Match Recap: Seattle Sounders hand Union their 2nd consecutive loss at home for 1st time since 2021

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

It’s just the first time since 2021 that the Philadelphia Union has lost consecutive games at Subaru Park. After a shocking last-minute loss to Real Salt Lake on the weekend, Union was hoping for a bounce-back performance from their club against a struggling Seattle Sounders, but a 3-2 defeat thanks to 3 first-half goals from the visitors overshadowed a historic night for Daniel Gazdag once again and puts doubt into the minds of Philadelphia fans who were riding the wave of being MLS’s only unbeaten team less than a week ago.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Union Starting XI

Due to this one being a re-scheduled match from March 9th’s rain-out, both teams by rules have to start the same XI that took the field for 5 minutes and 28 seconds on March 9th – with a few exceptions.

Damion Lowe, Markus Anderson, and Andre Blake – who all started the match on March 9th – were unavailable due to injury on Tuesday night, allowing Union to replace them with Jakob Glesnes, Julian Carranza, and Oliver Semmle in the Starting XI. Union would need to use a sub to put Carranza on the pitch at the re-start due to him not being included in the match day squad on March 9th.

Here’s how Union lined up:

GK Oliver Semmle
RB Oliver Mbaizo, CBJakob Glesnes, CBJack Elliott, LB Nathan Harriel
CDMJose Martinez
RCMQuinn Sullivan, LCM Jack McGlynn
CAMDaniel Gazdag
STMikael Uhre, STJulian Carranza

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Sounders Strike Early

Union Captain, Ale Bedoya wasn’t happy with a loss at home to RSL on the weekend and was quick to voice his frustration with missed opportunities and dropping points at Subaru Park, something we hoped would ignite a fire in this Philadelphia Union team. But just 13 minutes in, a Union mistake led to the opening goal for the visitors.

Jose Martinez mishandled a pass in the midfield. It was immediately snatched up by Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz. Ruidiaz pounced quickly to collect the loose ball and fired it towards the net with his first touch from about 55 yards out, checking Oliver Semmle off his line and giving Seattle the early 1-0 lead. The early goal for Seattle marks the 6th time in the first 9 games of the MLS season that the Union has conceded the first goal, a really dangerous habit to develop early on.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Vargas Doubles Sounders lead

Less than 10 minutes after Seattle found the bizarre opening goal from the foot of Raul Ruidiaz, it was 18-year-old Obed Vargas who doubled the lead before the half-hour mark with his first MLS goal.

Seattle defended a Union corner down at the other end of the pitch and moved the ball up the field with numbers, eventually playing it out wide to Leo Chu on the left side of the field. Chu laid the ball off to Vargas who took a few touches to his right, drifting into the penalty area and unloading a right foot shot with his 3rd touch which he beautifully bent into the far bottom corner, beating Oliver Semmle to his left-hand side and giving Seattle a 2-0 lead.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

From Bad to Worse – Ruidiaz Panenka gives Seattle a 3-0 first-half lead

Down 2-0 and searching for a lifeline back into the game, things went from bad to worse for Union around the half-hour mark when Oliver Mbaizo was whistled for a penalty. VAR took a look but ultimately decided the call on the field was the correct one, sending Ruidiaz to the spot with a chance to extend Seattle’s road lead.

Ruidiaz stepped up and chipped the ball right down the center of the net, pouring salt into the wound of a Union team being embarrassed at home. The 3rd goal by Ruidiaz marked the first time since August 21st of 2016(yes, 2016!!!) that Union have conceded 3 goals in the first half of a game at Subaru Park.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Union goes into half down 3-0 after missed opportunities

The mood around Subaru Park after Ruidiaz put in Seattle’s 3rd goal was somber – energy seldom felt down in Chester. Down 3-0 in the first half against a team that’s had trouble scoring goals this season and facing consecutive losses at home, Union knew they needed to show some sign of life in front of the home crowd to escape being booed off the pitch.

Just before the half, Union mustered up a few chances that would have offered them a way back into the game – Julian Carranza let a strong shot from the top of the box fly but wasn’t enough to trouble Seattle’s Andrew Thomas. Minutes later Daniel Gazdag was given the ball inside the penalty area with just Thomas to beat, but Seattle’s backup made an incredible save to keep the game 3-0 heading into half-time.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

McGlynn strike gives Union hope

10 minutes into the second half and down 3-0, 20-year-old Jack McGlynn handed Union a lifeline with a left-footed strike in the 55th minute.

