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Union Clinch CCC Spot, Top Monterrey For 3rd in Leagues Cup

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Credit: Philadelphia Union

    Third place matches usually have a very strange vibe. The ultimate prize is out of reach so there’s a hangover of disappointment, but the two semi final losers still have a little something to play for, whether it’s a Bronze medal or a CONCACAF Champions Cup berth. This one was no different, with a far below capacity Subaru Park crowd that was the complete antithesis of the Messi circus earlier this week. It was almost as strange seeing players with triple digit jerseys on the pitch which apparently is custom for Liga MX team academy players…of which Monterrey started four of them because they already clinched their CCC spot by virtue of winning the Mexican league’s Clausura last season. The Philadelphia Union took full advantage of the situation in a 3-0 thumping of CF Monterrey on Saturday evening to claim a spot in the prestigious continental club tournament for the third time in four seasons. 

In two of the previous three matches, the Union conceded a goal in the first five minutes. This time, the Union wasted no time at all jumping on their opponent from the opening kick. Mikael Uhre passed from the far right side over to Daniel Gazdag who let off a quick shot from the right side of the box that went off the right post but Jesús Bueno was in front of the net to get the rebound and plop it into the center of the goal to put the Boys in Blue up 1-0 after only 28 seconds of game play. Monterrey’s best chance came in the 35th minute when Daniel Parra had an open look from close range but his shot missed to the right of the net preserving Andre Blake’s clean sheet. In stoppage time shortly before the half, Jack McGlynn sent a cross from the far left side of the field about 30 yards up and found Mikael Uhre in the center of the box, who slid to the ball and sent a roller down the middle into the back of the net to put the Union up 2-0 at halftime. 

    In the 62nd minute, Kai Wagner took a shot from the far left outside the box which went off the right post. Quinn Sullivan got the rebound and scored but the officials immediately waved off the goal ruling Sullivan was offside. TV replays clearly showed a Monterrey defender was playing a step back closer to the goal keeping him on, but since VAR reviewed the whole play not just Sullivan, they found while Sullivan was indeed onside, Wagner actually was offside by a step so the call stood. It ended up being a moot point a few minutes later in the 69th minute. Jakob Glesnes sent a pass from the left corner of the box into the middle, allowing Chris Donovan to jump for a flying header which was saved by Monterrey goalie Luis Cardenas. He could not maintain control of the ball and Alejandro Bedoya was right in front of the net to put the rebound in the center left of the net and put the Union up 3-0, where the score remained. This was El Capitan’s second game in a row scoring within five minutes of coming off the bench. In one final moment of Third place game weirdness, Tai Baribo made his Union debut in the 90th minute for the Union after recently signing with the team from Wolfsberger AC of the Austrian Bundesliga. Since the officials added no stoppage time, Baribo’s first official appearance for the squad ended up lasting about 15 seconds. 

I asked Jack McGlynn after the game how the team paces themselves with so many games back to back and how playing the grind of this tournament helps the team going forward in MLS down the stretch: 

“It’s easier for me to say (as a younger player) but it’s always about recovery…it’s tough but once you get on the field that kind of all goes away and you start focusing again. The Liga MX teams bring a different style and flow to the games so I think it really prepares us to come up against everything throughout the rest of the year.” 

News and Notes:

  • In the Leagues Cup Final, Inter Miami CF won their first trophy of any kind in team history as they played Nashville SC to a 1-1 draw in GEODIS Park in Nashville. Miami won the PK shootout 10-9 in 11 rounds. The deciding 11th round featured both goalies taking the kicks for their respective sides. Drake Callender made his kick for Miami while Elliot Panicco missed his for Nashville, capping off the wild ride to a trophy for the Barcelona Super Friends who now return to MLS play in last place in the East, but only 12 points out of a playoff spot with 12 games left to play. 
  • Julian Carranza missed his second straight match with a strained hamstring. Jim Curtin said in the postgame that he expects Carranza to be available for the DC match next week. Damion Lowe was also not listed on the active roster for this match. 
  • The Union-FC Dallas game originally scheduled for Sunday has been moved to September 27 due to the Union’s run to the Leagues Cup semis. All tickets sold for Sunday will be honored for the new date. 
  • The Union return to MLS play on Saturday August 26 at 7:30pm on the road against DC United. All MLS matches are streamed on Apple TV+ MLS Season Pass. 

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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