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Hat trick in Costa Rica a ‘special night’ for Union’s Carranza



Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union

Though it’s unlikely Julian Carranza will be with the Philadelphia Union when the 2024 seasons ends in late fall, the star forward made sure to put his stamp on how the season started with a second half hat trick in a 3-2 win over Saprissa on Tuesday night in Costa Rica.

The hat trick was the 23-year-old Argentine’s third in a Union shirt – both previous hat tricks were against DC United in the 2022 season – and seventh multi-goal game for the boys in blue. He’s now scored 36 goals in 81 games all competitions for the Union.

“A special player, and a special night for him,” head coach Jim Curtin after the Concacaf Champions Cup win. “Teams don’t come in here and score three goals, let alone three goals in a half so it’s a good achievement.”

Heading into the offseason after a disappointing playoff exit, there was plenty of doubt that Carranza would ever wear a Union shirt again. Despite rumored interest during the January transfer window Carranza returned to the team that rescued him from Inter Miami and gave him a place to rejuvenate his promising career back in 2022.

“He’s a top striker, and one that I don’t know how much longer we’ll have in Philadelphia,” Curtin said on Tuesday, essentially giving an ice bath to any notion that the Union have a chance to keep him much beyond the summer transfer window.

Performances like the one he turned in Tuesday night serve only as another example of his value to European teams with money to spend on adding a striker this summer.

“I thought (he) was excellent on the night, not just the goals that he scores but also the holdup play, combinations, passing and moving,” Curtin said.

Limited in his opportunities offensively in a disastrous first half of soccer for the Union, Carranza still managed to make a big contribution in his own box defensively. That willingness to defend and his relentless pursuit of the ball even when he’s not getting service is a feature that has made him so successful in Chester and should interest teams scouting him.

“He does a lot of the dirty work for the team as well with his pressing and defensive work,” Curtin said. “But when you score goals in the big games – and this was a big game tonight – you know the world is watching… anytime you have a night like this, I’ll just say a lot of scouting eyes are on him so I hope this is just the beginning for him this season.”

Matthew Ralph is the managing editor of Philadelphia Soccer Now / Brotherly Game. He's covered soccer at all levels for many years in the Philadelphia region and has also written for, NPSL, PrepSoccer and other publications. He lives with his wife and two young children in Broomall, Pa., but grew up in South Jersey and is originally from Kansas.

Copyright © 2024 Philadelphia Soccer Now and Brotherly Game

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