Match previews

Match preview: Charlotte FC vs. Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union (18-10-4, 64 points) vs. Charlotte FC (12-2-17, 38 points)

What: 2022 MLS Regular Season (Week 33)

Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.

When:  October 1, 2022 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern

Watch: PHL17

Whistle: Referee: Jon Freeman  Assistant Referees: Logan Brown, Chris Elliott 4th Official: Rubiel Vazquez VAR: Alex Chilowicz

It’s hard to believe the regular season is winding down already.

Seems like just yesterday the Union earned a 1-1 draw against Minnesota in a cold Subaru Park. 

But that was in February, and let us not be deceived: time marches forward. As a result, the Union play the penultimate game of their 2022 campaign late Saturday afternoon against Charlotte FC down in North Carolina. Kickoff is scheduled for sometime after 5:30 p.m.

The fortunes of these two teams diverged as the season progressed. The Union are on track to win the Eastern Conference and, with just a bit of help, win the 2022 Supporters’ Shield.  Charlotte, on the other hand, sits below the playoff line hoping for a miracle.

This is the second of two matches against Charlotte.  The two teams last met way back on April 2. The Union cruised to a 2-0 victory in a game featuring Carranza’s first goal for the team.  That is the only history between the teams as this is Charlotte’s first season in MLS.

There is heavy rain expected around game time via Hurricane Ian.  As of this writing the game will proceed as scheduled.

Scouting Report: Charlotte

With just three remaining games, Charlotte find themselves four points below the playoff line with two other teams between them and seventh place Inter Miami (Spoiler Alert – Miami will not make the cut).  So they have something to play for beyond a spoiler role- even if it is far-fetched.

While Charlotte’s inaugural season, which includes a mid-season coaching change, has been somewhat middling, they do possess some quality players and the ability to win at home – 9 of their 12 wins have been at Bank of America Stadium.

Designated player Karol Swiderski has 10 goals and five assists this season and is the nucleus of Charlotte’s attack. The left-footed striker is multi-talented and capable of both scoring and creating.  His recent score in the UEFA Nations League for Poland knocked Gareth Bale and Wales out of League A.  Ironically, Swiderski has the number two top selling jersey in MLS – behind only Gareth Bale.

Charlotte will be without the services of defender and team captain Chistian Fuchs who is in the midst of a two game suspension resulting from an “errant” elbow to the head of NYCFC’s Tayvon Grey.  Also missing on the backline will be Guzman Corujo.

There may be a sighting of Derrick Jones.  The former Union midfielder has been used sparingly this season but perhaps head coach Cristian Lattanzio will do him a solid and put him out against his former team.

Injury Report:   Out: Vinicius Mello; Adam Armour, Guzman Corujo

             Questionable: Ben Bender, Jaylin Lindsy

Suspended:   Christian Fuchs

Scouting report: Union

What’s left to say about the Union?  They’ve been playing historically dominant soccer for the past few months, and they are about to lock up the Eastern Conference and earn home field advantage at least through the Conference title game.

But they still need to win this game.

The conference is not locked up yet and momentum heading into the playoffs is important. And they can still win the Supporters’ Shield should LAFC drop a point or so.

The squad comes in healthy and rested so we will see the usual starting eleven.  The only exception may be Alejandro Bedoya who is still working through a hip flexor injury.  He is listed as questionable and his participation will be a game time decision.

Injury Report: Out: None

      Questionable: Alejandro Bedoya

Suspended: None

Key Matchup:  Karol Swiderski vs Jack Elliott

In their first match, Elliot did a masterful job containing and frustrating Swiderski. It will be interesting to see if there is a repeat.

Player to Watch: Andre Blake

Just because he’s really good.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 1-0 Charlotte

Would love to see another blowout, but on the road, on turf, in the rain…a tall order.

Moneyline: 

Philadelphia Union:   +140

Charlotte FC:           +235

Draw +170

A little confused by this.

One Comment

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    No Bedoya. Harriel starting with Mbaizo on the bench.

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