The Philadelphia Union is back in action tonight at home in the second leg of the Concacaf Champions League (CCL) Round of 16. The 0-0 draw down in El Salvador didn’t produce a pivotal away goal for Philly, but as they return home for the second leg the path to the quarterfinals is clear. It’s win and advance for the Union!
Union enters second leg of CCL Round of 16 against Alianza tied 0-0
The first match against Alianza was now where Union head coach Jim Curtin heavily rotated his normal starting XI for leg one. Only Andre Blake, Jack Elliot, and Kai Wagner were normal starters. Eight other players who usually rotate in were given the start as well (Damian Lowe, Nathan Harriel, Jesus Bueno, Jack McGlynn, Andres Perea, Joaquin Torres, Quinn Sullivan, and Chris Donovan).
Philly did well enough on a really rough pitch to hold a draw, but there were chances left on the table to get a win against Alianza. This time around the team will likely play a lineup that is a majority of their normal starters. The exception being Andre Blake, who appears to have a grade 1 adductor strain, which could keep him out for the next few weeks.
With an almost full-strength lineup starting at home, Philadelphia knows what they need to do! It’s win-or-go-home time in CCL!
Win and advance
With many in this nation and region getting ready for March Madness, the Philadelphia Union are in its own type of tournament with the same stakes put on it. All the scenarios point to Philly needing to get a win tonight to advance to the quarterfinals. If you’re looking for an NCCA Tournament comparison, Philly is in the Sweet 16 and looking to advance to the Elite Eight!
Failing to get an away goal in the first leg, puts Philly in this situation, but I feel like this is a spot that the team likes to be in. If all they had to do was come out and not lose, then they may allow Alianza to dominate the game. Now that Philadelphia knows they have to win, they will come out with all the motivation they’ll need.
Getting that W and moving on, shouldn’t be too big of a task for a team that is on an 11-game-win streak at home!
The Union has shown over the last few seasons that must-win matches at home are games that they can manage. In years past the moment might have been too much for the players, but now this team is grizzled and knows how to win a must-win game.
With all that being said Alianza will be raring to go as well. They know that if they can get a goal, they will control all of the tie-breaking scenarios in the match. The El Salvadoran side has been in town preparing since this past weekend and will be up for the challenge of playing spoilers.
I see this game being one that is hard-fought, but ultimately one where the Union finds a way to come out on top. Philly wins this game, but it’s not without drama as Alianza gets a goal, but the Union gets two. Philadelphia wins 2-1 and advances to the quarterfinals; the match begins at 8:00 pm EST, you can watch it on Fox Soccer Plus!
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