws, Jim Curtin welcomed reigning Defender of the Year Jakob Glesnes back to the lineup, replacing Damion Lowe. Nathan Harriel started at left back in place of the suspended Kai Wagner, while Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, and Mikael Uhre all returned to the XI. Jose Martinez and Leon Flach made the bench after injury layoffs.

Curtin would be forced into a substitution after just 10 minutes. Jesus Bueno seemingly suffered a leg injury after going for a ball in midfield, and after several minutes of treatment he was unable to continue. That forced Martinez to enter the match much sooner than the Union would have liked.

Andre Blake stoned Tristan Myumba in the 36th minute to keep the match level, palming aside a powerful shot from the center of the box, which set the stage for the Union to take the lead three minutes later. Off a free kick, the ball fell to Gazdag at the edge of the six-yard box, with his back facing goalkeeper Brad Guzan. The Union’s No. 10 improvised, perfectly executing a bicycle kick that left Guzan stranded.

Two minutes later the Union doubled their lead, this time on the counterattack. Uhre and Carranza played give-and-go down the wing, with Uhre powering into the box and unleashing a grass-cutter. Guzan had no chance as the ball nestled just inside the far post.

Philly made it three in first-half stoppage time, this time Carranza supplying the finish. He chested Gazdag into the box, then made a run to the penalty spot. Gazdag rewarded the run with a perfect pass, and Carranza supplied an excellent finish into the far corner.

In a nine-minute span, the Union had firmly seized control of the match.

Atlanta snatched one back early in the second half thanks to a penalty kick. Carranza cleared an Atlanta corner with an outstretched chicken wing, and after an interminably long VAR review, the referee pointed to the spot. Thiago Almada made no mistake with his penalty, leaving Blake no chance.

Quinn Sullivan replaced Uhre after 62 minutes, as the starter looked to be grabbing the back of his leg and headed to the locker room. Moments later, both Sullivan and Gazdag forced Guzan into decent saves.

But the visitors would sneak back into the match, scoring their second with 13 minutes left to play. A good sequence of passes found Myumba near the penalty spot, and for the second time in the match Blake denied his attempt. This time, though, the Union couldn’t control the rebound, as Myumba laid it off to substitute Edwin Mosquera to hammer home past a helpless Blake.

With his final changes, Curtin threw on Damion Lowe and Matt Real to try to lock down the three points. Atlanta applied all the pressure, but the Union held strong through seven minutes of stoppage time to secure the victory.

The Union’s final home game of the season — their seventh game in 22 days — arrives on Saturday night, hosting Nashville SC. Kickoff down at Subaru Park will be at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

Three Points
  • The big three. It’s been a while since the trio of Julian Carranza, Mikael Uhre, and Daniel Gazdag have been firing the same way they did last campaign. All three scored tonight, and they looked to be combining very well as a group. A good sign heading into the playoffs.
  • Finish them off. It should have been a comfortable second half with a 3-0 lead, but the Union couldn’t make it easy. A poorly conceded penalty helped Atlanta find their mojo, and Philly let the game get far too stretched.
  • Stay at home. The Union are utterly dominant at home, so a higher seed in the upcoming playoffs is essential. These three points kept Philly well-positioned near the top of the table, but good results in the final two matches will matter too.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Nathan Harriel, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Olivier Mbaizo (Damion Lowe 83′), Alejandro Bedoya (Matt Real 83′), Jesus Bueno (Jose Martinez 12′), Jack McGlynn, Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, Mikael Uhre (Quinn Sullivan 62′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Matt Real, Damion Lowe, Leon Flach, Jeremy Rafanello, Chris Donovan, Tai Baribo

Atlanta United

Brad Guzan, Caleb Wiley, Luis Abram, Miles Robinson, Brooks Lennon, Matheus Rossetto (Ajani Fortune 66′), Tristan Myumba (Miguel Berry 85′), Xande Silva (Edwin Mosquera 66′), Thiago Almada, Saba Lobzhanidze (Derrick Etienne 73′), Giorgos Giakoumakis (Jamal Thiare 73′)

Unused subs: Quentin Westberg, Ronald Hernandez, Juanjo Purata, Amar Sejdic

Scoring Summary

PHI: Daniel Gazdag — 39′ (Alejandro Bedoya)
PHI: Mikael Uhre — 41′ (Julian Carranza)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 45+3′ (Daniel Gazdag)
ATL: Thiago Almada — 56′ (PK)
ATL: Edwin Mosquera — 77′ (Tristan Myumba)

Discipline Summary

PHI: Jack Elliott — 34′ (foul)
PHI: Quinn Sullivan — 66′ (time wasting)
PHI: Jose Martinez — 75′ (foul)
ATL: Jamal Thiare — 75′ (foul)
PHI: Nathan Harriel — 81′ (foul)

PHI Statistic ATL PHI Statistic ATL


Possession % 60 49 Duels Won 39
19 Shots 12 13 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 6 4 Saves 3
7 Blocked Shots 1 18 Clearances



Total Passes 531 11 Fouls 11
83.3 Pass Accuracy % 89.1 4 Yellow Cards



Corners 5 0 Red Cards 0
17 Crosses 19 2.7 xG







  1. Andy Muènz says:

    For about 10 minutes they rolled the clock back a year but then were exhausted by the end. Was that the first time thus season all three of the big guns scored?
    With New England showing they can be beaten at home maybe the Union can win out and grab second or third.

