It’s been said more than once by the Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin that this team will use and utilize all four strikers on the roster to help get positive results. Six weeks into the 2022 season, and a 5-0-1 record backs up Curtin’s statements; however, the strikers as a whole aren’t scoring in bunches. Could we see this change starting this week in Toronto, and see the likes of Mikael Uhre and Sergio Santos join Julian Carranza and Cory Burke on the scoresheet for the 2022 season?
Four Strikers; only three goals
The Union is the best team in MLS, but they don’t have the most lethal attack in the league. Their four strikers have scored just three of the team’s 10 goals on the season. Cory Burke leads all strikers with two goals; he is seen by many as fourth on the depth chart. His goals came in the first three matches. Newcomer Julian Carranza scored the only other goal for the striker core, his coming against Charlotte FC two weeks ago.
The rest of the team’s goals have been scored by midfielders Alejandro Bedoya (two on the season) and team-leading scorer Daniel Gazdag who has four goals in six games. The 10th goal was a gift from Columbus goalkeeper Eloy Room last weekend. That means that designated player Mikael Uhre and speedster Sergio Santos still have not scored yet this season. With how the Union wants to utilize all four strikers in matches, could that fact soon change?
Uhre to get his first?
Mikael Uhre has been close on more than one occasion to netting his first goal for the Union, but he hasn’t yet. Could he do so today against a Toronto side with a shorthanded back three? Toronto centerback Carlos Salcedo anchors their backline in a 3-4-2-1 formation, but he picked up a red card in last week’s match. Toronto will likely lean on veteran Chris Mavinga to step in to replace him. He hasn’t placed since week one and might be a bit rusty in a back three pairing with Shane O’Neill and Lukas MacNaughton. Uhre’s unique combination of size and speed could make for trouble for this Toronto side.
Uhre is a very direct striker. He was unleashed against Columbus and probably should have scored twice. He’ll find his footing and the goals with time as Curtin continues to mention in his weekly pressers. This week really could be the week for him, and if you’re into betting, the odds are in your favor.
DraftKings has Uhre is listed at +210 to be an anytime goalscorer, and +550 to be the first scorer of the game. The timing seems right for him to get his first goal for the blue and gold, but this week also presents opportunities for the TFC killer.
Santos has scored six against Toronto, can he get one today?
Sergio Santos is the Toronto FC killer. In the last two seasons, Santos has scored six goals against TFC. He scored four in two matches, netting a hattrick in one, back in 2020. Last season he scored in both matches against TFC as well. This is all good and well, but Santos has been dealing with another injury over the last few weeks. fortunately for him and the Union, it seems as though those injury struggles are gone for now. Curtin mentioned in his weekly press conference that Santos is a full go for this match. Could we see him get yet another goal against Tronto this evening?
The thing with Santos will be if he is a starter tonight, or if he comes off the bench. Draftkings is giving him the same odds as Mikael Uhre when it comes to scoring tonight; +210 to be an anytime goalscorer, and +550 to be the first scorer of the game. With how the Union wants to use all four strikers, it could be worth having a go on these bets.
The Union’s strikers who haven’t scored yet in 2022 could be primed to get their first goals of the season, but what about the guys who’ve already Dooped in the ol’ onion bag?
Will Carranza and Burke play a factor?
The two strikers who have already scored for Philly will be on the field against Toronto, but in what capacity? Cory Burke has scored the most of any striker but has not started since week three. Carranza has played five out of the six Union matches so far but has only scored once. Will we see either of these guys play a major factor against Toronto?
Cory Burke is actually listed on DraftKings to have the best odds to score for the Union; +200 anytime scorer, and +500 first scorer of the game. Burke is likely a bench option in this match, but his ability to grind out goals when the team needs it is a good shout. Julian Carranza is listed as the worst betting option for Union strikers by DraftKings this week; +260 anytime scorer, and +650 first scorer. He may have the worst odds, but I’d bet he starts the match, so it could be worth pulling the trigger on him. Both of these strikers will see the field in Toronto, but can they be the difference to keep the Union undefeated on the season?
With all four strikers healthy, Jim Curtin will use them all in some capacity. If I had to put my money on it, I’d expect to see 60-70 minutes of a Uhre-Carranza pairing. Then Curtin will unleash Santos and Burke in the dying moments of the match to try to kill off the match. no matter what happens, we will see the Union’s four strikers, only time will tell if any of them will put the ball in the back of the net!
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych