CF Montreal scored two goals in the final minutes of the match to secure three points after Julian Carranza was red carded with the Union up 2-1 in the 69th minute. The loss leaves the Union undefeated at home but without a point on the road after four MLS matches in 2023.
Jim Curtin rolled out the same field players from the one that won 1-0 over Chicago Fire FC a week ago. However, three minutes after the kick Montreal was on top. Mathieu Choiniere smashed a first-time shot from the top of the box toward the center of goal. Olivier Mbaizo stuck out a quick foot and deflected the ball skyward where it found Jakob Glesnes’ unsuspecting arm and ricocheted over the goal. Nima Saghafi had no choice but to award Glesnes a yellow card and the home side a penalty. Romell Quioto blasted the ball high into the top left corner to put his side ahead.
Philadelphia responded with control. They possessed and moved the ball before searching for Ale Bedoya and Mbaizo up the right.
In the 9th minute, Mason Toye made an acrobatic attempt to double the lead. On a popped ball into the box, he leapt and spun in front of Glesnes before turning the ball surprisingly close to the top corner.
After Victor Wanyama hauled down Julian Carranza 40 yards from goal, the Union sent Glesnes up to slam a signature long-distance free kick at the home goal. The defender’s shot knuckled then caught a gust of air and lifted itself over the far corner.
Chance | Glesnes goes for free kick goal
In the 26th minute, Quioto sprinted behind the back line and nodded the ball away from Bendik. At a full sprint, Glesnes knocked it over the goal and out for a corner kick. The Union cleared but once again couldn’t string together passes on the thick turf to get out of their defensive half.
Philly continued to control the ball but couldn’t move it quickly enough to penetrate the center of the Montreal defense. As the home side moved horizontally, they lost shape and committed fouls, and the Union couldn’t find the final ball needed to punish them.
In the 32nd minute, Bedoya popped free down the wing and played the ball centrally behind Carranza’s deep run. Gazdag received it at the top of the box and slotted in the striker but a last-second touch cleared the danger.
Montreal’s defense was getting stretched and in the 39th minute Carranza blew past the back line to corral a long ball out of the back. The shot went wide and the offside flag went up, but it proved a warning sign for a tiring home side.
Moments later, Leon Flach intercepted a sideways pass in the Montreal half and cut the ball into the box where Mikael Uhre turned and angled it just over the crossbar.
In the 42nd minute, Glesnes got a bead on the defense and threaded a pass at full sprint through the left channel to Carranza. The striker cut it quickly to Bedoya and the captain looked to place his finish in the top corner but took too much power off the strike to beat Jonathan Sirois. Rida Zouhir went in the book moments later after a late tackle and Kai Wagner looked for Glesnes at the back post with the long free kick. The big defender couldn’t pull the ball back toward the six yard box and it bounced out for a goal kick.
Saved | Union denied twice before the break
Philly was fully on top as the half closed but couldn’t stick the finish. Martinez looped a pass to Carranza but Joel Waterman’s deflection sat the ball up and the striker hit an off-balance shot on frame that was blocked away for a corner. When the ball came in, Uhre found it at the back post and scuffed a shot at Sirois’ feet that the goalkeeper smothered.
The Union emerged from the halftime break determined to keep the momentum in their favor. After Montreal was sloppy clearing their defensive third, Flach touched the ball to Gazdag and the attacker played Uhre at the top of the box. Hinting at a return pass to Gazdag, Uhre suddenly twisted and lasered a shot under Sirois at the near post. The goal meant all three of Philly’s top goalscorers from 2022 were finally off the mark in the new season and the visitors were coursing with energy as a result.
Goal | Uhre ties it up in Montreal!
Montreal turned to Sean Rea off the bench but they were struggling to find any way through the Union midfield. In the 55th minute, Uhre broke down the left channel and cut inside, looking for the same shot that netted him a goal at the start of the half. The striker’s shot lacked power, however, and Sirois coolly collected it.
Goal | Uhre bags brace at CF Montreal
In the 60th minute, Uhre put the Union in front with a goal that will appear in the How To Play Union Soccer textbook one day. Mbaizo’s half-clearance fell to Montrela at the top of the box but the Union moved their lines forward quickly and Bedoya nudged an aerial ball past his defender to start an attack. Martinez was at the top of the defensive thrid when he found Gazdag in the middle in space to turn. The 2022 MVP finalist snub is simply too good to be alone in that much space. He hesitated to show Uhre when to break his run forward then lofted the ball over the back line for the big Dane to sprint on and finish with newfound confidence.
Philly flew at their opponents and Carranza had two looks in quick succession seven minutes later.
The chase for a goal led Carranza to leave a foot in as he chased down a defender; the ensuing caution was his second of the match and saw the striker dismissed with a red card.
Montreal finally had an opportunity to move the ball into Philly’s half but Zouhir was caught offside.
Jim Curtin turned to Andres Perea and Chris Donovan in the 75th minute as he created an incredibly athletic, mobile midfield behind Donovan’s hard running. Perea and Flach played as narrow wide midfielders around Bedoya and Martinez to let the Union keep numbers in the channels where Montreal attacked.
Hernan Losada brought on substitutes and Chinonso Offor introduced himself by plowing through Glesnes’ back as a corner came into the box. Robert Thorkelsson, Zachary Brault-Guillard, and Sunusi Ibrahim also came on to bolster Montreal’s chase for points.
But it was Philly attacking next as Mbaizo burst free after a defensive corner kick and found Perea sprinting down the left. The midfielder caught a foot in the turf as he entered the box and Philly lost the momentum.
In the 87th minute, Curtin delivered on his promise to play Damion Lowe alongside Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes. The Jamaican standout entered for Ale Bedoya, and Joe Bendik took the captain’s armband.
In the 90th minute, Montreal pulled even after Offor headed the ball in at close range.
Rea headed the ball against the crossbar from the far post and it bounced above Glesnes and Offor leaned over to knock it in. VAR confirmed the goal.
Following the VAR decision, Ale Bedoya was given a yellow card on the bench.
When the match restarted, Offor shoved Elliott after a clearance and both teams engaged in frustrated shoving.
In the 98th minute, Montreal floated a ball from the right corner to the far side of the six-yard box for Quioto to head home for the winner.
Philadelphia Union returns to Subaru Park to wrap up March with a contest against Orlando City SC on Saturday, March 25. Kick off from Chester, Pa., is set for 7:30 p.m. ET and it will see the return of the family-favorite Kids Night so don't miss out with limited tickets for the match available.