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Playoff match report: New England Revolution 0-1 Philadelphia Union

Chris Donovan scored the only goal of the game as Philadelphia Union overcame the ten men of the New England Revolution and advanced to the next round of the MLS Playoffs with a 1-0 win in Foxborough.

The Union win their best of three series 2-0 and advance to play Supporters Shield Winners FC Cincinnati in a single elimination matchup that will take place in Cincinnati.

Jim Curtin made two changes to the team that beat New England 10 days ago in Philadelphia. Olivier Mbaizo came in at right back while Nate Harriel moved to left back in place of the suspended Kai Wagner. Julian Carranza missed out with a hamstring injury and Quinn Sullivan took his spot on the forward line.

The Union would create the best scoring chance of the first half in the 24th minute. The ball rattled around the New England box after a Union corner and eventually fell to Harriel, who smashed an effort off the right post from 7 yards out.

Mark-Anthony Kaye would be sent off for New England in the 45th minute. As Kaye came together with Gazdag on the right touchline, Gazdag fell to the turf and Kaye was adjudged to have stomped on the Union man’s chest while he was down. After a VAR review, referee Drew Fischer showed Kaye a straight red card.

The Union would take the lead in the 79th minute. Daniel Gazdag did well to win a free kick in a good position just outside the New England box on the right side. Jack McGlynn’s free kick was a low delivery that Donovan just had to flick in from close range to give Philadelphia the advantage.

Three Points

  • Survive and Advance – It wasn’t pretty, really it wasn’t, but the Union are on the to the next round of the playoffs with a win in New England. Playing up a man for the entirety of the second half, the Union were largely outplayed by their hosts but found a goal when it really mattered.
  • Donovan – A great moment for the young striker. With so much centered around the Union’s front three of Carranza, Gazdag, and Uhre leading the line, it was the Drexel grad netting the game winner to push the Union to the next round.
  • Stepping Up – With Wagner suspended and Carranza injured, their replacements in Harriel and Sullivan both had strong performances. Harriel was strong, particularly pushing forward, even playing on his weaker left side. Sullivan was the liveliest offensive player on the field for the Union for the first hour of the game and kept the Revs on their heals with his positive runs.

Philadelphia Union 

Andre Blake, Nathan Harriel, Jack Elliott, Damion Lowe, Olivier Mbaizo, Jose Martinez (Joaquin Torres 67′), Alejandro Bedoya, Jack McGlynn (Leon Flach 82′), Daniel Gazdag, Quinn Sullivan (Jesus Bueno 82′), Mikael Uhre (Chris Donovan 67′)
Unused subs: Joe Bendik, Matt Real, Olwethu Makhanya, Jeremy Rafanello

New England Revolution

Earl Edwards Jr., DeJuan Jones (Emmanuel Boateng 90′), Andrew Farrell (Bobby Wood 83′), David Romney, Henry Kessler, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Matt Polster, Noel Buck, Carles Gil, Tomas Chancalay, Gustavo Bou (Tommy McNamara 82′)
Unused subs: Jakob Jackson, Omar Gonzalez, Ian Harkes, Ben Sweat, Esmir Bajraktarevic

Scoring Summary

PHI: Chris Donovan – 79′ (McGlynn)

Disciplinary Summary

PHI: Daimon Lowe – 33′ (foul)
NE: Mark-Anthony Kaye – 45′ (red card – violent conduct)
NE: Carles Gil – 90+4′ (foul)


  1. I didn’t see this one coming! What is the saying, “Any given Sunday”, or Wednesday in this case. Gritty performance.

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    I tip my hat to the team. I tip my hat to Jim. There was a time we were sitting around just waiting to see if they could even win a playoff game on the regular and tonight they went out and just handled business like a team with a shit-ton of experience. Once the red card came down… winning was the only acceptable outcome tonight and now we just manage the suspension of Wagner and see how they fair.
    Good for you.
    I remain uncertain without Glesnes they can sustain a march to MLS Cup… but we will get to see.
    I still struggle with Harriel. Man is he slow to read the game. Multiple opportunities to get behind on the flank and he just stalls way too long.. then when he finally goes its too late.
    Lastly… I would be interested to see how many people play that set piece ball on the ground. Man Jack McGlynn just sees and experiences the game differently.

    • +1 on McGlynn. Great ball. Great idea. But I thought Harriel had good moments in attack. He’s not Wagner and he’s on his weak side, but he put in a really good game. The biggest thing this game… for me… DEFENSE. No matter how NE huffed and puffed the house was untroubled. If we can stay that solid against Cincinnati we might have a good chance.

