A pair of first half goals created the trappings of a shootout but the Union and Minnesota United settled for a 1-1 draw to open the season as Cory Burke scored Philly’s first of the year.
The opening whistle of the 2022 Major League Soccer season rang out at Subaru Park as the Union deployed their high pressing system led by Cory Burke and Julian Carranza up front. The duo nearly combined inside the first minute of play with Burke sending a threaded ball into the box that forced Tyler Miller off his line to clear away.
Minnesota launched the next attack of the battle, sparking a counter that saw Andre Blake fly off his line but center back Jack Elliott swooped in to push the ball wide.
Both sides sought to highlight their toughness early with Leon Flach on the wrong side of a tackle just past the 10th minute mark that turned threatened to turn things nasty. El Brujo Martinez took control in the middle of the park as Minnesota turned to a lockdown defensive formation and focused on counterattacking.
The strategy paid off for the Loons in the 23rd minute as Franco Fragapane collected a volley from the back line and raced into the final third. Looking to cross, the midfielder faked a pass for some extra space before picking out Robin Lod at the penalty spot for the one time finish.
Much like the 2021 squad, this Union group didn’t fret and nearly tied things up moments after the ensuing kickoff. Captain Alejandro Bedoya raced onto a long pass from Jakob Glesnes and, spinning to his right, laced a right-footed shot from 20 yards out that barely missed the far post.
The Union continued to press and fight as corner kicks filled the stat sheet. On the sixth corner, the Loons wall finally cracked when Cory Burke charged through it. The first ball in was cleared by Minnesota but Leon Flach forcing a turnover at the edge of the box and found Kai Wagner on the wing. The left back quickly moved it to his right for a wide open Glesnes. The Norwegian had a stellar cross in his bag and curled a floating ball to the back post for Burke to finish.
Building off the energy flowing through the stadium after Burke’s opener, the Union sought to stamp their control on the game. Extra time on the ball meant Minnesota was chasing and nipping in, fouling both Gazdag and Bedoya early on.
Ten minutes in, Luis Amarilla latched onto a ball from Reynoso and tested Blake from outside the box, clearly unaware that he was too deep to worry the best goalie in MLS.
In the 57th minute, Burke and Amarilla exchanged chances on frame but both were pushed away as the bright afternoon sun blazed into players’ eyes.
Neither team was able to control the ball in the opponent half, and both settled for looks from deep that had to be inch-perfect to break the deadlock.
Jim Curtin looked to his bench for the first time in 2022 as first Flach, then Carranza and Gazdag made way. Jack McGlynn took over on the left side of midfield before Paxten Aaronson and Sergio Santos joined the attack.
Santos immediately got involved with a deflected header across goal from a Wagner free kick. Minutes later, Wagner skipped the flick on and went straight for goal from the left after McGlynn drew a foul in a dangerous position.
As the second half wore down, Philly was leaning heavily on Minnesota and Reynoso was becoming frustrated by his inability to create. After Aaronson broke up his pass and started play the other way, the Loons’ playmaker hauled down the homegrown to earn a yellow card.
Play became disjointed as extra time hit and neither club found space to run into. Adrien Hunou tried to end things with a spectacular long attempt but once again Blake was simple too good and the match finished in a 1-1 draw
The Boys in Blue go on the road for the time in 2022 when they head north of the border to take on CF Montreal. Kick off from Stade Saputo is set for 4 p.m. ET with coverage on PHL17 and PhiladelphiaUnion.com.