Ale Bedoya collected a corner kick from Kai Wagner in Seattle’s penalty area and placed it off for Jack McGlynn standing just outside the box. McGlynn took one touch to set himself up, and with his second he sent a left-footed curler into the far bottom corner of the net – a goal that looked very similar to the one from Obed Vargas – bringing Union within 2 goals with plenty of time left.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Gazdag Goal re-writes Union history

Just 2 minutes after McGlynn’s goal got Union fans paying attention again, Quinn Sullivan sent a right-footed cross into the penalty area from Andrew Thomas’ left side which perfectly connected with the on-running head of Daniel Gazdag, who blasted the ball past Thomas and into the back of the net, bringing Union within 1 after falling behind 3-0 In the first half.

The goal in the 57th minute marks the 57th goal Daniel Gazdag has scored as a member of the Philadelphia Union, officially passing club legend Sebastien Le Toux’s record and making him the club’s all-time leading goal scorer across all competitions. If you haven’t yet, please take the time to listen to the radio call from Dave Leno – with Sebastien Le Toux watching on from above the pitch as well. A Historic moment in Union history. Congrats, Danny.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

VAR Saves Seattle’s Collapse in the 65th minute

Less than 10 minutes after Gazdag’s historic goal, Union thought they had completed the impossible come-back. Quinn Sullivan came down the right side of the field and drifted towards the middle, letting off a fizzing shot towards the net which rung the far post.

Gazdag, waiting at the back-post, tapped the ball into an open net and ran off to celebrate with Union fans in the corner, but before the celebrations could get under-way the referee raised his flag to determine Daniel Gazdag was offside, keeping the game at 3-2.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Carranza’s equalizer denied by cross-bar

With time winding down and the prospect of losing 2 consecutive games at home staring them in the face, Union would find another opportunity to bring the game level in the 84th minute off a cross from Quinn Sullivan. Sullivan whipped a ball into the area and connected with the head of Julian Carranza, but Carranza’s strong header was denied by the cross-bar keeping the game 3-2.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Knee-jerk Reactions:

  • Conceding First: uncharacteristic or a telling trend?:

    Despite starting the first 7 games of the season as Major League Soccer‘s only unbeaten team, Union has conceded the first goal in 6 of 9 games to start 2024.

    It’s a really dangerous trend that was being swept under the rug by continuous resilient, come-back performances by this Union side early on, but has come back to bite them in the previous 2 games against Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders.

    When asked about it after the game, Jim Curtin said that his team needs to find ways to play with the lead, and I wholeheartedly agree. Come-backs are great for entertainment purposes, but I think most Philly fans would agree that winning games comfortably feels a lot better in the long run than having to come back to earn points week after week. It was bound to bite them in the ass eventually, unfortunately, it had to come in back-to-back at home
  • Is Losing 2 straight at home unacceptable?:

    For the first time since September of 2021, The Philadelphia Union has dropped consecutive games at Subaru Park after losing to RSL and Seattle Sounders in 4 days.

    It’s something a lot of fans that jumped on this team’s wagon over the last few seasons have yet to experience, and I’m sure it feels downright wrong to travel down to Chester and leave empty-handed twice in a week – but is this a sign that Philly’s fortress needs some renovations? Or is this just a bump in the road for Jim Curtin’s Union?
  • Andre Blake’s health struggles:

    After starting against RSL on Saturday, Andre Blake was once again missing from the team sheet on Tuesday night. Andre has only played a full 90 minutes in 5 of 12 games across all competitions this season and has missed time due to several different injuries including a re-occurring groin issue and most recently, needing fluid drained from his knee.

    Blake’s frustration has spilled into conversations he’s had with reporters over the last year, voicing his concerns about the team’s inactivity in the transfer market, playing too many games, and not wanting to discuss his health.

    Now, after missing last night’s 3-2 loss against Seattle, Andre has posted this to his Instagram story – a concerning post to say the least. Andre Blake deserves to leave this club as nothing less than a legend, but I’m starting to wonder if that ending is coming sooner than we think and could be accompanied by anything but a fairy-tale ending.
  • If not Tai Baribo, then who?:

    Tai Baribo, who was included on the bench in the postponed match back on March 9th, was not listed on Union’s team sheet on Tuesday night.

    I believe Jim Curtin needed to use a sub before the game re-started to get Carranza on the field and Baribo off the team sheet altogether, which says a lot about where Baribo’s standing with the club is. When asked about it after the game, Curtin says Baribo’s absence comes down to technicalities and the chess game that building your roster for a postponed game comes with, but at the end of the day, it’s a very telling sign as to who Jim Curtin views as his 3rd Striker option – explaining that Chris Donovan currently sits in front of Tai Baribo on the depth chart.

