Match previews

Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs DC United

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union vs. DC United

What: 2023 Leagues Cup, Round of thirty-two

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Thursday, August 3, 8:00 p.m. Eastern

Watch: Apple TV – MLS Season Pass

Whistle: Not available at time of publication

The Philadelphia Union host their first MLS opponent in Leagues Cup play at Subaru Park, in an opening round of the knockout stage. Wayne Rooney’s men are coming off a 3-0 loss at the hands of LigaMX side, Pumas. Though DC were able to squeak out a 1-0 win in their first Leagues Cup match away at Montreal, which sealed their entry into the round of thirty-two.

The knockout stage games are single elimination, with the match going to penalties if tied after ninety minutes. The winner of this match will move on to the round of sixteen, to face the winner of a Leagues Cup rendition of the Hudson River Derby – NYCFC vs. NY Red Bulls.

Scouting Report: DC United

It has been an eventful couple of weeks for DC United.

Audi Field was the setting of the MLS All-Star game where Arsenal ran the MLS All-Stars (coached by Wayne Rooney) off the pitch in a 5-0 rout.

The problems didn’t stop there. None other than DC United’s, now former, head athletic trainer was seen making discriminatory hand gestures in a team photo that was posted on social media.

And to wrap up a difficult couple of weeks for the club, star forward Taxi Fountas, allegedly flung a racial slur at teammate, Nigel Robertha, during a training session. This resulted in a physical altercation and both players being suspended by the league while MLS investigates the incident. The apparent victim, Robertha, was reinstated late last week and played in the match vs. Pumas.

This is not Fountas’ first run-in with this type of disciplinary issue and he remains suspended at this time.

Amidst the disarray, United sit right at the playoff line (ninth in the East) in MLS play this season. Their last meeting with the Union was a 0-0 draw at Subaru Park on May 17, just eight days after the Union had been ousted from the US Open Cup. Since that meeting, DC have gone 4-5-2 in league play.

After defeating Montreal away in their opening Leagues Cup match, United were completely outclassed at home by a superior Pumas side.

DC seem to be a team that will only go as far as their Polish playmaker Mateusz Klich and Belgian talisman Christian Benteke take them. Look for both to be at the forefront of any chance that DC create on Thursday evening.

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia are coming off eight days’ rest after their 5-1 home win vs. Queretaro, sealing their entry to the Leagues Cup knockout stage. Even with a goal differential of +6 through the group stage, Jim Curtin intimated that he felt that number could have been higher.

The Union were certainly less wasteful in the match vs. Queretaro, converting 5 of their 6 shots on target. Three of those tallies were from Daniel Gazdag, two of which came from the penalty spot.

It is clear that the Union have no plans of treating this competition lightly, rolling out a side vastly comprised of starters in both group stage matches. Curtin opted for three in the back vs. Queretaro, which has been largely successful when it has been deployed this season.

It will be interesting to see which direction Curtin goes in this match; could he revert back to the 4-4-2 diamond against DC?

Match-up to watch: Gazdag vs. Klich

Not necessarily a match-up where one will be defending the other 1v1, but both playmakers will look to spearhead any attacks that each team generates. Not to mention if the Union are able to get to the penalty spot at the same rate they’ve been there in MLS and Leagues Cup play combined (0.44 attempts/90), Gazdag will have another busy night.

Player to watch: Julian Carranza

Carranza may not have scored last match, but he is always a dangerous player to watch and will continue to be in this match. He drew the first penalty for Philadelphia after sneakily finding space just in behind the Queretaro defense, and then being taken down by goalkeeper Alejandro Arana.

It’s hard to take your eyes off of this man at the moment. Could he add some more goals to his two in Leagues Cup play tonight?

Prediction: Philadelphia 2-0 DC United

Off a week’s rest, Philly continues their hot streak, smothering every DC United attack for the full 90 minutes. DC are lucky to have made it through to the knockout stage and are even luckier to not have to endure any more trouble as the Union send them on their way back to DC with little fuss. Union win convincingly with a clean sheet to boot.


  1. Murphthesurf says:

    I hope your scoreline prediction is correct ! DOOP !!!

  2. Scott of Nazareth says:

    Toyed with driving down to see this game – a little shocked that corner tickets are $40+ add ons. Was figuring this would be in the $25 range…

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