The Union blew a lead for the fifth straight league game on Saturday, this time squandering a 1-0 advantage in a 1-1 tie with the New York Red Bulls before a boisterous crowd of 18,579 fans at Subaru Park. And it cost them first place in the Eastern Conference, as Montreal pulled atop the standings on a tiebreaker.
Dániel Gazdag scored a pretty goal for the Union (5-5-1, 20 points) in the 47th minute, and New York (5-4-2, 19 points) got its equalizer from Brazilian playmaker Luquinhas in the 66th. That came despite the Union having a man advantage from the 55th minute on, thanks to Dylan Nealis’ second yellow card of the night.
Julían Carranza thought he had given the Union a 2-1 lead in the 80th minute, and Jim Curtin skipped down the sideline pumping his fist at the crowd. But the video replay crew — now at a central headquarters in Atlanta, similar to other U.S. sports — correctly called the goal back because Carranza was offside.
Here are some observations on the game.
Gazdag scores again
After a first half in which the teams combined for 30 clearances and 13 interceptions but no goals, Gazdag brought the second half to life immediately. He played a neat give-and-go with Sergio Santos in tight space, then blasted a shot past New York goalkeeper Carlos Coronel.
It was Gazdag’s team-leading sixth goal of the season, and his first since April 3. He registered a total of 38 touches, 3 shots, 15-of-22 passing, and 2 recoveries. The Hungarian playmaker is in great form, and it will be interesting to see how Union manager Jim Curtin uses him with two games coming in quick succession: Wednesday at home vs. Inter Miami (7:30 p.m., PHL17), and Sunday out west at the Portland Timbers (10 p.m., FS1 and Fox Deportes).
» READ MORE: The Union's streak of blowing leads is a big problem
With Mikael Uhre still out injured, Santos made his first start since April 3 — and since missing two of the five games since then with a hamstring injury.
Along with assisting on Gazdag’s goal, Santos registered 30 touches, 1 shot, 13-of-20 passing, and 2 recoveries. He also blew a golden chance to make it 2-0 in the 63rd minute when he declined a good look at goal to pass to Julián Carranza. The play was broken up, and three minutes later New York tied the score.
Martínez booked again
José Andrés Martínez’s 65th-minute yellow card was his fifth booking of the season, which means he’ll be suspended for the Miami game.
That was one of nine yellow cards given out by referee Rubiel Vazquez in the game: two to Nealis and one each to Martínez, Carranza, Jack McGlynn, Alejandro Bedoya, and New York’s Frankie Amaya and John Tolkin.
Vazquez will likely be remembered most by the crowd for taking the Carranza goal off the board. But replays clearly showed it was the right call.
Out of first place
There’s still plenty of time to go in the season, but the Union are now in a six-game winless rut across all competitions. And there’s a huge traffic jam in the Eastern Conference: first-place Montreal is just three points ahead of sixth-place New York City FC.
When the stats don’t matter
The Union outshot New York 17-11 overall, with shots on goal level at 6-6, and had a commanding expected goals advantage of 2.06 to 1.26. But in addition to extending the winless rut, this was the sixth time in the last seven games in which the Union have only scored one goal.
They clearly miss Uhre, and have to hope that he’ll be available for Wednesday and beyond.