An in depth look at the Union’s 2018 opponents: Part 5

As the Union enter their final stretch of the 2018 season, the Union will be in the thick of it for the race for the last playoff spot in the east. Sitting on 41 points they’ll be just one point shy of their total from 2017. Philadelphia have a chance to do something for the first time in team history as the calendar turns to fall. Here’s our look at the Union’s 2018 opponents: Part 5

Matchday 28

vs Montreal Impact.
Saturday, September 15th. 7:30 pm.
2017 record: 11 wins 17 losses 6 ties.
2017 Eastern Conference Standing: 9th.

The Union play their final game of the season against Montreal. Montreal will be in an interesting spot this late in the season. They look like a team that could be in the race for the playoffs, but also look like a bottom dweller at times. This match will indeed be crucial for both sides.

Updated off-season moves:

N.A. N.A.

Montreal hasn’t added anyone since the last time we previewed them. Their team still looks like a shell of what they were over the past few years. Will their losses speak more for them then the few additions this club made in 2018?


Both teams are fighting for the playoffs. The Union have the home field advantage for this one. In a similar game two years ago the Union had a late one goal lead, and gave it up at the death. They don’t do that this time.

Result: Union 2 Montreal 1

Matchday 29:

@ Seattle Sounders.
Wednesday, September 1st. 11:00pm.
2017 record: 14 wins 9 losses 11 ties.
2017 Western Conference Standing: 2nd.

The Union make their last trip out west to face the team that’s represented the west in MLS Cup for the last two seasons. Seattle has been consistently good over the last few years, and this year doesn’t look any different.

Off-season moves:

D – Waylon Francis (12/14/17 – trade from Columbus)

M – Handwalla Bwana (1/11/18 – Homegrown)

M – Magnus Wolff Eikrem (1/30/18 – free)

M – Alex Roldan (2/13/18 – SuperDraft)

D – Jordan McCrary (2/13/18 – free)

GK – Calle Brown (2/20/18 – free)

D – Kim Kee-hee (2/27/18 – transfer from Shanghai Greenland Shenhua)

M – Calum Mallace (12/12/17 – option declined)

D – Brad Evans (12/12/17 – out of contract)

D – Joevin Jones (12/12/17 – out of contract)

GK – Tyler Miller (12/12/17 – Expansion Draft)

M – Aaron Kovar (1/23/18 – loaned to LAFC)

D – Oneil Fisher (2/7/18 – traded to D.C. United)

Seattle’s offseason hasn’t been a bit of a snoozer. They haven’t lost a huge part of their team, nor did they add a huge difference maker. Seattle’s offense is still lethal, even with Jordan Morris going down with a season ending ACL injury. The one piece of value they lost was defender Joevin Jones, but have solidified the spot in his absence by adding Waylon Francis from Columbus Crew SC, and brining South Korean international Kim Kee-hee from the Chinese Super League. This team knows how to adapt and still be towards the top of the west. They should be able to do so again this season.


The Union have not fared well going into CenturyLink Field in the past. They will look to continue their goal of being a better road team in 2018. However the late season cross-country trip might take the wind out of the Union’s sails.

Result: Sounders 2 Union 1

Matchday 30:

vs Sporting Kansas City.
Sunday, September 23rd. 1:00 pm.
2017 record: 12 wins 9 losses 13 ties.
2017 Western Conference Standing: 5th.

The Union welcome SKC to Philly. Coming off a hard loss to Seattle, the Union will be looking to bounce back. Sporting Kansas City will have a few things to say about that. They have endured quite a few changes over the last year or so.

Off-season moves:

F – Khiry Shelton (12/14/17 – trade from NYCFC)

M – Yohan Croizet (12/15/17 – transfer from KV Mechelen)

F – Zach Wright (1/17/18 – Homegrown)

D – Emiliano Amor (1/18/18 – loan from Velez Sarsfield)

D – Matt Lewis (1/22/18 – Homegrown)

M – Johnny Russell (1/31/18 – transfer from Derby County)

M – Felipe Gutierrez (2/6/18 – free)

GK – Eric Dick (2/15/18 – SuperDraft)

D – Graham Smith (2/15/18 – SuperDraft)

