Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC Recap: Union Win to Appear in their First MLS Cup Final.


The Philadelphia Union players celebrate being Eastern Conference Champions for the first time in their team’s history.

Unfortunately, the Philadelphia Union tragically lost in a heartbreaking final, but we cannot forget the incredible season and playoff run that they had. On October 20th, the Union beat FC (Football Club) Cincinnati and advanced to the Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup semi-final, where they beat New York City FC by a score of 3-1. The Union have been a dominant team in the league for the past three years, however they had never gotten to the Cup Final until this year. In 2020, they won the Supporters’ Shield, an award for the best team in the regular season, but they choked in the second round of the playoffs, losing to the New England Revolution. Last year, they made it to the semi-finals of the Cup, and lost to NYCFC, partly because of COVID depriving their squad. There seems to be a pattern in their playoff history, however, this year the Union managed to make it farther, and undoubtedly looked much better, than in the past. First, let’s discuss the game highlights.


As it happened:

The two teams, the Union and NYCFC, were very competitive in the early minutes of the game. The first half was an action-packed forty five minutes with many fouls and intense play. Both teams had their chances, but were not able to capitalize. As the teams went into halftime, the score was still deadlocked at 0-0. The Union made one change, substituting their captain, Alejandro Bedoya, for nineteen-year-old Jack McGlynn. Despite this switch, the Union ended up allowing a goal to NYCFC in the 57th minute, coming from Maximilliano Moralez. Although the Union were behind, they were relentless in causing turnovers and setting up counterattacks, leading to Julián Carranza and Dàniel Gazdag scoring two goals in four minutes to completely shift the momentum of the game. Subsequently, in the 76th minute, Cory Burke scored a goal that would seal the deal for the Union. The Union took home their first Eastern Conference Championship in the club’s history by defeating NYCFC 3-1.


Man of the Match:

The Union had a spectacular night with many players starring, however some stood out from the rest. The Union’s defense were probably the best overall, with Jakob Glesnes assisting a goal. In the midfield, Daniel Gazdag and Jose Martinez had great games, as Gazdag had a goal, and Maritnez had nine passes into the final third. However, the offense was where the Union displayed their true brilliance. Julian Carranza was deadly at striker, as he has been all season, netting a goal and getting an assist. For NYCFC, Maximilliano Moralez was a rock in midfield, scoring their only goal along with completing seventy nine passes in ninety minutes. Although all five of these players stood out for their respective teams, Jullian Carranza was the man of the match because he was involved in two goals, and helped change the momentum in the game right when the Union needed it most. 


What happened next:

Unfortunately, this was the last win of the Union’s season; 2022 Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC narrowly defeated the Union on penalties to be crowned the champions of the MLS. LAFC was the only team to have more points than the Union in the regular season, and for both teams, this was their first MLS Cup Final. The match was played on Saturday, November 5 at 4 pm eastern time. Evidently, there is still room for improvement for the Union if they want to bring an MLS title to the city of brotherly love, but they seem to be getting closer and closer every year.