Philadelphia Union Preview: CLT coming up under the CBB

After a two-week international break, the first-place boys in blue are back. The Philadelphia Union will play in the warm confines of Subaru Park as they take on the newest expansion side to the league, Charlotte FC. With this being their first season in the league, this will be the first time that the Union will play host to Charlotte.

Union

Philadelphia Union Preview

The Union comes into this game riding high off a three-game winning streak, the most recent win coming as a revenge win up in NYC against NYCFC 2-0. Let us look at this fresh expansion side’s first MLS season to this point, as well as a player to watch out for and the final score prediction.

2022 MLS Season

Charlotte’s season has been a bit of a wild one, to say the least. After a number of exciting moves both on the roster and the front office, it was curious to see how they would line up. As their coach Miguel Angel Ramirez put succinctly before the season, “We’re F***ed.” While they started off the season with three straight losses, they were never truly out of any of those games.

The first game against DC was a 3-0 loss but came with a few harsh pk calls and a VAR overturned goal that pulled the wind out of their sails during that game. The next game saw an MLS record crowd at home against the LA Galaxy. While they certainly had their chances, they ended up losing 1-0 on a goalazo from the Galaxy. The next game saw them travel down to Atlanta to kick off what could be an interesting rivalry. They made it a game and thought they were going to escape with a point only for Atlanta to get a deflection goal and absolutely ruin the chances of Charlotte’s first MLS point.

Their fortunes started to change after that game, however, as they’ve won the past two games, both at home and by a combined scoreline of 5-1. Granted these games were against a revolution side that had just suffered CCL heartbreak combined with immense squad rotation while the other game was against a Cincinnati side that most people can agree might be overachieving a little to this point in the season. All that being said, they’re certainly a team for the Union to not sleep on.

X-Factor

The player to look out for is none other than the man who has helped lead this two-game winning streak, Polish DP striker signing Karol Swiderski. While it took him a couple of games to truly get going, he has certainly made up for it in the past few games by scoring a brace in each of their two wins.

Looking at his game, it is clear that Swiderski is a multi-talented striker. He loves to get onto the ball and combine with the number one overall pick, attacking midfielder Ben Bender. When he isn’t dropping deep, Swiderski is pulling out wide and allowing his teammates to run down the middle with great passes. The thing that sets him apart is his ability to quickly get the ball out of his feet and launch an absolute laser from anywhere.

He also has a knack for scoring some insane free kicks, which is a dangerous thing for a striker to have in his arsenal. The offense does seem to run through him and Bender, so cutting off that connection must be the most important thing for the Union defense. Swiderski will create some havoc on the backline, but Jakob Glesnes and Jack Elliot should definitely be up to the task on Saturday night.

Prediction

Despite what I’ve said about the form that Charlotte is in, I’m confident in the Union to pull out a result here at home. The biggest boost for the team is that they should be getting the services of DP striker signing Mikael Uhre back as he’s been practicing in full since last week.

With the positive form of El Capitan Alejandro Bedoya and the Hungarian Hitman himself Daniel Gazdag playing well, the team should have plenty of attacking options to go in this game. If the Union can play their game effectively, then they should be able to create a number of chances on a Charlotte defense that is prone to the counterattack.

I see the Union pulling out a 3-1 victory against Charlotte. Game time is at 7:30!

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych

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