Union match reports

Match report: New England Revolution 2-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union coughed up an early lead en route to their first loss since August, falling 2-1 to New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in the final match of the MLS regular season.

Along with other scorelines on Decision Day, the result saw the Union finish in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, setting up a first-round rematch with the Revolution.

Julian Carranza’s early opener was cancelled out when Damion Lowe committed a handball in the box, leading to a penalty polished off by Gustavo Bou. Bou found the winner just before the end of the first half, finishing off a counterattack with a shot that just snuck past Andre Blake.

With Jose Martinez suspended and Jesus Bueno limited to the bench with an injury, Jim Curtin rolled out a 3-5-2 for the final regular season match. Nathan Harriel started on the right for the injured Olivier Mbaizo, while Kai Wagner and Alejandro Bedoya made what are expected to be their final regular season starts in Union blue.

Rain, a slick plastic pitch, and sparsely filled stands made for a very underwhelming occasion as the teams kicked off. New England had the early run of play, but it would be the Union who scored first. A long ball from Wagner in the 16th minute caused a mess for Revs rookie keeper Jacob Jackson, who couldn’t manage to claim it at the top of his box. Jackson hauled down Carranza, but the Union’s star striker pivoted on the floor and hammered a shot into the empty net.

Moments later, the Union gave away a penalty. New England executed a good move down the Union’s right flank, eventually feeding Carles Gil near the penalty spot. Damion Lowe stopped Gil’s point-blank shot with an outstretched arm, and referee Tori Penso pointed to the spot. Gustavo Bou snuck the penalty just past Blake’s diving paw, and suddenly the teams were on level terms again.

New England took the lead a few minutes before halftime, beating the Union at their own game with a quick counterattack. Carles Gil got on the ball and played an excellent through-ball to Bou, who got behind lackadaisical Damion Lowe and was kept onside by Jakob Glesnes away from the play. Bou hit his shot right at Blake, but the ball struck off his hands and into the Union’s net.

After thirty fairly uneventful minutes in the second half in which the Revs asked the majority of the questions, Curtin chose to shut up shop, withdrawing Mikael Uhre and Jack McGlynn for Jesus Bueno and — for the first time since Aug. 30 — Leon Flach.

Not much happened in the final moments. Bueno fired just wide from distance right after coming on, while Jack Elliott nearly backheeled the ball into his own net. Nathan Harriel appeared to score a late equalizer with a sweet finish off a Wagner free kick, but the goal was called back for offside on Carranza.

At long last, the regular season is over, and the MLS Cup Playoffs have arrived. Remember, the first round is now a best-of-three series. The Union, as the fourth seed, get their series against the Revolution started at Subaru Park before the series shifts to Gillette Stadium. The schedule for the first round is expected to be announced on Sunday.

Three Points
  • Fizzling to the finish. Since the September international break, the Union won just one of their final eight games, picking up a mere nine points. They dropped seven points from winning positions over that stretch. It’s not the way you’d want to go into the playoffs.
  • Forgettable. This match will not linger long in the memory. Philly created very little going forward and conceded two poor goals.
  • Playoffs! After 48 matches, the playoffs are finally here. Can the Union — who’ve had flashes of brilliance this season — recapture the effervescent form that propelled them to last year’s MLS Cup Final? Or will this year’s campaign end with a whimper?

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Nathan Harriel, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Damion Lowe, Kai Wagner, Alejandro Bedoya, Jack McGlynn (Leon Flach 75′), Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, Mikael Uhre (Jesus Bueno 75′)

Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Olwethu Makhanya, Jeremy Rafanello, Quinn Sullivan, Joaquin Torres, Chris Donovan, Tai Baribo

New England Revolution

Jacob Jackson, DeJuan Jones, Andrew Farrell, David Romney, Ryan Spaulding, Tommy McNamara, Matt Polster, Noel Buck, Carles Gil, Tomas Chancalay, Gustavo Bou (Justin Rennicks 90+3′)

Unused subs: Earl Edwards Jr., Omar Gonzalez, Christian Makoun, Emmanuel Boateng, Nacho Gil, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Bobby Wood, Giacomo Vrioni

Scoring Summary

PHI: Julian Carranza — 16′ (Mikael Uhre)
NE: Gustavo Bou — 25′ (PK)
NE: Gustavo Bou — 42′ (Carles Gil)

Discipline Summary

PHI: Nathan Harriel — 7′ (foul)
PHI: Damion Lowe — 24′ (handball)
PHI: Kai Wagner — 24′ (dissent)
PHI: Julian Carranza — 90+4′ (dissent)

