The Philadelphia Union kicked off at Soldier Field on Saturday night, as the club faced Chicago Fire in their second matchup of the season. The first matchup was a close and chippy one, as it included two Chicago red cards and a 90th-minute winner by Joaquin Torres. Philadelphia was back on the pitch after their match against Atlas on Wednesday night, which ended in a 2-2 draw, with two Julian Carranza goals.
Union @ Fire Recap
The game against Chicago would end in the same exact score, with the Union fighting back from a 2-0 deficit to get the point at Soldier Field. Julian Carranza was on the score sheet again, with Daniel Gazdag providing the other goal from the penalty spot.
Not Much Rotation in the Starting XI
While some may have expected Jim Curtin to use a rotated squad after Wednesday’s match in Guadalajara, the Union manager resorted to basically using the same exact starting eleven. The only difference in Saturday’s match was that Nathan Harriel was playing over Kai Wagner, who recently underwent another scan on his injured hamstring.
Leon Flach was also not included in the starting eleven or the bench, as it was reported that he recently got an injury as well. With the change at left back, the starting eleven for the Union was: Blake, Harriel, Elliott, Glesnes, Mbaizo, Martinez, McGlynn, Bedoya, Gazdag, Uhre, and Carranza. Jim Curtin brought out a strong eleven, as his squad was looking to claim the three points in the match.
Rough Opening Hour
The first hour for the Union was definitely one that they will want to forget as a club. They had an early chance with Mikael Uhre, as he shot the ball into the side netting, but that was all that was really positive for the club in the opening sixty minutes. The Fire found their rhythm after that chance and seemed to dominate the match from there. Maren Haile-Selassie would score the opener about ten minutes later, which did not come as a surprise to anyone.
By allowing this goal first, Philly has now conceded first in six of the first eight games of the MLS season. After this goal the match was quiet, and at halftime, the score was 1-0 for Chicago. Shortly after the second half started, Chicago would get another goal with an own goal scored by Union defender Nathan Harriel. Jakob Glesnes tried clearing the ball, and it ended up bouncing off of Harriel and went past Andre Blake into the goal. This was not the way the Union wanted the first hour to go, but thankfully their fortunes would change soon after.
After the own goal that was scored by Nathan Harriel, the Union was down by a score of 2-0, and it looked like all hope was lost for the match. But in the 62nd minute, Chicago Fire defender Rafael Czichos tackled Mikael Uhre right inside the box, and the referee pointed to the spot for the Union. Daniel Gazdag then proceeded to slot the penalty home to make it 2-1, and the Union was back in the match just like that. A few minutes after the Gazdag penalty, Jim Curtin went to the bench for his first substitutions of the match.
Matt Real and Quinn Sullivan came on to replace both Olivier Mbaizo and Mikael Uhre. Not even a minute after coming on, Quinn Sullivan would provide almost an instant impact to help the Union get back into the match completely. He sent a ball into the box to Daniel Gazdag, who then proceeded to head the ball to Julian Carranza who put it in the back of the net. The Boys in Blue went from being down 2-0 to equalizing at 2-2 in just the span of three minutes.
Julian Carranza is Back
Since his two goals in the season opener, Argentine striker Julian Carranza has not had the best of seasons for the Union, as he has had difficulties putting the ball in the back of the net. Prior to the match against Atlas, Carranza did not score for 9 matches for the club. However, he scored a brace against Atlas, which helped the club advance in the Concacaf Champions League to face LAFC. Anyone that had hoped that the brace would provide some confidence for Carranza had their prayers answered, as he scored the game-tying goal in the match against Chicago.
Getting him back to the confidence level he had last season would be massive for a Union side that has had some trouble scoring goals this season. The club has scored 10 goals in 8 MLS matches this season, which is definitely a number that Jim Curtin will want to improve on as the season continues. Carranza consistently scoring goals will help boost that number, and will definitely be able to boost the Union to some crucial wins as the season progresses.
With this result, the Union has an overall record of 2-4-2, with a record of 0-3-2 in their last five matches in the MLS. They will look to rebound next weekend against Toronto, as they head back to Subaru Park for the first time since their 1-0 win over Atlas on April 4th. The Union has not yet played against Toronto this season, but they did split matches with the Canadian club last season, with both clubs taking a win in their home stadium. Toronto won the first matchup by a score of 2-1, but the Boys in Blue responded in their home match, as they defeated Toronto by a score of 4-0.
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