An in depth look at the Philadelphia Union’s 2019 MLS opponents, Part 5

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 five of Philly Sports Network seven part series!

July 2019:

In part five of our in-depth look at the Union’s 2019 MLS campaign we take a look at the dog days of summer summer. The Union play five matches in July. Four matches are against eastern conference opponents with one lone trip out west.

Matchday 20:

@ Orlando City SC.
Wednesday, July 3rd. 7:30 pm.
2018 record: 8 wins 22 losses 4 ties.
2018 Eastern Conference Standing: 11th.

Orlando City have been in the basement of the eastern conference for years now. They finished dead last in the east last year. Their 2018 team was built of unwanted MLS veterans, who never really gelled together. Will 2019 be a different story for the Lions?

Off-season moves:

F – Tesho Akindele (12/9/18 – trade from Dallas)
D – Joao Moutinho (12/11/18 – trade from LAFC)
GK – Greg Ranjitsingh (12/19/18 – transfer from Louisville City)
D – Kyle Smith (12/19/18 – transfer from Louisville City)
M – Sebastian Mendez (12/28/18 – transfer from Independiente del Valle)
D – Danilo Acosta (12/28/18 – loan from Real Salt Lake)
F – Benji Michel (12/31/18 – Homegrown)
D – Alex De John (1/10/19 – free)
F – Santiago Patiño (1/11/19 – SuperDraft)
D – Ruan (1/16/19 – free)
F – Nani (2/18/19 – free)
GK – Joe Bendik (11/27/18 – option declined)
M – Richie Laryea (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – Chris Schuler (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – Jonathan Spector (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – Scott Sutter (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – Donny Toia (11/27/18 – option declined)
M – Jose Villarreal (11/27/18 – option declined)
GK – Earl Edwards Jr. (11/27/18 – out of contract)
D/M – Victor “PC” Giro (12/9/18 – traded to Vancouver)
D – Mohamed El-Munir (12/11/18 – traded to LAFC)
D – Amro Tarek (12/11/18 – traded to NY Red Bulls)
M – Tony Rocha (12/12/18 – traded to NYCFC)
M – Yoshimar Yotun (12/27/18 – transfer to Cruz Azul)
F – Stefano Pinho (1/22/19 – waived)
D – RJ Allen (2/6/19 – waived)

Orlando City spent most of their off-season getting rid of key players on their back line and in midfield. Players who were the clubs backbone are gone; no more Jonathan Spector, no more Yoshi Yotun, no more Joe Bendik. Orlando are looking to get younger, and turn a sticky front office situation into fruitful play on the pitch.

The Lions added a new DP player in Nani, in hopes he can help link up the attacking play for the plethora of MLS veterans they have. Orlando look like a different team, but all their pieces have come together so late into the preseason, there’s no basis if they will be able to move up the table this season.

The Union play the first of two matches against Orlando down in Florida. The season is turning toward the final stretch where points against conference opponents will be crucial.

Matchday 21:

vs Orlando City SC.
Saturday, July 6th. 7:00 pm.
2018 record: 8 wins 22 losses 4 ties.
2018 Eastern Conference Standing: 11th.

Orlando play the Philadelphia in a home and away this season. The second match comes just three days after the first. Since we already looked at Orlando’s off-season moves, let’s look at how they have done in preseason.

Preseason form: 3 wins 1 loss 1 tie

Orlando City have had a surprisingly success preseason. They have won against teams lower than them, and drew New York Red Bulls. Their lone loss came against the Philadelphia Union in a 4-1 thrashing. That being said, Orlando needs more time for their team to gel.

The Lions have one more preseason game to play a tune up match before the start of the season. This match will be telling of how Orlando look ahead of MLS play.

While Orlando seem like a team who have made some strides, we’ll see if they are formidable in July.

Matchday 22

@ Real Salt Lake.
Saturday, July 13th. 10:00 pm.
2018 record: 14 wins 13 losses 7 ties.
2018 Western Conference Standing: 6th.

Real Salt Lake had a great run in 2018. They surprisingly made the playoffs in a year where they were counted out because of their youthful squad. Coach Mike Petke will try to duplicate their success again in 2019.

