MATCH REPORT: Uhre's Hat Trick Leads Philly to a 4-2 Win.
Photo Cred: Philadelphia Union
McGlynn, Gazdag, Bedoya, Martinez
Wagner, Elliott, Glesnes, Harriel
Marshall-Rutty, Kaye, Osorio, Servania
Petretta, Rosted, MacNaughton, Laryea
First Half Summary
After a week off since the Chicago match, Union fans had their eyes on Wednesday evening, rather than Saturday night. LAFC will be travelling to Chester to battle the Union in the first leg of the CCL Semi-Finals. Considering the importance of this match, majority of fans expected the Union to play a B Squad tonight. We were wrong, however, as Jim trotted out a familiar lineup. Nathan Harriel started at Right Back, with Olivier Mbaizo not even on the bench. In the post-match presser, Jim says it was a minor hamstring for Olivier, and he is hopeful that he could be available against LA. Leon Flach was a scratch for the Chicago match, and Curtin mentioned that Leon would need injections for his hip. Although not starting, it was good to see Leon healthy enough to make the bench. Finally, Kai Wagner was back in the rotation. We know Kai has been nursing a hamstring injury, but he looked strong tonight in his runs and passes.
It's obvious that the Union needed a get-right game, especially with the heavily favored LAFC coming to town. For the first time this season, Philly looked like the machine we saw in 2022. Their movement was fluid, their passes on point, and their pressure was relentless. This first half summary is a simple one. The Union absolutely dominated Toronto for 45 minutes and six minutes of stoppage time.
The first goal from Philly took a very fortunate bounce. If you recall the second goal in the Chicago match, Glesnes' clearance bounced off Harriel and went into the goal. This was a redemption of that moment. Carranza had a dangerous cross into the box, but Gazdag's shot was blocked and kicked around by the Toronto defenders. Unfortunately for the visitors, the ball bounced into the net. The Union may not have scored, but their pressure into the final third started it all.
The good vibes continued, and Mikael Uhre earned the first of three goals on the evening. A great cross from Brujo gets knocked into the air, but Carranza out muscled Johnson and retained possession. Julian's cross then had a fortunate bounce to Mikael. Uhre's shot deflected off a Toronto defender and he finally found the back of the net. It didn't matter how it happened. The Union absolutely needed Mikael to regain his form from last year. 2-0 Philly.
Two was not enough for Philly, and Mikael wanted another one. This one didn't need a deflection to find the back of the net either. Jack Elliott started the counter with an excellent tackle to stop the Toronto attack. Bedoya then found Gadag at midfield, and Daniel's pass left Uhre one on one vs Johnson. Mikael's finishing made it look easy. An accurate strike passed Johnson and put Philly up 3-0.
Although the Union could have snagged 4 to 5 goals in the half, they entered the locker room with a 3-0 cushion.
Second Half Summary
These next 45 minutes for me were all about Wednesday. Although I would love to see another 6-0 demolishing, the priority is being ready for LA. Uhre again took matters into his own hands. Ten minutes into the second half, McGlynn forced a turnover and started the counter. Gazdag then found Carranza, and Uhre's run was able to get just enough on Julian's cross. Finally, the top three were not only on the same page, but absolutely lethal in the attack. This would be Mikael's first MLS Hat-Trick, and he was rewarded with a curtain call in the 60th minute when Quinn Sullivan stepped onto the field. Jim also made his second sub when he replaced McGlynn for Leon.
There was some rain on the Union's parade, and I don't mean any last minute showers on Saturday night. Insigne showed off his talent in the 66th minute He snuck behind Nathan, who just barely missed the poke to keep the ball away from the Italian. Insigne's strike was a pretty one. He beat Andre on the far corner and made it 4-1. In the presser, Jim praised Nathan's performance, but did highlight the miscue and mentioned that he's still a developing talent.
The Union had a handful of chances to put in their fifth, but they also began to take their foot off the gas as the match moved closer to the final whistle. Jim also took a bit longer than most of us would have liked to make changes. He finally made his next subs in the 83rd and 86th minute. Bueno replaced Bedoya, while Perea came in for Brujo. The Across the Pitch team has been screaming to see Andres more often, and we finally got a glimpse of him for the first time in forever. I hope this means he will be seeing a more extended role against LAFC. As we've seen against Orlando and Alianza, Perea can make things happen when he gets the chance.
The match ended on another poor note from Philly. In stoppage time, Richie Laryea sent a right-footed shot passed Andre and made it 4-2. I know that the Union took their foot off the gas, but Curtin always asks for the clean sheet. We all just wanted a dominant outing from beginning to end.
The Union earned a much needed win and now look to ride the momentum into Wednesday. Doop!
-Mike Barrera (Mbarrera1323)