Julian Carranza scored twice during first-half stoppage time as the Philadelphia Union came from behind to beat NYCFC 3-1 at Citi Field, extending their unbeaten league run to seven games.
Gabriel Pereira had given the hosts the lead in the 30th minute. Jose Martinez lost possession 25 yards from the Union goal, leaving the visitors exposed at the back. Santiago Rodriguez played the ball to the feet of Richard Ledezma, who played a first-time pass to Pereira, who was in acres of space. The forward remained composed as he stroked a first-time effort into the far bottom corner.
The game turned on its head when Carranza scored twice in three minutes to give the Philadelphia Union a 2-1 lead heading into half-time. His first was pure brilliance, as he called for Jack Elliott to play a long diagonal ball forward. Carranza did well to get away from a defender before taking an excellent first touch to chest the ball into space and away from any NYCFC defenders before drilling a powerful effort beyond Luis Barraza.
Carranza added his second a couple of minutes later. Andre Blake claimed an NYCFC corner before quickly distributing the ball to Martinez, who played a long ball forward for Mikael Uhre to run onto. Daniel Gazdag made an overlapping run which allowed Uhre to go inside before passing to Carranza, who saw his low-driven shot nestle into the bottom left corner.
The Argentinian striker continued to cause the hosts nightmares when he won Philadelphia a penalty at the start of the second half. Carranza did well to get goal side of Thiago Martins before latching onto a long ball forward. He brought the ball towards the penalty area before being brought down just inside the box.
Gazdag took the spot kick and made no mistake as he sent Barraza the wrong way to double Philadelphia's advantage.
Jim Curtin named an unchanged starting XI at Citi Field as the Union looked to extend their six-game unbeaten run in the MLS. Philadelphia remained with a back three following their impressive 3-0 win against the New England Revolution in their previous league game.
Gabriel Pereira forced Andre Blake into an early save from an NYCFC corner. The hosts passed the ball towards Pereira, who shot first time, having run onto the pass. However, he struck it straight at Blake, who comfortably gathered the attempt.
Moments later, Daniel Gazdag tried his luck from distance. Mikael Uhre did well to get in behind the NYCFC defence as he got into the penalty area. Instead of going towards the goal, he went backwards before passing to Gazdag, who tried a snapshot, which went well wide of the target.
Richard Ledezma tested Blake from 25 yards as the game started to burst into life after ten minutes. Ledezma received the ball from distance and had the time and space to take a touch before shooting goalward. It was a low-driven effort, which bounced just in front of Blake, who had gotten down to his bottom left corner. The bounce did not make much of a difference, as the Philadelphia goalkeeper did well to palm away from the danger.
Kai Wagner almost caught Luis Barraza out from a free-kick in the 18th minute. The Union had the set piece in a position where the ball would typically be played towards the cluster of players inside the box. With Wagner noticing that the goalkeeper was off his line, he attempted to curl the ball into the bottom corner. It had Barraza scrambling across to get down and push the ball behind the post for a corner, which came to nothing.
Andres Jasson had a big chance after Pereira played an excellent ball towards the back post, which took Jakob Glesnes out of the game. Blake and Jasson both competed for the ball, but it evaded both men, who collided with one another. Both players needed a moment to recover but were okay to continue.
Pereira gave the hosts the lead on the half-hour. Jose Martinez lost possession midway inside the Union half, which allowed NYCFC to capitalise on Philadelphia being out of position. Santiago Rodriguez played the ball into the feet of Ledezma, who quickly played it out to Pereira while being taken down by Damion Lowe. Pereira took a first-time shot with his left foot to place the ball into the bottom left corner, leaving Blake with no chance of keeping it out.
Julian Carranza had the ball in the back of the net in the 35th minute, but it was ruled out for offside. The ball was initially played into the feet of Gazdag, who had come from an offside position before he flicked it onto Carranza. The Argentine fired the ball across the goal and into the far corner, but the linesman's flag was swiftly raised to award the offside.
Pereira continued to cause Philadelphia problems as he rattled the crossbar. The ball was played down the right for the 21-year-old to run onto as he made his way into the penalty area. He cut the ball onto his left foot before blasting a shot towards the far corner. It had plenty of power and height as it smashed off the face of the crossbar.
At the start of stoppage time, Carranza fired Philadelphia back level. Jack Elliott played a long diagonal pass over the top of the NYCFC defence and in the direction of Carranza. The striker did a brilliant job to chest the ball inside into the space before rifling it beyond Barraza, who had no chance of keeping it out.
Carranza made it two in three minutes as the Union took the lead. Blake claimed a corner before quickly rolling it out to Martinez. He played a long diagonal ball towards Uhre, who latched onto it. He had Gazdag running on the outside, which allowed him to take the ball inside before he passed it to Carranza, who drilled the ball into the bottom corner past Barraza.
Ledezma had a good opportunity in the final moments of stoppage time, but his attempt from inside the box was straight at Blake.
HALF-TIME: NYCFC 1-2 Philadelphia Union
Carranza almost completed his hat-trick less than a minute into the second half. A cross into the box fell to the feet of the striker, who struck it towards Barraza's near post. However, it hit the foot of the woodwork before the hosts cleared their lines.
In the 49th minute, Philadelphia were awarded a penalty, when Carranza was brought down by Thiago Martins. The Argentine did brilliantly to get goal side of the defender before latching onto a long ball forward. He made his way towards the penalty area before being brought down by Martins as he took the ball into the penalty area.
There was a VAR review in which it appeared that the decision would be reversed, thus awarding a free-kick for the Union with a potential red card being given to Martins. However, after checking with the monitor, the referee stuck with his initial decision and booked the defender.
From the resulting spot kick, Gazdag made it three in the 53rd minute. The Hungarian kept his cool as he calmly slotted the ball to the right of the goal, sending Barraza the wrong way.
In the 63rd minute, NYCFC had a penalty appeal of their own when Blake and substitute Gabriel Segal collided inside the penalty area. The ball was played through to Segal, who tried to poke the ball beyond Blake, who had come out to try and gather the loose ball. The home fans were convinced that Blake had brought Segal down and were calling for a penalty. However, the referee awarded a corner and following a short VAR review, the decision stood.
Blake did well to deny Pereira, who made a good run into a wide gap within the Union defence. Tayvon Gray passed the ball to the forward, who took a touch before shooting across the goal with his right foot. The Jamaican goalkeeper did well to get a solid palm on the ball to push it away from the danger.
Carranza had a big opportunity to clinch his hat-trick with ten minutes remaining. Olivier Mbaizo played a good pass inside for the striker, who took a touch before shooting goalward. It had plenty of power but was too close to Barraza, who made sure to keep it out.
Gazdag almost scored his second in the 90th minute. The ball was played into his feet with his back to the goal on the right side of the penalty area. He turned before directing a low-driven effort towards the near post, but Barraza got down to push it behind the goal.
FULL-TIME: NYCFC 1-3 Philadelphia Union
NYCFC: Barraza, Gray (Cufre 86'), Chanot, Martins (Alfaro 55'), O'Toole, Parks, Sands, Pereira, Rodirguez, Jasson (Segal 62'), Ledezma (Talles Magno 62')
Unused Substitutes: Mizell, Freese, Turnbull, Haak
Philadelphia Union: Blake, Mbaizo, Glesnes, Elliott, Lowe, Wagner, Martinez, Flach, Gazdag, Carranza (Donovan 86'), Uhre (Bueno 73')
Unused Substitutes: Bendik, Harriel, Real, Odada, Perea, Torres, Rafanello