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Union concede early, go up a man but still draw CF Montreal



Photo by Carl Gulbish

The Philadelphia Union conceded in the first minute, took a second half lead after going up a man but then gave up an equalizer after also going down to 10 men to stretch their home winless streak to six.

Playing against one of the leakiest defenses in MLS with the international break coming, Saturday night was supposed to be the night the Union got back to their winning ways at home – call it a throwback to simpler times on Alumni Night – but Sunusi Ibrahim had other ideas, lacing a goal past Oliver Semmle on a strike from outside the D just 48 seconds into the match.

In a season where the Union have too frequently found themselves down early, Ibrahim’s strike was the earliest concession and it was a “here we go again” moment that lasted pretty much through the rest of the half until video review led to a yellow being turned into red for an Ariel Lassiter elbow on Jose Martinez.

Playing up a man is never a guarantee of success but the Union needed another break to finally level the score. It came off a spilled rebound from Montreal goalkeeper Sebastian Breza, who took out Daniel Gazdag when he didn’t need to (Gazdag’s heavy touch was sending the ball out of bounds) to concede the penalty. Gazdag hit double digits in goals with his equalizer and equaled Sebastien Le Toux’s 50 MLS goals in a Union shirt. Two minutes later a slip from the Chester-born George Campbell allowed Mikael Uhre a clear lane to cleverly poke in the go-ahead goal off an assist from Quinn Sullivan.

Up a goal and up a man, what could go wrong? With the 2024 Union, pick something. In this case, it was the second change from an initial yellow to a red that went wrong.

This time it was Jack Elliott being shown an early exit from Ted Unkle (who changed his mind without the aid of VAR on a questionable call). Montreal wasted little time in 10v10 to find an equalizer with Samuel Piette crashing the box to hit in a Bryce Duke free kick redirected off the post by Joaquín Sosa.

Stunned by Montreal’s resiliency, the Union tried to regroup to find a late winner but one never came. Chris Donovan had a near post run to meet a well hit cross from Kai Wagner but the attempt went side netting and Jack McGlynn had a low liner from distance go wide of the mark but there wasn’t enough of a response to the controversial red or the ensuing equalizer to find that home win that has eluded the team since March 30.

The Union will have some time to stew over this one with the international break coming up. They’ll also probably have plenty of pink Messi jerseys in the stands to deal with their next time out to see Messi-less Inter Miami back at Subaru Park on June 15.

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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