Match previews

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs Inter Miami CF

Photo: Stephen Speer

Who: Philadelphia Union vs Inter Miami CF

What: MLS Regular Season, Week 12

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Wednesday, May 18th at 7:30 p.m.

Watch: PHL17, ESPN+

Whistle: Not available at time of publication

The Union’s 2022 campaign marches on as the team welcomes Inter Miami CF to Subaru Park for a midweek fixture tonight.

Roughly one third of the matches have been played in the MLS regular season so far, and the table is starting to take shape.  It’s early enough that a team still working out kinks or finding its form has plenty of runway to start earning results, yet “late” enough that there is a large enough sample size to provide an idea of which teams may make noise come October.

Inter Miami CF are representative of the former, as a team buried down in 13th place in the Eastern conference, still looking to find its groove.  Phil Neville’s side started the 2022 winless in their first five matches (0W-1D – 4L) and then immediately changed course and won their next three matches against New England, Seattle and Atlanta.  They have since cooled off with no wins in their last three MLS matches (0W-1D-2L) and now enter a difficult stretch of games against the Union, RBNY and Orlando.

Philadelphia Union currently hold on to third place in the Eastern Conference (they are tied with Orlando and Montreal with 20 points, but both teams boast 6 wins to the Union’s 5).  At this juncture it is clear that the Union are a difficult team to play against, evident by the Union having only one loss in their first 11 matches.  It’s also clear that the Union don’t quite know how to play with or build off of a lead.  The Union found the net first in their last five matches and failed to win any of those contests (0W-4D-1L).  The team’s 11 points dropped from winning positions is the second-most in MLS this season.  As a team with MLS Cup aspirations, that type of pattern will need to be remedied.

Scouting Report: Inter Miami CF

Inter Miami CF are coming off a disappointing weekend match in which they blew a 2-0 lead against DC United and came away with only one point after a 2-2 draw at home.  If there is a silver lining, it is that 21-year-old striker Leo Campana continued his hot start to 2022 and found the back of the net for his sixth goal of the year.  Perhaps equally as important is that someone other than Leo Campana also scored for Miami, with defender Damion Lowe providing the first non-Campana goal for Miami in MLS since mid-April.

After shuffling through formations during his first year and a half at the helm, Miami head coach Phil Neville seems to have settled into a 4-3-3 which highlights the strengths of the 6’2″ Campana up-top.

Forward Gonzalo Higuain, who the Union and notably Jose Martinez know very well, came on as a late sub against DC United, but it’s clear that he is no longer the centerpiece for which Neville is trying to build his team around.

Apart from Campana, another bright spot for Miami this year has been the signing of veteran defender Deandre Yedlin who has provided some much needed quality and experience to a team with a number of young players in important roles.

Through eleven matches, this Miami squad has not had much bite to it, averaging one point per game and boasting a -10 goal differential.  They will have their hands full playing the high-pressing, high-chaos Philadelphia Union.

Injury Report: Ian Fray (Out), Joevin Jones (Out), Nick Marsman (Out), Victor Ulloa (Out), Robbie Robinson (Out), Ryan Sailor (Out), Damion Lowe (Questionable), Edison Azcona (Questionable), Bryce Duke (Questionable), Kieran Gibbs (Questionable)

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

The Union began 2022 with the most successful start to an MLS regular season in club history.  They have since sputtered.

Specifically, Jim Curtin’s side has dropped points from winning positions in their last five matches.  To be fair, those dropped points have come against some strong MLS sides including Montreal, LAFC, RBNY, and Nashville (in Nashville’s debut of their shiny new stadium).  But this type of trend is something the Union will need to nip in the bud if they are to have the type of success that the club is hoping for this year.

This match against a vulnerable Inter Miami CF side is a perfect opportunity to do so.

Unfortunately, the Union will have to attempt to turn things around without two of their best players.

The team will be without Julian Carranza on Wednesday evening, who has been the team’s most successful striker thus far.  He is unavailable due to the terms of the loan agreement which stipulates he cannot play against the loaner — Inter Miami.

Jose Martinez will not be available due to yellow card accumulation.

On top of that, Jim Curtin advised at his press conference earlier in the week that striker Mikael Uhre is still not fit enough to feature in this match.

As such, Jim Curtin will need to do some shuffling of the lineup for Wednesday evening’s match.

Maintaining the 4-2-2 diamond could see midfielder Leon Flach shift to the No. 6 (which he played during the Union’s U.S open Cup match last week) and insert Jack McGlynn on the outside of the diamond with Burke and Santos starting up top.  Moving Jack Elliot to the No. 6 and inserting Stuart Findlay, who was one of the sole bright spots in the team’s Open Cup loss against Orlando, as a center-back is also an option.

The 4-3-2-1, which Curtin has favored at times, is also a strong possibility given the lack of depth at striker for this match.

Injury Report: Mikael Uhre (Out)

Suspension Report: Jose Martinez (Yellow card accumulation)

Key Matchup: Union centerbacks vs Campana

Campana is hot and the staunch duo of Glesnes and Elliot (or possibly Findlay) will have their work cut out for them.

Player to Watch: Daniel Gazdag

6 goals, 3 assists.  He’s been the Union’s best player this year.

Prediction: Philadelphia Union 1-0 Inter Miami CF 

Union fans collectively want to see the goals start flowing but the team’s success has always stemmed from its defense.  A clean sheet puts an end to the team’s winless ways.

8 Comments

  1. Normally, I’d be riding a wave of optimism for this one, but Uhre out and Caranza unavailable for a team struggling to score goals is not ideal. It feels like another made-to-order MLS banana peel I predict 90 minutes of frustration.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Any other time, we should be handling this team relatively easily. But I have the doubts given our missing strikers and Jose. Hoping Gazdag just “does his thing” and we win.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    According to the league website, Fotis Bazakos is on the whistle.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    Union have lost two games since being beaten by Club America last season.
    .
    Let’s not lose this one tonight.

  4. Could we see the return of the Xmass tree tonight?

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Curtin must have been impressed by Mbaizo Saturday night. He is starting and Elliott is at the 6.

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