The offense came alive at Subaru Park as Philadelphia Union racked up a 4-1 victory against Inter Miami CF on Saturday night.
In the opening minutes of the second matchup between Philly and Miami, things looked very much like the first with The Herons opting to play patient soccer and working the ball side to side to find a gap in the Boys in Blue. With long stretches of possession, the first shot of the contest came off a Union turnover, allowing Inter Miami CF to jump on the counter, but ultimately, Rodolfo Pizarro’s shot would end up wide of the near post.
The similarities stopped at that, however, as the Union settled in and turned to their counter press to create chances with a turnover. The effort lead to a half chance just outside the box, but the final pass was cleared away before the hosts could generate a shot. After turning in a Team of the Matchday performance in the midweek clash at Orlando City SC, José Martinez showcased his defensive prowess. In the 11th minute, Martinez timed his tackle perfectly to dispossess David Ruiz and spark at 2v1 counter attack. Driving to the edge of the box and pulling the center back with him, the Venezuelan went for the cutback pass to Mikael Uhre but saw the pass blocked.
After a Miami fast break from Franco Negri was missed, the outside back conceded a corner on the opposite end that presented the Union their first set piece chance. The chance turned into a goal with Kai Wagner teeing up a perfect volley into the box that connected with Jakob Glesnes for a smashing header in the 14th minute of play.
The visitors sought to get back into the match with a pair of chances in the 21st and 24th minute but again couldn’t convert. After Pizarro earned a free kick chance just outside the Union box, Noah Allen connected with Benjamin Cremaschi for a header in the middle of the box but the midfielder’s attempt went well wide. Another set piece chance came for The Herons with the ever dangerous Josef Martinez opting to rifle a shot under the defensive wall but goalkeeper Joe Bendik was placed perfectly and made the stop in the center of the box.
With some big stops on the defensive side of the pitch, the Union went right back to work looking to erupt on the offensive end. In the 28th minute, Uhre showed off his pace getting in behind with a deft touch to nutmeg his defender but ultimately show his shot cleared out. After a lengthy delay due to an injury for the visitors, the Union doubled their advantage with Uhre turning into a playmaker with a precision pass to Julian Carranza who bagged his first goal against his former club.
Philly wasn’t done pouring on the offense if the first half with another strong spell of possession from the Boys in Blue turning into a goal from another unlikely midfielder. A long diagonal switch from Jose Martinez started the attack, sending Olivier Mbaizo to the corner flag. Sizing up his defender and allowing numbers to get into the Miami box, the Cameroonian sent a hard pass to Daniel Gazdag who slipped it into the redzone for captain Alejandro Bedoya. With his back to goal, Bedoya inside outted a pass to the edge of the box where Leon Flach ripped it low on the ground and into the back of the net for the 3-0 halftime lead.
Inter Miami got onto the scoreboard in the 50th minute sticking with their original gameplan. Playing from the outside, a forward pass drew the Union defensive line to one side. Recognizing the space, David Ruiz hit a pass to the left side toward Pizarro who played the dummy ball for Robert Taylor to be 1v1 against the keeper. The ball ended up in the back of the net as the forward’s shot bounced off Glesnes and into the net to make it 3-1.
With temperature cooling off and tensions rising, Union Head Coach Jim Curtin turned to his substitutes with Jack McGlynn, Jesus Bueno and Matt Real entering the contest in a pair of changes early in the second half. McGlynn again went to the right side of the diamond and was eager to create. After setting up a chance shortly after taking to the pitch and had the goal post ringing in the 65th minute.
Three minutes later the Union’s pressure again turned into a goal with defense going right to offense via a direct attack. Carranza’s defensive instances saw the forward drop back and poke the ball free, sending Jesus Bueno onto the ball. Bueno quickly got possession to Gazdag who turned and crossed the center stripe slowly looking for the open space. With Carranza making the forward decoy run, the Hungarian connected with Uhre on the left side of the 18. Dribbling and looking to feed Carranza for his second against Miami, the Dane ripped a centering pass that forced a sliding block from Ruiz that crashed off the crossbar and in to re-establish the Union’s three-goal advantage.
Miami continued to push for another goal until the final whistle with the Union defense called upon multiple times in the 76th minute. Playing as the third center back after a formation change, Harriel delivered a pair of stops while Bueno added the third to maintain the Boys in Blue’s lead.
Philadelphia Union is back in action next weekend as they begin a three-game road trip to open July starting at Atlanta United FC on Sunday, July 2nd. Kick from Atlanta is set for 4 p.m. ET with the contest broadcast on FOX, FOX Deportes as well as free to watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.