This Union team is just built differently, aren’t they? At home, this team has been an unstoppable juggernaut of defensive acumen and offensive swagger that they have used to dispatch each opponent. The latest victim to their abilities was none other than the Colorado Rapids, who left Subaru Park with their tail between their legs after a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of the Philadelphia Union.
The 2022 Philadelphia Union has officially set the record for most wins with six plus goals ever with four. You are not reading that incorrectly; I did in fact say that the Union has set the record that was previously held by SKC of three in the span of twenty years. The Union has done this in less than two months.
Just to put into perspective how dominant this team has been, they have scored fifty-seven goals while conceding only twenty through twenty-eight games. They have given up the least number of goals in the MLS and are on pace to give up the second-fewest goals in an MLS season.
On top of this, Daniel Gazdag notched a hat trick to bring his stat line to sixteen goals and eight assists through twenty-eight games. He needs only one goal to break the record for most goals scored for the Union in a single regular season.
Philadelphia Union vs Atlanta United Preview
The next team that must walk into the fortress that has become Subaru Park is one that is all too familiar to Union fans, Atlanta United. Atlanta is coming off a tough-fought 3-2 victory over DC United at home in which they had to come back from two different one-goal deficits. Let us see how Atlanta has been doing to this point in the season, the player to watch out for, and the final score prediction for this midweek context on the banks of the Delaware River.
2022 MLS Season
Coming into this season, many thought that Gonzalo Pineda would be able to turn this Atlanta United around and truly contend with the likes of the Union and NYCFC. They had a fairly good start to the season, but like so many other teams this season, injuries hit this team insanely hard and boy were these some big injuries affecting some of their biggest names. Miles Robinson, Brad Guzan, and Ozzie Alonso all came down with season-ending injuries in the first half of the season, which was an absolutely devastating blow to Pineda’s side.
To top that off, Josef Martinez was out for about six weeks with an injury of his own. The team has gone through two goalies now and a revolving number of lineups this season. To this point in the season, through twenty-seven games, Atlanta United has amassed a record of 8-10-9 for eight wins, ten losses, and nine draws, which is good for thirty-three points and eleventh place in the eastern conference. This is not the Atlanta United of old and it has certainly been an up-and-down season for this team, but they are only three points out of a playoff spot at the current moment.
The player that the Union should watch out for is not going to be the one that would typically come to mind for this Atlanta United side. While it is a forward, the person I am speaking of is not Josef Martinez but instead Mexican international forward Ronaldo Cisneros. The twenty-five-year-old striker, on loan through the end of the season from Liga MX side Chivas Guadalajara, is having a decent first season in the MLS. Through twenty-two games played, Cisneros has put up a goal-scoring tally of seven goals and one assist.
These certainly are not groundbreaking numbers but for a side that is looking for offensive help, these are decent numbers. From the few Atlanta United games that I have seen, the one thing that Cisneros does well is his ability to stretch the field. He loves to get in behind and create havoc for the backline, separating themselves from the midfield and allowing teammates to crash the box.
The Union, in the few defensive lapses that they have had, have been guilty on a few occasions of getting stretched and allowing those runners to crash the box, giving high percentage chances to the midfield players. The Union will absolutely need to be ready for these types of plays and ensure that they keep their solid defense tight and compact. If they can shut down the passing lanes that Cisneros loves to run into, this defense will have no problem taking care of a player of Ciseneros’ ability.
As I always say on the podcast, it is tough to pick against the Union at home, especially considering the run of form that they have been in over the last ten games in which they have won eight of those and only lost two, both of those on the road. You now have two double-digit goal scorers with Daniel Gazdag at sixteen and Julian Carranza at thirteen. There is the potential for two more double-digit goal scorers as Mikael Uhre has nine goals and super-sub Cory Burke has seven goals on the season.
This Union team is unlike anything we have seen before and it is amazing to watch how dynamic this offense is combined with how lockdown the defense has been. I do not expect any lineup changes against this Atlanta side despite the game last Saturday against Colorado and the upcoming road game against NYRB on Saturday. Put me down for a 3-1 Union victory on Wednesday night at the Soob. Game time is 7 pm.
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Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire