Philadelphia Union’s attack came alive in the second half behind two goals apiece from Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza as they knocked off Columbus Crew 4-1. Joaquin Torres provided a stunning assist for the final goal as Philly powered their way back into the match after falling behind early.
With a new head coach to impress, the visiting Crew came out of the gates looking to put their stamp on the match with overlapping runs up the Union right. Philly’s high-octane defensive work kept the crew on the edges but the quick-passing from Columbus pinned the Union back. Star attacker Lucas Zelarayan teased a low cross in front of Andre Blake early but the reigning Goalkeeper of the Year was down quickly to smother.
A familiar pattern developed in which Columbus connected short passes in midfield and the Union dispossessed them deep and aimed for their talented trio up front, but that trio would stray offside.
In the 17th minute, Zelarayan stood over a free kick in the center of the park and stared Blake down. With an unnervingly casual movement, Blake leaped right and plucked the Crew man’s shot out of the air.
Philly finally created the pattern they were looking for in the 26th and foraged upfield at pace. Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza bore in on net but after the Hungarian tapped the ball across to his counterpart, Carranza plunked the post and the offside flag went up.
The Crew broke through in the 28th when Darlington Nagbe snuck up the right and hit Cucho Hernandez. The striker spun the ball through the box that unfortunately touched off Glesnes and past Blake.
The goal calmed the match and neither side found openings until extra time of the first half when Leon Flach crushed a shot into the box that deflected off a Columbus arm. Daniel Gazdag stepped to the spot and slotted it to Patrick Schulte’s right to even the scoreline.
Philly came out with renewed focus in the second half and the team’s long-time captain helped put them ahead in the 51st as he darted to the endline and put a low cross in front of goal for Carranza. The striker popped the ball over Schulte to make the score 2-1.
In the 66th minute, Kai Wagner wanted in on the action and stepped into a one-timer from 25 yards out. The powerful drive hit a Crew arm and after a lengthy review a penalty was awarded and Gazdag once again rolled his shot to Schulte’s right and in.
Joaquin Torres entered the game in the 79th minute and stepped into Union lore one minute later with his first touch on the ball. Pivoting away from one defender then spinning around another, the attacker then played a narrow throughball to Carranza who ran through on goal and whistled a finish into the far side of the net.
Andres Perea and Jack McGlynn entered late to clean things up as the Union began their home season with an emphatic 4-1 win that offered Apple TV viewers plenty of stunning play.
The Boys in Blue hit the road for the first time in 2023 next weekend as they take on Eastern Conference foe Inter Miami CF. The first match of March takes place on Saturday, March 4th, with the match free to watch on the Apple TV app.