The Philadelphia Union are continuing to propel themselves up the Eastern Conference standings after a slow start to 2023 and in-form attacker Julian Carranza is at the forefront of that recent success.
Carranza stole the show on Saturday night at Subaru Park, scoring twice in a 3-0 shutout victory over CF Montreal. The 23-year-old Argentine has continued to excel in Jim Curtin’s attack, scoring five goals in his last four appearances, which all led to victories during the Union’s eight-match unbeaten run.
Carranza’s ruthless pressing against opposing backlines was on display yet again on Saturday night as he played a part in all three of the Union’s goals against their Canadian visitors.
“He’s getting better and better. It’s always a dangerous thing because you know what happens next,” Jim Curtin said postmatch. “He’s a striker that can score. He’s a striker that presses, so if you’re a team that likes to press he’s a dream for a coach.
“And again, he has that South American kind of savviness in front of goal where he has a knack for running hard in the box,” Curtin added. “He’s not afraid to put his body on the line to get a goal. So really proud of the season Julián’s had, it gets better and better.”
Carranza’s move from Inter Miami last offseason remains to be one of the better modern-day transactions in MLS history, with the young attacker reaping the rewards of a change of scenery. After originally joining the Union last season on loan, Carranza has proceeded to deliver 26 goals and 13 assists in 57 combined appearances for the defending Eastern Conference champions.
In 2023, Carranza has 11 goals across all competitions while his former club Inter Miami has 19 in total. Not only has Carranza been able to find the back of the net on his own, but his work rate alongside Mikael Uhre and Daniel Gazdag have continued to show why the Union remain one of the leading contenders for MLS Cup later this year.
The Union still have a busy summer schedule approaching, which features Leagues Cup group stage involvement against Liga MX sides Atlas and Queretaro on home soil, but with Carranza leading the way and continuing to improve as a player, Curtin expects more of the same from him and his squad going forward.
“The best strikers in the world are ruthless, and I think Julián has that,” Curtin said. “I guarantee if you asked every center back that he banged into tonight they feel him, you know what I mean? He’s very, very physical. The way he pressed, and defensively, the amount of tackles that he wins. The work rate. He was relentless for the 90 minutes.
“There’s still a lot to play for, a lot of season left, but we’re in a good spot and it’s the same group of guys. We’re still really, really good,” added Curtin. “It’s a solid group and I’ll go to battle with them any day of the week.”
The Union begin a two-match road trip on June 10 against the San Jose Earthquakes before also facing Orlando City in quick succession.