Off-season moves:

F – Julian Vazquez (10/6/18 – Homegrown)
GK – David Ochoa (11/28/18 – Homegrown)
M – Luis Arriaga (11/28/18 – Homegrown)
D – Donny Toia (12/14/18 – Re-Entry Draft)
F – Tate Schmitt (1/3/19 – Homegrown)
D – Erik Holt (1/3/19 – Homegrown)
M – Everton Luiz (1/7/19 – loan from SPAL)
F – Sam Johnson (2/4/19 – transfer from Valerenga)
GK – Connor Sparrow (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – Shawn Barry (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – David Horst (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – Taylor Peay (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – Demar Phillips (11/27/18 – option declined)
M – Jose Hernandez (11/27/18 – option declined)
M – Luke Mulholland (11/27/18 – option declined)
M – Sunny (11/27/18 – option declined)
F – Ricky Lopez-Espin (11/27/18 – option declined)
F – Luis Silva (11/27/18 – option declined)
D – Danilo Acosta (12/28/18 – loaned to Orlando City)

Salt Lake have had a pretty quiet off-season, apart from the normal business that goes on every off season. The club parted ways with players who were out of contract or had options declined, and loaned out one of their many promising young defenders. RSL did not make any splash signings this off-season either.

Real Salt Lake signed five homegrown players, utilized MLS’ reentry draft, and bought one player on loan. They spent money for one transfer for a new striker. RSL are looking to build off an overachieving season, but are these moves enough?

The Union travel to Utah to play RSL this year. Their matches at Rio T are always a fun time.

Matchday 23:

@ Chicago Fire.
Saturday, July 20th. 7:30pm
2018 record: 8 wins 18 losses 8 ties.
2018 Eastern Conference Standing: 10th.

Chicago Fire looked different in 2018, and that’s not a good thing. They went from being a playoff side to second-bottom. In 2019 the Fire look to get back to their scorching form from two seasons ago.

Off-season moves:

F – Fabian Herbers (12/9/18 – trade from Philadelphia)
D – Marcelo (12/27/18 – transfer from Sporting CP)
M – Przemyslaw Frankowski (1/22/19 – transfer from Jagiellonia Bialystok)
M – Jeremiah Gutjahr (1/22/19 – Homegrown)
M – Cristian Martinez (1/24/19 – Waiver Draft)
M – Amando Moreno (1/24/19 – trade from NY Red Bulls)
D – Andre Reynolds II (1/25/19 – Homegrown)
GK – David Ousted (1/27/19 – waivers)
F – Alan Gordon (10/29/18 – retired)
D – Brandon Vincent (10/31/18 – retired)
D – Christian Dean (11/1/18 – retired)
D – Jonathan Campbell (11/26/18 – option declined)
M – Drew Conner (11/26/18 – option declined)
F – Michael de Leeuw (11/26/18 – option declined)
M – Daniel Johnson (11/26/18 – option declined)
GK – Patrick McLain (11/26/18 – option declined)
F – Yura Movsisyan (11/26/18 – option declined)
F – Luis Solignac (11/26/18 – option declined)
D – Matt Polster (11/26/18 – out of contract)
D – Nicolas Del Grecco (1/27/19 – waived)

Chicago Fire used this off-season to get rid of the past and usher in the new. Chicago has let go of Matt Polster, Luis Solignac, Michael de Leeuw and Alan Gordon. Even with all those departures, Chicago did not bring in any big names to fill vacent starting spots

The Fire brought in eight new players, but only some of those players look right to take some starting spots. Chicago was one of the best in MLS not too long ago. With a nucleus of Dax McCarty and Nemanja Nikolic, they will hope their moves are enough to move up the table.

The Union play their first match against Chicago in Illinois. Right now it seems like the Union have enough fire power to go for the win in the windy city.

Matchday 24:

@ Montreal Impact.
Saturday, July 27th. 8:00 pm.
2018 record: 14 wins 16 losses 4 ties.
2018 Eastern Conference Standing: 7th.

Montreal have had a very good preseason ahead of a year where they want to win now. Since we have already looked at their offseason moves, heres a look at the Impact’s preseason form.

Preseason form: 2 wins 0 loss 2 tie

Montreal have done very well in the limited preseason action they’ve had. They played a tough match with MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati, and drew USL sideTampa Bay Rowdies. They also found way to grind out two wins.

The Impact beat USL Nashville SC 2-0, and put on a clinic against the Union in a 1-0 win. Their two clean sheets have shown promise. Will that be enough to propel them to success in their MLS campaign?

The Union beat Montreal in Montreal last season; this year that looks to be a tougher ask.

Parts six and seven coming later today; Predictions next week:

Parts six and seven of An in-depth look at the Philadelphia Union’s 2019 MLS opponents will be 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!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union