    It’s not good for a guy Union reportedly spent over $1 Million to acquire. The big question is – when the Union is down a goal late in the game, is Chris Donovan this team’s only option to provide an offensive spark off the bench? Is that really the plan for a team that says it wants to compete to win multiple competitions year in and year out? I don’t know, man…
  • Gazdag breaks Le Toux’s record:

    Let’s end this on a high note, shall we? Daniel Gazdag’s record-breaking goal will be overshadowed by the fact that they didn’t win, and it probably should be. But at the same time, Gazdag deserves his flowers for accomplishing something so massive in Union’s history.

    Until this point, Sebastien Le Toux WAS the Union record book, but records are made to be broken and Daniel Gazdag now has the rest of his Union career(however long that may be) to raise the bar as Union’s new all-time leading goal scorer. The goal comes during a bit of a tear for Gazdag, who’s been rightfully critiqued by Union fans and Hungary’s National Team Manager. 5 goals in his last 6 appearances for Union – all of which came from opening play – is a positive sign for a guy that just missed out on winning the golden boot a few seasons ago.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

A Look Ahead

Union have no time to sulk on these back-to-back losses as they travel down to DC this weekend on short rest. DC are coming off a 2-1 win against Seattle Sounders at home – the team that just beat Philadelphia – and have a record of 2W-2D-1L in their previous 5 games.

When Daniel Gazdag was asked after the game if the team could use these 2 losses as motivation for going down to DC this weekend, Gazdag responded with “Absolutely, we have to. After 2 games like this we have to go out there and run through walls”.


6th – the postponed game back from March 9th re-starts at the 5:28 mark with a Union free kick by Jack Elliott

9th – Seattle collects a cleared Union corner and goes the other way with numbers, but Jose Martinez tracks back to put a stop to the attack before Seattle can get a look on the net

13th – SOUNDERS GOAL: Union gives away the ball in the midfield and Raul Ruidiaz shoots the ball from just inside the mid-field line and catches Oliver Semmle out of his net. 1-0 Sounders.

17th – Seattle sends Jordan Morris down the right side of the pitch, who cuts a ball back to the middle of the field near the top of the penalty area. Cristian Roldan runs onto the ball and strikes it on the first touch but it sails into the crowd

22nd – SOUNDERS GOAL: A Union throw-in leads Obed Vargas to collect the ball inside the penalty area and curve one into the far bottom corner to Semmle’s left side

34th – Oliver Mbaizo is whistled for a penalty after making a challenge in the box. VAR checks the play but it’s ruled a penalty

37th – SOUNDERS GOAL: Raul Ruidiaz chips it right down the middle and converts the PK. 3-0 Sounders

38th – Yellow Card shown to Julian Carranza

45+2 – A cross across the box by Martinez is put out for a corner, but Union isn’t able to connect from the ensuing attempt.

45+3 – Julian Carranza collects the ball at the top of the penalty area and gets a strong shot on the net, but not strong enough to trouble Andrew Thomas.

45+4 – Daniel Gazdag is given the ball in the penalty area and gets a shot off from a close distance, but Thomas once again makes a strong save

HALF TIME: Union goes into the breakdown 3-0. The first time the Philadelphia Union has conceded 3 first-half goals at Subaru Park since August 2016.


45th – UNION SUBSTITUTION: Jack McGlynn, Ale Bedoya, and Kai Wagner come into the game to start the 2nd half. Jesus Bueno, Oliver Mbaizo, and Jose Martinez are done for the night.

48th – Save By Semmle. Cristian Roldan’s right-foot volleys one on the net by Semmle and tips the ball over the bar

50th – Ruidiaz gets the ball in the box on a corner attack but Wagner does well to track back and snuff him out. Jack Elliott blocks a shot on the loose ball.

55th – UNION GOAL!: Jack McGlynn fires a left-footed shot from just outside their box that finds the bottom far corner, 3-1 Sounders

57th – UNION GOAL!: Daniel Gazdag heads home a cross from Quinn Sullivan to make it 2 goals in as many minutes. 3-2 Sounders

65th – Daniel Gazdag has the ball in the back of the net after a Quinn Sullivan strike hits the post, but he’s called offside

70th – Union make a couple of blocks on shots from in and around the box to keep Sounders from creating an opportunity on the net

72nd – Save by Semmle! Oliver Semmle makes a diving stop on a header off a corner kick that deflects off the post. Union gets a call and survives to stay within 1 goal

80th UNION SUBSTITUTION: Chris Donovan checks into the game for Mikael Uhre

84th – Quinn Sullivan whips a ball into the middle of the box which is headed on by Carranza and smashes the crossbar. but deflects out to safety for Seattle

88th – Quinn Sullivan gets a shot off from outside the box with his right foot by Thomas and makes a comfortable save to his left side

90th – the 4th referee announces 4 minutes of stoppage time

94th – Carranza gets an opportunity inside the penalty area but his shot attempt is right into the gut of Andrew Thomas

FINAL WHISTLE: Seattle 3 – Union 2.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union