Match previews / Union

Match preview: Atlanta United vs. Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey 

Who: Atlanta United vs. Philadelphia Union

What: MLS Regular Season

Where: Mercedes Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

When: Sunday, July 2nd, 4:00 p.m.

Watch: Apple TV, FOX

Whistle: REF: Ted Unkel; AR1: Jeremy Hanson; AR2: Justin Howard; 4TH: Alexis Da Silva; VAR: Kevin Stott; AVAR: Craig Lowry

It’s a rare Sunday afternoon kickoff for the first meeting of the MLS season for Philadelphia and Atlanta. Only five points are separating Philadelphia in 4th and Atlanta in 6th so far in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta has experienced quite a turnaround this year, looking to claim another MLS Cup since their 2018 win.

Scouting Report: Atlanta United

Atlanta introduced themselves to MLS by showing their willing to spend large sums for young international players. That trend has continued with their acquisition of Thiago Almada. The 22 year old Argentine has accumulated seven goals and nine assists so far this season. The attacking midfielder will also look to link with Caleb Wiley and Derrick Etienne Jr on the wings.

Another expensive international proving his worth for Atlanta has been Georgios Giakoumakis. The Greek has put in 10 goals so far this season at the spear of the attack for the Five Stripes.

In defense, Atlanta likes to have their wingbacks up in attack. Andrew Gutman will be on the left side and has proven to be an issue for Philadelphia in recent matches. Brooks Lennon will be on the right. In central defense, USMNT call up Miles Robinson will likely not feature with Luis Abram taking his place with partner Juan Purata. Veteran Brad Guzan will be in goal.

Injury Report: Out: Santiago Sosa, Questionable: Erik Lopez

International Duty:  Derrick Etienne, Jay Fortune, Miles Robinson.

Scouting report: Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia have been on a terrific run since the start of June, catapulting themselves up the standings. Strikers Mikael Uhre and Julian Carranza have meshed well with attacking midfielder Daniel Gazdag, and in each match the trio seemingly combine and score at will once again.

In the midfield, Philadelphia boasts some experience behind Gazdag, Jose Martinez and Leon Flach continue to have stellar seasons. Beodya has returned to action as he picked up the start last weekend against Miami. Jack McGlynn, Jesus Bueno and Andres Perea are all pushing for playing time though. One of the three could make a start, but all should at least get time off the bench.

In defense the Union will very likely be unchanged as their center-back pairing of Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes have returned to their famed form from last season. Left back Kai Wagner will be looking to impress scouts as he still looks for a European move. Olivier Mbaizo will be looking to build upon a strong performance on the right side. Matt Real and Nathan Harriel will be looking for more playing time as well after strong outings recently.

Joe Bendik will be in net, replacing Andre Blake who is still away on international duty with Jamaica in the Gold Cup.

Injury Report: None

International Duty:  Andre Blake, Damion Lowe

Key Matchup: Transition

Both of these sides like to get out in transition and run down the field. Both will be operating near full strength, so expect a fast, end to end game between these two.

Player to Watch: Thiago Almada 

Almada has been a star in MLS play since his arrival. The key to slowing Atlanta down is slowing him down, something Philadelphia will be focused on in their midfield diamond.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 2-2 Atlanta 

When these two teams meet, it seems like each game ends up high scoring. It should be another entertaining one on Sunday afternoon, with both teams taking a point.

Philadelphia = +180
Atlanta = +130
Draw = +255


  1. Bendik still scares me, even though he’s been adequate in the last two games.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Would like to see Uhre score a goal against an American team.
    Lowe is ineligible for Jamaica Sunday (yellow card accumulation) so maybe he can join the Union on Sunday (I know that’s not how it works).

    • Is there an MLS or CONCACAF rule against him flying “home” Saturday, starting Sunday in ATL and back to Jamaica for their next game which isn’t until 7/8 or 7/9?

  3. This is HUGE for the Union….
    Injury Report: Out: Santiago Sosa, Questionable: Erik Lopez

    International Duty: Derrick Etienne, Jay Fortune, Miles Robinson.
    3-1 Union

  4. Just did the math….

    We have 10 matches vs. playoff teams (if the season ended today) and 5 against non playoff teams including both NY teams (always tough).

    And Union West (Cincy) looks like they are running away with the Supporters Shield.

  5. FYI, I read that Kai will not play against Atlanta. Hope that’s not true, but want him to be healthy first.

    • Tim Jones says:

      A caution.
      The German transfer window opens today, July 1. MLS’s transfer window opens July 5.
      In the past there have been alleged injuries and other problems while moves were being negotiated (most recently see Santos, Sergio).
      If they sell Wagner now they get some return on investment. If they wait till December he walks for nothing.

  6. MLS Player Availability Report does NOT list Blake or Lowe, only Wagner (hamstring).

    Does that mean Blake will start for us Sunday, while Jamaica’s other goalie plays in their Sunday night game?
    Wishful thinking…..?

  7. Atomic Spartan says:

    Unkel. Ugh!

  8. I haven’t been able to find the announcers for Fox and MLS season pass.
    Does anybody have a suggestion which channel would be best to watch?

  9. Joe Bendik is NOT an MLS goalie.

    For God’s sake Jim, play Trent and stop this abuse.

    Brad Guzon will beat Joe Bendik.

    Both are f-ing done.

    Get him out of the line up.

  10. Far to easy has the Philly based announces said….

  11. Are you f-ing kidding me.

  12. Surfer Kit… Stop wearing those f-ing jerseys.

  13. 100%. Bendik is a liability. Nothing is routine for him. Everything is an adventure.

  14. Jim Curtin said Altanta was a fun place to party.

    WTF the Channel 17 announcers said.




    Just ridiculous.

    SoCal Surfer Kit again…..

  15. Ridiculous.

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