      • All, including Apple’s commentators, seem to be taking some great saves from Brickwall Blake for granted.
        Without him in goal, NE wins, I fear.

      • Tim, while Blake made a couple of great “saves” last night, I think they were all for naught as the two best saves were called back for offsides.

    • Had some wierd stuff happen with my phone…so I’m a bit late here. I agree Pachy, Nate is slow to read the game. Is it being on his weaker side? He really took the sting out of attacking moments. But Gaddis was also slow on the offensive side and he clearly learned to be better so I am hopeful Nate can do the same.

      As for Mr.McGlynn…just wow. That set piece is straight off the training grounds! Let’s try this…Donavan comes in and they take the chance. Then put it in the net. The red card was dumb. Helped to spur the boys on to the win I think. Gonna be a tougher time with out Glesnes and Wagner but they got it done once…now on to the next!

  3. A win is a win is a win, but why do we have to wait 17 days for the next game? If not broke, MLS, don’t ‘fix’ the playoff format. But I think it will be a bitter Thanksgiving week. How in the world can they beat Cincy?

    • International break. ordered by FIFA.
      AS many as nine union players might be away, no official announcements yet.
      Worth noting that because the Israeli-Hamas war forced postponements of Israel’s October international matches, Tai Baribo may be involved is as many as four, since the Octiobers are both being made up in this window.
      It is possible that those internationals explain his absence from the Union bench tonight.

  4. Let’s change the way we describe Chris Donovan- it should be the Conestoga and Drexel grad. My son played for Conestoga and I saw Chris Donovan for 3 years. If you go back in the PSP archives you’ll see me touting him early in the season. I know his pedigree, his tutelage under the legendary coach Z (Dave Zimmerman) I know his relentless work ethic and his talent. Sure, this could be called just a tap in but he was in the right place at the right time and it was on target. He is one to watch trust me. And my usual $5 parlay on the Union to win and Donovan to score paid off!

  5. soccerdad720 says:

    the 25th or 26th for the next game? Are you kidding me MLS? Weirdest…season ever. but Thanks Apple….for that cool $$Billion?

    • Happens every year that there is an international break somewhere during the playoffs. Last year was the exception since the World Cup was in November.

      • At least MLS treats the playoffs better than the regular season and doesn’t make some teams play through them.

  6. Nice job to close it out tonight. I do have faith we can beat cincy…even without some regular starters… but we have to wait over two weeks to see it. SMH

  7. When this one started I had actual real anxiety. Like palpitations. And I knew that it didn’t matter to win or lose. We had another game if we needed it. But I just had so much agitation that what was happening off the field would be too much.
    The boys put paid to that. Well done!

    • Another thing: if we make MLS Cup, we host the party at Subaru Park!

      • If Columbus eliminates Atlanta, it is the only possible next Union home game.
        With St. Louis eliminated, the Eastern conference would hold alremaing possible top seeds.

  8. Probably worth remembering that Donovan scored the goal in Leagues Cup that put the Union into the semifinals and then the third place game.

  9. I thought Donovan for Uhre was a very bad move. Jim proved me wrong.

    I also thought Jim showed some stones by taking out Martinez… for Joaquin Torres?? Hell yeah, go for that winning goal. Torres wasn’t great but he was clearly trying. (And not gelling with the squad after having so little playing time.)

    I would’ve said we can’t beat Cincy without Glesnes & Wagner… except Cincy will be without Hagglund & Miazga. So instead I’ll say: if anybody can win in Cincy in a playoff game, it’s the Union. This is a now a playoff veteran squad.

    • Martinez appeared injured and right now the bench is pretty thin, so someone had to come in for him. Bueno was recently injured and may still be recovering so he may not to be able to go more than 15 minutes or so.
      And Jim didn’t prove you wrong, Chris did.

    • I went to the Cincy game in April. Tough place to play. But the Union hung in there. I think the U have a decent shot of winning on the road. Hopefully our starters can use this off time to recover (Carranza, Martinez).

  10. At dinner last night I told my wife that I wasn’t going to root against the Union so they would play Sunday and potentially get Wagner back one game earlier. Intellectually, I still think they should have played to lose.
    But then kickoff happened and I JUST COULDN’T DO IT! No matter how much I felt a loss would be better, my heart was rooting for the U. (Financially, my money was on them too since I saved the money for the tickets Sunday.)
    So I’ll say to those I was disagreeing with regarding whether they should play to win last night, you were right. But most of you were scared about Donovan playing and I think I win on that one 🙂
    One comment on the game itself. Was anyone else shocked when 4 minutes stoppage time went up in the second half? Given the subs, the Martinez injury, the VAR on the goal, I was expecting a minimum of 6 and wouldn’t have been surprised to see 7 or 8. I was happy with 4 but surprised as well.

