Match Recap

Union battle and claim road point at Austin FC


Philadelphia Union turned the momentum in the second half to grab a 2-2 draw at Austin FC on Saturday night.

It was a tale of two halves in the Lone Star State with Philly controlling the first 45 minutes that saw the Union grab the lead via a penalty kick conversion from Daniel Gazdag. Austin FC battled back with two goals in two minutes to take the lead before Union forward Mikael Uhre notched his second goal of the league season with a finish in the 64th minute to tie the contest.

Head Coach Jim Curtin had a robust group to choose from on Saturday night, sending out one of the strongest lineups the Union’s had all season with his front three in Julian Carraza, Daniel Gazdag, and Mikael Uhre back together. With the 23-year-old Argentine back in the lineup, Quinn Sullivan was back in his natural midfield alongside fellow Homegrown Jack McGlynn and José Martinez. As for the defense, Homegrown Nate Harriel finally returned to his natural right back spot, opposite Kai Wagner, and fortified with Damion Lowe and Jack Elliott paired in the back. 

The first-ever MLS meeting between the pair started off in favor of the Union with a series of free kicks earned in the first ten minutes. Although they weren’t able to capitalize on their first few opportunities, it was still Philadelphia who claimed the first lead of the match. 

After earning a free kick chance just outside Austin FC’s box, Kai Wagner earned a penalty kick in the 11th minute with a shot that hit off a defender’s arm. A quick check from the Video Assistant Referee saw the Union awarded a point to the spot where Daniel Gazdag gave the Union a 1-0 advantage in their first visit to Q2 stadium. The goal was the Hungarian’s first since the team’s home opener against Chicago Fire on February 24th. With his goal, Gazdag became the first player in MLS history to convert each of his first 20 penalty-kicks taken from the start of his career.

The Union continued to push the attack in the subsequent minutes of the first half to double their advantage with scoring chances just off the mark from a Carranza header, a blast from Sullivan from the right side of the box, and a left-footer from Jack McGlynn before the half hour mark. The first yellow card of the night was shown to Sullivan in the 34rd minute, scrapping to defend against Austin in near midfield. 

Coming into the contest Curtin challenged his team to play like themselves with the front-foot pressing causing issues for the hosts side in the first half. The pressing was nearly perfect when Austin attacked the Union’s homegrowns on the right side of the formation with Harriel and Sullivan syncing up with Carranza to jump on numerous second balls to cut down any momentum Austin FC tried to gain.

With a strong defense, the Union were on the front foot with set piece opportunities with Kai Wagner attempting five corners in the first half. Despite the strong service, Wagner nearly had a goal of his own in first half stoppage time with a left-footed laser off a cross from McGlynn just missing the inside post before the break.

Austin FC found a rhythm late in the half with a series of quick passes in the box in the 43rd minute, finishing with the ball in Emiliano Rigoni's possession for a powerful shot that was blocked by Damion Lowe.

Trailing by a goal Austin FC Head Coach Josh Wolff made two critical changes at the start the half, adding in  Zan Kolmanic and Owen Wolff to replace Guilherme Biro and Jhojan Valencia. By the 55th minute, Kolmanic irritated an existing injury, spurring Wolff to make another substitution, sending in Hector Jimenez.  Within moments of stepping onto the pitch, 35-year-old Jimenez made a game-changing pass into the box towards Diego Rubio, who knocked the ball in for an equalizing header in the 56th minute.

Austin FC took advantage of their newfound momentum, with Wolff, the other second-half change, playing a key role as the hosts made it two goals in two minutes. The midfielder whipped a pass into the box the found Jon Gallagher for a 58th minute goal to claim the lead. 

Despite back-to-back goals by the hosts, Philadelphia didn’t waver, but instead quickly answered back with one of their own in the 65th minute. With the ball beyond the box, Jose Martinez hesitated and waited for his teammates to settle, sending a pass to Nate Harriel, who sent the ball into the action where Mikael Uhre collected rebound from a touch from the keeper, and buried a sitter to knot the score 2-2.

After the goal, Curtin gave the Danish striker a break, sending in fresh legs in team captain Alejandro Bedoya in the 68th minute. Wolff made a change too, adding in Austin’s 28-year-old Argentine DP midfielder Sebastián Driussi in exchange for Jáder Obrian. 

Both teams continued to battle to break the tie, pushing the intensity through the final 10 minutes. During the intensity, Gazdag was shown the third Union yellow card of the night for poor sportsmanship after Wagner was called for a foul.

Wolff and Curtin both made changes in the final 10 minutes, with Wolff inserting Gyasi Zardes to replace Diego Rubio in the 82nd minute, and Curtin adding Chris Donovan for Sullivan in the 86th. 

The Union created an opportunity tin the 88th minute, starting with Bedoya booting the ball down the side toward Donovan, who sped toward the team’s attacking end to find Gazdag on the overlapping run. With the end line closing in, Gazdag teed up a centering pass into the box for toward Carranza, but his touch went high above the net.

Philadelphia Union concludes its three-game road trip next Saturday with a West Coast visit to the Portland Timbers. Kick off is set for 10:30PM ET with the contest broadcast on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

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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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