An in depth look at the Philadelphia Union’s 2019 MLS opponents, Part 3

March is right around the corner, you know what that means? It means it’s time for an in-depth look at the Philadelphia Union’s 2019 MLS schedule opponents. Here’s part three of Philly Sports Network seven part series!

May 2019

In part three of our in-depth look at the Union’s 2019 MLS campaign we take a look at the end of spring. The Union play six matches in May. This is the busiest month of the 2019 season for Philadelphia. five of the six matches are home matches, presenting a huge opportunity for Philadelphia to pick up points. Three opponents are from the east, while the other three are from the western conference.

Matchday 10:

vs FC Cincinnati.
Wednesday, May 1st. 7:30 pm.
2018 record: N.A.
2018 Eastern Conference standing: N.A.

FC Cincinnati’s inaugural season will be over one-third of the way completed when they travel to Talen Energy Stadium on the 1st of May. Since we have already looked at their off-season moves, lets look at how Cincy have done in their preseason so far.

Preseason form: 2 wins 1 loss 3 ties.

Ahead of their first MLS season, Cincinnati has had a decent preseason. They’ve only lost once in six matches. Their only loss was to USL side they know well, Indy eleven. Apart from the lone loss, Cincy have tied Montreal, DC and Chicago. All of these matches ended 1-1.

Cincinnati has won agianst Colorado Rapids 1-0 and USL side Charleston Battery 2-1. Entering the last weekend of preseason, they play cross-state rivals Columbus Crew SC in their last preseason match. This side seems like one that will not be able to score much even with their striker heavy roster. It seems like things will come down to if Cincy’s midfielders and defenders can defend well enough to keep them in games in 2019.

The Union finish the season series with the newcomers at their place, where they will look to start a busy month with a win.

Matchday 11:

vs New England Revolution.
Saturday, May 4th. 7:30 pm.
2018 record: 10 wins 13 losses 11 ties
2018 Eastern Conference standing: 8th.

The last few seasons for New England can be categorized as a dumpster fire. Mismanagement of players and what they’re worth led to holdouts, and as a result a “golden-age of talented players was wasted. Now in 2019, the side will try to start over.

Off-season moves:

PLAYERS IN:PLAYERS OUT:

M – Nicolas Firmino (11/27/18 – Homegrown)
D – Edgar Castillo (12/18/18 – trade from Colorado)
F – Juan Fernando Caicedo (12/20/18 – loan from Independiente Medellin)
M – Tajon Buchanan (1/11/19 – SuperDraft)
F – Justin Rennicks (1/18/19 – Homegrown)
F – Carles Gil (1/30/19 – transfer from Deportivo La Coruña)

D – Chris Tierney (11/5/18 – out of contract)
D – Claude Dielna (11/5/18 – option declined)
M – Guillermo Hauche (11/5/18 – option declined)
F – Femi Hollinger-Janzen (11/5/18 – option declined)
M – Cristhian Machado (11/5/18 – option declined)
D – Nicolas Samayoa (11/5/18 – option declined)
M/D – Mark Segbers(11/5/18 – option declined)
M – Kelyn Rowe (12/18/18 – traded to Colorado)

New England blew their team up in 2018. It started with the problems with Lee Nguyen, who got out of New England midseason going to LAFC. This off-season it was Kelyn Rowe who wanted out, he was traded to Kansas City. Now New England has to try to fill those play-making spots to help Juan Agudelo and Diego Fernandez. But it looks like they have not figured that out yet.

The Revs brought in tow forwards a few midfielders and a defender, but will they be able to gel with the current squad? Brad Friedel seems to have his hands full once again with this team.

The Union play their first of two matches vs New England at home in a match they should hopefully win.

Matchday 12:

@ Toronto FC.
Saturday, May 11th. 3:00 pm.

2018 record: 10 wins 18 losses 6 ties.
2018 Eastern Conference Standing: 9th.

Toronto FC are on a slide. Their 2018 was a train-wreck after Concacaf Champions League Final loss. Now they are without Sebastian Giovinco, and the club looks to be in free fall with only eight days until the start of the season

Preseason form: 1 win 4 losses 1 tie

We took a look at Toronto’s off-seaosn moves back in part one of our preview.

Toronto have not fared well this preseason. They have only won one match, against Colorado Rapids, and drew LA Galaxy. There other three preseason matches have been losses, the worst a 5-1 loss to USL side Las Vegas Lights, but that was not their worst result

Just this week Toronto FC kicked off their Concacaf Champions League campaign, They visited debutantes Independiente La Chorrera a Panamanian team. Toronto were heavy favorites, as the made it to the final of this competition last year. They laid an egg losing 4-0. The second leg is on Tuesday just four days before the season opener vs the Union.

While Toronto will be established in their MLS campaign the second time they face the Union, Philadelphia could and should be in a better place than TFC.

Matchday 13:

vs Seattle Sounders FC.
Saturday, May 18th. 7:30 pm.
2018 record: 18 wins 11 losses 5 ties.

2018 Western Conference standing: 2nd

Seattle Sounders had an outstanding 2018 season, while dealing with changes. Clint Dempsey retired midway through the season, and Jordan Morris was out for the whole season with injury. Now the club looks to keep stride in 2019 with a more full strength side.