    • “So I’ll say to those I was disagreeing with regarding whether they should play to win last night, you were right. But most of you were scared about Donovan playing and I think I win on that one ”


      I think we were both correct – they did play to win. But Jim also made subs (whether to save the starters for Sunday or to try to win doesn’t matter), saving players for a potential game 3. And Donovan scored. Again. I don’t think he is a 90-minute MLS caliber player (yet) but he does keep coming up with goals.

  11. Think we got a little lucky last night. I’m not sure we would have kept a clean sheet if Kaye hadn’t been sent off. But a win’s a win. Glad to not have to see that New England team again.

    Good on Donovan for getting the goal on a very clever set piece. Not sure I’ve seen a free kick delivered quite like that before.

    Sullivan looked good all night , too. If we played with a legit front three, he’d make a great winger.

    I think this team has even odds to topple Cincy. Looking forward to it.

  12. Terrible game!! Terrible officiating!!

    • Game was a bit crap. But the officiating was standard MLS-level of mediocre. Which by league standards is better than average.

    • Two var moments were ultimately correct. Some of the other stuff could have gone different. I cannot for the life of me figure out what the offside check on Donovan’s goal took more than 5 seconds. It was obvious. But credit to the center ref on the red card. It was also obvious and it took him no time at all to see it.

      • I can’t figure out why it took Fox/Apple so long to focus on showing us the replays rather than the players standing there. And they still never really showed a good stop action shot as to whether Ale touched it or not (which affects when Donovan’s status is important).

      • I think it might of been a question of did Ale touch the ball. If he did off side becomes much more difficult to judge (compared to the initial delivery.).

      • I thought it was a very business like win… DOOP job!

        After 9 months of Apple+ it’s obvious their production teams have ZERO experience with soccer… sports, maybe, learning on the job… and still don’t have a clue.

        First time this year I watched another team/game other than Union games. NYRB vs FCC and the TV crew was just ‘unlistenable’. Eventually turned down volume just watched. My buddy in Cincy always watches FCC games volume down. It’s terrible and we only have 9 years of this left.

        BEAT FCC & ORL/COL and we
        HOST MLS Cup 2023! DOOP.

  13. Hoping for Atlanta later this week. It’s our only chance to get a home conference final.
    . . .
    Glad we are through, but I hope they don’t use this spaced out and dragged out format again. It kills the thrill and makes it feel like the season is over.

  14. Didn’t think it was red. The thing was that Gazdag’s leg was up, impeding Kaye, and no angle showed a stomp.

    • It was still reckless and stupid. You step on a guy’s chest, you can’t complain about getting tossed.

    • At first I thought Gazdag was swinging his leg but then realized it was just moving his body. The player took Gazdag down and then landed on him studs first. Just can’t do that.

    • There was a stomp, it may have been subtle, but it is there. You can see it on the replay showing a fuller view of Gazdag from the right-side camera view. Sure, not clearly a stomp at first blush but if you look closely, he jams his foot down on Gazdag’s stomach. I am certain that is what VAR saw as well.

    • It’s 100% a red. The angle we saw shows the downward motion which actually angles back towards Gazdag instead of forward like a stumble would be. Second you can see Kaye looking straight at Gazdag when he does it. If you want to not step on someone, you can just not put your foot down. Hop. Or even fall over. He chose to stomp and he did it on purpose.

  15. blake is amazing. hoping caranza gets better quickly. maybe he can use terrel owens old hyperbaric chamber . it worked wonders for him in the eagles playoffs. sullivan has skills and guts. team played smart. new england looked lost. soccer gods smiled on philly last night.

  16. Curtin gives all the credit to the team and rightly so,,,,,,none of you gave credit to the coach except pachyderm……..observing that he gets production from what he has, he must motivate the younger home grown hungry to perform as well as they do.Just wanted to acknowledge this. his demeanor is a winning one.

    • Jim always give the team credit, and his staff when he’s doing the press conference. It’s a good thing to keep everyone on the same page and focusing on the same goal. He has been a good coach. When he leaves I feel there will be some cheers. As fans we always want a bit more. It’s hard to imagine him not on the sidelines. I don’t look forward to that day. But it will come.

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