NE Statistic PHI NE Statistic PHI


Possession % 48.2 42 Duels Won 32
16 Shots 11 7 Tackles Won



Shots on Goal 3 2 Saves 3
7 Blocked Shots 1 13 Clearances



Total Passes 463 6 Fouls 16
85.8 Pass Accuracy % 82.5 0 Yellow Cards



Corners 3 0 Red Cards 0
12 Crosses 10 2.1 xG







  1. At least there was no difference between a loss and a draw and they were pretty much due for a loss.
    Unfortunately, if they blow the lead again next week, they have to go to penalty kicks.
    Given the one sidedness of the calls, I have to ask, is Penso:
    c)just hating the Union for some reason?
    Hopefully playing at home next week with Martinez available and New England as bad as they’ve been on the road, the Union can turn things around.
    Of course, even if they get past New England, they’ll need a miracle to beat Cincinnati.

    • MLS ref cannot be blamed anymore, Andy.

      They are what they are, and frankly, even en Espanol… It’s all the same.

      Like MLB umps….. bottom line we cannot win with Curtin in charge. There I typed that.
      Blake saved his career…. Enough of that.

      • I’m not blaming her for the loss, I just think she did a horrible job. Did the Union really commit 5 times as many fouls in the first half?

  2. Montreal feels worse…

    Was so disgusted at half time, I watched Spanish language Apple+… No better.

    FIRE CURTIN… no es bueno!

  3. The attendance at that game was ridiculous. Chilly? Shame on you faux-soccer people.

    Otherwise…… the Bueno Flach substitutions were underwhelming. I guess it was wise?

    So now we get to play them 4 straight times potentially and I’m CERTAIN that’s a good thing for the league … whatever.
    I have ZERO expectations for this team going forward. We’ll see. Brutal season. Long. So many games and so much down time. Strangest thing the lack of “League Rhythm.’
    As I tell my children in this world we live in now— more is almost never better.

  4. Why does Curtin insist on keeping Bedoya on the field. His passing percentage is 70% Mcglynn’s is 86% . Also, why are they paying Uhre 1.7 million, He is useless. Sad to say, I think there Curtin era is over. It just seems stale.

  5. I can take losing, even on a shit turf field to a shit team like the Revs. What I can’t take is that [] referee who didn’t call ANY of the obvious fouls on the Revs, and gave 3 yellows to the Union and blew an obvious game-tying offside call (although by that point it was moot, we were going to finish 4th). She and her shit ref husband should both just fuck off.

    The major blame for the loss, in my opinion, was the moronic yellow Martinez took in the last game, at a meaningless time (and Jim leaving him on the field to commit the foul we all knew was coming). It took us out of the formation we needed tonight to nullify Gil, who is a great player.

  6. So, shouldn’t the Revs goalkeeper gotten a card even though Carranza scored? Basically, the ref played advantage but then should have dished out a yellow or a red for the takedowns of Uhre and. Carranza. That would have been a different game up a goal and playing 11 vs 10.

    Wow, 4 yellows for the Union and none for the Revs? Seems like someone (ie the ref) missed the plot. Harriet’s card was predicated on it being his second foul, but the first foul wasn’t a foul bc he actually didn’t touch the guy.

    Not that it matters, but maybe we can request a different more objective ref for the playoff games vs New England.

    • Should have been a yellow, not a red, given that it was in the box and attempting to play the ball. Hard to see the ref giving two yellows to the keeper on the same play.

  7. Also, 2 of the yellows were for dissent, which basically happened bc the ref was so incompetently unfair that Wagner and Carranza had to argue. Kind of shows what a shit show it was.

  8. I’d rather play New England over Atlanta so I’m not all too upset… The ref sucked but those yellows get wiped out for the playoffs…Martinez coming back will make a huge difference obviously, less room for Gil to move around 18 yard box hopefully…Even though I’m not a fan of him, I’m happy to see Flach make it back this season. He can be a real pest for other teams defensively…As far as next round opponents go, you want to avoid Cincinnati of course, but Orlando is playing really well.

  9. PaulContinuum22 says:

    The numbers of the moment are 15 and 9. Respectively, the number of points and last 9 games that this team has left on the field. Dare I say clean house from Curtin and Tanner on down? This is a fccking shambolic disgrace.

  10. I’m just glad the playoffs are here. At least we’ll only have to play on turf for 1 of the 3 New England playoff games. I’m pretty confident that we will win the best-of-3. Also, How on earth did the NJRB get to the playoffs. I swear they refuse to have a bad season.

