Match previews / Union

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs Atlanta United

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union (9-7-8, 35 points – 7th in East) vs Atlanta United (9-7-9, 36 points – 6th in East)

What: MLS Regular Season

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Saturday, September 25th, 3:30pm

Watch: Univision, TUDN, Twitter

Whistle: Not available at time of publication

A big game in the MLS Eastern Conference playoff race will take place Saturday afternoon from Subaru Park in Chester as Atlanta United visits the Philadelphia Union. Only a point separates the two teams in the standings, and a win would see both fly up the table.

Scouting Report: Atlanta United

Since the hiring of new coach Gonzalo Pineda Atlanta United has gotten back to their championship style play and a nice run of form. The Five Stripes have collected a record of 7-1-1 since the beginning of August and are currently on a 3 game winning streak – one where they have outscored their opponents 10-2.

Atlanta United’s turn in form has been powered by their big stars Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco, who have each scored 3 times in the last 3 games. Newcomer Marcelino Moreno has also helped to push Atlanta’s attack forward, linking well with outside backs George Bello and Brooks Lennon.

A recent uptick in form for their attack isn’t the whole turnaround Atlanta has seen in recent weeks: a switch in formation to a back 5 has solidified the defense, holding 2 clean sheets in their last 3.

While Bello and Lennon do get forward, they are reliable in defense and help put out wide attacks. In the center is newcomer Alan Franco who provides an aerial threat and organizes the defense. Unfortunately for the Five Stripes, Franco is out for the match.

To his right is George Campbell, the young homegrown who has featured under Pineda of late. Saturday will be a homecoming for Campbell, who was born in Chester. On the left side is USMNT standout Miles Robinson, who hasn’t featured much since international duty and could be making a move to Europe after this season.

Injury Report: Emerson Hyndman – Out, Franco Ibarra – Out, Ronald Hernandez – Out, Amar Sejdic – Out

Suspension Report:  Alan Franco

Scouting report: Union

Philadelphia comes into this match looking to start a winning streak in the league after a disappointing exit from the CONCACAF Champions League last Wednesday. The Union are coming off a big win at home though, defeating Orlando City 3-1 last time out.

Up front the Union’s attack is looking to build on a good performance, one that saw Kacper Prybylko notch 2 goals and Sergio Santos earn a penalty with his speed. Look for Prybylko and Santos to be the starting pair as Cory Burke has picked up an ankle sprain and will miss a few weeks. Daniel Gazdag and Matheus Davo will be options off the bench.

The Union have been keeping their midfield consistent since the return of Jamiro Montiero, as he seems to be the penciled in starter as the attacking midfielder, with Leon Flach and Alejandro Bedoya in the shuttle positions (though the captain is listed as questionable for this match). Jose Martinez will be in his usual spot as the defensive midfielder, bringing his typical brand of physical bite. Jesus Bueno and Anthony Fontana could also be given a chance off the bench, depending on how the match plays out.

In the back, Philadelphia will also be bringing back the same back four that featured last Sunday. Kai Wagner has been an offensive threat as he looks to build on his goal from last weekend while Olivier Mbaizo has been more consistent in his defensive responsibilities of late, helping cut down the right side. The center pairing of Jacob Glenses and Jack Elliott have been solid all year, not allowing many good looks

Injury Report: Ilsinho – Out, Alejandro Bedoya – Questionable

Suspension Report:  None

Key Matchup Attacking Football

Can the Union stop the red hot tandem of Ezequiel Barco and Josef Martinez? If they can’t keep them at bay, will their own offense be able to keep up? The Union are going to find out if last week was a sign that things are changing, or if it was just a blip in a season full of attacking problems.

Player to Watch: Kacper Przybylko

The Friendly Striker got back into the scoring groove last weekend, but had been ice cold before then. If Philadelphia wants to push up the eastern conference, they’ll need their big man up top to repeat his performance from last week.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 1-1 Atlanta

Santos will get a goal, but the Atlanta attack is too hot to keep off the board right now. Both teams will settle for a point in what should be a fierce match.

Odds
Philadelphia = +108
Atlanta = +260
Draw = +270

5 Comments

  1. I love watching games in spanish.. luckily.
    .
    ‘so what’s it gonna be…boys.’
    .
    Just
    Play
    Well.

  2. I have more faith, going for a Union win!!

  3. Whose idea was it to put games exclusively on Twitter?

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