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REPORT: Union thrash Queretaro to qualify for Round of 32

Daniel Gazdag was the star of the show as his hat-trick sent the Philadelphia Union to the Round of 32 in the Leagues Cup in their 5-1 win over Queretaro.

Gazdag scored twice from the penalty spot and opened the scoring with a great left-footed effort as the Union topped their group. Nate Harriel and Jack McGlynn both got on the score sheet to cap off a fine evening at Subaru Park.

With the win, it confirms that the Union will remain at home until at least the Semi-Finals of the Leagues Cup. They will play the second-placed team in the East 2 group in the Round of 32.

Having heavily hinted at starting a back three in the build-up to the fixture, Jim Curtin followed through with it, as Damion Lowe started in the defense for the Union alongside Jakob Glesnes and Jack Elliott. Nate Harriel and Mikael Uhre also came into the starting XI, as Olivier Mbaizo, Jack McGlynn and Quinn Sullivan dropped to the bench.

Daniel Gazdag thought he had blasted Philadelphia in front after eight minutes. Kai Wagner curled a free-kick into the box from the left, and Lowe headed it towards the goal. Alejandro Arana failed to claim the looping header, and the ball fell to Gazdag, who hit a half-volley into the ground as it fired into the top corner. Unfortunately, Lowe had moved into an offside position before the set piece was taken, cancelling out the goal.

Moments later, there was huge panic for Philadelphia as Uhre accidentally struck Omar Mendoza in the face with his arm. Following a VAR review and check for potential violent conduct, the referee believed there was no wrongdoing, and the Union kept all 11 men on the field of play.

On the half-hour mark, Gazdag opened the scoring with a great strike. The Hungarian received the ball to his feet from Elliott in a central position before turning, then outmuscling Federico Lertora and shooting from 25 yards. It was a low-driven effort with his weaker left foot, which fizzed past Arana and found the bottom corner.

Gazdag continued to be at the heart of the action in the 36th minute as the Union were awarded a penalty. He played an excellent defense-splitting pass to put Julian Carranza through on goal inside the penalty area. The Argentine took it around Arana before being brought down, and the referee did not hesitate in pointing to the penalty spot.

From the resulting spot kick, Gazdag made it two. He kept his cool, as he played the ball into the bottom left corner, sending Arana the opposite way.

Nate Harriel added a third as Philadelphia put the game to bed before half-time. Jesus Bueno curled a corner towards the six-yard box, and Harriel rose the highest to thump his header into the back of the net.

HALF-TIME: Philadelphia Union 3-0 Queretaro

Lowe almost made it four with an incredible strike in the 55th minute. He intercepted an attempted clearance from Queretaro before taking the ball 30 yards from the goal. He was encouraged to shoot by the Subaru Park faithful and accepted their invite as he curled an effort goalward. It almost found the top corner as a stunning save by Arana was the only thing preventing it from nestling into the back of the net.

On the hour, Lowe thought he had made it four but was offside. Bueno curled a ball across the penalty area, where the Jamaican international was in acres of space waiting to smash the ball beyond Arana. However, he was stood in an offside position, leaving the officials with no choice but to rule the goal out.

The Union were awarded another penalty seconds later when Bueno was brought down by a Queretaro defender. Carranza played a through ball for Bueno to get into the penalty area before the Venezuelan cut inside, forcing Emanuel Gularte to make contact with him, thus bringing him down in the process.

Gazdag completed his hat-trick with the penalty as he played the ball into the bottom right corner, beating Arana, who had guessed the right way.

Andre Blake made his first save of the game in the 70th minute. Queretaro broke down the left before Camilo Sanvezzo received the ball on the edge of the penalty area in a central position. He took McGlynn out of the game before playing it to Rodrigo Lopez, whose shot was straight at Blake.

Queretaro pulled a consolation goal back in the 84th minute through Raul Sandoval. The Union were caught sleeping at the back, and Jonathan Torres took advantage of the situation by getting onto a loose ball inside the box before taking it away from Elliott. He then passed the ball towards the six-yard box, allowing Sandoval to score from just a couple of yards out.

In the final minute of normal time, McGlynn capped off a dominant display by adding a fifth. He received the ball from Bueno before shooting towards the far bottom corner. It had plenty of power on it as it squeezed past the hands of Arana despite the deflection.

FULL-TIME: Philadelphia Union 5-1 Queretaro

Philadelphia Union: Blake, Harriel, Glesnes (Real 65'), Elliott, Lowe, Wagner, Bueno, Martinez (McGlynn 65'), Gazdag (Torres 74'), Carranza (Sullivan 74'), Uhre (Donovan 74')

Unused Substitutes: Bendik, Trent, Mbaizo, Perea, Rafanello

Queretaro: Arana, Mendoza (Gomez 58'), Gularte, Manzanarez, Perlaza, Barrerra, Lertora (Lopez 67'), Sierra (Garcia 58'), Montecinos (Sandoval 71'), Sepulveda, Sanvezzo (Torres 71')

Unused Substitutes: Allison, Tapia, Escamilla, A. Garcia, Gonzalez, Ayon, Yrizar


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