  11. Well that was the bare minimum required. Get top 4. Job done. I can’t wait to play the same team 3 more times.
    A couple thoughts…
    Carranza’s goal had me in hysterical laughter. A bad play to the keeper who bungles it right to Uhre. He then proceeded to wipe out Uhre and Carranza both. The boys are laying there on the ground having snuggle time and Julian still manages to score!
    I have to say, as the match wore on I grew to feel pretty aggrieved about the referee. Look, the penalty is a penalty. But it just felt very uneven in the administration of justice. One example: Harriel gets fouled hard with a shoulder to the back, Gil elbows Gazdag in the head, and the call is on Bedoya?? Just a shit job by the referee.
    I understand the offside call but it’s bullshit. Harriel is definitely onside and I don’t think Carranza is affecting the keeper’s view or actions at all.
    Even on the goal, that’s two penalty worthy offenses by the NE keeper and no yellow? (No red because as we learned recently the goal scoring opportunity was not gone.) A case could be made for double yellow.
    Bad job, ref.

    • As a member adjacent of the GK union, (my son is a keeper) I think the bad play was on the CB who made bad contact on his attempt to head it back to the keeper which led to lunging grab at the ball then the chaos on the ground. At that point it’s just trying to stop the goal.

      On the offsides Caranza attempted to play the ball while offsides. The Refs may have made a hash of that game but I don’t think that was the wrong call.

      • You are correct about the bad header. Put the keep in a rough spot, but still two fouls in the box.
        I said I do understand the offside call. But arguably everyone on the field is making a play on the ball on a set piece. Carranza doesn’t make contact and I don’t think he affects the keeper or blocks his view or anything else. Just my opinion.

  12. Cam MLS figure out how to make the season less start/stop and jammed with so many games. I like watching a lot of soccer and this season has been good for that. But also too many games all ar the same time, and then play through international breaks, time off when there is none. Its just has no flow. Or maybe its just me. Anyways…bring on the playoffs! I’ll be in the seats enjoying the game! Go Union! LFG!

    • One thing that could be done is to have an even number of teams. Then you can have 34 matchdays where everyone plays with a few simple exceptions for cup finals and the like where games can be rescheduled. Instead, with an odd number of teams, there are something like 38 matchdays and lots of instances of teams playing each other on significantly uneven rest.

    • Darshan Vittels says:

      Too many teams make the playoffs, too. It erodes my interest in the regular season, and soon we will get to watch San Diego. Why do I miss that breakaway shoot out in year one of MLS? Oh, that’s right, because it broke Waldo’s leg. Yikes….

  13. Love the people here calling for a housecleaning for a squad that just finished 5th in a 29-team table. If you translated that into a European League equivalent, we’d be playing in Champions League. Oh, wait, we will actually be playing in a Champions League. For the second straight season.

    Some people here need to get a GD grip. The fact that you can bitch so mightily about a team having this kind of season shows just how spoiled you’ve become by the very manager and sporting director for whose heads you are now calling.

    The bottom line is that MLS scheduled too many games this season, and our squad is gassed. The match last night, more than anything, showed how much we miss having El Brujo at the base of a diamond, which we should have going forward. Plus Blake should’ve done much better on that second goal; Lowe got caught out, but he made a partial recovery, enough to force the shot to where Dre should’ve stopped it.

    We are favored to beat the Revs, who have had no better a late season than we’ve had. And you know what? If anybody can knock off Cincinnati, it’s us. Don’t forget that the Shield winner rarely takes MLS Cup.

    • 2 wins in 7 weeks. Just 4 shutouts in the last 3.5 months, 2 of those scoreless draws. Backing into the postseason, the Union are who we thought they were. Not deep enough for another MLS Cup run.

    • John from 127 says:

      Thank you for the reasoned comments.

      The schedule has waaaay too many games. The team is gassed and so are some of the fans.

      As a long standing STM, since 2011, I remember bad football. This is not it.

      Disappointed in lack of urgency in Union last night, especially in the second half. We closed up shop long before Flach and Bueno joined the party.

      Love Ale Bedoya, but I don’t expect to get his best over 90 minutes. He just doesn’t have the juice to be a 90 minute player that can go over 2500 minutes/season. But it’s his leadership on and off the pitch that will be sorely missed. Who has the stones to fill that gap?

      To mis-quote the near great Jalen Hurts, the standard is the standard and it only goes up. We’ve grown accustomed to excellence. Mediocrity, for even a short spell, can be alarming.

      I will be in my seat on Saturday. Rooting as hard as I can. Cmon the U!

