Match previews

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs DC United

Photo: Marjorie Elzey 

Who: Philadelphia Union (5-4-2,  5th in Eastern Conference) vs. DC United (4-5-3, 9th in Eastern Conference)

What: MLS Regular Season

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Wednesday, May 17, 7:30 p.m. | Kickoff: 7:55 p.m.

Watch: Apple TV+(Free), FS1

Whistle: REF: Pierre-Luc Lauziere, AR1: Ryan Graves, AR2: Claudiu Badea, 4TH: Elvis Osmanovic, VAR: Alejandro Mariscal, AVAR: Mike Kampmeinert

The Philadelphia Union return home to Subaru Park after a four game road trip (all competitions) for a midweek, MLS matchup against Eastern Conference rivals DC United.

The visitors will be looking to write a completely different narrative compared to last year’s two games against the Union, which saw them lose both matches by a combined score of 0-13.

Scouting Report: DC United

Last year’s wooden spoon recipients are off to a much more respectable start in 2023, currently sitting just above the playoff line in 9th place with a 4-5-3 record.

United salvaged a point at home this past Saturday against Nashville SC thanks to a late equalizer by substitute Ted Ku-DiPietro.

They earned the draw without their top two scorers Christian Benteke and Taxi Fountas.  Benteke was omitted from the lineup due to an unspecified injury, while Fountas was given the start but exited midway through the first half with a hamstring injury.

All signs are pointing to Fountas missing Wednesday’s match but Benteke should be available.

Head coach Wayne Rooney had his club rolling in April, winning four straight matches (3 MLS, 1 Open Cup).  However, the team has sputtered a bit of late and are still looking for their first win in the month of May.  They earned the aforementioned draw last week against Nashville, but lost their previous two matches, including a 0-1 Open Cup loss to the New York Red Bulls.

Injury Report: Fountas (Doubtful, Hamstring), Ruan (Out, Thigh), Najar (Out, Calf), Birnbaum (Out, Hip), Robertha (Out, Ankle) Santos (Out, Thigh),  Rodriguez (Out, Knee)

Suspension Report: Jeahze (Suspended by Club)

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

The Union enter Wednesday’s match on a four match unbeaten run in MLS play, including three straight wins; the last two having coming on the road.

Head coach Jim Curtin’s side will have a good opportunity to extend that run, facing off against a team that they’v enjoyed plenty of success against as of late, especially at home.

DC United have not won in Chester since 2014.

However, Curtin will be without several playmakers.

All three Union Homegrowns, Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan and Brandan Craig, have been named to the U.S U-20 World Cup roster.  All three players have already been released for the competition will run from May 20 through June 11 in Argentina.

Defensive midfielder Jesus Bueno will also miss Wednesday’s matchup after picking up a red card just one minute after coming off the bench during the Union’s 2-1 victory against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.

Despite those absences, Union fans will be excited to have Jose Martinez available for selection after missing the team’s last 4 matches after picking up a hamstring during the first leg of the team’s Champions League semi-final matchup with LAFC.  Curtin confirmed in his press conference on Tuesday that both Martinez and forward Mikael Uhre will be available selection.

Curtin also advised that he hopes to have defender Damien Lowe available for selection after Lowe traveled back to Jamaica to attend to a family issue.

Injury Report: None

Suspension Report: Jesus Bueno (Red Card)

Matchup to Watch: Curtin vs Rooney

Curtin deployed a 3-5-2 against Colorado last week with some amount of success.  The 4-4-2 diamond is the standard, though the 4-3-2-1 has also made appearances.  Rooney usually elects for a 3-5-2 when both Benteke and Fountas are available, but he played a 3-4-3 last week against Nashville with Benteke out.  On a short week with tired legs, implementing the right tactical strategy can play a huge difference in the final result.

Player to Watch: Julian Carranza

Carranza torched DC United last year, scoring hat tricks in both matchups.  He scored the game winner last week against Colorado.

Prediction: Philadelphia Union 1 – 0 DC United


  1. Murphthesurf says:

    3-1 Union Win – DOOP!!!

  2. My bet is we see last year’s preferred XI start this with Flach back in his old spot due to McGlynn out for the U20 World Cup. That’s assuming Martinez is fit enough to start.

    It will be interesting to see who is first off the bench tonight, with Sullivan out, too.

    • pragmatist says:

      I’m thinking that he’ll keep Martinez on the bench to start, but he’ll be the first sub. Or vice versa, and he’ll start, but be the first one off. The one thing that was made dramatically clear in his absence was that he is a massive cog on this team. They won’t want him reinjured when they are getting ready for the summer stretch.
      I’m guessing he goes either 25 (as a sub) or 65 (as a starter) tonight, and then 90 against the 1st-place Revs on Saturday.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Think about this. Even if the Union win 7-0 it will be disappointing compared to last time DC United came to Chester since there won’t be fireworks after the game.

  4. Are there any implications for the DC game, player wise (other than Bueno), from all the league disciplinary action for the final moments of the Colorado game? I saw ‘undisclosed $’… but was anyone given any other penalty?

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