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Union still searching for answers after another home loss



Photo by Don Robson

The Philadelphia Union’s woes continued with another home loss, dropping a 2-0 game to Charlotte FC on a hot summer night at Subaru Park on Saturday.

With that, the Union are now winless in their last six games and have just one win in their last 13. They haven’t won a home game since March.

Chants of “sell the team” coming from a sparse River End was a visual and audio reminder that the times in Chester just aren’t very great right now. Subaru Park feels more like a home field advantage to the visiting team than to the boys in blue right now.

Saturday’s loss has the Union five spots from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and 21 points from top of the table Inter Miami.

The match started with the surprising news of 18-year-old Andrew Rick starting in goal over Oliver Semmle. The start marked an MLS debut for the academy grad who lives in Berwyn. Rick recorded five saves on the night but the bigger story was his opposing goalkeeper, Kristijan Kahlina, who recovered from an early miscue that was cleaned up off the line to record seven saves and keep the Union off the board. Charlotte’s clean sheet and two goals – both scored by Patrick Agyemang – saw the Union’s goal differential go even (it was +13 at this point last season and +17 in 2022).

The Union started brightly and were the better team in the first half, controlling possession and creating opportunities going forward. But even as the Union looked bright going forward, Charlotte started to carve out some chances of their own off the counter attack and dead ball chances. Agyemang was knocking on the door off a corner kick on a chance that went high of the target but he didn’t miss his next chance, heading home a cross from deep in the corner by Jere Uronen to put the visitors up in the 56th minute. Seven minutes later, Agyemang found himself 1v1 with Jakob Glesnes in the box and he was able to beat the Union captain and fire home his second of the night past Rick.

There was still plenty of time left for the Union to cut into the lead and fresh legs were able to create some opportunities but the shock of being down at home again never really wore off. There was some fight to try and prove how dangerous a 2-0 lead can be but even another hefty period of extra time (8 minutes) was not enough for the Union attack to find a breakthrough.

One silver lining moment was that CJ Olney joined Rick in making his MLS debut, checking into the match in the 72nd minute. But Olney and the other substitutes brought in to try and unlock Charlotte weren’t able to change the narrative, one that is angering fans more and more by the game as the good will built up by so many seasons of success continues to unravel.

The Union will have a full week of training ahead of a visit to Montreal next Saturday. Unlike their two previous trips north of the border they won’t be playing at the Big O this year and will instead be playing at the outdoor Stade Saputo. After that they’ll play Fourth of July Eve in Chicago and return home to face the New York Red Bulls. Montreal and Chicago are both below the Union in the standings as is New England, which they host July 17.


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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