The Philadelphia Union suffered their first loss of the 2023 MLS season, as goals from Corentin Jean and Robert Taylor condemned them to a 2-0 defeat at Inter Miami.
The Union backline had a solid night in Miami, as they only allowed two shots on target in the 90 minutes. However, those two attempts happened to hit the back of the Union net. Taylor's was the pick of the night and possibly the week, as Andre Blake was left with next to no hope of keeping it out.
That is what will frustrate Philadelphia and Jim Curtin. The back four were resolute and did not give Inter Miami a real sniff inside the penalty area. However, the lack of production in attack and the lack of a killer instinct will be frustrating. Fortunately, it happened in Week Two instead of the first game in the postseason.
Andre Blake- 6
Blake did not have much to do in the game. Miami had two shots on target, and both hit the back of the net. The Jamaican got a glove onto Corentin Jean's first-half goal but could not get a strong enough one to keep it out. Blake simply had no hope of saving Robert Taylor's stunning volley from the edge of the penalty area. Apart from that, the only real-time the 32-year-old was called into action was when he was alert and pushed Jean Mota's free-kick from a tight angle away from the goal.
Olivier Mbaizo- 6.5
Mbaizo had a quiet game in attack with much of the Union's offensive play running through Kai Wagner and when they attacked down the right, it was Bedoya that was at the heart of it. His lack of involvement was through no fault of a lack of effort, as he made a fantastic recovery run in the second half to shut down a Miami attack. The right-back was solid defensively, as Inter Miami did not create a lot down the right.
Jakob Glesnes 6.5
Glesnes made history on Saturday by becoming the fifth outfield player in MLS history to start 75 regular season games. He had a strong game at the back, as he and Elliott commanded the penalty area and limited Josef Martinez to next to nothing in the game. He made a great block to deny Martinez and also played an excellent pass down the line for Ale Bedoya to run onto.
Jack Elliott- 6.5
Elliott has had a great start to the season, continuing his form from the previous two years. He has once again been a commanding presence at the back, where he won everything in the air and around the penalty area. Similarly to the Columbus win, nothing came through his side as he limited the opposing team's forward to next to nothing.
Kai Wagner- 7
The German left-back looked the most likely to make something happen for the Union. His range of passing in the game was brilliant, especially during the first half. The two moments that stick out the most were his switch of the play to Bedoya, which was an incredible pass that took two players out of the game. The other was his cross into the box from a deeper position that found Gazdag at the back post. Unfortunately, he could not find anyone with his header across the goal.
It was great to see Wagner's passion and aggression in the game as he went to battle in the first half. When on the road in a tough game and environment, you want to see your players showing that determination to go to war and win.
Jose Martinez- 5
Martinez is a feisty player that likes to get stuck in and take risks on the ball. A stupid yellow card in the 24th minute limited his ability to play to his strengths, as he lacked the usual aggression in his game. I'm not too sure what was going through his mind, but him running another ball onto the field of play was only going to end one way.
He and Leon Flach getting early yellow cards hurt the Union's ability to win the physical battle in midfield. Martinez also struggled on the ball with some wayward passes that hurt Philadelphia in the opposing half. He had an ineffective game, but he has the opportunity to get back on track in El Salvador.
Ale Bedoya- 6
The Union captain had a lot of space down the righthand side to impact the game, but he could not take advantage. His production at times was good with a nice cross into the box, where Flach could only react at the final second before he headed goalward. He also played a good ball into the box, which could have been a goal had it met the head of Jack Elliott.
The one concern for Bedoya was that he looked tired in the match. The club captain played 86 minutes in Miami, and with the CONCACAF Champions League fixture in El Salvador on Tuesday, the concern is that the Union skipper will be thrown into the fire again and play the majority of the game in what will be humid and difficult conditions. With Bedoya in the final stages of his career, he needs his game time properly managed. You do not want a repeat of the 2021 campaign, where he struggled and was hounded by much of the fanbase. We saw how important the club captain was in the MLS Cup Final run in 2022, and keeping him as fresh as possible will be necessary.
Leon Flach- 6
His booking in the 21st minute after getting to a tackle half a second late was harsh. That impacted Flach's ability to be as aggressive and involved in the defensive side. He is a player that likes to get stuck in and break up the play alongside Jose Martinez, which makes the Union so effective in the transitions and the turnovers. The 22-year-old was not as involved in the offensive side of the game after a positive opening weekend.
Daniel Gazdag- 6
We saw glimpses of the Daniel Gazdag of 2022, like his forward run for Philadelphia's biggest opportunity of the game. He did well to keep up with Uhre and sent a first-time effort goalward, but Brake Callender did well to make the crucial save, with Inter Miami taking the lead moments beforehand. Gazdag also played a great through ball for Carranza to run onto, as the angle on the pass was perfect. There is more to come from Gazdag, but he needs to play with his head up more often and be selfless in certain moments. There was a moment in the first half as the Union broke forward, and there was an opportunity to play Bedoya in down the right. He instead continued forward as the attack broke down. There was a similar moment in the first game against Columbus, where he opted to shoot instead, which was blocked.
Julian Carranza- 5.5
Carranza had a quiet game against his former club, where his only moment of note was his shot during the second half from a tight angle. He timed his run perfectly from Gazdag's through ball before getting a shot away. However, Callender stood tall at his front post. He had a great opportunity for a shot from outside the box, with the game coming down to its final moments. However, he instead tried to play a pass for Bedoya, who was trying to make his way into the box. That was a point of frustration, considering how lethal he was with his left foot and curling the ball into the bottom corner last season. Regardless, it was one of those days.
Mikael Uhre- 6
After a quiet performance against Columbus, we saw more flashes from Uhre in Miami. He did well to react to the poor goal kick before going on a run towards the box and making a smart pass to Gazdag, who was in acres of space. His pace and pressing from the front almost paid off on a couple of occasions. Uhre is yet to meet the high standards that he set in 2022, but he has a great chance to get off the mark for the season against Alianza in midweek.
Joaquin Torres- 6
It was always going to be hard to replicate his stunning debut, and Torres struggled to influence the game when he came on. Credit where it is due, Inter Miami did well in doubling up on him and putting pressure on Torres when on the ball.
Jack McGlynn- 6
McGlynn had a quiet 30-minute cameo, where he got lost in the shuffle of the game. With Miami protecting a goal advantage, there was not as much space for McGlynn to exploit. We did see a hint of his excellent passing ability as he made a great cutting pass to Gazdag, which put him into an attacking position in space.
Quinn Sullivan- 6
Sullivan was unable to help mount a late comeback, having come onto the pitch with the Union being 2-0 down. Inter Miami managed the final moments well as they closed the game out. Philadelphia's attackers did not have any answers. Sullivan has struggled to make an impact in his short cameos. Hopefully, he starts against Alianza.
Andres Perea- N/A
Perea replaced Bedoya in the 86th minute with little time left in the game to make an impact.
Cover photo credit to the Philadelphia Union social media team.