It was an often uneventful midweek match that included plenty of bad mistakes and missed chances by both teams. But just when it looked like the Philadelphia Union were going to fall to their frequent foes the New England Revolution off of a late goal, Kacper Przybylko managed to find a little late game magic to secure an equalizer.
The Union kept the lineup that saw them to a convincing 2-0 victory at Chicago over the weekend. Jack McGlynn made his second consecutive start with Jose Martinez still unavailable thanks to the extended suspension following his red card against NYC FC.
Both sides started on the front foot and Andre Blake made his first save in just the 5th minute. Shortly after, Kacper Przybylko was on the receiving end of some contact inside the New England box. Commentator Danny Higginbotham thought it was certainly a penalty, but it didn’t receive a review.
Momentum swung back and forth for most of the first half. Both sides had their share of mistakes and neither team managed to have a particularly dangerous look at the goal. At the same time, the match looked like it was starting to get chippy as the teams traded escalating fouls. Head ref Tori Penso mostly kept things from getting out of hand and she issued a yellow card to Kai Wagner in the 34th minute.
Business began to pick up around the 30th minute for both sides. Przybylko was pushed down in the box on one end of the field (leading for more penalty shouts) only for the Revs to spring a counter and require a big save from Blake on the other end. A minute later, a cross from Olivier Mbaizo found an open Sergio Santos at the near post, but Turner was there for a big save of his own.
After this flurry of action, both sides settled back into the status quo from earlier in the half. They ran out the clock by trading counters and bouts of possession, with no particularly good chances to open the scoring. After two minutes of added time, the teams headed to the locker room still locked at nil-nil.
Jim Curtin’s description of the first 45 minutes during his halftime interview? Simply, “not good enough.”
But the early moments of the second half looked to be more of the same. The match was mostly bogged down in the midfield with occasional moments of end to end action after a mistake or a turnover. During this period, Montiero picked up a yellow card for what the commentators agreed was a soft foul.
Looking to shake things up, Curtin made his first two subs in the 58th minute. Cory Burke came on for Sergio Santos while Anthony Fontana came on for McGlynn. The fresh legs didn’t unlock any immediate chances, and it was actually the Revs who had the next good look on goal when Tajon Buchanan rolled a low shot from distance that went just wide.
In the 68th minute, it was New England’s turn to insert some fresh legs. They went with Gustavo Bou and Teal Bunbury in exchange for Buska and Buchanan.
The Union nearly broke the deadlock shortly after the substitutions when Montiero managed to find Fontana wide open at the top of the Revolution’s box. Fontana unleashed on of his trademark rocket shots, but this time it was blocked.
Another opportunity was missed a short time later when two through balls from Burke and Fontana unlocked Montiero one-on-one with Turner but an unfortunate stumble from Montiero kept him from getting a shot off. Two minutes later, Jack Elliott joined the attack and tried a shot from distance that was just narrowly wide.
With only ten minutes left to play, the Union attack finally came to life for a sustained period. Wagner, Mbazio, and Bedoya made a series of crosses into the box that either couldn’t find an open Union player or were gobbled up by Turner.
But after all of those chances, it was the Revs who managed to find the first goal. DeJuan Jones was able to drive into the box from the left side, corral a loose ball, and slide it to an open Teal Bunbury. Bunbury slipped the ball inside the near post to put the Revs ahead in the 85th minute.
Facing the prospect of losing their third consecutive home match, the Union responded quickly. The resumed their attack on the Revs goal and finally managed to capitalize on a New England miscue. Turner didn’t get enough on a punch and the Revs failed to head the loose ball away successfully. This gave Przybylko enough of a chance to head in the equalizer from about a foot out.
Even with the late equalizer, both teams still wanted a winner. Leon Flach nearly got his first MLS goal early in added time, but his header was just wide. On the other end of the pitch, Blake was called on to make one last save to preserve the point. The Union cleared away the resulting corner, and the four minutes of added time ran out shortly after.
- The late equalizer helps lift the team’s spirits, but the Union really should have had all three points tonight. If they had capitalized on their early chances, they could have scored three or four.
- Leon Flach put in another excellent performance in the midfield, showing flashes of brilliance on defense as well as some nice moments on offense. With McGlynn settling in well and Daniel Gazdag set to join the midfield in a more attacking role, it looks like the Union are set to have some real midfield depth later in the season.