Match Recap

Union battle back for 2-2 draw in Atlanta


Philadelphia Union scored twice in four minutes to rally back for a 2-2 draw at Atlanta United on Sunday afternoon.

The Union kept the title of the last remaining unbeaten team in Major League Soccer with heart and determination as they faced a 2-0 deficit in the second half. Facing an opposition with one of the homefield advantages in MLS, Philly saw goals from Mikael Uhre and Kai Wagner to nab the road draw.

Philadelphia Union arrived in Atlanta for a key Eastern Conference matchup that featured the last unbeaten team in Major League Soccer taking on a home side that was unbeaten in league play in front of its home fans since August. Philly came into the contest with momentous three-game win streak, having done so with different lineups each time and Sunday’s starting group was no different with  two changes from last weekend’s win in Nashville. 

Curtin started in a 4-4-2 with Julian Carranza and Quinn Sullivan up top, while Daniel Gazdag manned his typical 10 spot. In the midfield, team captain Alejandro Bedoya started the match alongside Jose Martinez and Jack McGlynn. In front of the net, Nate Harriel and Kai Wagner took over the right and left sides as usual while Damion Lowe was paired with Jakob Glesnes at center back.  

With his start, Bedoya tied former teammate Ray Gaddis for the second highest number of starts in club history trailing only Andre Blake who made his return to play Sunday after missing last week’s match due to concussion protocol. 

Early on it was the Union getting the bets of the half chances with the fifth minute seeing a series of passes on the Union’s side of the pitch presenting Wagner a chance to whip the ball into the box toward Carranza. However the service didn’t quite meet the Argentinian striker’s descent toward the goal. Four minutes later it was leading scorer Daniel Gazdag who sought to break open the scoring  from the top of the box unmarked, but a slight hesitation allowed two of his opponents to crash and block the attempt. 

The Eastern Conference matchup between the two teams started to show its physicality with Julian Carranza earning a spot in the referee’s book via a yellow card after making contact with a fellow Argentinian standout in Thiago Almada while attempting to keep the ball in Philadelphia’s attacking end. 

Philly defensive back duo of Lowe and Glesnes were in sync in the first half with the Jamaican making a key clearance off a Atlanta United free kick.  Moments later it was a massive stop with the Norwegian going full stretch to clear the ball out of the box.

The Union didn’t let up their attack; in the 31st minute, a relentless attacking effort resulted in a header chance from Alejandro Bedoya, but Atlanta’s keeper Brad Guzan halted the chaos with a save.

The match maintained physicality and double yellow cards in the 35th minute for Jose Martinez and Daniel Gazdag. The Venezuelan midfielder took down Atlanta’s Bartosz Slisz, while the Hungarian was booked for dissent, bumping the team’s disciplinary total to three yellows in the first half while Atlanta was booked with Almada. 

Despite the Union having the best scoring chances, Thiago Almada and his ever present ability to score from a free kick was tested in the 40th minute. However the Union defense prevented anything to come of it. 

Lockdown defense and another save from Blake prevented a last minute Atlanta attack, but after making the stop, Blake sat down on the grass, requiring medical attention. After a check with the training staff, goalkeeper Oliver Semmle was forced to take over before the half time whistle.

Curtin made a change in the moments after, taking out Martinez to send in forward Mikael Uhre, who missed the last match due to plantar fasciitis. The Boys in Blue nearly answered with a goal of their own off a set piece as Wagner hit a volley to the back post that connected with Carranza only to be denied by Brad Guzan.

Uhre made the most of his opportunity in the second half with the start of the comeback for the Union. Philly regained possession with Julian Carranza dropping into the midfield and forcing a tough pass at the center stripe. Atlanta quickly tried to just restart the possession with a half volley backwards however the Danish forward was the first to the ball and quickly saw himself with a 1v1 against Guzan. Uhre took a pair of touches before ripping a blast inside the near post to trim the deficit to just one.

With momentum on their side the Union continued to turn up the defensive pressure and were rewarded with a throw in opportunity in the offensive third of the pitch. Homegrown Nate Harriel delivered a long throw into the box that saw a half clearance volley from the hosts. Wagner was open at the edge of the box and ripped a shot off the volley that made all of Atlanta go quiet except for the Union faithful as they knotted it up at 2-2.

Both sides battled for a third goal but in the end it was the Union walking about confident after the Sunday road result.

Philadelphia Union heads into its bye week this weekend but faces a busy stretch when they return with three games in eight days. The schedule kicks off in front of the Union faithful as they host Real Salt Lake for Greener Goals Night presented by Subaru on Saturday, April 27th.

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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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