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Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs C.F. Pachuca

Photo: Ron Soliman

Who: Philadelphia Union vs C.F. Pachuca

What: CONCACAF Champions Cup, Round of 16

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Tuesday, March 5, 7:00 p.m. Eastern

Watch: FS2, TUDN

Whistle: Not available at time of publication

After narrowly escaping Round One of CCC play, the Union prepare to take on Liga MX side C.F. Pachuca in the Round of 16 at Subaru Park on Tuesday night. Leg 2 of the series is set for Tuesday, March 12 at Estadio Hidalgo in Pachuca, Mexico.

As 2022/23 Liga MX champion with the most accumulated points, C.F. Pachuca was pre-seeded into the Round of 16, making this their first game of the tournament.

Scouting Report: C.F. Pachuca

Since C.F. Pachuca’s promotion to the Primera División of Liga MX in 1998, they’ve solidified their status as one of the most successful clubs in the country. 26 years in the making and they have 7 national championships, 5 CONCACAF Champions’ Cups, the 2007 SuperLiga, and the 2006 Copa Sudamericana to show off.

The club is coming off a 3-2 win on Saturday against FC Juarez, currently 18th in Liga MX. Pachuca currently sit third in Liga MX at 7-1-2, with the most goals scored in the league (24).

Leading the attack in Guillermo Almada’s 4-2-3-1 formation is longtime Venezuelan international striker Salomón Rondón. Rondón leads the team in scoring, with 6 goals in 10 matches.

Pachuca’s midfield is made up of duo Érick Sánchez and Pedro Padraza. Sánchez is currently second in goals (5) and assists (4) for the team.

Carlos Moreno, a Pachuca Youth product, starts his 6th year at goal for the club.

A quick comparison of Pachuca’s usual formation versus the one played against FC Juarez shows that most of their starters, including Moreno, were on the bench. Expect C.F. Pachuca to have fresh legs and be ready to go.

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

After a rollercoaster of a match in Kansas City on Saturday, Philadelphia Union have a two-day recovery period before it’s sweet, sweet, matchday once more.

Head Coach Jim Curtin thought ahead to ensure his team is as well-rested as possible. Curtin made five second hald changes, utilizing veterans and new faces alike, including Jeremy Rafanello’s first MLS start and Markus Anderson’s debut.

The Union were without their top goalscorer, Julian Carranza, as well as longtime goalkeeper Andre Blake. José Martinez was replaced at halftime after suffering an injury, and to date, no update has been given on his condition.

When asked about the status of Andre Blake, who’s been dealing with an adductor injury, Curtin said he could be close to a return, “…hopefully, he’s back by Tuesday.”

Player Availability: Andre Blake (Questionable), Leon Flach (Out), Jack Elliott (Disciplinary), Damion Lowe (Disciplinary)

Key Matchup: Pachuca’s forwards vs Philadelphia’s defense

It’s no secret that Pachuca are a goal scoring machine — in fact, their ability to find the net is exactly why they had the luxury of skipping the first round of CCC. With Jack Elliott ineligible for this game thanks to an injury time red card, it will be interesting (read: terrifying) to see how the Union’s defense holds up. Rocketman Jakob Glesnes still seems to be finding his footing post-surgery, so who will the responsibility fall to?

ETA: Damion Lowe will is also ineligble for this game, leaving the usual Union defense in shambles.

Player to Watch: Julian Carranza

If Carranza can score a hat trick in “The Monster’s Cave”, what can’t he do at Subaru Park after resting a game? Given Pachuca is tied 14th in Liga MX for goals allowed, we could be in for a lot of DOOPs.

Prediction: Philadelphia Union 3 – 1 C.F. Pachuca

In the event that Andre Blake is back in goal, Philadelphia’s unsettled defense might not make or break this game. All hail Brick Wall Blake.


  1. I thought both Elliott and Lowe are out for cards.

  2. I thought both Elliott and Lowe were out for cards

  3. So are we talking a 3-5-2 or Harriel as a CB? Either way I think we are good. More interested to see the efforts improve from mid to the front. Should be another good weather match at the park, looking forward to going.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    This will be a tough one given the combination of suspensions and injuries as well as the likelihood that the stadium will be more packed with Pachuca supporters than last week was with Saprissa fans. Hopefully, Blake will be back and at the top of his form. Otherwise there is the possibility of being embarrassed at home.
    I’m also curious whether Carranza was rested on Saturday or held out due to injury and whether he is fully recovered.
    In any case, I’m not predicting a real happy outcome for me or other supporters of the team.

    • Chris Turk says:

      Carranza was injured. Was not even on the bench. Curtin said this morning that he would be evaluated after today’s training session and that he would be a game time decision tomorrow.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Thanks, Chris. I knew he wasn’t on the bench but was somehow hoping it was just a rest. Unfortunately, potentially being hurt is not a positive for the team and could easily make matters worse tomorrow night.

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      I’m expecting the Union fans to be completely overwhelmed by the Pachuca fans. (I hope I am wrong.) This will like be as much a home game for them as for us.
      I also think this is a really really difficult game. And the roster challenges don’t help here.
      I’m shying away from predicting. But if the U want to win the series and advance, they basically need to do it tomorrow by keeping Pachuca limited in goals and bagging enough themselves to ride out the second leg.

  5. OneManWolfpack says:

    Agreed. This will be a tough matchup for a multitude of reasons: weather, available players, night of the week / crowd. Keep the away goals off the board and you’ll have a shot.

  6. Sorry for the double post, guess there was a big delay in the post showing. Also you might not be getting any visibility on this article because it’s not appearing in the top scrolling new articles and just showing down below under recent articles.

  7. I have very low expectations for this game. Sit back, law low, and dont lose by more then 1 goal. Then once the squad is healthy and back from suspensions try to perform a miracle in the away leg.

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