An in depth look at the Philadelphia Union’s 2019 MLS opponents, Part 4

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 four of Philly Sports Network seven part series!

June 2019:

In part four of our in-depth look at the Union’s 2019 MLS campaign we take a look at the start to the summer months. The Union play four matches in June. Three away matches, and one lone home game. The Union start the month out west and then finish it by playing three eastern conference foes.

Matchday 16:

@Minnesota United FC.
Sunday, June 2nd. 4:00 pm.
2018 record: 11 wins 20 losses 30 ties.
2018 Western Conference Standing: 10th.

Minnesota United have had a rough first two seasons. While they did better in 2018 than they did in 2017, that was not good enough to get past 10th place in the west. They have seen Atlanta United make the jump from expansion team to MLS Cup Champion in two seasons, now the Loons look to make a playoff jump in 2019.

Off-season moves:

PLAYERS IN:PLAYERS OUT:

M – Jan Gregus  (12/20/18 – transfer from FC Copenhagen)
M – Osvaldo Alonso (1/10/19 – waivers)
GK – Dayne St. Clair (1/11/19 – SuperDraft)
D – Romain Metanire (1/25/19 – free)
D – Ike Opara (1/28/19 – trade from Sporting KC)
GK – Vito Mannone (2/10/19 – loan from Reading FC)

D – Marc Burch (11/26/18 – option declined)
M – Ibson (11/26/18 – option declined)
GK – Matt Lampson (11/26/18 – option declined)
M – Fernando Bob (11/26/18 – option declined)
D – Jerome Thiesson (11/26/18 – option declined)
M – Collen Warner (11/26/18 – option declined)
D – Bertrand Owundi Eko’o (11/26/18 – option declined)
M – Frantz Pangop (11/26/18 – option declined)
GK – Alex Kapp (11/26/18 – option declined)
M – Harrison Heath (11/26/18 – out of contract)
M – Johan Venegas (11/26/18 – out of contract)
M – Maximiano (11/26/18 – loan expired)
M – Alexi Gomez (11/26/18 – loan expired)

Minnesota spent this off-season getting rid of dead weight and adding veteran leadership. Minnesota cleared a lot of space by letting go 13 players this transfer window. The only player of note in that group is creative midfielder Ibson. It seems the Loons are going in a different direction with their signings this offseason.

Six players were signed by Minnesota United, two of which stick out. The acquisitions of Osvaldo Alonso, and Ike Opara shows that the Loons want veterans along the spine of their team. These are leaders who can come in, contribute, and help Minnesota’s shaky defense. Will that be enough to lift them to their first ever playoff appearance?

Philadelphia head to the brand new Allianz Field out in Minnesota, where they will look to start June off on the right foot.

Matchday 17:

vs New York Red Bulls.
Saturday, June 8th. 7:30 pm.
2018 record: 22 wins 7 losses 5 ties.
2018 Eastern Conference Standing: 1st.

The New York Red Bulls had a historic 2018 season, but it was overshadowed by Atlanta United championship winning season. Now in 2019 they will look to show that 2018 was no fluke.

Off-season moves:

PLAYERS IN:PLAYERS OUT:

M – Jean-Christophe Koffi (9/7/18 – Homegrown)
D – Amro Tarek (12/11/18 – trade from Orlando)
M – Marcus Epps (1/23/19 – Waiver Draft)
M – Omir Fernandez (1/26/19 – Homegrown)
F – Mathias Jorgensen (2/12/19 – transfer from Odense Boldklub)
D – Sean Nealis (2/17/19 – SuperDraft)

M – Tyler Adams (12/1/18 – transferred to RB Leipzig)
D – Aurelien Collin (12/4/18 – option declined)
D – Ethan Kutler (12/4/18 – option declined)
D – Kevin Politz (12/4/18 – option declined)
F – Carlos Rivas (12/4/18 – option declined)
D – Fidel Escobar (12/4/18 – loan expired)
D – Tommy Redding (12/4/18 – out of contract)
D – Hassan Ndam (12/11/18 – Expansion Draft)
F – Anatole Abang (2/21/18 – transferred to Nantong Zhiyun FC)

The Red Bulls off-season was all about their homegrown player Tyler Adams moving to Red Bull Leipzig over in Germany. He has been a standout in the German top flight. The rest of their moves were more about clearing out some role-players. In terms of the players brought in New York did not look for a like-for-like switch for Tyler Adams.

