Philadelphia Union wins 2-0 at the New York Red Bulls with goals from Mikael Uhre and Dániel Gazdag
HARRISON, NJ — Goals from Mikael Uhre and Dániel Gazdag in the second half gave Union a 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night. It was the fourth win in a row and the 10th in 12 games for leaders Union (17-4-9, 60 points) and the ninth game in a row against the Red Bulls (13-9-8, 47 points) without defeat .
The result also set or promoted Union records for most wins in a season (17), wins away (seven), standing points (60), goals scored (63) and shutouts (13) with four games remaining in the campaign.
Here are some observations on the win.
So much for all the talk about Union manager Jim Curtin not rotating his starting line-up. He made four changes: Cory Burke at forward, Jack McGlynn and Matt Real at midfield, and Nathan Harriel at right-back. Julián Carranza, Alejandro Bedoya, José Andrés Martínez and Olivier Mbaizo were eliminated.
Leon Flach took Martínez’s place at the end of the diamond after Martínez said a few hours before the game that a nagging rib injury was too much for him. McGlynn started on the right, unusual for Bedoya, and Real slotted in on the left in his first start since May 2 last year.
All four of the usual starters were on the bench and two of them came on: Carranza and Bedoya, who came on in the 58th minute.
» READ MORE: Jim Curtin defends not changing Union lineup ahead of Red Bulls visit
Curtin started his two big forwards, Burke and Uhre, for the first time since July 13 and only the second time overall. If it was supposed to help get past New York’s defenses, it didn’t. Union only registered a shot in the last minute of the first half when a free ball fell on Real at the top of the 18-yard box.
The team as a whole completed just 99 of 165 passes in the first half, an accuracy rate of 60%, as New York’s 3-4-2-1 formation and high pressing blocked the works.
But even in the second half, it didn’t take long for Union to break through.
» READ MORE: The Union’s top goalscorer this year is a left-back. Yes, really.
Uhre’s goal was set up by a stunning run from McGlynn. He crossed the field from the left, flicking the ball on the way over John Tolkin and then slipping the ball between an oncoming Tolkin and a running back Aaron Long to allow Uhre to continue.
Watch had Sean flipping Nealis onto his back but held him back and pushed a shot towards the far post of Carlos Coronel. Crossing the finish line triggered a cheer from the hundreds of Union fans in the stands, not just in the guest fan area upstairs, but also throughout the lower deck. It looked and sounded like most Union fans would make the trip north here for a game.
Union has a new all-time top scorer across all competitions in a year. Gazdag, with some help from their fellow stars, has written their place in the history books once again with their 18th tally in 2022.
Carranza took Nealis’ pocket and passed the ball forward to Uhre, who returned a great first touch flick to Carranza. He sent Gazdag into the left side of New York’s 18-yard box and the Hungarian deflected the ball past Kyle Duncan and Coronel.
» READ MORE: Dániel Gazdag may not be the Union’s most valuable player, but he is the most outstanding
Andre Blake made two sensational saves in the game, one of which in the second half was so good it even got the Red Bulls’ Twitter account to say hello.
“…sometimes you just have to take your hat off to Andre Blake…” wrote the admin.
Union fans, meanwhile, serenaded Blake with “MVP!” chants after the saves and after the final whistle.
Football Association athletic director Earnie Stewart, who held the same job with the Union from 2015 to 2018, watched the game from a suite.
His focus was probably on Long, the Red Bulls centre-back who is a candidate for America’s men’s World Cup squad this fall. But Stewart also got to see McGlynn, a strong candidate for the 2024 Olympic team.
Paxten Aaronson, Quinn Sullivan and Brandan Craig will also be in contention if they continue to develop well with Union.
» READ MORE: Union’s young talents played for the US national team in the Olympic qualifiers