MATCH REPORT: Union End Their Regular Season in First Place
The Union's regular season finale has arrived, and the Boys in Blue just needed a win to secure their 1st place position in the Eastern Conference. AATSports was onsite for the early afternoon kickoff!
Gazdag, Flach, McGlynn, Martinez
Real, Elliott, Glesnes, Mbaizo
Okello, Bradley, Kaye
Petrasso, Mavinga, MacNaughton, O'Neill, Marshall-Rutty
First Half Summary
With the new broadcasting deal for the MLS, this was JP, Danny, & company's final match covering the Union. Rightfully so, JP was given a pre-game ceremony and hit the drum before the kick off. He will certainly be missed!
Subaru Park was electric before the match started, and they had more reasons to cheer in the 4th minute. A cross from Real ricocheted toward Daniel in the box, and he sent a right-footed volley straight into the far corner of the net. What an absolutely spectacular goal for the Hungarian, who earned his 20th of the season. After the match, Gazdag said it was his first volley goal of his career.
The Union kept their foot on the gas in the 14th minute. Julian found himself on a breakaway with only one defender on his left. He then sent a strong right-footed shot at net which bounced off the crossbar. The ball then bounced off Westberg, but fortunately for the visiting keeper, it didn't go into the net. The stadium erupted in applause after a great chance from Julian.
The Union continued to be the better of the two teams as the half-hour mark approached. The only real chance was a shot from Daniel in the 31st minute, but otherwise, Toronto did enough to keep Westberg out of trouble.
We were watching the scoreboard throughout the first half, as a Montreal win and Union draw would give Montreal the first seed. With Montreal up 3-0, the Union needed to extend their lead. This finally happened just after the 40th minute. Flach did well to give Daniel the ball by midfield, and Gazdag sent a leading ball to Mikael. Uhre then brought the ball into the box and showed why we pay him the big bucks. Uhre squeaked a rolling ball passed Westberg and put Philly up 2-0!
Toronto came inches from scoring just a few moments later. Kaye received a ball in front of an empty net, as Blake had been drawn out to the left. Fortunately for Andre, Mbaizo quickly blocked the shot and kept the visitors off the board. What a huge save from Olivier!
The first half finally came to an end, and Philly went into the locker room with a comfortable lead.
Second Half Summary
Entering the match, Daniel Gazdag was four goals behind Hany Mukhtar for the MLS Goal Lead. Daniel continued his good form in the second half. First, a handball in the box gave Gazdag the PK chance, and he confidently earned a brace. Just a few moments later, Daniel found the ball at the top of the box, and he easily sent a low shot passed a diving Westberg. What a couple of minutes for Philly, as they now carried a 4-0 lead into the final half hour.
The first substitution from the Union came in the 66th minute, when Uhre was replaced by Burke. Not long after, the Union saw a familiar face enter the match. After some time off for injury, Bedoya was brought into the match for McGlynn. It's clear that the Union missed Bedoya during their road trip, and with the playoffs just two weeks away, it was nice to see the Captain get some minutes under his belt.
Despite the brief run of goals from Daniel, the second half was very much a back and forth. Andre was relatively untested, while Westberg only had to deal with getting hit in the head by Gazdag during a scoring opportunity. Otherwise, the Union closed up the 90 minutes with one more substitution. Jose Martinez was replaced by Quinn Sullivan. Flach then fell down into the 6 as Sullivan filled the left of the diamond.
Considering the lack of stoppage, the head official blew the whistle at the 90th minute. The Union had another impressive home performance and guaranteed that the playoffs would be running through Chester PA.
- Mike Barrera (mbarrera1323)