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Three takeaways from the Union’s season-opener against Chicago



Photo by Carl Gulbish

The Philadelphia Union’s MLS season-opener has come and gone as the Chicago Fire left Chester, Pa., with a point in hand.

After going down twice, the Union were helped by goals from Mikeal Uhre and Daniel Gazdag to secure a draw at Subaru Park. Now, two games in the Union’s 2024 campaign, let’s take a look at what we learned from the team’s first MLS match.

Keeping tradition, the Union struggle at the start

The Union started the season on a high note, taking an important victory on the road against Saprissa in the Concacaf Champions Cup. But after coming home, the Union struggled to find points in a stadium in which they’ve had so much success. A late goal by Daniel Gazdag was all that kept Philadelphia losing its home-opener — something the team hasn’t done since March 2019 against Toronto.

That being said, the Union have typically started the season off slow. Of the season openers since 2019, the Union have gone 1-3-1, so the Chicago result isn’t exactly a deal-breaker. In the 2022 season, Philadelphia tied a Minnesota team at home to open the season, the same Minnesota team that finished No. 6 in the Western Conference while the Union rolled on to an MLS Cup Final.

Sure, one point at home isn’t great, but it isn’t exactly a surprise. Earning a point against a Chicago team that looked revitalized since its poor form from last season is respectable.

Late-game heroism

If we learned anything from Saturday’s result, it’s that the Union won’t say die. After going into halftime down by a goal, the Union responded immediately with what could’ve been a goal from Daniel Gazdag, though Gazdag was caught offside. Ten minutes later, however, Mikael Uhre opened his account to tie the match at 1-1.

Even after former Union man Fabian Herbers notched a goal, the Union put together an absolutely beautiful display of team passing to set up Gazdadg for his point-earning score.

It isn’t great that the Union needed to come back in their own stadium, but they still came back. It’s good to know that the team will have a chance to earn points until the final whilte.

Quinn Sullivan is the future

Quinn Sullivan looking like one of the best players on the field wasn’t necessarily on my bingo card, but he certainly performed. The young winger (if he even has a position) tallied an assist on Uhre’s goal, and he certainly deserves a lot of credit for it. A fluid run from Sullivan got him behind Chicago’s defense before his perfectly placed pass set up Uhre for a tap-in finish.

Sullivan also put in some effort defensively, but what matters most was that he looked composed. For a 19-year-old making his second start in as many games, Sullivan looked ready for a much bigger role. The jump he made in the offseason from last season to Saturday looked to be fairly impressive.

Time will tell whether Sullivan can consistently produce as he did against the Fire, but it’s hard not to be optimistic about his potential.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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