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Match report: Austin FC 2-2 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Kyle Grantham

Philadelphia Union faced Austin FC for the first time in regular season match play, with both teams looking for their first win of the 2024 season. With a 2-2 draw at Q2 stadium, both sides remain winless. 

The Union started the game with an electric pace, seemingly ready to forget any lingering memories of their 6-0 loss in Pachuca, Mexico last Tuesday. Philadelphia was first on the board after a Dániel Gazdag penalty kick to the bottom left corner of the goal.

While Gazdag stepped up for the attempt, the leadup to his scoring opportunity was a team effort. Constant pressure led to a turnover and subsequent foul by Austin’s defense. A free kick by Kai Wagner in a dangerous spot resulted in a handball that found Gazdag taking strides to the penalty spot.

The remainder of the half saw a handful of near misses from both teams, with the Union going into the half with a 1-0 lead.

The second half started slower in comparison, until an injury to Zan Kolmanic in the 53rd minute forced Austin to use another substitution. Within minutes of coming on, Hector Jimenez set up the first of Austin’s two goals in as many minutes. Impressively, instead of collapsing, the Union came together to equalize with a 65th minute Uhre goal from the left side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner.

Austin spent the rest of the half playing with an undeniable energy, desperate for the win at home. The Union, on the other hand, seemed to fall into survival mode, content to maintain a draw as Austin launched attempt after attempt at Andre Blake.

Three points
  • It’s electric: Whatever Curtin said to the team to have them come out ready to rumble, it worked…at least for 45 minutes. Maybe next time, a halftime reminder?
  • Death, taxes, and Gazdag penalty kicks: Some things are just inevitable.
  • Defense, oh defense, wherefore art thou, defense?: Too much space and molasses-slow reactions allowed two Austin goals that had a chance of being saved. Is this the start of a decline for Philadelphia’s back line?

Philadelphia: Andre Blake, Damion Lowe, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner, Nathan Harriel, Jack McGlynn, José Martínez, Quinn Sullivan (Chris Donovan — 86′) , Dániel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre (Alejandro Bedoya — 68′), Julián Carranza

Unused subs: Markus Anderson, Tai Baribo, Jesús Bueno, Jakob Glesnes, Olivier Mbaizo, Jeremy Rafanello, Oliver Semmle 

Austin: Brad Stuver, Matt Hedges, Julio Cascante, Guilherme Biro (Zan Kolmanic — 45′; Hector Jimenez — 55′) , Jon Gallagher, Jhojan Valencia (Owen Wolff — 45′) , Daniel Pereira, Alexander Ring, Diego Rubio (Gyasi Zardes — 82′) , Emiliano Rigoni, Jáder Rafael Obrian (Sebastián Driussi — 71′)

Unused subs: Stefan Cleveland, Bryant Farkarlun, Ethan Finlay, Brendan Hines-Ike

Scoring summary

PHI– Dániel Gazdag (PK) — 13’

ATX– Diego Rubio (assist from Hector Jimenez) — 56’

ATX– Jon Gallagher (assist from Alexander Ring) — 58’

PHI– Mikael Uhre — 65’

Misconduct summary

PHI– Quinn Sullivan (foul) — 33’

PHI– Julián Carranza (foul) — 45’+5′

ATX– Guilherme Biro (foul) — 45’+5′

ATX– Diego Rubio (foul) — 57′

PHI– José Martínez (foul) — 62′

ATX– Julio Cascante (foul) — 67′

PHI– Jack Elliott (foul) — 70′

ATX– Josh Wolff (dissent) — 78′

PHI– Dániel Gazdag (foul) — 81′

PHI– Damion Lowe (foul) — 87′


  1. Better.
    At the start of the game I told a buddy I’d be happy with a road point in a well played game and generally I feel they managed the game pretty okay. Admittedly working tonight so my attention distracted more than usual.
    When I was able to watch it is easy to see the lethal nature of the second ball / counter attack… though (buzzword incoming)… their Ralationalism still just seems off.
    Balls to back foot instead of soft to space. Kills something.
    Miss touch of a deft switch of field. Kills something.
    Jambalaya outside the box has one twos— dead on impact.
    At the start of the game I told a buddy I’d be happy with a road point in a well played game.