D/M – Brad Evans (2/20/18 – free agent)

F – Cameron Porter (11/27/17 – out of contract)

D – Erik Palmer-Brown (11/27/17 – out of contract)

F – Cameron Iwasa (11/27/17 – option declined)

M – Soni Mustivar (11/27/17 – option declined)

M – Kevin Oliveira (11/27/17 – option declined)

D – Tyler Pasher (11/27/17 – option declined)

F – Latif Blessing (12/12/17 – Expansion Draft)

D – Saad Abdul-Salaam (12/14/17 – traded to NYCFC)

M – Benny Feilhaber (1/3/18 – traded to LAFC)

GK – Andrew Dykstra (2/8/18 – traded to Colorado)

M – Soony Saad (2/8/18 – waived)

D – Kevin Ellis (2/27/18 – waived)

F – Zach Wright (2/27/18 – waived)

If you looked at Kansas City’s roster at the beginning of 2017 and compared it to this season’s roster you’d be shocked to see the differences. No Dom Dwyer or Benny Feilhaber; the mainstays of the club now on different MLS sides. They brought in new players like ex-NYCFC forward Khiry Shelton, and ex-Seattle veteran Brad Evans. SKC’s changes have yet to have a negative effect, but with the west getting better and better, could we see a drop out of the top six? Or will the veteran presence of Zusi, Besler and Evans be enough to structure this team to another playoff appearance?


Every time these two teams meet in Chester it’s a thrilling battle, why should this match be anything but that! SKC will be in the thick of a super competitive western conference, while the Union will look to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Result: Union 3 SKC 3

Matchday 31:

@ Columbus Crew.
Saturday, September 29th. 7:30 pm.
2017 record: 16 wins 12 losses 6 ties.
2017 Eastern Conference Standing: 5th.

The Union face the Crew for the third and final time in 2018 at Columbus. The battle for the playoffs in the east will be tight. Could this be the last match between these two sides, as Columbus could move to Austin Texas; let’s hope not #SavetheCrew. These two will, no doubt be duking it out for a top six finish. Will the Union be able to push for a chance at the playoffs, or will that dream die in Columbus like it has before?

Updated off-season moves:

N.A, N.A.

The Crew are done with their off-season moves as they focus on the start of the season this coming Saturday.


The Union look to get a sweep on a team in the eastern conference. This wont come easy. Columbus will be organized, and lethal when given chances. The Union need points from this one. If they want to show they are leaps and bounds better than they were in 2017, take points from this match against Columbus. Easier said than done, but this Union side is built for grinding out ugly, but decent, results. Hence why this score line should be expected

Result: Crew 1 Union 1

Matchday 32:

vs Minnesota United.
Saturday October 6th. 7:30 pm.
2017 record: 10 wins 18 losses 6 ties.
2017 Western Conference Standing: 9th.

The Loons come to Philadelphia for the first time in the young clubs history. The Union will look to do better against them then they did in Skol country last season. Minnesota was one of the worst teams out west last year, and have not really improved much moving into this 2018 season.

Off-season moves:

M – Harrison Heath (12/10/17 – trade from Atlanta)

D – Tyrone Mears (12/15/17 – Re-Entry Draft)

M – Frantz Pangop (1/9/18 – free)

F – Mason Toye (1/19/18 – SuperDraft)

GK – Matt Lampson (1/19/18 – trade from Chicago)

D – Bertrand Owundi Eko’o (2/13/18 – free)

M – Luiz Fernando (2/22/18 – loan from Fluminense)

M – Bernardo Anor (11/27/17 – option declined)

M – Ismaila Jome (11/27/17 – option declined)

D – Joseph Greenspan (11/27/17 – option declined)

M – Thomas de Villardi (11/27/17 – option declined)

D – Justin Davis (11/27/17 – option declined)

D – Jermaine Taylor (11/27/17 – option declined)

D – Kevin Venegas (11/27/17 – option declined)

GK – Patrick McLain (11/27/17 – out of contract)

M – Johan Venegas (1/5/18 – loaned to Saprissa)

Minnesota has yet to really develop a style of play. They are a ragtag team with many players playing out of position. The clubs love for wingers hurts them, they have so many talented wide players, that some have to play central positions to get onto the field. This has led to a lack of creativity in the midfield, and put the pressure on their defense.All that said, their attack is legit since they have so many talented attacking players on the field. Their off-season moves have done little to sure up those major problems. They are looking like a team that will finish towards the bottom of the west again this season.


