Match previews

Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. Queretaro FC

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union vs. Queretaro FC

What: 2023 Leagues Cup, Group East 1, Matchday 2 of 3

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Wednesday, July 26, 7:30p.m. Eastern

Watch: Apple TV – MLS Season Pass

Whistle: Not available at time of publication

The Philadelphia Union host LigaMX’s Queretaro FC in a Wednesday evening Leagues Cup bout at Subaru Park. Queretaro are just getting their Leagues Cup competition started, while Philadelphia look to build on the momentum forged in their first Leagues Cup contest – a win against a 9-man Club Tijuana side.

This is Philadelphia’s final group stage match, with Queretaro facing Club Tijuana at Subaru Park over the weekend to close out play in Group East 1. Two of the three teams advance out of the group, so a win tonight for the U will put them through to the knockout stage.

It is also “fireworks night” at Subaru Park. The last fireworks night at the Soob was a major catalyst for the team: a 7-0 thrashing of DC United in 2022, a match that became a springboard for the side’s late season push.

Scouting Report: Queretaro FC

Like Club Tijuana, Queretaro is an unfamiliar side for Philadelphia.

Los Gallos Blancos finished 10th in the spring Clausura campaign, and have started their season in the Apertura with a win and a loss. Their home opener against Club America was postponed due to poor field conditions after a concert was held at their stadium, Estadio La Corregidora, and damaged the pitch considerably.

Some may remember Queretaro FC being sanctioned by the Mexican Football Federation in March 2022 after “fan violence” led to 26 people being injured at their home stadium. The sanctions included a stadium ban barring fans entry for a full year, among other sanctions enforced on the club’s ownership.

It is tough to determine how Queretaro will line-up, but seem a team that enjoy playing a 4-4-2. The squad also started off the Apertura campaign a little chippy, as they have accumulated ten yellow cards in just two LigaMX matches.

Fun Fact: Ronaldinho played twenty-five matches for Los Gallos in 2014-2015 near the end of his career, where he scored 8 goals.

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

Regardless of the 3-1 victory on Saturday vs. Club Tijuana, Jim Curtin was adamant that the Union didn’t live up to expectations in the finishing department. With Tijuana going down 10 men in the 19’, the Union definitively out-chanced the opposition with 17 shots on target to the Xolos’ 5. With 3.55 expected goals generated though, the Union underwhelmed on the scoresheet, potting just 3.

Through one Leagues Cup match, the Union are leading the competition in key metrics like expected goals (3.55) and key passes (17). They will look to capitalize on these chances in a more efficient manner against Queretaro.

The side will likely be without midfield stalwarts Alejandro Bedoya and Leon Flach who were both unavailable at the weekend. With half of the MLS season and playoffs remaining at the conclusion of the Leagues Cup, it makes little sense to risk playing either, especially with the form of Jesus Bueno and Jack McGlynn of late.

Philadelphia are keen to keep their foot on the gas, and have an opportunity to make a deep run in this competition. With Curtin trotting out a lineup vastly comprised of starters against Tijuana, he will likely use the same or a similar lineup again vs. Queretaro.

Match-up to watch: Jose Martinez vs. the referee

Queretaro’s 10 (!) yellow cards in just two matches in the Aptertura could mean that this game gets a bit hostile. A man not unfamiliar with the color amarillo, Jose Martinez, has shown growth this year in the discipline department. Brujo’s feistiness is a quality that makes him one of the best 6’s in MLS. In turn, it also makes him prone to disciplinary action from the referee. No matter who is on the whistle tonight, Martinez’s improved composure will be tested.

Player to watch: Julian Carranza

With how active Carranza is in this Union attack, it is tough to take your eyes off of him. His two goals on eight shots on target against Club Tijuana have him tied with Sergio Cordova, Bongokuhle Hlongwane, and Emmanuel Reynoso in the Leagues Cup’s golden boot race. Will there be more tallies in the goal column for Carranza on Wednesday?

Prediction: Philadelphia 4-1 Queretaro FC

The Union’s quality far exceeds that of Queretaro’s on paper. If more efficient conversion of the team’s scoring chances is on the menu, it will “fireworks night” in more ways than one at the Soob. expect the Union to come out with flare and pizazz – this team is humming mid-season, while Queretaro are just getting their campaign started. Three points for the U with authority and entry to the Leagues Cup knockout stage.


  1. pragmatist says:

    I’ll set the O/U for the number of cards tonight at 6.5. Given the temperament of the two teams, the ref might be dealing more than a Vegas blackjack dealer.
    Hopefully, the U keep their cool enough to bag the goals first and not get anyone suspended for the next round.

  2. PhilliBear72 says:

    I think I speak for all when I say;
    Let’s go Philli.
    Let’s take this team on and let’s show no mercy.
    Let’s show them what Philli are made of and let’s just take this team on with multiple arms and show them WE ARE THE PHILLI.
    And that means exactly what it means.
    Let’s take this team on and beat them and beat them and take on WHOEVER decides to take us on.
    We will take them. We WILL beat them. WE ARE PHILLI. Let’s go.

  3. PhilliBear1872 says:

    Got a beer in hand now, ready for the Philly game to commence.
    Few more before lineup and kick-off, what’s everyone’s predictions for the game?
    Let’s go Philly

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