The Philadelphia Union kicked off play in the Leagues Cup on Saturday night with their matchup against Liga MX side Club Tijuana. Club Tijuana is currently in 8th place in the Liga MX table, but they have also only played three matches. Both sides were looking to get off to a good start in the new tournament, but it would be Philly who would do so. Philadelphia won the match by a score of 3-1, using two goals from striker Julian Carranza and another by Daniel Gazdag. With this win, Philly would be on top of Group 1 in the East, but Queretaro, the other team in the group, has not yet played their first match.
The Starting XI
Jim Curtin made two changes in the Starting XI from the team’s last matchup against NYCFC. Jesus Bueno would come in for Alejandro Bedoya in the midfield, and Quinn Sullivan would replace Mikael Uhre, rather than replacing Julian Carranza, who was back from suspension.
The formation would still be the same, with Philly running the 4-4-2 Diamond, which has become the norm for Jim Curtin’s side throughout the years. With these changes, the starting eleven would go as follows: Blake, Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes, Mbaizo, Martinez, McGlynn, Bueno, Gazdag, Sullivan, and Uhre.
The bench for Jim Curtin’s side would be the following: Bendik, Trent, Lowe, Real, Harriel, Perea, Torres, Donovan, Uhre, and Rafanello. It was a strong Starting XI for the Union as they looked to make an opening statement in the first match of the Leagues Cup.
Phenomenal Carranza Performance
Striker Julian Carranza made his return to the Union’s Starting XI for this match after serving a suspension in the last one for his red card, and he made sure to put on a show. Carranza would score two goals on the night, winning the Man of the Match in the process. Carranza’s first goal came in the 26th minute, and it was a nice goal by the Argentine. Kai Wagner sent a cross into the box, which ended up being deflected by a Tijuana defender. The deflection would end up falling right to the feet of Carranza, and he made no mistake with the finish, giving Philadelphia a 2-0 lead early on in the match.
Carranza’s second goal would also use a deflection to help him out, but this time the defender deflected the ball into the net. Carranza would receive a pass from Jesus Bueno inside the box, and he would one-time it. The shot would be deflected by another Tijuana defender, and go past the goalie to give Philly the 3-1 lead at the time. The Union would hold onto this lead, and Carranza’s goals were an important factor in getting the three points.
On top of the two goals, Julian Carranza was absolutely influential in Philadelphia winning this match. According to Fotmob, Carranza received a 9.6 match rating, and he also created a total of four chances, even winning the penalty that Gazdag scored. The Argentine showed how dominant of a player he can be, and how important he is for this Union squad.
Up Next for the Union
The next match for the Union will be on July 26th at 7:30 PM against another Liga MX side in Queretaro. The club is currently in 13th place in the Liga MX table, but they have only played two matches in their short season so far. This matchup will be the first for Queretaro in the Leagues Cup, and they will look to make a statement against a tough Union side. The scenario for the Union is simple, three points and you win the group. That is what Jim Curtin’s side will be looking to do in this match, so a strong squad will once again be expected.
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union