  2. I thought Billy Penn founded Philly, not Lewis and Clark. So far, we’ve played Sporting KC, Seattle, and Austin and are about to play Portland and Minnesota.

    Meanwhile, Miami plays 3 West teams this season.

    We’re on a draw run again. That’s better than losing, but not by much by dropping 2 of 3 points each time. So, it’s 3rd from the bottom but still undefeated…yay.

  3. paulcontinuum2022 says:

    Jesus fooking Christ. What’s gonna happen first; Joel Embiid returning to the Sixers or the U winning their first game of the MLS season?

    This team is not ready for prime time.

    • Please see below…


      March 2, 2024 at 8:06 pm
      For the uninitiated, why is this happening?

      el Pachyderm

      March 2, 2024 at 11:02 pm

      Remarkable you spread such vitriol about the local team but have no greater worldview about the implications- one way or another- about how this affects the game in the US.
      Congrats… you’ve confirmed my suspicion —that you know nothing.
      This will be the final engagement… until something of value is offered in the forum. Believe it or not, this elephant in the room- poser poster is rooting for it.

      • paulcontinuum2022 says:

        You know what you can do with your “final engagement”. This team is on the downside and the blame goes from the top down.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Is anyone else just about ready to give up on MLS because the Crapple broadcasts are so bad? I thought I was paying attention to the broadcast, but I only remember Austin picking up one yellow card. Did I really miss mention of 3 more?
    And what type of telecast is busy showing the Austin coach rather than the opening kickoff? I mean it’s the fucking start of the game. They wait until TV is ready for it. And yet by the time they start showing the game the ball is down near the goal already.
    And don’t get me started with the quality of the video which seemed extremely jumpy.

    • Apple’s ability to get caught in a replay and miss a key sequence of live action at least one a match is as safe a bet as Gazdag converting a PK at this point – it’s going to happen.

      Bigger deal was the delay in showing the sideline view of the handball which showed it obviously occurred in the box. Were the announcers on site, because they continued to state even after the VAR decision that to them it looked like the Austin player had jumped outside before contact?

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        To be fair, missing live action is a Fox Sports soccer special too. I don’t know who is advising these broadcast teams, but they must think we want to see closeups instead of the game – no matter the channel.

        Meanwhile, 25% less color commentary would go a long way too.

      • The Choppet says:

        A big problem that has long plagued soccer on TV in the US, is that the production teams come to these events after learning thier trade covering other American sports. Unfortunately, the natural breaks that are routine in those events for the coach’s closeup etc. just don’t fall into the ebb and flow of world football. We are coming along with announcers who now understand the game and are essentially soccer centric and not multi sport guys (and gals), but the producers, directors, camera ops, etc. are still generally multi sport contractors.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Even if you are going to show up close shots, how do you miss the opening kickoff on camera and how do the announcers miss multiple yellow cards throughout the game?

    • I’ve just about had it with MLS because of MLS. I like having a local team that can put 18,000 fans in a stadium, but the league’s naked contempt for the culture of the sport and the importance of a pyramid to develop players is really tough to put up with. It’s gross. I’m not a Pollyanna. Pro sports is about making money, but, c’mon. At least make an effort to pretend to give a shit about growing the game. I think you can do both.

      • The lack of a true Pyramid largely falls at the feet of US Soccer. Growing the game is their mission. MLS’ “mission” is to grow itself, survive, and thrive.
        I get the romantic picture that has been painted about European Football, and how “ideal” that is. I get it’s appeal. If we stop and take a good hard look at the reality…. it’s not so romantic and ideal. Every league has 2-4 HUGE teams at the top, and then it’s everyone else fighting over the scraps just to survive. The same teams win season after season.

