CONCACAF Champions League / Match previews / Soccer on TV / Union

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs Alianza FC

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union vs Alianza FC

What: Concacaf Champions League, Round of 16

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Tuesday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Watch: FOX Soccer Plus

Whistle: REF: Bryan Lopez; AR1: Enmanuel Aguirre; AR2: Keytzel Corrales; 4th Offical: Sergio Reyna; VAR: Ricardo Montero; AVAR: Guillermo Pacheco

The Philadelphia Union and Alianza FC will finish up their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 match tonight in Subaru Park after a 0-0 draw last week in San Salvador.

Due to the 0-0 draw, the Union will need to win the match in order to advance. If both teams score and the match ends in a draw, Alianza will advance due to more away goals scored, despite the  tie on aggregate. Another scoreless draw will see the matchup decided by penalties.

Scouting Report: Alianza FC

Since their last match, Alianza played to a 1-1 draw with CD Dragon on Friday night in the Salvadoran Primera Division. The result saw Alianza drop to second in the league, posting a record of 5-4-1, and allowing a total of only 3 goals through those 10 games.

Defense has been the name of the game thus far this season, with Alianza having conceded only twice through their first nine games, for a +11 goal differential.

Offensively, attacker Michell Mercado leads the team with five goals. Salvador international Isaac Portillo scored his first goal of the season on Friday night.

Those who followed the U.S. Men’s National Team through World Cup qualifying this past cycle may recognize a few names for Alianza, as several players featured for El Salvador against the U.S., including goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez, defender Alexander Larin, midfielder Narciso Orellana, and forward Rodolfo Zelaya.

In the first matchup of the tie, Alianza looked threatening against a heavily rotated Union side. It will be interesting to see if they will change the gameplan for a road matchup, especially in one where a lone goal can send them through.

Injury Report: None

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union currently sit 5th in the MLS Eastern Conference after three weeks of play. After the draw in San Salvador, Philadelphia picked up a 1-0 win at Subaru Park over Chicago Fire, extending their home win streak to 12 games. The Union did lose an integral part of their squad as star goalkeeper Andre Blake exited the game with an apparent groin injury. He is expected to miss this match.

Much like the first game against Alianza, the Union are expected to feature a heavily rotated lineup tonight. The team rolled out a full strength lineup for league play three days prior.  Only a few first team players will likely get the start.

Most of the rotation will happen in attack as the Union have depth options in Jack McGlynn, Jesus Bueno and Andres Perea, as well as Joaquin Torres, who scored the winner on Saturday. Matt Real, Damion Lowe and Nathan Harriel are also likely replacements in the Union’s defense.  Joe Bendik will most likely be in goal with Holden Trent an option off the bench.

In attack, the Union will most likely feature the same pairing of Chris Donovan and Quinn Sullivan with Julian Carranza and Mikael Uhre able to provide an option off the bench in the second half.

Injury Report: Andre Blake – Out

Match-Up to Watch: Bunker vs Rotation

There is a good chance that Alianza tries to keep this match to a scoreless draw or tries to find a goal on the counter attack. Either way, Alianza will be prepared to have all 11 men behind the ball and defending. This was something the Union struggled against last season, and a heavily rotated lineup could have an even greater struggle.

Player to Watch: Joaquin Torres

Coming off of a game winner last weekend against Chicago, Torres will be looking to find the back of the net in an early season start at home. Torres has been effective off the bench for Philadelphia, but will be looking to make a long lasting impact to find more starts in a crowded schedule for Philadelphia.

Prediction: Philadelphia 2 – 0 Alianza 

Philadelphia get a goal to bring Alianza out of their bunker and get another to see off the tie and keep their home win streak alive.


  1. Is fox going to allow Xfinity sign ins for the DC area for people to watch do you know? I know its FSPlus but in the past they have allowed regular fox cable subscribers to stream on app without FSPlus. thanks!

  2. Atomic Spartan says:

    At gametime the weather forecast for Chester is 38F and 24 mph winds for a real feel of 24F. Gusts will be even stronger It’s not going to be pretty. Wear your woolies.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    It’s a joke that there is no TV coverage for this and that FOX is showing a baseball game between Israel and the Dominican Republic on FS1 and the Austin FC game which is 0-3 on aggregate on FS2.
    I’ll be at the game so it won’t directly affect me but it will prevent me from watching a replay tomorrow.

    • Agreed, i live down in DC and am hoping they allow a sign in on the app to watch with just cable like they have in the past. Enjoy the game, stay warm

  4. Gruncle Bob says:

    The weather will play a role tonight. The real feel temps in low 20s will likely be the lowest many Alianza players have ever experienced. The high winds (gusts in high 30s) will make it a game of 2 very different halves, depending on going into or playing with the wind. Go U!

  5. Would love to go but just too cold for me. The game is on DirectTV on some Fox channel I have no access to but maybe I’ll sign up for it tonight if I can not see it anywhere else.

  6. pragmatist says:

    I take no joy in saying this, but this is setting up to be one of the most boring and ugliest games of the season. Trying to break down a bunkering team in frigid temperatures doesn’t create a recipe for excitement. I think our best hope is an early-ish goal off a set piece forcing Alianza out of their bunker which would open the game considerably.
    Gonna be a long night…

  7. I really want to watch this game, but I use YouTube TV, and I would have to pay $12 to watch it by adding a month of their sports tier. Normally, I’d use that $12 as part of the price of buying a ticket for the game, but I’ve been to Suburu Park when it’s freezing cold and I didn’t enjoy it.

    To pay or not to pay, that is the question.

  8. Deez Nuggs says:

    I will be very cold

  9. Gruncle Bob says:

    As far as I can tell, for verizon customers fox soccer plus is a stand-alone add-on that may cost $15/mo (info is dated.) I hope that what Pat has related above will work tonight.

  10. Lynn Godmilow says:

    I am thoroughly disgusted with Apple TV+ and now Fox. I pay for Comcast Cable and now also Apple TV+ and I still cannot find a way to see the Union vs Alianza game tonight. My husband and I were season ticket holders for the first 8 years and went to all home games. Finally age intervened and we had to be satisfied with watching the games on TV. Now that is a problem. What gives? Does MLS want fans or not?

    • pragmatist says:

      This isn’t an MLS event. It’s a CONCACAF event and they set the terms.
      I get the Apple argument, but this competition isn’t up to MLS.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      This is FOX being trash and not caring about soccer. One might argue that their poor coverage is (part of) what pushed MLS to make the Apple deal in the first place.

  11. VIX+ has a free 7 day trial that is gonna allow us to watch the game with Spanish commentary…but I don’t really need ANY commentary as I recognize what is going on in the game. Wife and I have tickets, but too freaking cold. We are going to make a decision in about an hour…

  12. Gruncle Bob says:

    FUBO TV with a 7 day free trial should have the game.

  13. Just told DirecTv to add FS+for $15/m. Can cancel at any time. They’ll probably have some more games on this channel if they keep on winning.

  14. Gruncle Bob says:

    Also want to thank John for the ViX+ tip. It saved the evening.

  15. John P. O'Donnell says:

    Somehow I still have the Fox sports app on my Roku and it played the game for me. I have Sling and I use to have it linked to the app…. Apparently it still works for Fox soccer but didn’t for FS2. Go figure.

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