Red Alert: Union concede stoppage-time winner to extend home winless streak to 7 games

Image Credit: Philadelphia Union

If you weren’t already at that point yet, it might be time to reach for the Panic Button if you’re a Philadelphia Union fan. Zero wins at home in 6 games coming into Saturday night’s match, and right when you think Philly has an opportunity to break the Union Yards curse, they blow an early lead and give up the go-ahead goal in stoppage time to a Suarez and Messi-less Miami while playing with a 2-man advantage. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong for this team at this point – and it’s getting more ridiculous every game. Let’s take a look back at how it all played out in Chester on Saturday night.

Image Credit: Philadelphia Union

Union Starting XI

Saturday’s match against Inter Miami marked the first game of the Summer that Jim Curtin and Union will have to navigate a number of absences due to International call-ups in various competitions. In addition to those who are off with their home country (Damion Lowe, Andre Blake – also injured, Jose Martinez, and Daniel Gazdag), Jack Elliott would miss out due to a red card he was given against Montreal 2 weeks ago. Here’s how Union lined up against Inter Miami in their typical 4-4-2 Diamond formation:

GK: Oliver Semmle
RB: Oliver Mbaizo, CB: Jakob Glesnes, CB: Nate Harriel, LB: Kai Wagner
CDM: Leon Flach
LCM: Jack McGlynn, RCM: Ale Bedoya
CAM: Jeremy Rafanello
ST: Mikael Uhre, ST: Quinn Sullivan

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Uhre opens the scoring early

An early goal in front of the home crowd is just what the Doctor ordered, and in the 3rd minute, Mikael Uhre got Union off to a great start. Jakob Glesnes picked up the ball in the midfield just outside Union’s penalty area and carried the ball forward. He surveyed his options while Miami granted him time and space, and eventually sent an impressive pass through the midfield and past Miami’s backline, putting Uhre in alone on goal. Uhre made no mistake with the scoring opportunity, beating Callender and putting Union up 1-0 just 3 minutes in.

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Sullivan almost doubles the lead

The opening goal from Uhre put Union on the front foot and gave the home fans something to cheer about, which was important in a game at Subartu Park that had more “away” fans than most. Union was looking for a second goal and almost found it in the 37th minute when a Jeremey Rafanello cross into the middle of the penalty area sat perfectly for Quinn Sullivan. Sullivan stepped onto the loose ball and unloaded a shot toward the net, but his attempt on goal was blocked away to safety. Sullivan’s attempt had some real sauce on it and would have been hard to keep out of the net if it did end up being on frame.

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Gressel draws Miami level 2 minutes into 2nd half

I had barely gotten back to my seat from having a smoke and a diet coke at half-time when Inter Miami drew the game level courtesy of Julian Gressel. Set up by Benjamin Cremaschi, Gressel buried a cut-back opportunity to draw the game level at 1-1 no more than 2 minutes into the second half, deflating the positive energy Union built up from a positive first-half performance.

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Big Save By Semmle

After Miami found the equalizer it was them on the front foot looking for the second and go-ahead goal, and Union scrambling to recover their footing in the game. In the 67th minute, Miami found a counter-attacking opportunity that caught Union’s defense out of position. Miami got a strong look on the net, but Oliver Semmle came up with a huge save to keep the game level at 1 in the 67th minute.

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You get a yellow card! You get a yellow card!

There were 9 yellow cards given out in this game and 2 that resulted in reds. The first Red came just minutes after Oliver Semmle’s big save, when David Ruiz was given his second yellow card and was sent off the pitch. In the 84th minute, Miami’s Tomas Aviles would be shown a 2nd yellow card and would also be sent off the pitch, resulting in a 2-man advantage for Union late in the game.

Image Credit: Philadelphia Union

Miami steal 3 points while down 2-men

A last-minute winner against a 9-men and Suarez/Messi-less Inter Miami might have been the jumpstart Union needed it order to find some sort of positive form in their season, but with time winding down and Union desperate to secure 3 points at home Inter Miami hit Union on a counter-attack and delivered a blow that feels bigger than just losing a game at home. Leo Afonso barreled down the left side of the pitch, blew right past Jakob Glesnes on a 2-on-1, and beat Oliver Semmle in the dying minutes of the game to give Miami all 3 points on the road at Subaru Park.

Image Credit: Philadelphia Union

3 Takeaways

1.) We’ve seen the last of Julian Carranza

Curtin wouldn’t say the deal is official, but he did confirm that Julian Carranza will not play for Philadelphia Union again in his post-match press conference. Carranza will go down as one of Union’s best-ever signings, paying just $500,000 for the forward that Curtin called Union’s “Best Striker” tonight. Curtin noted that losing your best forward mid-season while in bad form is difficult, and that people need to step up to pull the team out of it.

