Well, that was an interesting experience. I arrived at the Commodore Barry Bridge at around 8:05 p.m., but I did not sit in the press box until the end of the first half! Traffic was insane, and it wasn’t just vehicles. Club America supporters flooded the streets, in ways I have never seen at Subaru Park. They were cheering, selling merchandise, and very visibly making their presence known. I finally entered the stadium and wow, talk about an electric atmosphere. Club America Supporters were scattered throughout the entire arena, and they were loud and proud throughout the match. That didn’t stop the Philly faithful though, as they were the loudest I have heard them in some time. Hats off to all the fans who made sure the Boys in Blue heard your support! Anyway, my recap from tonight’s match is below!
Reyes, Aguilera, Valdez, Sanchez
Lainez, Fidalgo, Cordova
Wagner, Glesnes, Elliott, Mbaizo
Flach, Martinez, Bedoya, Miro
First Half Summary
I leaned on my British co-host of Across the Pitch for the first half summary. Dave started by saying it was a frustrating half from the Union’s perspective. For one, he (along with many others) weren’t thrilled with the lineup, and it was a huge blow to see Sergio Santos not healthy for the match. Regardless, both teams had chances, and although Philly grew into the match, they didn't do enough to test Ochoa.
Second Half Summary
The second half started exactly as the Union had hoped, or so we thought. Burke and Kacper played the ball brilliantly into the box, and Przybylko was brought down from behind. A penalty kick was awarded, and Jamiro Monteiro was given the chance to put the Union up 1-0. Unsurprisingly, Memo Ochoa made another legendary save, as he stretched to his left to keep the Union off the board. That was the chance, and Philly missed it.
The Union continued to press, and the next moment came just before the 55th minute. Bedoya was given a great ball down the right side of the pitch, and he brilliantly crossed it to a leaping Kacper. Once again, Mr. Ochoa made a miraculous save, and the Philly fans were left stunned. Club America supporters then went wild….
The Union kept their head up and continued to attack the Mexican defense. They had some solid crosses into the box, one being a set piece from Kai Wagner. Somehow this didn’t get drilled into the back of the net. See it below.
The away club made several substitutions to assist with halting the Philly attack, but Jim Curtin stood quietly. His subs had been warming up for some time, so not sure why Philly didn’t adjust their lineup sooner. Finally, with less than 20 minutes to go, Curtin replaced Miro and Mbaizo with Gazdag and Paxten.
Unfortunately, this change would come too late. Club America put the nail in the coffin in the 79th minute. A cross found the inside of the box, and Benedetti, who sat behind Glesnes, put his team up 1-0. The stadium erupted with away cheers that completely silenced any Union chant you had heard prior. What a bizarre moment to witness in Subaru Park.
Jim made a few more changes, as Bedoya and Flach were replaced by Sullivan and McGlynn. Considering how well McGlynn played against the Revs, I was hoping that Jim would give his promising homegrown some significant minutes tonight. A little too late.
Speaking of late, Club America made sure that Philly knew who the better team was. In the final moments of the match, a cross found the feet of Martin, who easily put it passed Blake.
This would be the end of the Union’s CCL run, and Club American advanced to the final. The away supporters stayed to cheer their Mexican squad, and dozens of CA fans stormed the field. No NFL style tackles unfortunately from the Philly security, although one older gentleman would have gotten called for a horse collar.
Union continue their MLS campaign, which has been anything but positive of late. Their next match is against Orlando at 4pm on Sunday 9/19.
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323)