Julian Carranza's "South American savvy" pays off for Philadelphia Union in draw at LAFC

Inside the caldron that is Banc of California Stadium with the 3252 producing a cacophony of deafening noise, Julian Carranza produced a moment of brilliance for the Philadelphia Union in a pulsating 2-2 draw against LAFC Saturday night.

The 21-year-old Argentine receive a penetrating pass from Daniel Gazdag, took a settling touch and buried a curling effort inside the far post.

Union head coach Jim Curtin didn't have the best view from his coach's box so he initially thought Carranza’s effort was going wide. He was pleased when he was wrong and certainly not surprised at the “goal-scorer’s goal.”

“Julian is the type of player that can can make a play from nothing,” Curtin said after the match. "We had a couple of really good transition moments. When he actually shot the ball, I thought he curled it wide, our view was a little bit off. So I was already thinking it was a good play, good action and great play by Julian, but just wide and then it obviously slowly trickled into the back of the net.”

Carranza was also pleased with the goal.

“I just see the space between the left back and the center back and I take a touch inside and I tried to put it next to the post and it went there,” Carranza said. "It was a really nice goal.”

For Curtin and the Union, it was the latest example of why the young striker’s loan move from Inter Miami CF might be one of the biggest moves of the offseason.

“That's what Julian's proven to be,” he said. “You need those types of plays where, yeah, we're absorbing pressure from a really good LA team that's attacking in waves. And then he maybe goes and makes an individual effort against the run of play on a good ball from Daniel by the way, which needs to be said, another goal and assist from him.”

Carranza has already produced four goals and three assists in nine starts for Philadelphia, surpassing his goal total in 41 matches with Inter Miami after he was acquired by Miami ahead of their inaugural 2020 season for a reported $6 million fee from Club Atlético Banfield.

“Julian certainly has had a great season so far. He has that kind of South American savvy, intensity in the box,” Curtin said. “You saw him get into challenges, be a pest all night and has that special instinct around the goal that you can't teach as a coach — you either have that or you don't and then to score a goal like that on this stage was huge for us.”

The only negative for the Union was that Carranza’s golazo wasn't the match winner. For the fourth consecutive matches — including three away from home — Philadelphia conceded an equalizer. It’s resulted in a share of the points in what Curtin described as “hostile environments” in Nashville and LA, a home draw against CF Montréal and a 2-1 defeat at Toronto FC

“We don't hide from that, that we’ve dropped leads for sure. It's not something that's characteristic from this group. I think each game is different and unique for sure. I think the atmospheres in Nashville and LA certainly played a role. The one that we dropped in Montreal is the one that I'd say, is inexcusable and can't happen at home, where we should be the team dictating things,” Curtin said. 

“But on the road, yeah, given up a late goal makes us very angry, for sure. But at the same time, when you look at the quality of opponent, and the effort our guys put in and you really analyze the game, we were pretty solid in both so we'll stay positive on that.”