The Philadelphia Union narrowly beat Atlas 1-0 in their first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal with a last-minute penaly from Daniel Gazdag.
In what was a tough match for both sides, the Union had the bulk of possession but Atlas fought hard, hitting the target multiple times. It got started in just the 8th minute when Atlas fullback Luis Reyes sent a left-footed shot from outside of the box, which just went wide. The Mexican side continued to pepper the Union goal just a minute after that with a right-footed shot from midfielder Brian Lozano.
The Union finally managed to get their first shot of the night with a Jakob Glesnes header in the 15th minute. But still, 0-0.
Atlas continued to badger the Union until a lifeline came for Philadelphia just before halftime. Center back Anderson Santamaria took down Daniel Gazdag right on the edge of the box which saw the Atlas defender get a straight red.
The card changed the complexion of the game for the Union, inspiring the home side to finally take charge.
With a man down, Atlas was unable to keep the pressure on Philadelphia’s backline. They did nothing but defend and that allowed the Union back into the match. In the 89th minute, a shove in the back from goalkeeper Camilo Vargas on Julian Caranza saw the MLS side win a penalty.
Daniel Gazdag then slotted it home to give them the 1-0 victory.
“The last thing I said to the guys when we went out of the locker room is: we absolutely played to win tonight, we played to score as many goals as possible, but do not lose track of the importance of keeping a zero,” said head coach Jim Curtin
“In this competition, a zero in the first leg is critical. We know we have a difficult task to go to Atlas, an incredible team, and an incredible atmosphere. But we do know now if we are able to score a goal there, it really, really changes things.”
The Philadelphia Union will now fly to Mexico to take on Atlas in the second leg of their Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinal on Wednesday, April 12th at Estadio Jalisco in Guadalajara.