The Loons will come into Talen Energy Stadium already out of playoff contention. The Union coming off an uninspiring draw will look to better their chances of sitting in that final playoff spot. The Union will need all three points from this one.

Matchday 33:

vs New York Red Bulls.
Sunday, October 21st. 3:00 pm.
2017 record: 14 wins 12 losses 8 ties.
2017 Eastern Conference Standing: 6th.

The Union’s final home match of the season will be crucial. It will make or break the Union’s playoff hopes in 2018. The Red Bulls are going to be better than they were a year ago, and they will look to solidify themselves in the four or three spot with a win from this match. With everything riding on this match for the Union will they live to fight another day, or let the fans down on their last afternoon in Chester?

Updated off-season moves:

M – Alejandro Romero Gamarra (2/16/18 – transfer from Huracan)        N.A.

The Red Bulls finally got their man Alejandro Romero Gamarra, aka Kaku, was signed last week. The Argentinian youth-national team player will add his outstanding attacking qualities to the Red Bulls already good attack. This move should move them from wildcard contender to hosting a home wildcard game, which is a step in the right direction for New York.


Playing for everything gives players the extra push when it’s needed; that extra bit of speed to close down an attack, or the sense of mind to find more open spaces in the attack. The Union will have tied this team earlier in the season, and will look to deliver a blow to the Red Bulls chances of a high playoff standing, and that propels Philadelphia to the playoff spot.

Result: Union 2 Red Bulls 0

Matchday 34:

Sunday, October 28th; 4:30 pm.
2017 record: 16 wins 9 losses 9 ties.
2017 Eastern Conference Standing: 2nd.

The Regular season culminates with a trip to the Bronx for a date with NYCFC. Well, hopefully it’s in the Bronx, and not somewhere else last-minute because the Yankees are in the MLS postseason, but that bridge will be crossed in October. NYCFC will be either locked in the second spot in the east, or trying to get there. Either way, with the chance to earn a bye or not they will still play their starters. The Union will be high off their home finale win, and will look to solidify the playoffs by taking points from NYCFC.

Updated off-season moves:

D – Sebastien Ibeagha (2/27/18 – free)        N.A.

NYCFC added another defender to their ranks to help solidify their only weakness, which is defending.


NYCFC will not be resting their starters in this match. They will need them either to secure a bye or to get a run in before they take a rest. This means the Union will be playing in what is essentially a playoff game in a hostile environment. It’s basically a tune up for a playoff game should the Union get the sixth seed. The Union will look to end the season on a high note.

Result: NYCFC 2 Union 1

Where will the Union stand?

At the end of this last stretch the Union will have 11 points from seven matches, not the best haul, but not the worst either. The pressure of meeting their goal of making the playoffs will be the driving factor and it’s one that the Union could hit.

After 34 matches: 14-10-10. 52 Points

A record-setting season:

If the Union are able to pull off this type of season it will be a record-setting one for the club. While they won’t be near the top of the eastern conference, they will have set a franchise record for wins in a season with 14. The Union have never won more than 12 games, hitting 14 is something that is doable, and would grant them a spot in the playoffs.

Goal Accomplished:

Last season to get to sixth in the east you needed New York Red Bulls had to post 14 wins, that win total coupled with their ties earned them 50 points last season. This season, the east is going to be even more competitive. So if the Union are going to make the playoffs they are going to need to hit that 14 win threshold, and also have at least double-digit ties to make the playoffs.

The Union can do this. Their schedule is built so that they can get a lot of points early, and build a consistent style of play to ensure them points as the season moves along. With a 14-10-10 record the Union will have 52 points. This will be enough to put them in sixth place; they will go on the road in the first week of the playoffs to try to make a run for MLS Cup.

Miss the other parts to this series? No Worries Here are the other parts:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


Tim Lovenguth

Matt McClain

Jeff Green

Peace out Union fans!

Philadelphia Union writer. A passion for the beautiful game drives me. Twitter: @TGing21

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