Philadelphia Union preview: Return of the Skyline

The Union is flying absolutely high after a 6-0 thumping of the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night. This makes it five wins in a row and undefeated in their last six games. To put into context how good the month of July was, they had a plus sixteen goal differential for the month, giving up only two goals while scoring eighteen during the month. The team now has the potential to achieve something it never has before: having more than one double-digit goal scorer. Daniel Gazdag added another to his record, bringing up his total to 11 goals on the regular season while Mikael Uhre had a brace and Julian Carranza bagged one for both to bring their goal totals to eight on the season.

Union
PORTLAND, OR – MAY 22: Philadelphia Union midfielder Daniel Gazdag (6) celebrates his goal with Alejandro Bedoya (11) during an MLS match between the Philadelphia Union and the Portland Timbers on May 22, 2022, at Providence Park in Portland, OR. (Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire).

Union vs Cincinnati preview

After such an impressive month, the Union start the month of August on the road in a familiar place as they take on FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium. The last time these two teams met, they battled to a 1-1 draw in mid-June at the Soob. Let us take a look at how FC Cincinnati has done since their last matchup against the Union, the player to watch out for and the prediction for what should be a gritty battle between two solid Eastern Conference sides.

2022 MLS Season

Since FC Cincinnati took on the Union last, they have been in a frustrating run of form for their fans liking. In the eight games since, FC Cincinnati has only won one game, compiling a record of 1-1-6 for one win, one loss and six draws, including two separate 4-4 draws against the likes of NYCFC and Inter Miami. To put this run of form in context to their season, FC Cincinnati’s updated record through twenty-three games is 7-8-8 for seven wins, eight losses and eight draws, which is good for twenty-nine points and seventh place in the eastern conference.

This only has them two points above both Chicago and New England for that last playoff spot with the likes of Charlotte and Miami only three points back of the playoff line. Pat Noonan’s club are going through a similar stretch to the one the Union had between May and mid-June.

X-Factor

The player that the Union must look out for has not changed since their last matchup, this player being striker Brandon Vazquez. He has not stopped scoring since the matchup against the Union. His updated tally through twenty-two games played is thirteen goals and four assists. Those numbers have him second in the golden boot race behind Austin’s Sebastian Druissi. The strategy to try and limit Vazquez’s impact has not changed.

The Union cannot let him beat the center backs to the near post when the play switches into their attacking half. Jakob Glesnes and Jack Elliott must make sure that they keep their eyes on him on set pieces as well with Vazquez being an absolute monster in the air. This dual-threat combination makes it easy to see why he is near the top of the MLS goal charts. It will be an absolutely difficult task for the Union defense to take on but one that most would say is in their wheelhouse.

Prediction

As I have stated before, the Union are absolutely riding high right now and it is hard to see this momentum stopping. The front three of Gazdag, Uhre and Carranza are absolutely firing on all cylinders and finally appearing to get that chemistry that fans were hoping for from the very beginning of the season. The Union’s defense is nothing to overlook either. To this point in the season, through twenty-three games, this defense has only given up fifteen goals with a goal differential of plus twenty-five. This team is heating up in this summer stretch and that is dangerous for the rest of the Eastern Conference.

I am not sure if I see any changes to the lineup from the 6-0 thumping of Houston, but the one that makes the most sense would be the reintroduction of Jose “El Brujo” Martinez from his yellow card accumulation suspension. Jack McGlynn, despite his great game and absolutely insane free kick goal for his first career MLS goal, will make way for El Brujo. It will certainly be a very tough game as most away games for the Union are. I see the Union coming out of Cincinnati with a 2-1 victory. Game time on Saturday is 7:30 pm.

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Mandatory Credit: Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire

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