Off-season moves:

PLAYERS IN:PLAYERS OUT:

D – Jonathan Campbell (12/28/18 – trade from Chicago)
GK – Trey Muse (1/15/19 – Homegrown)

GK – Calle Brown (11/19/18 – option declined)
D – Tony Alfaro (11/19/18 – option declined)
M – Lamar Neagle (11/19/18 – option declined)
F – Felix Chenkam (11/19/18 – option declined)
M – Osvaldo Alonso (11/19/18 – out of contract)
M – Aaron Kovar (11/19/18 – out of con
tract)D – Waylon Francis (2/5/19 – traded to Seattle)

Seattle Sounder looked to build off of their impressive 2018 season, by saying goodbye to the past. As mentioned Clint Dempsey retired; however, club legends Osvaldo Alonso and Lamar Neagle are departing the club. Alonso is now in Minnesota, while Neagle is un-contracted. While the club is moving on from players, they aren’t add many.

Seattle has only added two players this off-season, a homegrown goalkeeper and a MLS defender traded from Chicago. Wil lthis be enoug hto help Seattle stay near the top of the west?

The Union welcome Seattle to Chester in a midweek match that should be filled with fireworks.

Matchday 14:

vs Portland Timbers.
Saturday, May 25th. 7:30 pm.
2018 record: 15 wins 10 losses 9 ties.
2018 Western Conference standing: 5th

Portland Timbers had a great first season under Giovanni Savarese. They made it into MLS playoffs, and made a great run all the way to the MLS Cup final. Unfortunately for them they fell short. Will they be able to make another run in 2019?

Off-season moves:

PLAYERS IN:PLAYERS OUT:


M – Marvin Loria (12/10/18 – USL)
M – Renzo Zambrano (12/10/18 – USL)
GK – Aljaz Ivacic (1/18/19 – transfer from Olimpija Ljubljana)
D – Claude Dielna (1/23/19 – trade from New England)
D – Jorge Moreira (2/20/19 – loan from River Plate)

M – Victor Arboleda (12/10/18 – option declined)
M – Lawrence Olum (12/10/18 – option declined)
GK – Jake Gleeson (12/10/18 – out of contract)
D – Roy Miller (12/10/18 – out of contract)
M – Jack Barmby (12/10/18 – out of contract)
D – Alvas Powell (12/27/18 – traded to Cincinnati)
D – Liam Ridgewell (1/10/18 – mutually agreed to part ways)

Portland have not done much this transfer window in terms of letting go, or adding, major play-makers. In terms of letting players go, they are going to be without three defensemen that were at point focal points of their back line, but their age or value made them expendable.

The Timbers have replaced those players with younger players, and elevated some USL players to their first team. Will this be enough to help them maintain their place from last season? Only time will tell.

Portland make the cross country trip to play Philly this season; the Union have had success when Portland comes to town in the past, maybe more of the same will occur in 2019.

Matchday 15:

vs Colorado Rapids.
Wednesday, May 29th. 7:30 pm.
2018 record: 8 wins 19 losses 7 ties.
2018 Western Conference standing: 11th

Colorado Rapids had a dismal 2018 season. Veterans Tim Howard and Shkëlzen Gashi took up a lot of cap space, and the future looked murky. They started a rebuild during the summer transfer window acquiring Kellyn Acosta. This off season they added pieces to their foundation.

Off-season moves:

PLAYERS IN:PLAYERS OUT:


M – Nicolas Mezquida (12/9/18 – trade from Vancouver)
F – Kei Kamara (12/11/18 – trade from Cincinnati)
GK – Andre Rawls (12/14/18 – Re-Entry Draft)
GK – Clint Irwin (12/14/18 – trade from Toronto)
M – Kelyn Rowe (12/18/18 – trade from New England)
F – Diego Rubio (12/18/18 – trade from Sporting KC)
D – Keegan Rosenberry (12/19/18 – trade from Philadelphia)
M – Benny Feilhaber (1/11/19 – free agent)
F – Andre Shinyashiki (1/11/19 – SuperDraft)
D – Sam Raben (1/15/19 – Homegrown)
F – Matt Hundley (1/15/19 – Homegrown)

D – Kip Colvey (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – Mike da Fonte (11/27/18 – option declined)
M – Giles Barnes (11/27/18 – option declined)
M – Sam Hamilton (11/27/18 – option declined)
M – Enzo Martinez (11/27/18 – option declined)
M – Ricardo Perez (11/27/18 – option declined)
F – Caleb Calvert (11/27/18 – option declined)
F – Jack McBean (11/27/18 – option declined)
GK – Andrew Dykstra (11/27/18 – out of contract)
F – Yannick Boli (11/27/18 – out of contract)
GK – Zac MacMath (12/9/18 – traded to Vancouver)
D – Edgar Castillo (12/18/18 – traded to New England)
M – Kelyn Rowe (12/18/18 – traded to Sporting KC)
M – Marlon Hairston (1/11/19 – traded to Houston)

Colorado Rapids cleaned house this off-season. They let go of a lot of players who were role players, and were not going to be contributors in 2019. They then used a lot of their resources to secure a strong foundation for the future.

Colorado traded for MLS vets: Kei Kamara, Clint Irwin, Diego Rubio, Keegan Rosenberry and Benny Feilhaber this offseason. Adding them to Kellyn Acosta makes their foundation strong for this season and the future. Who knows if these players will all gel together; this tactic didn’t work for Orlando City last season, but maybe Colorado will manage things better.

Colorado comes to Philly this season, aka Keegan Rosenberry’s awaited return.

Part four coming later today, parts Five, six and seven coming tomorrow; Predictions next week:

Part four of An in-depth look at the Philadelphia Union’s 2019 MLS opponents will be released later today. We will also have predictions on how the Union will do in their MLS campaign coming next week leading up to the start of the 2019 MLS season! Stay tuned!

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Peace out Union fans!

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