Jim Curtin followed through on a primary messages from his press conference: Squad rotation saw three homegrowns enter the Starting XI as the Union debuted a 3-4-2-1 formation. Playing away from home against the Eastern Conference leaders, the Boys in Blue weren’t afraid and had the evening’s first scoring chance just five minutes after the opening whistle courtesy of Sergio Santos.
Paxten Aaronson forced the turnover that landed at the feet of Leon Flach, who took up a wingback position on the left for the match. With the Revs trying to deploy an offside trap, the 20-year-old flicked a pass through the defense as he was cleaned out. The flag stayed down and Santos was in on goal only to see his flick over USMNT keeper Matt Turner turned aside.
After the Union’s scoring chance was saved, New England capitalized on their chance own look with a thanks to a timely give-and- in go from Matt Polster. With Philly locking down the Revs playmakers, the Revs midfielder made a run into the box after a quick pass from Tommy McNamara and curled a finish back post that made it 1-0 in the 10th minute.
Philly’s young lineup didn’t hang its head with the road deficit and as has become a homegrown tradition in their inagurual MLS starts, golazos occur. The latest came from Paxten Aaronson as he collected a pass from Jakob Glesnes in the 31st minute and left Andrew Farrell stubbling in the box after a quick move to his left. With an inch of space, Aaronson took it and sent a blast into the upper corner for the equalizer.
The score remained tied for just six minutes however as the Revs were awarded a chance from the spot after a tackle by Leon Flach on Tajon Buchanan. With Carles Gil out due to injury, Gustavo Bou attempted the New England chance. For the second straight match, sent the ball to Blake’s right. Blake The reigning Goalkeeper of the Year made the penalty kick stop but the ball squirted out from Blake’s his gloves and Bou reacted quickly for the second-chance goal right before the halftime break.
The second half saw Santos and Flach make way for German duo Kacper Przybylko and Kai Wagner. New England had adjusted to the Union’s shape, however, and moved the ball side to side well, attacking in numbers up the left wing.
In the 49th minute, Quinn Sullivan lost an aerial duel and the Revs took the loose ball the other way, forcing Andre Blake to push away a lashed shot from close range. Soon afterwards, Jack Elliott got his legs tangled with Adam Buksa just outside the box and New England again had a great look from the free kick on the left.
Alejandro Bedoya and Ilsinho replaced Jose Martinez and Olivier Mbaizo as the Brazilian moved into the right wingback role and Bedoya slotted himself in next to McGlynn in the center. In a show of respect, Bedoya took on the destroyer role to give McGlynn and his stunning passing range freedom to operate.
In the 71st minute, a miscommunication granted the Revs a counterattack with numbers. Buksa ran onto a wonderfully-placed pass and jinked left to throw off Glesnes’ pursuit. The defender was not fooled and blocked away the striker’s shot with ease.
Glesnes was involved again in the 74th when he waited like a NFL safety before dispossessing Jones. The Revs player left a loose foot in and twisted Glesnes’ leg. The league’s leading goalscorer from the center back position soldiered on after a brief break.
As the 80th minute ticked by, a bouncing ball into the center led to a New England breakout that forced Blake to make himself large to clear away a close-range strike from the left.
After Aaronson struggled to turn the corner on his defender in the final third, the Revs’ movement again had Philly scrambling in the box. Once more a timely block kept the score close before Buksa become impatient and tried to beat Blake from far too deep.
Philadelphia had two angles of attack: Through Ilsinho and through McGlynn. Increasingly though, Gazdag’s energy became the defining feature of the Union’s push for an equalizer, though the Hungarian’s ability to create chances from his workrate remains a missing element.
In the 88th minute, Gazdag funneled the ball across the box to Wagner who flipped the ball into Przybylko’s path for a slightly mishit volley.
New England returned fire through Traustason but the winger’s free header on the break was well over Blake’s goal.
As extra time began, a wonderful combination between Gazdag and Bedoya released the latter for a run at goal and a calm cross found Wagner back post for a low laser that rebounded off the post.
Still Philly pressed on, though they placed more bodies around the ball than in the box as the final minutes ticked away.
Philly The Union turns its their full attention to Concacaf Champions League play with the first leg of the semifinals set for Thursday, August 12th at Estaudio Azteca. Union fans are invited to cheer on the Boys in Blue at the club’s official watch party at Brauhaus Schmitz located at 718 South Street in Philadelphia. The party starts at 8:30 p.m. with Kick kick off is set for 10 p.m. ET on FS1. and will be broadcast on FS1.