Match Recap

Gazdag’s hat trick leads Union to Leagues Cup Round of 32


Daniel Gazdag remained on fire as his trio of goals secured Philadelphia Union’s spot in the Leagues Cup Round of 32 via a 5-1 win over Queretaro F.C.

The Union took control behind a three goal outburst in 13 minutes which saw Gazdag nab a first-half brace while homegrown Nathan Harriel smashed home a Kai Wagner corner to lock the Boys in Blue to the No. 1 spot in the East 1 Group.

Playing four days after their Leagues Cup opener Head Coach Jim Curtin challenged his squad to come out with intensity against a high pressing visiting lineup that presented very different challenges. With four changes to the Starting XI to bring fresh legs into the contest, the Union transformed into a 3-5-2 with Damion Lowe completing the back three alongside Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes.

The Union enjoyed most of the possession in the opening half hour as they sought to break through the defense. An early free kick from the Boys in Blue eventually made its way into the back of the net in the eighth minute but was negated via an offside on the initial header by Lowe.

Tensions between the Union and their Liga MX opponent were quite high from the opening whistle with Jose Martinez getting taken down from behind in the fourth minute by Camilo Sanvezzo. In the 11th minute it increased as Mikael Uhre was issued a yellow card for contact that was checked by the Video Assistant Referee for a possible red but ultimately was kept at just a yellow. Martinez was once again on the receiving end of hard challenge by Queretaro FC’s Federico Lertora who made his way into the referee’s book with a yellow of his own.

Philly found some space in the middle of the pitch in the 23rd minute as a beautiful combination play led to the first corner kick of the night. Jesus Bueno dribbled down the heart of the Queretaro defense and laid off a pass for Julian Carranza for a one-time blast that was blocked at the last moment.

On the other end of the pitch, the visitors got their own corner chance one minute later that the Boys in Blue defended and looked in for a counter attack. Again the ball was at the feet of Bueno as he turned in his own half and tried to thread the needle to spring Carranza.

The pressure for the Union paid off at the half hour mark behind the boot of Gazdag. Elliott started the attack with a hard pass on the grass centrally to the Union’s No. 10 who won the duel on the entry ball from the Union center back. The Hungarian turned to goal and took the space the defense gave him and made them pay with a long-range shot that skipped through the box and into the back of the net to put the Union ahead, 1-0.

The opening goal put the wind fully into the Union’s sail and it only got stronger with a sleek pass from the goalscorer. After a throw in from Nathan Harriel, Gazdag dropped back into the midfield to collect and with it Bueno pushed toward the edge of the box. Dragging the center back with him, the lane opened wide open for a run into the box by Carranza that Gazdag hit on a dime. With just the keeper to beat, Carranza tried to dribble around goalkeeper Alejandro Arana but was taken down in the box. With another chance from the penalty spot, Gazdag remained automatic as he sent the keeper the wrong way to collect a first-half brace.

Knowing what happened in their first group stage contest, Philly keep their foot on the pedal to close out the half and added another before the break. Coming off just their second corner kick of the evening, Bueno whipped in a perfect left-footed ball that Harriel timed perfectly with a flying header in front of the River End for the three-goal advantage.

Philly didn’t rest on its laurels in the final half as they Gazdag nearly notched the first hat trick in Leagues Cup history. Again with a never-say-quit attitude, Mikael Uhre shield the ball near the sidelines and sent a pass down the line for Wagner. See the visitors out of sorts, the German hit a diagonal ball to Bueno who chested it right to Carranza. The South American connection was on with the forward threading it into the box for Bueno for a scoring chance. A quick touch to his right to set up a shot saw the trailing defender collide with the Venezuelan and immediately another point to the spot. The keeper guessed correctly this time around but wasn’t quick enough as Gazdag cashed in to make it 4-0. The Hungarian came minutes away from history from the first hat trick in the tournament as New England’s Giacomo Vrioni accomplished the feat three minutes earlier.

With the match in hand, Curtin turned to his depth to see out the match and allow to rest for the regulars who were playing their 32nd match of the season. The visitors mounted an attack the 84th minute and avoided the shutout as Jonathan Torres snuck a pass into the box for a back post tap in for Raul Sandoval.

Seeing the clean sheet lost, the Union regained the four-goal advantage late in the match with a golazo from homegrown Jack McGlynn. The homegrown collected a pass from Bueno outside the box and had a go from distance with a beautiful curling effort that snuck into the bottom corner to wrap up the scoring.

With tonight’s win against Queretaro F.C. the Philadelphia Union are top of the group and will host their Round of 32 Leagues Cup match. As a result of winning East Group 1, the Boys in Blue will host their knockout round contest on August 3rd at Subaru Park with the opponent and kick off time still to be determined. The Union will host East Group 2's runner up with the potential matchup being either CF Montreal, D.C. United or Pumas UNAM. Tickets for the match are on sale right now.

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Every match matters! In 2024, you do not want to miss your favorite matchups as the Union take on the best MLS has to offer! When we score, make sure you are there to get Subaru Park shaking!

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