Mikael Uhre scored with his first touch of the match and the Union continued to be the toughest team in MLS to beat in a 1-1 draw against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Gustavo Bou scored from the penalty spot for the Revs.
The showdown between the last two Supporters’ Shield winners pitted contrasting styles from Jim Curtin and Bruce Arena, though both coaches looking to congest the middle of the pitch and keep the action on the flanks. With the space limited, set pieces were key and the Union nearly opened the scoring three minutes in when Jack Elliott had a shot in the box off a corner. Moments later it was Jose Martinez taking a recycled chance from the corner and having a rip from long distance. Arsenal-bound Matt Turner was untroubled by the midfielder’s hopeful attempt.
The Revolution sought playmaking from Bou and Carles Gil with seven-goal scorer Adam Buksa away on international duty. Bou got his first opportunity in the 12th minute with a right-footed attempt saved by Andre Blake.
Gil was busy in the opening half with nearly a dozen set piece chances testing the Union’s defensive line. In the 27th minute he loomed over a free kick chance from 23-yards out that crashed off the wall. Gil continued to create, flicking a ball into the box into the path of Brandon Bye that went right to Blake.
In the 33rd minute, Union captain Alejandro Bedoya was needed on the defensive end, getting back to shut down a cross from Gil that looked for Arnór Traustason.
New England continued to push for the opener with another pair of scoring opportunities for Bou. The big forward nearly turned a Union mistake into a breakaway goal, getting around Blake but slowing down to allow Jakob Glesnes to rush back and extinguish the chance. Five minutes later Bou was left with his anguished face tucked into his PRIMEBLUE kit after mistiming a header at the back post.
The Union sought to tighten their shape and bring their fullbacks into the attack early in the second frame. Nathan Harriel crashed a loose ball back into the box to threaten the Revs as Kai Wagner motored up the left flank to put pressure on the home fullbacks.
In the 52nd minute, Gil connected with Bou on a long ball after a Union corner kick. Jose Martinez tracked the striker and knocked the ball loose at the top of the box, creating a scramble and earning a foul.
Paxten Aaronson was identifying pockets in the Revs defense but could not find bodies around him to build counterattacks. The shape of the game changed as Philly built longer attacks and Jim Curtin turned to Cory Burke for hold-up play with Aaronson and Gazdag playing off the striker.
Gil continued to be the most dangerous player on the pitch. A low, angled free kick from the playmaker curled behind the defense but Blake cupped it with ease.
Burke earned a yellow card in the 63rd minute when he stuck out a late leg counterpressing. The Revs used the stoppage to re-energize and Brandon Bye flew down the flank before centering to Bou for a huge chance.
Bou flicked the low cross on goal but Blake took up a hockey goalie squat to block it away. Dylan Borrero had just stepped on for an injured Arnor Traustason and closed on the loose ball at the top of the six yard box. Jack Elliott stretched out a long leg from behind Borrero and popped the ball out of danger before it could be finished.
In the 72nd minute, a penalty was awarded to New England after video review. Borrero tried to cut around Elliott and the ball hit Elliott’s arm at close range. Bou stepped to the spot and put the home side ahead.
Curtin immediately added Mikael Uhre and Jack McGlynn to the mix in place of Aaronson and Flach. A direct ball from Glesnes put Omar Gonzalez in a difficult position facing his own goal and a scuffed clearance found Uhre at the top of the box in full stride. The Danish striker adjusted his feet and plunked the equalizer into the open net with Turner out of position.
Both teams tasted three points and moments after the Union had a toe-poke attempt in the box blocked by Turner, Bou was at the other end looking to tuck the winner inside the far post. Jose Martinez had smartly held the attacker offside and Philly regained their shape.
In the 86th minute, Bedoya found Gazdag in the center of the box but the playmaker couldn’t turn his body to threaten the goal before being dispossessed.
As extra time began, Bou wriggled free on the right endline and lofted the ball to Borrero at the far post. An ambitious volley failed to bother Blake.
Philadelphia Union returns to action back at Subaru Park with a Saturday night battle against FC Cincinnati on Saturday, June 18th. The Eastern Conference battle sees the return of a few familiar faces with Ray Gaddis, Alvas Powell, Haris Medunjanin and Coach Pat Noonan making their returns to Subaru Park for the match. Tickets for the contest are on sale now so be sure to secure your seat by clicking here! Coverage of the match can be seen on both PHL17 and PhiladelphiaUnion.com starting at 7:30 p.m. ET.