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Bou’s 2 Goals Sink Union to Set Up Playoff Rematch With Revs

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Oct 21, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Revolution forward Gustavo Bou (7) controls the ball against the Philadelphia Union during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

    The Philadelphia Union came into Decision Day sitting 3rd in the MLS Eastern Conference standings with a chance to finish anywhere between 3rd and 5th depending on results. All the Union needed was a win or tie against the New England Revolution to clinch 3rd, but that’s no easy task on the road. It certainly doesn’t help matters when the game is at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA in a driving rainstorm on a slippery artificial turf field that was not designed in any way for soccer. The dark and stormy night in Foxboro ended with a 2-1 New England victory on two goals from Gustavo Bou countering an early goal from the Union’s Julián Carranza, finishing the season tied with New England at 55 points at 15-9-10. Luckily the Union’s goal differential of +16 to New England’s +12 gives the Union 4th place in the East and home field advantage in the Best-of-3 game first round playoff series against New England. 

In the 16th minute Kai Wagner fielded the ball in the Union’s end on the left side a few yards in front of the box. He sent a long through ball about half the length of the field looking for the strikers Mikael Uhre and Julián Carranza. New England Defender Dave Romney attempted to field the ball but Goalie Jacob Jackson had come out of the box and knocked down both Uhre and Carranza. Carranza managed to reach his leg out to kick the ball towards the net and the ball rolled into the bottom left corner of the net to give the Union an early 1-0 lead, and Jackson did not receive a card despite the blatant interference due to a quirk in the rule interpretation in MLS that a red card is only issued to the goalie if there is interference denying a chance for a goal, and a yellow is supposed to be issued if the player still recovers a chance at the goal. (This happened to the Union in the match at Columbus several weeks ago) In this instance, no card was issued to Jackson since the Union scored. In the 23rd minute, Carles Gil took a shot from the center of the box that went off Damion Lowe’s arm, which was called a hand ball setting up a penalty kick for Gustavo Bou in the 26th with a shot into the bottom left corner of the net. In the 41st Carles Gil attacked on a fast break for New England sending a through ball up to the box finding Gustavo Bou to fire one past a slipping Andre Blake into the center of the net to put New England up 2-1 just before halftime. 

The second half settled into a mostly defensive slog that did not turn up very many chances. In the 71st minute Tomás Chancalay had a good look for New England from the left side of the box which just missed wide left. The Union came back in the 74th minute with a Jack McGlynn shot from the left side of the box went just over the crossbar. Jim Curtin made substitutions in the 75th minute to park the bus in the middle of the field and stop New England from scoring more and putting the Union’s goal differential tiebreaker in danger, with Mikael Uhre and Jack McGlynn leaving the game for Jesús Bueno and Leon Flach, seeing his first game action in months. In the 87th minute a Kai Wagner free kick found Nathan Harriel on the right side of the box for the tying goal…until the flag went up. Carranza was offside on the free kick but was not involved in the play or anywhere near the goalie to interfere with the save, preserving the 2-1 score and setting up two or three more playoff games between the two longtime rival squads. 

    Union coach Jim Curtin said after the game that the Goalie Interference rule was called right, but admitted the rule was weird:

“It’s a unique situation and a unique rule and it was called the right way, minus the fact that they should have at least gone back and given a yellow card, but in that instance in the 15th minute when you have a play that you could have a PK and a red card you’d probably sign up for that rather than the advantage where Julián scores the goal…I think any coach in the sport would sign up for the PK and playing up a man for that amount of time.”

News and Notes:

  • Julián Carranza’s goal was his 14th of the season, tying him for the team lead in goals with midfielder Daniel Gazdag.
  • Jose Martinez was unavailable for this match as he was serving a one game suspension for yellow card accumulation. He will return for the playoffs.
  • With this result, the Union clinched their 5th straight season with a top four finish in the Eastern Conference, the longest such active streak in either conference.
  • The Union kick off their run in the 2023 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs against the New England Revolution with Game 1 of the Best-of-3 series on Saturday October 28 at 5pm. All MLS Playoff matches are streaming on Apple TV+. 

JD Walker is one of the co-founders of Stream Punk Entertainment and has covered the Philadelphia Union since 2022. He has a wide-spanning career with experience in a variety of roles inside and outside the world of sports including basketball operations, gameday entertainment, promotions, broadcasting, and finance. He’s a Jersey Shore native sprung from a cage on Highway 9, and loves to geek out on the business and legal side of the games we all love.

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