In the 50th minute, all looked lost for the Philadelphia Union.
Just as they had early on in their previous match against Minnesota United, the Union looked disjointed to start out. They looked like a team still ironing out the kinks, shaking off the rust, and whatever other cliche that applies. Already down 1-0 after an unlucky goal off of a deflection in the 32nd minute, Djordje Mihalovic looked to provide the dagger in the 50th.
Mihalovic waltzed right down the middle of the Union defense after a turnover to put the hosts up 2-0. Frustrated Union fans quickly looked for consolation in the loss, the team not looking likely to muster a comeback at the moment. The fanbase’s collective braintrust came to a halt as VAR overruled the goal due to a prior foul. The match from here? Pure chaos.
“That goal that got called back that changed everything, because I think we’re going down to zero, that would suck the air out of us, I think it would have been a lot tougher to come back into the game,” Alejandro Bedoya said post-game. “But, you know, obviously, that gave us a bit of more belief, and gave us a little bit more motivation to get going, because we thought we started that second half a little bit... not so good.”
Just two minutes later Bedoya tied the match back up. Sloppy play in the Montreal box led to a turnover, and the Union captain did not miss his chance. Just a minute later after nearly drawing a foul, Daniel Gazdag scored his first of the season to put the Union up. Just mere minutes after looking to be out of the contest, the Union now had the lead on the road!
“A very gutsy Philadelphia Union type of win.” head coach Jim Curtin said after the match. “Credit to the guys for sticking to things. I thought there was probably a fifteen-minute period there in the second half where we really looked like us, which made me happy… Obviously, we got two goals during that period.”
It took them a while, and it wasn’t for a full match, but there was that window in the second half where the Union looked like the squad advertised during the offseason… one of the top teams in the league. They pressed well and showed some good chemistry. Even after falling to ten men after Julian Carranza was sent off following a second yellow card in the 71st minute, the Union were able to stick together and see out the road victory.
Earlier in the day, fans were trying to find positives in a road loss early in the season, positive points in a loss that wasn’t the end of the world. Despite not playing their best, the Union managed to earn some key points away early in the season. This is the team’s first road win since their 2-1 triumph in Cincinnati last October.
Yes, there are still kinks to be ironed out. Of course, the team needs to come together a bit better. The Union definitely needs to put together a more consistent performance over 90 minutes than they have so far this season. But, two games in Philadelphia are still unbeaten and trending in the right direction.