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Match Recap: Union Leave Austin with 2-2 Draw.

Photo Cred: My good friend Dana who attended the match. Appreciate it!

Pre-Game Notes

The Union and Austin FC faced off last night in Texas, and both teams were looking for their first win of the season. Philadelphia went with their usual starting cast, but Glesnes had a night off as Elliott and Lowe manned the back line. For Austin, Sebastian Driussi was a reserve yesterday evening, but he did make an appearance later in the game.

First Half

The concerns entering the match were crystal clear: Which Union side would show up? Would we see the resilient Blue and Gold, or a team still mentally recovering from Tuesday's debacle. Thankfully, the Union came out ready to play. They looked more in sync with their passing, they weren't forcing Blake into any unnecessary saves, and they were threatening in the Austin box.

In the ninth minute, Austin was attempting to move the ball away from their net, but Quinn and Uhre did well on the press and forced a turnover. This would lead to Daniel being brought down just outside the box, and a Kai Wagner free kick would be obstructed by a handball from Austin. The original call for a corner kick was soon reversed by VAR, and Daniel Gazdag would come up to the spot. Similar to what we've seen last year, Daniel's PK was a good one. In a game where the Union needed a strong performance, Philadelphia earned a 1-0 lead in the first 15 minutes.

The Union continued to play well in the first half, and an Uhre chance late almost made it a 2-0 lead entering the locker room. Overall, I didn't have a problem with Mikael's performance, but he's missed on a couple of those close chances this year. Either way, the fans got a strong first half performance from the Blue and Gold.

Second Half

The Union needed to open their half the same way they closed the first. Unfortunately, they did not. In the 56th minute, Hector Jimenez was unbothered as he brought the ball toward the Philly box. His unobstructed cross made its way past Lowe and Elliott and found Rubio's head on the back post.

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse, the Union made another mistake 2 minutes later. A cross into the box was deflected away from the pk spot, and Jon Gallagher was left all alone as the ball rolled to his foot. Gallagher easily sent it into the back of the net, and Austin immediately shifted the momentum in their favor. You can watch both goals below.

Curtin has mentioned the word "uncharacteristic" when it comes to these miscues on defense. We've heard it this year already, and we heard it numerous times last season too. After a while, these aren't uncharacteristic performances. This is becoming the identity of the Union. They're a team that can compete with the best of the league, but then once in a while, they have mental lapses that usually lead to goals. We've seen it numerous times this year already, and I'm concerned about the previously stout back line.

Credit to the Union though. They fought their way back into this match, which has been far too common in this brief 2024 season. Less than 10 minutes after Austin's second goal, the Union tied this match up. Martinez had a nice ball to Nathan in the box, and Harriel's cross was enough to create a deflection. Mikael Uhre received the fortunate bounce and easily tapped it in. That's three goals so far for Uhre, two in MLS. Again, say what you want about Mikael, but he is here to score goals. He's at least starting off the season finding the back of the net.

Despite the scoring outbreak to start the second half, both teams cooled off in the final half hour. Curtin also made two substitutions yesterday. He again put Quinn up top for Uhre and placed Alejandro on the right side of the diamond. Sullivan would later come out for Donovan. Again, despite Baribo being on the bench, he was not able to see any minutes.

The final whistle eventually ended the game, and Philly left Austin with a 2-2 draw. On face value, this is a good result. Daniel continues his good form from the PK spot, Mikael Uhre found the back of the net, and you left with a road point. This, however, felt like a loss. The Union were the better team for a majority of the match, but as I said before, those "uncharacteristic" moments cost this team 3 points.

After the match, Curtin spoke with the media, and Jose Nunez shared some of Jim's comments:

What's Next?

The Union finally get a full week of rest before they travel to Portland for their Saturday evening match, but they will be carrying a heavily rotated roster because of international duty call ups. I have an idea of what this lineup will look like, but we'll see how training goes and what Curtin says on Friday before making any predictions. For now, Curtin was asked about his leaving players and their performance, and again Jose shared Jim's comment.

We'll see if this squad can again earn a point or more on the road. Doop!

Mike Barrera (Mbarrera1323 on Tik Tok & Twitter).

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