Instead of turning to the transfer market to find another number eight like Adams, the Red Bulls focused on adding another striker. They found their man in Mathias Jorgensen. Jorgensen adds another lethal option in front of goal coupeled with Bradley Wright Phillips. The Red Bulls are ready for another surging season.

The Union get their first of two matches against the Red Bulls at home; these two teams always play each other hard so it should be a fun game!

Matchday 18:

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@ New England Revolution.
Wednesday, June 26th. 7:30 pm.
2018 record: 10 wins 13 losses 11 ties
2018 Eastern Conference standing: 8th.

New England Revolution are currently struggling to get the ball rolling in 2019. That is not a good sign for a team following up a poor 2018 season. Since we already looked at their offseason moves in part three, let’s look at their preseason form.

Preseason form: 1 win 4 losses 2 ties

To start off the 2019 preseason, New England took a trip to Spain to play some preseason games. Over all their trip resulted in one win, one loss and two ties. That’s not the worst record for being halfway across the world, however when they came back to the states things did not improve.

First New England lost 3-1 to the two-time reigning USL champions Louisville City, then lost 1-0 to Minnesota United, and then the worst loss of all. New England played what is pretty much their first choice 11 and lost 6-1 to an Orlando City side that was heavy on their substitutes. This team looks to be struggling heading into the regular season, which is good news for their opposition in the eastern conference

The Union’s final match of 2019 against the Revs comes at New England, and it’s look more and more favorable for Philly.

Matchday 19:

@ New York City FC.
Saturday, June 29th. 7:00 pm.
2018 record: 16 wins 10 losses 8 ties.
2018 Eastern Conference Standing: 3rd.

NYCFC had an up and down 2018. They started off hot, then cooled way down, but ended their season on a run that saw them end the Union’s season in the first round of the playoffs. In 2019 they are looking to keep their success level high through a lot of changes.

Off-season moves:

PLAYERS IN:PLAYERS OUT:

M – Tony Rocha (12/12/18 – trade from Orlando)
M – Keaton Parks (1/19/18 – on loan from Benfica)
M – Justin Haak (1/24/19 – Homegrown)
M – Juan Pablo Torres (1/26/19 – transfer from Lokeren)
GK – Luis Barraza (1/28/19 – SuperDraft)
F – Alexandru Mitrita (2/4/19 – transfer from Universitatea Craiova) 

F – David Villa (11/28/18 – out of contract)
M – Eloi Amagat (11/29/18 – option declined)
M – Kwame Awuah (11/29/18 – option declined)
M – Tommy McNamara (11/29/18 – option declined)
GK – Andre Rawls (11/29/18 – option declined)
M – Rodney Wallace (11/29/18 – option declined)
M – Yangel Herrera (11/29/18 – out of contract)
D – Saad Abdul-Salaam (11/29/18 – out of contract)
F – Jo Inge Berget (1/25/19 – mutually terminated contract)
D – Cedric Hountondji (1/28/19 – waived)

This off-season, New York City had to deal with a harsh reality. Their first ever player, David Villa would be leaving the club as his contract was up. Life after Villa won’t be easy, but it will mean NYCFC will be able to create a new identity. There’s no more Villa, Lampard and Pirlo, now they are turning toward younger players.

NYCFC have brought in young US national team midfielder Keaton Parks, and a forward who has been called the next big thing in MLS. Striker Alexandru Mitrita has big shoes to fill. His task is to make City fans forget about Villa, will he be able to, and will NYCFC be able to stay above the red line?

The Union’s first match against their foes form New York comes from the big apple; Philadelphia will be be looking for vengeance in NYC.

Part five, six and seven coming tomorrow; Predictions next week:

Part five, six and seven of An in-depth look at the Philadelphia Union’s 2019 MLS opponents will be released tomorrow. 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!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

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