They can’t say they weren’t warned.
Jakob Glesnes brought LA nightlife to a halt in March 2020 with a free kick blast from an impossible distance. He celebrated Father’s Day in 2021 by doing it again, but this time from open play to even the scoreline at 2-2 against Atlanta United. Cory Burke had brought Philly within one ten minutes earlier, and Glesnes’ rocket became the signature image of the Five Stripes’ late-game collapse.
Jim Curtin started Kacper Przybylko and Sergio Santos up top in front of Anthony Fontana. Leon Flach slid into a defensive midfield role with Jose Martinez off impressing with Venezuela in Copa America.
Playing in front of a hostile crowd, the Union fed off the energy and created chance after chance via the Union way. After a key save from two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake in the 11th minute, the Union settled in and nearly notched a goal moments later. Off a throw in, Kacper Przybylko chested it to homegrown Anthony Fontana but the midfielder’s shot rang off a defender. Left back Kai Wagner recognized the open space and collected another scoring chance with a hard pass into the redzone but Sergio Santos couldn’t redirect the cross on target.
The quick defense to offense continued with Wagner’s influence in the game growing three minutes later with a long switch to Alejandro Bedoya on the right wing. The captain pinpointed a pass for Santos who delivered a cheeky backheel to Fontana that ultimately was denied by Brad Guzan.
Philly stayed compact defensively and hungry with yet another opportunity created just after the half hour mark. After a big tackle from Mbazio that had the crowd shouting for a penalty, the Union raced into the counter attack led by Jakob Glesnes. The Norwegian at the center stripe picked out a perfect pass to Santos who cut inside and into open space. As the ATL defense tried to close him down, he laid it off to Przybylko who rang a shot once more off a defender.
The hosts came out on the front foot in the second half but the Union defense were able to maintain the zero on the scoreboard until the unfortunate own goal in the 58th minute. Set up after the Five Stripes attacked on the counter and got a fortunate call for a corner, the service from Brooks Lennon connected with Przybylko’s head as the striker sought to clear the box. The ball rebounded off the striker into the far side netting, leaving Blake with no chance to push it away.
With Jack McGlynn on for Anthony Fontana and Jamiro Monteiro pushing into the attacking midfield role, Philly continued to push forward, loading up the right side of the pitch and looking for Wagner alone on the left to put in low, hard crosses.
Both Union centerbacks were given space to carry the ball forward as Atlanta sought to cut off access to the visitors’ three midfield ball-movers.
Then, in the 83rd minute, it was déjà vu for the Union. A corner in from the left and after a half-clearance another ball into the six yard box and another Atlanta goal. This time it was Anton Walkes rising at the back post to deflect the ball past Blake and put the home side up two goals.
But Philly had been the better side in open play all match and Cory Burke showed their mentality remained strong when he followed a spilled shot and roofed it past Guzan from close range. Once again, the Union were showing why an Atlanta side that used to consider themselves kings now fears the snake.
Ted Unkel signaled for seven minutes of added time as both teams pushed for a winner. Ezequiel Barco pushed Atlanta forward but each time Philly won the ball they found Burke, Przybylko, and Monteiro in space up top and the home side was forced to track back in numbers.
In the 93rd minute, the Union once again advanced up the right then switched play to the left. Jakob Glesnes stepped forward from his centerback position to fill space in the middle. Monteiro rolled the ball into the big man’s path and, after a touch to get his bearings, Glesnes powered up the cannon and fired an unstoppable blast past Brad Guzan. The shot appeared to mock the Atlanta goalie as he lay in front of his net, bouncing once, then twice from ground to crossbar before drifting into the goal.
Glesnes peeled off in celebration and in the ensuing madness Jim Curtin’s glasses were knocked from his face.
Atlanta got one more headed look at Blake’s goal but the Jamaican smothered it as both clubs took a hard fought point for their own.
The Union now face a quick turnaround as they welcome MLS Cup champs Columbus Crew to Subaru Park on Wednesday night. The match will be Pride Night presented by Subaru with kick off set for 7:30 p.m. ET on PHL17 with a free livestream on PhiladelphiaUnion.com for those in the Philly area.
Subaru Park can open at full capacity for a Union match for the first time since 2019 on June 23rd. Tickets are available at PhiladelphiaUnion.com.