    • Wracked Opinion says:

      Agreed, Andy!

      I was also incredulous to see the ball in the corner as ‘the start of the game action’.

      Amateurish… and nonsensical direction… and occasionally poor transmission quality.

      A future reminder for Apple directors: keep the cameras on the ball, field and action, PLEASE!

  5. Center Backs or something else ?
    I am not sure , because I only saw the highlights, but I noticed Damion Lowe twice desperately outstretching a leg and missing balls which led to goals. Out of position ? Covering for somebody else who missed a coverage assignment? There are some that sing his praises but I alsom see him making too many fouls. Elliot and Glesnes seem to be not on their game…. The strength at center back seems to be a thing of the past. Should be the easiest position to strengthen. Mid season acquisition ? Recall Craig ? Trade , Union II. There have to be better options. What do you think will Happen?

    • Jim Curtin takes a long time tp begin trusting young center backs, judging by the examples of the last two youngsters there that I think of, Austin Trusty and Mark McKenzie.
      Brandan Craig went down in the 15th minute at El Paso Saturday night and was substituted off. I know nothing more.
      Olwethu Makhanya did not travel to Pachuca and Austin. He has been in chester with Union II this past week,
      Neil Pierre, Union II contract, is roughly 16 1/2, still growing, and not yet ready for MLS games.
      Gavin Wetzel is an academy senior. Danny Kreuger has joined Wake Forest University for spring soccer.
      That exhausts my list of Union and Union II center backs.

    • The two Austin goals came soon after Martinez was down with a knock, and it looked like he wasn’t back to full mobility yet. Another sign of how critical he is, especially when the center backs seem a bit shaky so far this year.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      For me, we can’t get Leon Flach back soon enough. Looking closer at both goals from Austin you will find a single defensive lapse leading to the collapse of the structure. In both cases, it is Jack McGlynn.
      On the first goal, the ball comes out of the box and falls to a wide open Austin player. The nearest player’s job in that moment is to bust ass and close down the cross or shot. He doesn’t. Jack McGlynn stands off leaving plenty of time and space for the perfect cross and resulting goal.
      You can say Damien Lowe should do better. Or Elliot. But they were already under pressure, second favorite to succeed. The problem starts earlier.
      Same with the second goal. Austin plays a one two and they are in behind Wagner. He can’t stop the cross and it’s a goal. But look earlier to that one-two. There are three Austin players on the sideline against two Union players, a clear overload. McGlynn’s poor positioning forces Kai to have to mark two men. You can see him give Jack an eye right before moving to the mid-distance between. The pass is played and that is that.
      McGlynn looked to have improved defensively last season but this season is reversed. Leon Flach might stem our defensive bleeding.

      • +1000 on Leon Flach. I fully understand the angst about his lack of attacking acumen. His defensive abilities are sorely missed by this team for most of last season and now the start of 2024.
        He covers a ton of ground, and puts out a lot of fires. He also clogs passing lanes, which helps shield the centerbacks. Between him and El Brujo, they can cover a ton of ground, and also provide defensive help for when Wagner/Harriel/MBaizo bomb forward.
        Part of the reason that Wagner isn’t as involved ion the attack as he was in 2022…. Flach isn’t behind him to provide cover. That’s not McGlynn’s game. Therefore Wagner has to stay at home more often.

      • Dave Greene says:

        Difference of opinion.
        Goal 1 – Defensive Positioning is good. Gets out to ball, its a lucky deflected cross that 9/10 times is easily defended.
        Goal 2 – 3v2 situation – Gazdag needs to shift across to even the overload , ball gets passed, wagner dives in like a 10 year old. He stays, its 1v1 and ball doest get passed. McGlynn gets to player on the ball. Even when Wagner gets beat goal could have been prevented. Yes need to prevent the ball getting to these areas but to blame McGlynn is incorrect. He was the best player on the field.