  2. Closer than it should have been but a goddamn gutsy win tonight coming off the short rest. Uhre healthy on score sheet. Maybe he goes on a streaky streak… 4 gols in 7 games this run.

    Nice to see Martinez and Glesnes back.

    There’s probably a bunch of nit pick shit but the truth is that’s a big balls 3 points.

  3. Felt like the PK took their momentum. But gave the best they had to get the win! Definitely a gutsy professional win! It was a great atmosphere on a Wednesday night. Too many games! Just a tough situation!!

  4. I very well may be wrong here. In the stadium, it sure seemed as if the handball that was reviewed, should not have gone to review. Not that it wasn’t a handball. Because that was two phases of play after two stoppages occured before the review was initiated. After the corner, the Union went the other way, Bedoya eventually knocked it over the endline for a Brad Guzan Goal kick….the review should have happened then. Instead it happened after Atlanta went the other way, and then a foul occurred that stoped play.
    I may be remembering things incorrectly, but if not….. that’s some serious BS right there.

    • I was wrong… watched the highlights. I confused this call, with what was a possible handball on Harriel in the phase of play before the Guzan Goalklick.

      • People are really having a fit over that reviewed Harriel handball play. It does look like it hits his hand at the angle everyone is posting stills and video clips of, but the interesting thing in real time is that the ball doesn’t really change direction after skimming his hand. I was glad it wasn’t given, but I would not have been surprised if it was.

        Something really needs to be done about handballs. These incidental bumps into arms and hands shouldn’t result in pens. Defenders should be allowed to move naturally. And players are constantly looking to refs to intervene when they should be playing on. It’s definitely a byproduct of VAR. I don’t want matches decided by accidental handballs. It’s ridiculous.

    • Delco Roots says:

      You remember correctly, JayKoz3. The call was correct, but made MUCH too late – shockingly late. Generally a good game by the ref (go figure!), but the delay in the review was embarrassing to the whole officiating crew.

      • I haven’t watched a replay yet but while I saw on the big screen that it hit the arm, there was no angle that showed it clearly inside the box. So I’m confused too. Was it obvious on tv?

      • Andy Muenz says:

        The review was done at the next stoppage which was just a few seconds after the handball. Carranza committed the infraction, kicked the ball up field to a teammate who was fouled with the Atlanta player given a yellow (rescinded by bringing the play back for the PK). Then play was held up for the review. It was timely.
        My biggest issue with the ref was the cards. On the foul/card on Elliott the Atlanta player sold it and it should have been play on and no card. And there were one or two plays on Atlanta that clearly should have been cards (including a take down of Sullivan) that weren’t.

  5. Would have preferred less white knuckle in that second half, but the boys survived and got the win. Gotta keep our heads and do better to see out a lead.

    On to the good. Thought Uhre was excellent in the first half. Best attacking player. Glad he got a goal for his efforts. Also want to recognize Harriel and Glesnes for defensive heroics to hold on in the second half. Really impressive.

    That first half Union is the one we need for a cup run. Thrilling to watch.

  6. I had forgotten that the Union could play the “beautiful game.” The first half was the best half of soccer they have played this season, and it bodes well for the playoffs if they can keep it up. Here are my observations from Section 105:

    1) When the game was scoreless, Andre Blake saved the Union (again). It is not just the save–it is that he put the rebound out of harm’s way.
    2) The yellow card on Elliott in the 34th minute was ridiculous. The play was not only right in front of us, it was also right in front of the linesman. Referee First of all, there was no foul. Secondly, even if there was a foul, there is no way in the world that it was yellow-card worthy unless it was for simulation. Referee Chilowicz was behind the play and he must have thought that Elliott either tripped or pulled the Atlanta player down.
    3) Later in the game, in the 65th minute, Elliott was taken down by Atlanta in the Union’s defensive end, a yellow card worthy foul with no call given and Atlanta was allowed to continue the attack–also ridiculous.
    4) The Atlanta coach complained that two other handballs should have been given against the Union and that Atlanta would have won. The Carranza handball was “clear and obvious”; the others were not.
    5) I can remember around 5 years ago when the Union were extremely poor at defending corners. They have dramatically improved such that giving away a corner is no longer a problem.
    6) McGlynn is a worthy offensive replacement for Wagner, but the Union need Wagner’s defense to make a Cup run.
    7) Welcome back, Jose Martinez. . . and here’s a yellow card for a late challenge (that clipped Almada’s foot).

    • The Union defense against not only against corners but against set pieces in general has been fantastic. I think I heard only 3 goals against on set pieces all season.

  7. Great stuff from Union last night. The Glesnes chants were extra vocal after missing a few games, welcome back! He looked fresh, clearing everything, and was in-sync with the back line. It’s subtle, but his dribbles into space from the back are very important compared to Lowe when he’s in there, I think that helps kick start the attack at times.
    Great to see the confidence up top at the right time. Also appreciated Gazdag coming back to get the ball at times in the first half. He’s prone to getting lost at times, which was not the case last night.
    Hopefully Bueno can heal quickly, we are suddenly thin at mid field.

  8. John P. O'Donnell says:

    I didn’t think Uhre knew how to shoot a ball on either side of a goalkeeper. Hmm

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