Union snap winless streak with a 3-0 win over Revolution

The Philadelphia Union has had a horrendous spring in MLS; from April 14 to May 15 Philly played six matches, drawing two on the road and losing four at home. Taking just two points from a possible 18 is about as bad of a winless streak as one can imagine; however, that winless streak was snapped last night.

The Union went up to New England, a team that was in a worse run of form, and found a way to claim their second shutout of the season. Philly won 3-0 in a game where they dominated just about every aspect of the game.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Union vs Revs Recap

1st Half

Philadelphia came into their match against New England with a lineup from Jim Curtin that screamed stability on the road. With an unchanged goalkeeper and back four, and an experienced midfield with defensive-minded players, along with their consistent front three; here’s how Philly lines up:

Wagner, Glesnes, Elliot, Harriel;
Flach, Bedoya,
Carranza, Uhre.

The 4-4-2 diamond looked to stifle a banged-up Revolution side while hitting them with quick counterattacks. The first 14 minutes of the game showed Philly was comfortable playing this way, and a counter from Mikeal Uhre helped the Union get a major advantage. Uhre was fouled while trying to get past New England’s Ryan Spaulding. The foul was a rough one and resulted in a red card. Philly would be up a man for the remaining 76 minutes of the match!

After going up a man, the Union switched their plan of attack. Instead of counterattacking, they dominated the ball and looked to exploit the open spaces that were there thanks to the man advantage. In the 28th minute, Philly was forced to make a change that would actually help that style of play. Jose Martinez went down with an injury and would need to come out of the match. In came Jack McGlynn who would only need 62 minutes of play to put in a man-of-the-match performance.

Just 10 minutes after coming on McGlynn found the ball in acres of space on the left wing. He was allowed to run forward and pick out the perfect cross to find the head of Julian Carranza. Carranza would head home the chance to give Philly the lead just before halftime. The momentum they created from McGlynn entrance, and their man advantage would carry over into the second half.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

2nd Half

Philadelphia continued to dominate the ball and the match-up a man in the second half. The Union kept exploiting the wide areas, this time with Nathan Harriel on the right. He whipped in a cross just two minutes after halftime that met the head of Uhre. The headed effort rang off the post and ricocheted to Daniel Gazdag in the box. Gazdag collected the ball and fired a left-footed shot into the net to give Philly the 2-0 lead!

After going down two goals, New England made three changes to try and get back into the match, but their efforts were not good enough to do so. The Union secured 59% possession in the match and used the ball to create 20 shots, six big chances, and an expected goals average of 2.37. On top of that, Philly completed 164 more passes than New England did on the day leading to this beatdown of a game.

As the match moved on to its final 20 minutes, Jim Curtin went to his bench to help his team finish off the game. Quinn Sullivan came in for Mikael Uhre, and Oliver Mbaizo came in for Nathan Harriel in the 67th minute. Both came in and helped Philly continue to dominate the ball. Mbaizo flew down the right wing, and Sullivan made clever runs to get behind the defense.

In the last minutes of the match, Daniel Gazdag found the run of Sullivan behind the Revs backline. Quinn revved up a shot that stung the hands of New England’s goalkeeper. The ball bounced back into play, and Gazdag found his way to the loose ball. He smashed home the second chance putting the final nail in the coffin of a much-needed 3-0 Union win!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Three takeaways

1. 13 points on the road this season

While the last month has been the worst month in recent memory for the Philadelphia Union, their win against New England did more than snap a winless streak. Philly made some history Saturday night as they tied the record for the second-longest road unbeaten streak. They are now two results away from tying the longest streak currently held by Portland. In all honesty, the way this team plays on the road is inspiring, and you’d have to think that if they can continue to play this way away from home and bring some of that mentality to Subaru Park, this team can return to contender status!

2. McGlynn’s Man of the Match performance

Jack McGlynn is the man who runs the Union’s offense when they play with the ball. The fact that he started on the bench came in and immediately began to run Philly’s attack shows just what a talent he is. In his 62 minutes, he completed 59 of 67 passes (88%,) created three chances on goal (two of which were big chances,) and showcased a calmness on the ball that few on this Philly team have. Who knows how much longer the 20-year-old will play for the Union, but while he’s here he will continue to be one of the most important attacking pieces Philadelphia has.

3. Defensive stability at last?

This was just the second shutout of the 2024 season for the Philadelphia Union. A team that was once the best in MLS in defending has been leaking goals this year. However, this win over New England may have just cemented the blueprint for a more stable defense. The pairing of Glesnes and Elliot, with Flach at the defensive midfield spot stifled Carles Gil and New England all night. Could these three players anchor the Union’s defense for games to come and limit the conceding of goals? I bet Jim Curtin will lean on those guys after this performance, and expect more of the same next week.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Looking Ahead

Now that the month-long winless streak is over, the Philadelphia Union sees themselves sitting in 8th in the Eastern Conference on 17 points. They have only played 13 matches while most teams above them have played 14 or more. This team is still in a good position to compete for a top-four spot in the east this season if they can keep this good momentum moving forward.

Philly now has a week off to prepare for their next match. Another away game at Charlotte FC awaits the boys in Blue next Saturday at 7:30 pm EST. Can Philly keep their MLS-best road form going? If they can they could just jump up the standings as we inch closer toward a complicated and busy summer stretch!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union