        Nothing against Leon but I would rather have a proactive talented soccer player than a hustle merchant that doesn’t want the ball. The Union’s old reliables have regressed and style of playing is predictable. That should be the concern

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        Dave, on 1, McGlynn positions between attacker and goal… good. But leaves too much space between himself and the attack, which leaves open lanes to both goal and cross. Which is what happens. He needs to get bodied up here, dive in front of the ball, take the ball to the body if it happens. On 2, McGlynn is out of the play, guarding a lane of least value to the side of the farthest attacker from goal. This makes Wagner have to choose between the two attackers. If McGlynn had positioned between the first two, even off to the side a bit, he would be protecting two passing lanes, making the attacker rethink, and letting Wagner cover the one who intends to run behind.

  6. For me last night is a bigger problem than Pachuca because it had many of the problems from last season:
    – Dominate play in the first half, no goal from open play
    – Come out asleep from half time and concede to opponent
    – Scramble back to equalize
    – Lack of use of subs

    Union have dropped four points to Chicago and Austin, teams that while better than last year, are not good and will most likely miss the playoffs. I understand being in CCL but the East this year is loaded and at least two of those points will probably be the difference between a home match and an away match come October. Union really need to go on a run after the international break or this season could get away from them very quickly.

  7. One of the few games where Kai was really poor…terrible crossing all night, and the missed challenge (near halfway!) led directly to the second goal.

  8. The good news: the Union have now started the season by coming from behind in 3 straight matches to earn points. This demonstrates both grit and firepower.

    The bad news: the Union have had to come from behind in 3 straight matches.

    Bigger picture: the Union just about always start the season slow. They were playing in CCC. Two of the three matches were on the road. They’ve only lost a single match out of 7 played so far, and this was a good response to it, especially with the energy shown in the first half. They have plenty of time, and talent, to pick it up and win some matches. The concern is the defense, which is showing routine, uncharacteristic lapses. This should be in Jim’s wheelhouse to fix. He needs to fix it ASAP.

    • Please forgive a minor correction to your narrative that in no way affects your point, Scottso. Four matches in CCC. Both series were home and away.

      • I don’t mind a correction, but where is my error? They’ve played 3 league matches and 4 CCC matches, right?

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I think when you said “They were playing in CCC. Two of the three matches were on the road.”, I believe Tim thought you were saying two of the three CCC matches were on the road rather than two of the three regular season matches.

      • Oh OK. What I meant was that 2 of our 3 MLS league matches have been on the road, so I am not that worried about starting the season with 3 draws. But I can see that the way I wrote it was confusing.

  9. Great first half! Dare I say they look tired in the second half… Only two subs, Sullivan and McGlynn have rarely left the field. Love these two HG players, but they look tired and seem to be a little short on the defensive sub. The only sub that Curtin seems to trust is Bedoya. But, nah we don’t need him anymore. Lots of things to think about here.

  10. I feel like Tanner is going to have a busy summer.

    With Carranza going we have as striker problem. I don’t think Uhre is it anymore. We have no one behind him.

    I also think Gazdag need to player better. I know Curtin will never look at him as anything other than a 90 minute every game player, but he needs to do more in possession and during open play.

    Our CBs are also several notches below where they used to be. Remember when Glesnes and Elliot pinging the ball all over the place to switch fields? That was such an asset.

    I guess we will never move away from the 4-4-2 diamond which makes sense, but that means we basically need two new starting caliber strikers this summer (assuming Carranza moves this summer, which he better because if he doesn’t move this summer, he will move for free after this season and we get nothing).

