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04 de Junio de 2023 a las 05:33

Photo courtesy of Brad Penner, USA Today Sports
Article by JD Walker 
Columnist and Host of The Sports Den on Spanglish World Networks, Spanglish Sports World & Zingo TV
New York. - The Philadelphia Union resumed their dominance of NYCFC picking up right where they left off in the 2022 playoffs. The Union scored three unanswered goals to best their bitter rivals 3-1 at Citi Field in Queens, NY on Saturday evening. Julian Carranza led the Union with two goals to extend the Union’s unbeaten streak to seven games in MLS play and five games overall.
The first 20 minutes of the game were relatively quiet by the lofty standards of a rivalry which has had numerous memorable and ugly moments over the past three seasons. In the 22nd minute Andres Jasson of NYCFC was on the attack and ran in front of the net colliding with Union goalie Andre Blake coming out to play the ball putting both players down on the pitch for a while. In real time this appeared to be a slightly dirty play resuming tensions from previous years but replay showed it to be a freak play without nefarious intent so play continued with no fouls called. In the 30th minute Santiago Rodriguez of NYCFC passed the ball up to Richard Ledezma in the center of the box who quickly passed back out to Gabriel Pereira in the right center of the box who sent a left footer into the bottom left corner of the net putting NYCFC on the board first. A few minutes later in the 36th Julian Carranza appeared to tie things up for the Union but the goal was quickly called offside. NYCFC appeared to be cruising into a halftime lead but let their guards down in stoppage time. In the first minute of stoppage time Carranza set up in the center of the box and fired one past Luis Barraza, tying up the match. After the restart in the third minute of stoppage time Mikael Uhre sent a cross up to Carranza right in front of the net again sending one past Barraza to turn a potential 1-0 halftime deficit into a 2-1 halftime lead for Philadelphia. 
The halftime break did not stop the metaphorical black cloud from rolling into the collective psyche of NYCFC. In the 48th minute Thiago Martins pushed down Carranza from behind as he started to break away from the pack leading to a replay review for a possible red card for denial of goal. The VAR official determined that Martins earned a yellow card not a red, but the play was enough to warrant a penalty kick for the Union. The Hungarian Hammer Daniel Gazdag got set in the 53rd minute and easily sent his PK into the bottom right of the net to give the Union a 3-1 advantage. The chippiness continued with Kevin O’Toole earning a yellow card shoving Carranza down from behind in the 61st minute. Gazdag had a good look from the top of the box in the 75th minute which just barely missed wide left, denying him a second goal for the evening as the final minutes ticked down to a 3-1 Union victory over their rivals. 
“The great thing about Andre…He doesn’t say much but when he speaks, everybody listens. To watch him now grow as a quiet, shy kid to the one that talks and is now the voice in the locker room has been really, really awesome to see, and every season now he adds a different layer to his game.”
Curtin was not a fan of the strange field layout of Citi Field, which at one point had Kai Wagner taking a free kick from where second base would be on the baseball field: 
“I just know that club and the quality of the players they have and the quality of the fans, they deserve a soccer stadium, and they’re going to get one so that’s the best thing. I don’t think playing here is good for anybody…The quality of their club and the players they put on the field, they deserve a real stadium with a real atmosphere because in this building the fans are non-existent they’re so far away, it’s a baseball stadium.”
Andre Blake said the CONCACAF Champions League matches earlier in this season are paying dividends now:
“Earlier in the season it was tough with all the games and travel. Playing in these CONCACAF games and playing against these tough teams going to Mexico and all that, it definitely gives you valuable experience and experiences like those can really make you into a better player and collectively make us into a better team. We went on a good run and I think we’re in a better place and we’re using all that experience to really push us through.”
Jakob Glesnes is optimistic about the Union’s upcoming matches in the friendly confines of Subaru Park: 
“We want to take six points in the next two games, especially at home. The trend should keep going now in this form we are in now. We should just do what we’re good at because now we can see we are defending as a team and we are attacking as a team, then the results are coming as well…When we’re in a good streak like we are now, the game can almost not come fast enough. We’re doing well, we have the confidence, so we just keep pushing.”
News and Notes:
  1. Union captain Alejandro Bedoya missed the match with a lower body injury that is not expected to keep him out for the long term. Jack McGlynn remains away with the U20 USA national team.
  2. Daniel Gazdag has not missed a PK in a regular season match for the Union.
  3. The Union have won four straight matches over NYCFC since the infamous 2021 Eastern Conference Finals loss.
  4. This was NYCFC’s first loss ever in a home match at Citi Field. The vagabond Citizens split home matches between Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, and Red Bull Arena while waiting for their own stadium to be built. The new stadium is expected to be completed for the 2027 season.
  5. The Union return home for their next two matches on Wednesday May 31 against Charlotte FC and Saturday June 3 against CF Montreal. All MLS matches are streamed on Apple TV+.