Philadelphia Union

Union score latest goal in MLS history to best Red Bull

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The Philadelphia Union played New York Red Bulls in a playoff match where both teams tried to press the other into submission. This led to the teams being a bit conservative. Neither side over-extended; there was no area for the teams to find many true chances. This led to a 0-0 scoreline at the 90-minute mark. The match went into a 30 minute extra time period, and it looked as if this playoff tilt would be decided in penalty kicks. That is until Union centerback Jakob Glesnes scored a banger of a goal in the 120 + 3 minute to ensure Philadelphia’s progression in the MLS Cup Playoffs!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union via Twitter

Union score latest goal in MLS history

Glesnes chested a poor clearance from Red Bull down to his favored right foot. He let the ball drop all the way to his foot before rocketing a perfectly controlled shot past New York keeper Carlos Coronel. The goal was the latest goal scored in MLS history and was the only way this Union-Red Bull match could end.

Let’s take a look back at the three different periods of this match to relive the craziness and importance that is the second Playoff win in the Philadelphia Union’s history.

1st half

Before a ball was even kicked, this match already had an aura about it. Both teams love to press and win the ball off of their opposition to create attacks. It was clear that this was how both Philadelphia and New York would try to win this match. The playoff atmosphere was set back in 2019 between these two sides as the Union won a 4-3 thriller of a match off of an extra-time goal. This match was just as back-and-forth, just with six-less goals.

The first half started with Red Bull having more of the ball. They were able to whip some balls into dangerous positions, but no one was able to make them truly dangerous chances. It took Philly seven minutes to wake up, as they had a real opportunity. Alvas Powell (who got the start because Oliver Mbaizo is in MLS’ health and safety protocols) tagged a shot that forced a save from Coronel. After the 10 minute mark, the match seemed scrappy.

Each team would press, win the ball, try to attack, and get fouled. Repeat that sequence about 100 times and that was the first 45 minutes. Neither team was able to find real chances on goal, and it was clear that this one would be determined by the coach who was willing to gamble a bit to change the style of the game up a bit.

2nd half

The first 15 minutes of the second half looked the same as the first. Each team was fighting to press, but it seemed that Philly was executing better. The Union was able to press and win the ball more than the Red Bulls; New York started fouling more to muck up Philly’s ability to build up an attack. Jim Curtin sought to change this at the 60th-minute mark.

Curtin brought on striker Sergio Santos for midfielder Paxten Aaronson (Aaronson also got the start as Jamiro Monterio was in MLS’ health and safety protocol.) Santos brought a more direct style of play that could also stretch the field to test the Red Bull’s rigid structure. This sub also changed the formation from a 4-3-2-1 Christmas tree to a 4-4-2 diamond formation. This tactic worked well as Santos was able to be a more lethal option to break the Red Bulls press. Alas, no goals came of it though.

As the second half entered its final moments each team made substitutions to find a winner; either in regulation or 30 minutes of extra-time. The Union’s late subs of Cory Burke for Kacper Przybylko and Jack McGlynn for Leon Flach added another dimension of passing and possession. Unfortunately, they could not find a late winning goal in regulation and the match went to extra-time.

extra-time

As the playoff match approached two 15 minute halves of extra-time, it felt like this game didn’t have someone who could grab the match and win it for either side. The first 15 minutes only saw one real chance. Red Bull striker Patryk Klimala snuck behind the Union backline. He forced Andre Blake to make a huge save to keep things squared at zero. As the second half of stoppage time came, so to did the fireworks.

In the first minute of the second 15, substitute strikers Burke and Santos found each other for a huge chance. Santos couldn’t get the ball past Coronel who had an amazing night for Red Bull. As legs got tired Curtin went to his bench again. He wanted to bring on Ilsinho with about 10 minutes left, but his coaching staff talked him out of that decision. Instead, they brought on versatile midfielder Jesus Bueno instead. Bueno came on for Union captain Alejandro Bedoya who had run ragged for 109 minutes of this match. As time ticked on things got even tenser.

Red Bulls were able to build up a bit as the Union stretched themselves thin trying to find the winner. New York hit the post in the 112th minute off a shot that had beaten Andre Blake but found the woodwork instead of the net. One minute later Santos and Burke combined again. This time Burke pushed a close-in shot just wide of the post. In the end, there were three minutes of added time as the match hit minute 120. The Union then won a free-kick.

The games only goal

Kai Wagner stood over the ball. Two lines of Union and Red Bull players stood on the 18-yard box. Wagner pinged the ball into the box, hoping a Union player would beat his mark and head home the winner. Red Bull won the header, but it didn’t clear out of their own box.

Jesus Bueno was the first to the ball. He picked his head up and saw Jose Martinez in a good position outside of the box. He played the ball back to his fellow Venezuelan, who took a touch and put a reworked ball back into the box. The ball was battered away by another Red Bull head, but it fell at the top of the box where Jakob Glesnes was ready to pounce.

Glesnes had time to chest the ball and waited for it to drop to his foot. The crowd yelled shoot as they know what he can do from a shooting distance. The Norwegian didn’t disappoint. He hit the ball cleanly and precisely. It swerved and dipped flying just inside the right post. New York Keeper Coronel could do nothing to stop it. The ball hit the back of the net at the 120 +3 minute mark!

Subaru Park erupted in euphoria. The entire Union team came to celebrate the goal at the river end including the coaches who sprinted down the touchline. After the smoke cleared from the Sons of Ben the ball was put back into play for mere seconds, then the referee blew his whistle and the game ended! The Union won 1-0 in dramatic fashion, and they move on to host an eastern conference semifinal clash.

On to the eastern conference semifinals!

Philly now has a week to rest and train for their opponent in the eastern conference semifinal. They’ll host either Nashville SC or Orlando City SC on Sunday, November 28th at 5:30 pm EST! Nashville and Orlando play their first-round match on Tuesday night, so Philly will know their opponent for the conference semis then.

Can this Union team ride the high of the latest winner in MLS history into their next match? Will it be the start to a playoff run that this club has never had before? We’ll have to wait and see, but it feels like this team is built for locking teams down defensively and finding a moment of brilliance from someone unexpected. That seems like playoff magic to me!

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Doop on Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union via Twitter

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Philadelphia Union Editor of Soccer Content

A passion for the beautiful game drives me.

Twitter: @Tim_Lovenguth

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