Late Chris Donovan goal leads Union to 2-1 win over NYCFC

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union returned back to Subaru Park for the first time since the 4-1 victory over Inter Miami as they faced off against rival NYCFC. The two teams have already matched up once this season, with Philly using a brace from Julian Carranza after going down 1-0 to help defeat their rival by a score of 3-1.

This match would see the opposite, as the Union would be the team to open up the scoring in the 23rd minute. The remainder of the match would be a constant back-and-forth showing, but Philadelphia would finally get their second goal in the 81st minute, with Chris Donovan scoring his first for the club in the MLS. NYCFC would get a goal through Jasson, but the final whistle would blow, and the Union would take the three points and a season sweep against their rivals.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

The Starting XI

Jim Curtin decided to roll with the 4-4-2 formation once again, which has been the preferred rotation as of late with Andre Blake and Damion Lowe being on international duty with Jamaica. Both of these players are back with the Union, but only Andre Blake was available against NYCFC. Unlike Andre Blake, Damion Lowe was not available for the match due to an infection that he currently has.

Changes from Wednesday’s match include Andre Blake coming in for Joe Bendik, Olivier Mbaizo coming in for Nathan Harriel, Jose Martinez coming in for Jesus Bueno, Jack McGlynn coming in for Leon Flach, and Quinn Sullivan coming in for the suspended Julian Carranza. Mikael Uhre also started, rather than coming off the bench as he did on Wednesday night.

With these changes, the Starting XI against NYCFC went as follows: Blake, Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes, Mbaizo, Martinez, McGlynn, Bedoya, Gazdag, Uhre, and Sullivan. The bench was the following: Bendik, Real, Harriel, Bueno, Flach, Perea, Torres, Rafanello, and Donovan.

Early Start for the Union  

The early parts of the match showed both Philly and NYCFC testing out the flow, which was seen with the back-and-forth play. But in the 23rd minute, everything changed, as the Philadelphia Union was able to open up the scoring with a goal from Jose Martinez.

It was a gorgeous counterattack by Philadelphia, which saw Daniel Gazdag send a through ball to Quinn Sullivan, who continued to run down the wing. Sullivan then sent a cross into the box, which eventually found Jose Martinez, who connected on a one-time volley to make it 1-0 to the Union.

It was Martinez’s second goal of the season, and also the second of his Major League Soccer career. The last decent chance of the first half came about ten minutes later when Quinn Sullivan had a nice opportunity saved by Barraza.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

First MLS Goal for Chris Donovan

In the 75th minute of the match, Jim Curtin would make his second and third substitutions of the match, bringing on both Leon Flach and Chris Donovan for Jack McGlynn and Quinn Sullivan. Chris Donovan would waste no time making his mark on the match, scoring after being on for only six minutes.

Daniel Gazdag would send a back heel pass through the NYCFC defense, and Chris Donovan continued the pile pressure on them. This pressure would lead to a mistake by Barraza and his defender, leading to an easy goal for Donovan. This goal was the first of Donovan’s MLS career, and it gave the Union a two-goal lead, which would prove to be important. 

About four minutes later, NYCFC would strike back with a goal of their own, through the substitute Andres Jasson. Jasson would have his first shot blocked by Olivier Mbaizo, but the deflection fell right back to Jasson, and he made no mistake, hammering it right past Andre Blake. The Cityzens would have constant pressure on the Union net for the remainder of the match, but the final whistle would eventually blow, and the Union would claim an important three points. 

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Up Next for the Union

The match against NYCFC was the Union’s last match in the MLS until August 20th, as the first edition of the Leagues Cup will be underway. While the Union’s first match will not be until July 22nd, the tournament kicks off on the 21st, with Cruz Azul taking on Inter Miami, and Orlando City taking on the Houston Dynamo.

The Union will be taking on Liga MX side Tijuana at Subaru Park for their opener. Club Tijuana is currently third in the Liga MX table, but it should be pointed out that they have only played three matches so far. They have one win, one loss, and one draw, totaling four points. Their last match was against Cruz Azul, where they were able to get a last-minute goal to clinch all three points in a 2-1 win.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

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