One MLS regular season match down, 33 to go. The Philadelphia Union took down the Columbus Crew on Saturday to open its MLS regular season, and left Subaru Park with a 4-1 win.
A massive victory included some shaky points, so let’s dive in and overcorrect a three-goal win.
1.) Getting comfortable
The Union has rarely been a team that’s performed well on opening day, and 2023 was no exception. Despite being the favorites to win MLS Cup, Philadelphia took some time to settle into the match. Jakob Glesnes opened up the Crew’s scoring account for 2023, while Julian Carranza missed a tap-in (though the play was later called offsides).
In that same breath, Philadelphia bumped up its tempo after Carranza’s goal in the 52′. Say what you will about those penalty kicks, but both of Carranza’s goals were legit and really good. It’s the type of soccer that fans want to see from this team, and it’s likely what they’ll get.
2.) Staying onsides
The foul of the night for Philadelphia was certainly the offside call. The Union was called offside eight times, overwhelmingly in the first half. Obviously, Curtin and his crew solved that problem in the second half, but it was still some shakes to air out.
3.) Jim Curtin still doesn’t want the ball
In case fans thought that 2023 would bring significant tactical alterations, they’d be wrong (at least so far). Jim Curtin’s squad is still content to let its opponents hold the ball, even maintaining less than 30% of the match’s possession at one point.
Despite letting Columbus control the ball, Philadelphia didn’t let it control the game. The Union led the xG battle (3.43-.53), the shots battle (14-7), and the chances battle (5-1).
4.) Some quick hits
Jakob Glesnes: One unlucky play does not determine a game. While he gave up an own goal, Glesnes played well. He was involved around the box and made some really nice tackles.
Daniel Gazdag: Good penalty shooter. I’m very upset he wasn’t on my fantasy team.
Julian Carranza: He’s going to have a year. Those were some good goals, he could make a run for the golden boot.
Mikael Uhre: It would’ve been better to see more from Uhre. He was quiet against the Crew and will need to step it up down the line.
Jose Martinez: Still a bully, just as he should be.
Joaquin Torres: Welcome to Philly. One of five offseason signings recorded an assist against the Crew, and Torres did so one minute after stepping on the pitch. That pass to Carranza was a beauty, too.