Cory Burke scored a 35th minute equalizer and the Philadelphia Union recovered from a disjointed start to their 2022 season to earn a 1-1 draw against Minnesota United in the first game of the MLS season at Subaru Park on Saturday.
The visitors from Saint Paul took a lead in the 23rd minute when Olivier Mbaizo was beaten off the dribble by Franco Fragapane and he set up an unmarked Robin Lod trailing the play for the finish at the far post.
The lead wasn’t undeserved for the visitors who were impressive going forward with waves of attacks orchestrated by the impressive playmaking skills of Emanuel Reynoso. Jakob Glesnes came up big to cut down a chance and Andre Blake was forced to make two key saves — including a finger tip save in stoppage time — to salvage the opening day point.
Burke’s equalizer started with a recycled play off a corner kick that fell to Glesnes on the right flank and the Norwegian center back delivered a blistering cross that Burke was able to head clean at the far post and even the score at 1-1.
Head coach Jim Curtin went to his bench in the 68th minute to replace Leon Flach, who took a nasty elbow to the face from Loons captain Michael Boxall in the 9th minute, with Jack McGlynn. He brought in Sergio Santos and Paxten Aaronson for Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza in the 75th minute.
The subs helped add some energy and create some bright moments but Minnesota had the best chance to grab a winner in the third minute of stoppage time when substitute Adrien Hunou was played in on the break by Lod. As he has done so often, Blake rose to the occasion to make the finger tip save and deny the Loons a smash and grab win.
90'+ | ANDRE BLAKE WHAT A MAN pic.twitter.com/c01UsH8W7A— PhilaUnion (@PhilaUnion) February 26, 2022
Though not the ideal way to kick off the campaign, the crowd of 17,487 had plenty of reasons to cheer and wasn’t completely uncharacteristic for a season opener in late February.
MIN – Robin Lod (Fragapane) 23’
PHI – Cory Burke (Glesnes) 35’
PHI – Jakob Glesnes (caution) 41’
PHI – Jose Martinez (caution) 51’
MIN – Michael Boxall (caution) 73’
MIN – Robin Lod (caution) 79’
MIN – Emanuel Reynoso (caution) 85’
Philadelphia Union: Andre Blake; Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott, Jakob Glesnes, Olivier Mbaizo; Jose Martinez, Leon Flach (Jack McGlynn 68’), Alejandro Bedoya, Daniel Gazdag (Paxten Aaronson 73’); Julian Carranza (Sergio Santos 73’), Cory Burke
Substitutes not used: Matt Freese, Nathan Harriel, Matt Real, Stuart Findlay, Jesus Bueno, Quinn Sullivan
Minnesota United FC: Tyler Miller, Michael Boxall, Brent Kallman, Oniel Fisher, Bakaye Dibassy, Emanuel Reynoso, Kervin Arriaga, Hassani Dotson, Luis Amarilla (Adrien Hunou 83’), Franco Fragapane (Bongokuhle Hlongwane 78’), Robin Lod
Substitutes not used: Dayne St. Clair, Nabilai Kibunguchy, Callum Montgomery, Justin McMaster, D.J. Taylor, Niko Hansen, Joseph Rosales