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Union pile on at end of first half, take down Atlanta

Daniel Gazdag scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season on a brilliant bicycle kick to begin a late-first-half outburst, and the host Philadelphia Union held on for a 3-2 victory over Atlanta United FC Wednesday night.

Julian Carranza added his 13th goal, and Mikkel Uhre scored his ninth as the Union (15-8-9, 54 points) erupted for all three of their goals during a nine-minute stretch just before halftime.

That proved enough for the Union to earn the victory and halt a streak of consecutive draws at five matches while climbing one place into third in the Eastern Conference standings.

Thiago Almada scored from the penalty spot for Atlanta (13-9-10, 49 points) for his 11th of the season 11 minutes into the second half. Edwin Mosquera added an opportunistic strike in the 77th minute to make the last stages interesting.

Atlanta were the more dangerous-looking side for most of the match but were doomed by their nine-minute collective lapse to see their unbeaten run halted at four matches and remain in sixth in the East table.

Philly’s key outburst began with some fantastic improvisation from Gazdag, who reached the rebound of a deflected shot with his back to the goal. Then, from about 12 yards out, he executed a stunning overhead kick that beat Brad Guzan inside his left post.

Carranza was the creator of Philadelphia’s second goal two minutes later when he got the ball down the right and pushed the ball forward for Uhre at the edge of the penalty area.

Uhre faked like he was going to play the ball back to Carranza, then instead dragged a low finish inside the far left post that left Guzan little chance.

And it was 3-0 on another counter in the third minute of first-half stoppage time, when Gazdag worked the ball down the left flank and then fed Carranza near the penalty spot for a sliding first-time finish.

Carranza helped Atlanta back into the match when his extended elbow while defending a corner kick made contact with the ball, resulting in the penalty — awarded via video review — that Almada converted.

Mosquera then closed it to 3-2 from about eight yards on a feed from Tristan Muyumba after Andre Blake saved Muyumba’s initial attempt.

–Field Level Media

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