Match Recap

Recap | Carranza nets brace as shorthanded Union pick up road win at Portland


Philadelphia Union overcame a short bench to grab a decisive 3-1 road victory at Portland Timbers with Julian Carranza scoring twice.

With eight players missing due to FIFA International Call-Ups, the Union fielded entered with 14 field players but created a gameplan that delivered three big points in one of the most difficult places in Major League Soccer to play. Goalkeeper Oliver Semmle set the tone early with four massive first half saves as the Boys in Blue found their footing and then the offense clicked when Carranza stole momentum with a first half finish off a corner kick.

Philly didn’t sit back in the second half and took the contest to the hosts with homegrown Quinn Sullivan chasing down a save off a long-range shot from Jeremy Rafanello to make it 2-0 and moments later it was a second from Carranza to put the Union in the drivers seat for their first league win.

Head Coach Jim Curtin crafted a lineup featuring two infrequent starters in homegrown Jeremy Rafanello as a six, and Markus Anderson in the front three with Julian Carranza and Mikael Uhre. 

In the midfield, Rafanello was joined by fellow homegrown Quinn Sullivan and veteran Alejandro Bedoya, while on defense, Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes reunited as the night’s center back pairing in Damion Lowe’s absence. Mbaizo returned to right back opposite Kai Wagner at left, protecting 25-year-old German keeper Oliver Semmle who stepped up for Andre Blake. 

Head Coach Phil Neville’s added a new face to his lineup, introducing forward Jonathan Rodriguez to the group for his Timbers debut just days after his transfer from Liga MX giant Club America was announced. His presence was felt early, as the Brazilian helped create the Timbers first chance of the match in the 10th minute, finding Evander for a close-range that just missed the left post. Moments later the Timbers forward was again in the box but was denied by Semmle with a reaction stop.

Portland maintained possession just under 70% of the first half, outshooting Philadelphia 10-5 with relentless attack from primarily Evander and Mosquera, plus Rodriguez for his first chance in a Timbers kit, but it was the Philadelphia Union who claimed the first lead of the match.

In the 28th minute, Julian Carranza secured the 1-0 advantage for Philly with his first goal of the Major League Soccer regular season, rerouting a pinpoint service from Kai Wagner toward the back of the net with his head. The German left-backs corner found Carranza in the box for a header to the right post out of Timbers’ backup keeper James Pantemis’ reach. 

With the lead, the Union turned to Semmle to preserve the first half lead going into the break. Making his first start since March 1st at Sporting Kansas City, the German keeper was up to the task with four momentous saves including one just before the break on Evander.

The second half opened with a strong run from Mikael Uhre down the sideline in the 52nd minute, beating his defender by a step to get 1v1 with Portland’s keeper, but his shot was stopped by Pantemis. 

The Union double their lead early in the second 45 with a persistent effort from the Curtin’s eager young contingent on the left side – Anderson utilized his speed to dart down the sideline, pausing to find Rafanello who took a big boot from distance, where he’s proved successful in training and in his minutes contributing on Union II. His rocket forced Pantemis to dive for the block, but Sullivan,  his fellow Philadelphia Union Academy product in the midfield, charged on the rebound, sneaking between the Timbers keeper and the right post as he attempted to steady himself.

Curtin commonly shares the sentiment that his team often plays its best in the face of adversity, and that sentiment rang true when the team extended their lead to 3-0 on a cross-country away trip with eight players missing and just four field players on the bench. 

In the 67th minute, Glesnes switched the field with a long pass from Portland’s side, finding Uhre and Carranza 2v2 in scoring territory. The Dane collected the ball from Glesnes, finding Carranza for a shot in the center of the box and a brace on the night.

Down by a trio of goals, Neville made the first two changes of the match, replacing Mosquera and Williamson from Asprilla and Paredes.

Curtin kept his group in tact, and despite the healthy lead, they kept pushing – Rafanello took his third shot of the night after a back-heeled pass from Uhre to Carranza, almost made it’s way to Anderson, but instead found the Homegrown ready to shoot. During the attempt, he went down after contact, but he bounced back to continue play.

Portland got their first ball past Semmle in net in the 80th minute, and it was the new kid on the block to do it. In his first Major League Soccer appearance with his new club, Rodriguez scored a header by way of a Santiago Moreno service.

Curtin didn’t make his first lineup change until the 84th minute, when he sent in Chris Donovan for Anderson. The official added eight minutes of stoppage time to the match, and Philadelphia prevented Portland from finding another in that time thanks to two massive stops from Semmle, who finished the night with six total saves. 

Philadelphia Union concludes March in front of its home fans next weekend as they host Minnesota United FC on Saturday, March 30th. The contest will serve as Kids Day with the annual postgame kick following the match with more information available by clicking here. Kick off from Subaru Park is set for 2PM ET.

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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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