- The River End
- ⚽️ Blake Dazzles, But Draw Streak Continues
⚽️ Blake Dazzles, But Draw Streak Continues
+ Kai Wagner Added to List of Injury Concerns
Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union
LAST MATCH: Union 1 - Columbus 1
NEXT MATCH: vs. Atlanta United, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. | Apple TV - MLS Season Pass
Good morning. The Union finished a busy September unbeaten in six, but five draws in a row aren’t helping their case to secure as many home games as possible. Still, believe it or not, if the season ended today, only St. Louis City would keep the Union from hosting a return trip to the MLS Cup final.
In the email today:
1) ✍️ Drawn Out Season Taking Its Toll
Remember when Union fans were arguing that the Leagues Cup was important because a trophy and Champions Cup berth were on the line? Well, all of those extra games the Union played chasing a third place finish seem to have caught up with them in their recent run of form.
Things could definitely be worse, but it’s become painfully obvious that all of the extra games are taking its toll as injuries to Jakob Glesnes, Jose Martinez and now Kai Wagner pile up.
Wagner limped off the field in the 78th minute on Saturday and was replaced by Matt Real.
As stunning as he looked in an eight-save performance Saturday, he also appeared to be in some pain as he let Jack Elliott take kicks.
Julian Carranza subbed into the match in the second half and was a handful in his first minutes since sustaining a concussion against FC Cincinnati.
Our take: This season has really tested the Union’s ability to compete with such a limited roster spend as they’ve fought on multiple fronts riding many of the same core starters. Some good news in all of this is that they’ll get an international break after Wednesday and Saturday games.
2) 📈 Player Grades: Blake Dazzles, Nate Harriel Scores
🧤Andre Blake 🅰️+ - Blake had his best outing of 2023 and nearly single-handedly earned the point for the Union.
👟 Nathan Harriel 🅰️ - Harriel scored the equalizer unmarked in the box and was solid defensively playing in the back three. If not for Blake you could argue he was man of the match for the Union.
🇨🇲 Olivier Mbaizo 🅱️ - Mbaizo has been wearing a white head band lately and it looks good on him. His aggressive play and involvement in the attack is even greater as a wing back.
🇯🇲 Damion Lowe 🅰️ - Lowe has been such a solid pickup and after struggling in the Inter Miami game has really picked things up.
🗼Jack Elliott C - Not the best of games for Elliott. Gives away the penalty with the handball and nearly gives away the game on the no-call late.
💰 Kai Wagner 🅰️ - Wagner delivered his 39th career assist on the corner kick. His service continues to be second to none and his playmaking critical.
🇻🇪 Jesus Bueno 🅱️ - Bueno definitely walked the edge commonly talked about with Martinez but stayed on the field and was instrumental in limiting the explosive Crew attack’s chances.
📐 Jack McGlynn 🅱️ - McGlynn wasn’t involved as much as you like in a game on the road but that’s not necessarily his fault. The Crew had something to do with that too.
🟨 Alejandro Bedoya 🅱️ - Bedoya played just the 45 minutes and was mostly neutralized by the Crew.
🤩 Quinn Sullivan 🅰️ - He didn’t find the back of the net but it’s hard not to like the form he’s in right now even in just 45 minutes of action.
🐉 Chris Donovan 🅱️ - Was limited to just 14 touches in his 45 minutes of play but did win 4 duels so you could say he did the job he was sent in to do: keep the Crew off the scoreboard for the first half.
🥾 Mikael Uhre C - Had a chance to score on an advantage play that ended up keeping Malte Amundsen in the game on a sure DOGSO. It’s starting to feel like a regular thing but he has to be more clinical on chances like that.
🇦🇷 Julian Carranza 🅰️ - Carranza was a handful in his return from concussion protocol. He put the ball in the back of the net but it was called back for offside and helped create the Uhre chance.
🇭🇺 Daniel Gazdag 🅱️ - Gazdag wasn’t able to put his stamp on the game in this one in 45 minutes.
3) 👔 Tweet of the Day: Welcome to Tie Town
4) 💧 Water Cooler: Injury Concern
Who Is the Biggest Injury Concern Right Now?
Have additional thoughts? Reply directly to this email to comment, and see if we include your response tomorrow.
Results from our last poll Union Mood:
5) 🔗 Link Roundup:
🐍 Union II put up a valiant effort after going down 3-0 but they’re comeback wasn’t meant to be in a 3-2 MLS Next Pro playoff match in Foxborough on Sunday night. Revs II beat Union II for the fourth time in 2023 to advance.
📺 Todd Lewis of The Free Kick podcast breaks down the goals and key plays in the Union’s 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew.
🏆 FC Cincinnati clinched the Supporters’ Shield on Saturday night to complete the transformation from three straight wooden spoon winners to the league’s best. Philadelphia native Chris Albright played a big role in that. He won the shield with two different teams as a player and has won it with two different teams in his post-playing career now too.
⛲️ New York Red Bulls teenager Julian Hall made history as the second youngest player in MLS history to debut. The youngest is still former Union player Freddy Adu, who debuted with DC United as a 14-year-old.
The newsletter today was written by: Matt Ralph @MattRalph_
Thanks for reading!