  11. So, my last message was to fully support Jim Curtin and the incredible job he has done. One of his strengths and weaknesses is the blind trust he places in his players and his willingness to stick with them. Unfortunately, the downside is that more talented younger players with inexperience sit on the bench or leave. So, the players in the games need to prove their worth each and every time. So where am I going with this? Uhre needs to sit on the bench until he develops a touch and improves his skills. There were several chances in this latest game which continue to show his inability to do anything other than kick the ball right at the goalie. Jim, it’s time, regardless of how much you are paying him. Please put Marcus in and let’s see what we have. As I watch other games and leagues, you consistently see 9s with abilities to pass, hold up play, and shoot. Uhre couldn’t hold up play when he got here and has significantly improved. However, his ball skills and shooting skills are terrible. His passing is bad and most importantly, if you watch the games, he breaks up the rhythm of the team. Time to move on please!!! We don’t spend any money on players so let’s maximize the youth advantage we have and maybe just maybe we will hit paydirt. We aren’t going anywhere with a slow footed Uhre in the middle. Doing long runs, yes. Playing soccer no.

    • Eric Boyle says:

      Spot on about Uhre. As I was watching Rondon in the Pachuca game I thought now that is what we need Uhre to do, but he just does not have the ball skills.

  12. Deez Nuggs says:

    Confused by all the Uhre hate here. He’s the one that actually scored! With the probably exception of Zlatan, most forwards don’t score every single chance they get. For me, Uhre is doing the work, pressing on D, making the runs, and yes, scoring. 3 goal in all comps including 2 in 3 league games. (Yes, Carranza had four in CCC, but none yet in league play.) Uhre has literally saved us points twice already. For me, that’s a good start.

  13. Yes, if you know the game you can see Uhre’s horrific touch and inability to hold up play and wait for support, really negatively impacts our midfield. Yes he has scored from inside the six this year but he’s also shot wide multiple amount of times making the wrong decision to not pick out the easy pass inside the 18 for an easy goal. When you have a young developed striker like Anderson behind you this is an easy coaching call, but Curtin likes to sit on his starters. For example, Sullivan should have started last season. Jim is always a season late, which is why we will never win a cup with him.

  14. Uhre is a weird one for me…
    In most 2 striker systems there’s a star and an average player.
    This is the situation with the Union, Carranzas the star and Uhres the average, semi-reliable goal scorer.
    This is fine by most means. The problem with the Union is that Uhre is the DP
    Uhre is fine, if he wasn’t the DP and carranza was, then I think people would view him a lot differently.
    Right now, I think sell Uhre. He is a fine player but not DP level. Fill the DP slot with someone who can actually improve the team.

  15. Good back and forth on Uhre! Love it. I think the only reason he isn’t on the bench is because he is a DP. If you recall, Jim benched him a little last year. Can he score on a rebound in the box? Yes. Can he score in any other manner? No. Does he hold up play effectively? No. Does he pass the ball effectively and put his teammates in better position? No. Does he hustle and run his butt off? yes. Regardless of DP or no DP, that isn’t what we want or need. Not trying to be harsh but if you look at missed chances in all games this year, what would have happened if he scored 1/3 of them? How about his initial year when he had breakaway after breakaway only to hit the shot right at the keeper or over the bar? He has no touch. It is what it is and the sooner Jim does something the better. his replacement may not be any better but at least we can find that out.

  16. paulcontinuum22 says:

    MLS soccer’s ranking of the U as of today; 15th. Behind DC fucking United.
    Normally we would move on without making eye contact, but it’s worth talking about where the Union are…Because it feels like all of the worries about not adding to or refreshing the roster in some way this offseason came back to bite them exactly how everyone feared it might bite them.

    It’s been a long, long time since the Union folded like that in a moment of adversity. They didn’t look too interested in redeeming themselves in Austin, either. Just totally out-of-character stuff from a team that’s gotten so much right in the last few seasons. It would be shocking to see this spiral to the point where the Union are having to claw their way to a playoff spot, but it seems plausible in a way it hasn’t in a long while.”

    • Union made very little improvement in roster…..I made a similar comment 2 weeks ago. In any sport especially in the new Messi era of the MLS If you dont bring in at least 1 or 2 new players that significantly improves you in one key position your team you going to go backwards. Still think they could finish 3rd if everyone stays healthy and Sullivan continues to grow. He has shown glimpses of creativity that I have not seen since Ilsinio and he also has speed.

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