Philadelphia Union Preview: Battle of the Capitals

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It might not have been a pretty game, but the Union managed to put enough of an effort with the limited resources they had on Sunday to pull out a point on the road in Columbus. While that might not have been the best of games, the road point was important in keeping the team in the top four as they get past the halfway point of the season.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych

Union vs DC Preview

After a quick little two-game road trip, the team returns home for a two-game homestand, starting with this upcoming matchup against a team that has gone through a lot this season and not in a good way, DC United. This will be the first matchup this season between the two teams with the Union getting the better of DC the past few seasons. Let’s take a look at how the 2022 version of DC United is doing, the player to watch out for, and the prediction for this Friday’s matchup.

2022 MLS Season

This season has not been kind at all to DC United. After a promising end to the 2021 season which saw Hernan Losada’s side start to gain some momentum, many thought that DC would at least contend for a lower playoff side or just miss out. One can put it nicely by saying that this side has not hit expectations, which were not all that high, to begin with. There have been several dreadful things that have seemed to be plaguing this team. The team fired Hernan Losada after a poor start to the season and riding a four-game losing streak at the time. DC has also sold often injured DP midfielder Edison Flores to Atlas FC and most recently sold their young promising midfielder Griffin Yeow to Belgian topflight side KVC Westerlo.

On the positive incoming side, the team brought in Greek international Taxi Fountas, who has been one of the few bright spots on this team besides Julian Gressel. Through 16 games played this season, the team has accumulated a record of 5-9-2 for five wins, nine losses, and two draws. This record has them currently in the basement of the eastern conference, sitting in last place with 17 points. It is not looking like a good season for DC United as they approach the halfway point of the season.

X-Factor

The player that the Union will need to watch out for on Friday is a player who has been brought in to help change this team’s fortunes and is trying his absolute best to pull this team out from the basement of the east that they currently reside. The player in question is none other than Greek international and Designated player Taxi Fountas. Fountas was brought in to help lead the forward line and really bring another great attacking option besides Ola Kamara. To this point in the season, through 10 games played, Fountas has scored nine goals and notched three assists which is a decent tally given his arrival a few games into the season.

The thing that seems to separate Fountas from other players is his ability to get into the dirty areas and pull players out of position. He is not afraid to get stuck in to score an ugly-looking goal. His speed and physicality allow him to get the better of a few defenses while helping to provide space for his teammates to either set him up or create their own chances. It will be an interesting matchup to see if the Union defense can handle his brand of speed and physicality.

Prediction

After a bit of a rough game in Chicago, the team managed to keep it together against the crew, albeit the saves of Andre Blake certainly helped keep them in the game. Despite all this, there is plenty of good news on the roster front for the team. Jose Martinez will return from his one-game suspension for the two yellow cards he received against Chicago. On top of this, the four Union homegrowns of Jack Mcglynn, Quinn Sullivan, Paxten Aaronson, and Brandon Craig, who are fresh off a U-20 world cup berth, 2024 Olympic berth, and U-20 CONCACAF championship win, will be available for selection this upcoming game.

Despite all this, I think Jim will try to roll with a similar formation to past games, bringing back the 4-4-2 diamond and putting the usual suspects while giving the homegrowns some time in the second half depending on the result. I think the team will get back to their winning ways this game, getting a 2-0 result against DC and firmly pulling themselves back into the top of the east hunt. Game time this Friday is 7:30 pm.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych

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