      • You are spot-on, John. El Capitan is a 60 minute man, at most and because MLS sides who play CCL cannot expand, the Union have to have a full squad of players who can go the full 90 minutes. Wagner has been great for the Union and I think that he would be a great fit on a number of European teams, but for whatever reason, the lack of intere$t by such teams speaks volumes. To answer your question, it is McGlynn’s and Sullivan’s time to step up; both have made progress this year. Ale Bedoya is going to end up coaching a championship team somewhere. I want to be there when he is honored here after he officially retires–we owe him a lot, but not another full pay season for part-time work.

    • The leadership knew the season would be much longer, no surprise. They miscalculated how many quality replacements they needed and misfired on the couple they bought. They also made a mistake letting both freeze and Burke go. Can’t afford to make those kinds of mistakes in a low budget team and still win trophies. The emotion here is from those of us who suffered through some horrible years. We just want to be proud of our team and see them(us all) lift the mls cup.

  14. Ah yes it’s that time of day where you just assume MLS has made the playoff schedule by now, only to realize you made a bad assumption and should know better.

    • Game 1 Saturday at 5pm…that’s fine of course. Game 2 Wednesday November 8th…are you f’n kidding me!!!! Oh MLS, you’re a joke sometimes.

  15. I just watched the replay of the Harriel goal a few times. Had the goal been reviewed, as it should have been and would have been had the goal taken place at Subaru Park (or any EPL stadium), it would have been reversed. The rule is that a goal is disallowed if a player in an offside position “distracts” the goalkeeper. If you watch the replay, the player who was in a position to “distract” the goalkeeper was NOT Carranza, it was Glesnes, who was onside. Further, if you watch the goalkeeper in the replay, you can see that he correctly figured that the ball was too high for the players directly in front of him and his focus was squarely upon Harriel, and in fact, he had turned his body and squared up to face Harriel, who beat him cleanly. Perhaps I am being charitable here, but it is hard to put this one on Penso because VAR never gave her a chance to look at the play herself and she was backing her AR. But the group of them blew this call and cost the Union a goal, which in the grand scheme of things, would have given them a meaningless extra point in their season total.

  16. Just saw on Instant Replay that the Carranza goal should not have counted because when it hit off Uhre, Uhre was in an offsides position (he was ahead of the keeper and only one defender in front of him). They also thought Uhre wasn’t fouled by the keeper (don’t necessarily agree) and didn’t mention the question as to whether Carranza was fouled (I think he was). Just another call the refereeing crew got wrong.

    • Uhre was not in question on offside because he had two opponents between himself and the goal when the ball was played. Even though he gets beyond the ball and it rolls to him when he’s on the ground, the keeper’s touch doesn’t count as a pass. The offside question was about Carranza. He was past the keeper and had only one opposing player between himself and the goal WHEN UHRE PLAYED HIM THE BALL. However you can see Farrell is level and keeps Julian onside just barely.
      This is one I did not question live due to camera angles. But it’s a quirk of the rule. Most people think you need “the last defender” beyond you to stay onside, but they’re usually forgetting the keeper. The rule actually requires two opposing players— not necessarily the goalkeeper— between the player and the goal at the time the ball is played. It’s usually the keeper and one other, but it doesn’t have to be.

      • Carranza’s first touch went off Uhre who was on the ground in an offsides position because he was past the keeper. So at that point the play should have been offsides. There was no question about Carranza being offsides since he was behind the ball at all times so it didn’t matter if there were any defenders between him and the endline.

      • Fascinating. Apple TV had a different version of instant replay up last night. I watched that section three times to make sense of it, so the difference is clear. (They didn’t mention the goalkeeper foul at all on version one.) I now see what you’re talking about.
        That said, while you could argue as Wiebe does, the keeper gets enough on the ball to not be a foul on Uhre. I disagree, I think it’s a foul. But on the second one… the Kepler gets none of the ball and takes down Carranza. Now you have to argue which happens first, the foul or the offside. I think the foul, and because the ball goes in I think they call it even and don’t award the penalty. But you’d love to hear an official explanation.

      • The foul clearly happens before the offsides because it’s part of the play that sets up the offsides. The offsides is completely incidental. Had Carranza not been fouled, it’s doubtful the ball would have gone straight to Uhre.

      • So we agree. It was either a penalty or allow the goal, and ultimately neither here nor there.

  17. Just a heads up, all. In case it slipped your attention. If the Union win the East, we host MLS Cup against anyone except St Louis.

    • The eternal optimist. I do hope it happens.
      The U have a chance but I’d really like to see them get their swagger back. I’m sure all this down time in the best of three series will do wonders for their swagger.

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