But who exactly is Curtin asking to step up? Chris Donovan? Quinn Sullivan? Tai Baribo??? The options to replace Carranza internally have potential but aren’t exactly comforting. Will this front office do anything to replace Carranza this season, or will they wait til Winter to not repeat a signing like Tai Baribo – who was a panic buy last Summer when Carranza rumors initially started up?

2.) Is Curtin Frustrated?

“You know who we have and it’s not going to change so we have to find a way to get out of it ourselves”. A really interesting quote from Jim Curtin last night, but it’s most intriguing to me as it’s not the first or even the second time he’s said something to that effect this season.

Initially, I thought it was just Jim Curtin trying to be positive about the tools he has available to him, but now that he’s said it a few times – always after really tough losses – it feels like it might have some purpose behind it. Why can’t the players we have change? Why did we come into this stretch without proper planning for it? Was this quote a glimpse of Jim calling out his front office, or is he just being overtly honest with where the team is at currently?

3.) I’m not saying to tear it down, but…

I’m not saying this team should tear it down and rebuild, but I’m really starting to struggle to see where this seam goes without some significant changes in the next few windows. Seconds away from winning the MLS Cup just a few seasons ago, to being unable to win at home for over 77 days in just a few seasons. Curtin says it all the time – their margins are razor-thin. But at the same time, everyone’s mentality seems to be paper thin as well. If Union’s front office isn’t going to do something to try and help this team, it could be a long, frustrating Summer at Subaru Park.

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Looking Forward

It’s not going to get easier for Philly – who have won just 2 of their previous 12 games – with their next two games coming in quick succession. Up next for Philadelphia is a mid-week match against FC Cincinnati on the road, before the return to Subaru Park next Saturday to take on Charlotte FC, a team Union drew 0-0 to just a few weeks ago.

Philly is still, somehow, in a playoff position after tonight’s loss brings them to 4W-8D-5L and 20 points, good enough to be in the 8th spot in the East. But if Philadelphia doesn’t get 3 points from one of these next two games, it’ll be hard to see the Union staying in the playoff picture much longer, sitting just 4 points above the bottom dwellers of the east – New England

Image Credit: Philadelphia Union

Game Notes

First Half

3rd: UNION GOAL! Jakob Glesnes finds the ball in the midfield and carries it forward, eventually sending a through-ball that springs Uhre alone on goal. Union makes no mistake with the opportunity and Union takes a 1-0 lead in the game after just 3 minutes.

13th – Rafanello brings the ball forward on the counterattack and feeds Sullivan behind the defense. Sullivan’s attempt is disrupted by the defender and goes wide of the net.

29th – Wagner sends a free kick into the area that Callender punches over the bar

32nd – Yellow Card is shown to Miami’s David Ruiz

34th – Yellow Card shown to Union’s Ale Bedoya

37th – A Rafanello cross into the box falls perfectly for Quinn Sullivan but his blast on net is blocked

38th – Rafanello takes a shot from outside the box but it sails over the net

45th – 1 minute of stoppage time is added to the first half

45th – Nate Harriel blocks a cross attempt inside the penalty area

46th – End of the First Half

Second Half

46th – Miami Goal. Julian Gressel scores for Miami and levels the game at 1-1.

51st – Rafanello stabs at a cross into the box by Wagner, but his attempt is easily grabbed by Callender

52nd – Union Substitution: Ale Bedoya is replaced by Jesus Bueno

64th – Yellow Card to Union’s Kai Wagner

66th – Yellow Card shown to Miami’s Tomas Aviles


68th minute – Red card to Miami! David Ruiz is given his second yellow of the match and is sent off. Union will play the remainder of the match with a man-advantage

72nd – Union Substitution: Chris Donovan comes into the game for Jeremy Rafanello

75th – Yellow Card is shown to Miami’s Leo Campana

81st – Uniuon Substitution: Tai Baribo comes into the game for Oliver Mbaizo

82nd – Miami gets a chance from a header at the back post but the attempt goes off the crossbar

83rd – Baribo gets to a loose ball in the box but falls as he gets his attempt off and Callender makes a huge save

84th minute – A SECOND RED TO MIAMI! Tomas Aviles receives his 2nd yellow and is sent off

90th – 8 minutes of stoppage time are added to the end of the 2nd half

94th – Miami Goal. Miami gets a 2-on-1 counter-attacking opportunity and Leo Afonso blows by Glesnes and puts the stoppage time opportunity away to give Miami the 2-1 win.

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