The Philadelphia Union didn’t let the New York Red Bulls hold a lead for long on Sunday night after opposing midfielder Omir Fernandez scored an 11th minute goal off a bad bounce. Less than 20 minutes later, the home team’s Norwegian rocket man scored a determined equalizer off a rebound, ramping up momentum that wouldn’t soon slow for the Boys in Blue.
Jakob Glesnes’ found his shot off a punched out Kai Wagner cross, sending a packed Subaru Park into a celebratory uproar. The team’s energy abounded in tandem, scoring three unanswered goals in the second half. Glesnes' attack was the catalyst of what would become a 4-1 victory and a three-game season sweep of the rival Red Bulls.
Following the win, Glesnes explained that the result had unfolded just as he'd planned it to hours before kickoff.
“It's no secret that I had a tough game on Wednesday, so I had it in my mind already before I came here today that I had to score a goal,” Glesnes said.
“We know always when we play against Red Bulls, it’s a tough game all the way. A lot of duels and stuff. Restarts are somewhere we can score goals. We saw it last time as well when Nate [Harrie] scored against them and we played 1-1. We had it in our mind already before the game, that kicks from goal and set pieces could be positive and important today.”
The team’s previous game against Toronto FC four days earlier was far from Glesnes’ best. The 2022 MLS Defender of the Year was at the center of multiple Toronto plays that became goals, carrying them to one of only four wins through the entire 2023 season. Instead of letting the letdown of a less than optimal result linger and shake his typical defensive dominance, Glesnes returned to Subaru Park in prime form.
“Jakob's become a real leader of our group. It's a situation where he knows he didn't have his best game in Toronto, but in the game before, he probably was the best player on the field for both teams,” Head Coach Jim Curtin said.
“I don't have to say anything or sit him down, he just knows how to respond and I respect him so much as a person, as a player, great performance from him, and great when he gets a goal, too.”
The goal marked the fourth-year Union defender's second this season and sixth since his 2020 arrival in Philadelphia. With the win, the Union moved past their uncharacteristic multi-goal loss on the road and instead claimed three points with ease, sending them into the international break in fourth place in the East.
“The good thing is that the games are coming fast. Now we are already a couple days later and we got a chance to make it up again. It was good today to get three points. Getting a goal is always fun but the most important thing is to get three points,” Glesnes said.
Sage Hurley - @SageHurley__