Match previews

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs FC Cincinnati

Photo: Stephen Speer

Who: Philadelphia Union (6-7-1, 25 points, 2nd place in the East) vs. Cincinnati FC (6-1-7, 19 points, 8th place in the East)

What: 2022 MLS Regular Season – Week 15 

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, PA

When: Saturday June 18 at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern)

Watch: PHL17

Whistle: Referee:  Timothy Ford, Assistant Referees: Jeremy Kieso, Jeffrey Swartzel 4th Official: Jeremy Scheer, VAR: Ian McKay

Since the Union last played, the Dow has dropped 3,200 points, the Federal funds rate has gone up .75 points, cryptocurrency is somehow even more worthless, the Phillies are somewhat worth watching (or at least paying attention to) Bill Barr has called Trump’s election fraud claims both nonsense and bullshit…

Well, you get the point.  It’s been a long wait.  

But that all ends Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. as FC Cincinnati comes into town to start a steady dose of matches going into October (and beyond).

The Union are undefeated in their six meetings with Cincinnati with 5 wins and one draw while scoring 11 goals and only conceding one.  It’s been a bit lopsided. All indications are that this trend will continue.

Scouting Report: FC Cincinnati

In the three seasons since joining the MLS, Cincinnati have finished dead last in the Eastern Conference all three times.  So in the offseason, management did what any smart club would do, find a successful team to emulate, and recruit away their talent.

Cincinnati looked eastward and saw Philadelphia, and they liked what they saw. Thus Chris Albright became general manager and Pat Noonan, head coach. Throw Ray Gaddis, Alvas Powell and Haris Medunjanin into the mix and Cincinnati could be charged with plagiarism.

In their season opener against Austin, they came out in the familiar 4-4-2 diamond but the 5-0 shellacking they absorbed quickly convinced them that their talent was not best suited to that formation.  Since then, Cincinnati has been almost exclusively in a 3-4-1-2, won a few games and moved out from the bottom of the table.

Unlike past years, this new version of Cincinnati does have the ability to score goals. Brandon Vazquez seems to be reaching his potential with seven goals in just 13 matches. He is fed the ball by midfielder Luciano Acosta, an attacking midfielder and playmaker.  

Injury report:  Unavailable Yuya Kubo, Ronald Matarrita

                         Questionable: Junior Moreno

Suspended:  None

Scouting report: Union

So where are we at?  In second place, still only one loss in 14 matches with the fewest goals allowed per game in the MLS (.71).  Perhaps a few too many draws that could have been wins and a bit of a struggle scoring goals at times.  All in all, not too bad at all.

The starting eleven will be back at full strength on Saturday as everyone is healthy and free of any suspensions.  Both sides will be rested with the possible exception of Team Hungary’s Daniel Gazdag, who may be tired after scoring a goal against England in the UEFA Nations League.

Mikeal Uhre will be back on the pitch, finally, paired with Julian Carranza.  We have seen disappointingly little of the Union’s top striker talent together due to various injuries, contract stipulations and suspensions, but having them both in good form will surely take care of the goal scoring woes.

The team will be without the services of Paxten Aaronson, Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn and Brandan Craig as they continue their run in the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship. With Sergio Santos also out (collecting his green card), the bench and substitutions will look a bit different than usual.

Injury Report:  None     

Suspension Report:  None

Key Matchup:  Brandon Vazquez vs Union center backs

Vazquez is in good form and makes strong and frequent runs into the box.  Glesnes and Elliott will need to stay on their toes to keep that goals against average moving downward. 

Player to Watch: Mikael Uhre 

Time for the rainmaker to start a flood.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 3-0 FC Cincinnati 

A brace for Uhre and the team’s first three-goal game of the season.  Send Cincinnati home to have some bad chili.

Moneyline: 

Philadelphia Union:    -170

Cincinnati FC:   +450

Draw:   +290

Note -There is a +2,000 prop for Ray Gaddis to score a goal.

11 Comments

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    I’m not so sure about the statement that all indications are that the Union dominance over Cincinnati will continue. The Union dropped points in their last home game against weaker opposition (Miami) and Cincy seems significantly improved over their first 3 seasons in the league.
    .
    Add that to the fact that if they don’t have a lead down the stretch, their only offensive option of the bench is Burke. That means that at least one of Uhre and Carranza needs to go 90 unless the team wants to drop into a more defensive formation (and there are zero options beyond Gazdag if something were to happen to him).

  2. I’d be so conflicted if Ray scored the winning goal

  3. I am also confident that the Union can get it done tonight. I love Andrew’s optimism of a 3-0 victory. For myself, I’m guessing it will be a 2-1 victory for the Union behind goals by Carranza, in the first half, and Uhre, in the second. I suspect that the vacation break will leave the defense a step slow on a well slotted pass that Cincy uses to score between the Union’s two goals; 1-0, 1-1, 2-1.
    .
    Hopefully Ernst and his scouting staff are working on building the Union’s depth as we really need some threats off the bench.

  4. Uhre – contract stipulations… what the heck is that?

    Is he like an NBA player or a Joe Girardi Phillie… needing to “rest” every few games?

    Com’mon…..

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