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Late goals give Union defeat at CF Montreal

Late goals give Union defeat at CF Montreal
Late goals give Union defeat at CF Montreal

Due to injuries and Copa America call-ups, Head Coach Jim Curtin opted for a 4-4-2 formation with Chris Donovan up top alongside Tai Baribo. The pair were a relatively inexperienced duo, with the night marking Donovan’s second start of the year and Baribo’s fourth. The midfield was manned by the young lads of Jack McGlynn, Leon Flach, Jesus Bueno and Quinn Sullivan, while the back four was business as usual, with Jack Elloitt and Jakob Glesnes forming the centre-back duo, with Kai Wagner and Nate Harriel lining up on the wings. For the second game in a row, 18-year-old Homegrown goalkeeper Andrew Rick started in net, once again taking over from Oliver Semmle as Andre Blake recovers from injury.

Daniel Gazdag made his return to the matchday squad for the first time since leaving for the UEFA European Championship, where he represented his native Hungary until they were officially eliminated on Wednesday. His last game for the Union happened to be against CF Montreal the day before, which marked the pair’s final match before the competition entered the international break. Joining Gazdag on the bench was 17-year-old CJ Olney of Union II, who earned his third of five allowed short-notice call-ups for the trip. Like Rick, Olney was making his debut against Charlotte, and came on for meaningful minutes on the pitch in the match. Even with the pair, it was a shallow bench with just six substitutes, also including Semmle, Olivier Mbaizo Olwethu Mahkanya and Jeremy Rafanello. Injuries to starters Andre Blake, Alejandro Bedoya, Mikael Uhre, but Philadelphia weren’t the only team short-handed. Montreal were also missing key players, as they played the match without Mathieu Choiniere, Ariel Lassiter, Samuel Piettte and Joel Waterman due to international commitments.

Saturday’s intermittent rain stopped just in time for the first kick, despite heavy rain showers on the field just minutes earlier. With the surface slippery, the first ten minutes were physical and unproductive for both sides, with both sides’ bodies often sliding across the grass and into each other. The first shot of the match came in the 10th minute, when Rick stopped Josef Martinez’s attempt. He grabbed another in the 12th, throwing his body into the air for a bicycle kick attempt that sailed into Montreal’s half-full supporter’s section.

After twenty minutes, neither team had much attacking success, but Philadelphia Union remained determined: team captain Jakob Glesnes led the team vocally and proudly wore the captain’s armband.

Stade Saputo was silenced in the 29th minute as the Homegrown connection took beautiful form as Quinn Sullivan’s bank shot in the penalty area put Philadelphia Union 1-0 ahead. It was McGlynn who first took the ball up the middle and saw Harriel shoot unnoticed down the right sideline. Receiving the pass, Harriel spotted Sullivan in the penalty area, who set the ball down with his left and then fired the ball into the bottom left of the net, hitting the post with force, sending it to the opposite corner.