On Monday, March 15th Philadelphia plays its first 2021 season tune-up. The Union takes on Orlando City at 11:00 am at the Joe DiMaggio Field for a scrimmage. This will be the first time the Union takes on an MLS opponent ahead of their 2021 season. With only about three weeks until Philly starts their 2021 season in the Concacaf Champions League (CCL), this match could be very important for the coaches and the players.
First 2021 season tune-up
This preseason scrimmage will be a very telling one. Both Philadelphia and Orlando will use this as an important evaluation exercise. This match won’t be like a normal match. Each team will be heavily rotation players and there likely won’t be normal 45-minute halves.
Usually, these types of scrimmages are longer than normal matches. Certain times these scrimmages have three 45-minute periods. In these periods, teams rotate different players when they choose. Coaches use this to better evaluate the fitness and readiness of their players. also, players use these scrimmages to present their claims to be a more important member of the squad ahead of the upcoming season. Let’s take a deeper look into what this match will provide Curtin and the coaching staff, and also the rostered Union players.
Coaching evaluations & Oppertunities for players
Jim Curtin and his staff have their work cut out for them in these types of scrimmages. Evaluating the players in these short windows against actual opponents will be crucial to see how fit they are, and the role they can play moving forward. There will be plenty of opportunities for players in this scrimmage.
The players will know they have a finite amount of time on the field against Orlando City. For the players, this means that they will need to show well in that short amount of time they’ll get. Playing well means possibly more time moving forward. Not showing well could mean dropping in the pecking order. This is what all these scrimmages inevitably mean for the coaches and players, but what are some things fans should watch for in this scrimmage against Orlando?
Three things to watch
As in any match, there are things to keep an eye on! Here are three things to watch during the Union’s first scrimmage of 2021!
As mentioned before, these scrimmages are opportunities for all players to get some playing time, and show the coaches what they can do. Doing so against an actual MLS opponent will go a long way with the coaches as they will be making decisions on the depth chart in the coming weeks. For the Union this means that everyone on their roster should see time in this scrimmage!
Cory Burke’s contribution
Cory Burke could play a huge role with the Union in 2021. He is definitely a player to watch closely in this scrimmage and moving forward as well. He scored two goals in the intrasquad scrimmage last week. Now, he will have the chance to show what he’s got against Orlando City.
A homegrown standout
Over the last few years, there has been a homegrown standout at the Union’s preseason. This year, with many new faces, there’s no question that there could be a homegrown standout in the preseason. The question is, who will be the one to step up and be that standout?
The first preseason match is upon us! whether fans are actually able to watch it or not. The exercise will be very important for the coaches and players alike. After this match, we should know more about the fitness of the Union and how they are going to progress as the 2021 season is fastly approaching!
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Mandatory Credit: Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire