Photo Cred: Jose Roberto Nunez
The Boys in Blue came back from Montreal with a gutsy three points. Next up, they welcomed the San Jose Earthquakes to Chester, as the two teams squared off in a frigid affair. Although I was not at Subaru Park, our Across the Pitch friend and fellow Union fan, Jose Roberto Nunez, was there. Check out his page for some great clips and a picture with Ilsinho!
Harriel, Glesnes, Elliott, Wagner
Martinez, Bedoya, Flach, Gazdag
Marie, Yueill, Calvo, Lopez
Espinoza, Lopez, Gregus, Kikanovic
First Half Summary
A couple pre match notes to mention. Mikael Uhre was a late scratch with a quad injury. In the post-game presser, Jim mentioned that they were aware of the injury at noon. That said, it is a precautionary absence, and they do not believe it is too serious. Carranza was already suspended with a red card, so this left the Union short handed. Also, Ilsinho was honored tonight after he announced his retirement. Great to see him out there hitting the drum before the game.
The Union had a great chance in the third minute. Kai Wagner lined up a free kick and sent a lengthy cross into the box. Although appearing dangerous, It unfortunately went out for a goal kick.
San Jose began to settle into the match, but Philly was the better of the two squads in the first 15 minutes. We did have a slightly worrisome moment when Santos got tripped up, but fortunately he came back into action. As you'll see below, Sergio getting beat up was a common occurrence.
Santos had himself a good chance in the 14th minute. Harriel sent a ball across the box, which Daniel then redirected toward Sergio. A good left footed shot from Santos was deflected for a corner, but ultimately San Jose kept themselves out of danger.
Another good chance came soon after the 15 minute mark. Off a Gazdag corner, Harriel went up and sent a header to the corner of the net. The out stretched hand of Marcinkowski keeps It 0-0. Regardless, Philly looking dangerous without Uhre was nice to see.
The dangerous attack paid off in the 23rd minute. Flach poked away a ball that let Santos break free into the box. He took the ball all the way toward the near post before sending It across the box. Burke was waiting on the door step and left no doubt. 1-0 Philly!
Weird yellow card for Santos in the 27th minute. Sergio lost control of his body and took out a San Jose player. Completely accidental, but some how the official thought It was deserving of a card.
Sergio continued to be the Union’s most dangerous attacker. In the 30th minute, Gazdag sent an excellent thru ball to Santos. This left Sergio basically 1v1 against the keeper, but he put the shot passed the far post. These moments continued in the 34th minute. Once again, Santos was involved in the attack, and he fought hard to get Cory a chance on the left side. Burke then found Daniel in the box, but Gazdag’s first touch was just a bit too hard. Incredible chances from Philly, it’s a shame they couldn’t get another one into the net in these moments.
Union kept their foot on the gas, but ultimately went into the locker room up 1-0. Daniel, Burke, and Santos looked dangerous, but the team needed a 2nd goal. They could not afford to let San Jose hang around for much longer.
Second Half Summary
Second half started with a bit of a worrisome moment from the Union’s defense. They allowed a dangerous cross into the box, which led to a corner. Thankfully It posed no harm to Blake, and Union regained possession. As mentioned above, the 1-0 deficit was enough to give the Earthquakes some hope entering the second half.
The first 10 minutes felt similar to the first half chances. Philly was attacking and putting themselves into good positions to score, but that final touch wasn’t there. At this moment, I was worried that the Union would not be able to get the elusive second goal.
The worry was put to rest in the 58th minute. A ball was sent into the air while inside the San Jose box, and Jackson Yueill inexplicably trapped the ball with an extended arm. It was an obvious penalty and Gazdag took the chance. Daniel sent a confident chip into the back of the net and put the Earthquakes into a 2-0 deficit. After the match, Jim mentioned the guts it took for Gazdag to try for the Panenka.
The remainder of the half was far less busy than how the game started. That said, we had some chippy banter between the two clubs. Considering how long it’s been since we played San Jose, It was amusing to see some bad blood building between the teams.
oreSpeaking of blood, Philly was lucky to not spill any blood on the field. The training staff remained active throughout the match, and players like Burke, Leon, and Sergio were frequently found on the grass. Fortunately for the short handed Union, no injury appeared to be concerning. I did notice Santos limping a bit after the game, but I do not believe it's more than just some sore legs.
Curtin did end up making a handful of substitutions on this day. Paxten replaced Burke, Quinn removed Gazdag, and Real made his season debut for Flach. Most importantly, Sergio was able to play the full match. I was surprised that he didn’t get some rest after he took a beating, but glad to see him healthy enough to do so. When asked about this decision, Curtin mentioned that he wanted to keep Santos' speed up top.
8 minutes of stoppage time was awarded, and another scoring chance came in the 96th minute. Harriel was brought down just outside the box, but Wagner’s shot was ultimately blocked and sent out. The final whistle eventually blew, and the Union, despite the inclement weather, secured a comfortable 2-0 win. The Union are now undefeated in the first 3 matches, which is the first time they have been able to do so in their history. Last but not least, this victory was Coach Curtin's 100th career win. Nice to see him get a comfortable W today. Philly is back in action next Saturday for an early match against NYCFC.
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323 on Twitter)