Match Preview: Can Philadelphia Union finally snap draw streak against Atlanta United?

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

It’s no secret that Philadelphia Union fans are starting to grow frustrated with the recent run of form that their team is in heading towards playoffs. 5 straight draws, 3 at home – many feel it’s simply just not good enough from a team that made an MLS Cup run just a season ago.

Snapping that draw streak against Columbus would have served as a huge boost of confidence for both Union and their fans, and I know people are upset about Union losing a lead, but honestly, a draw on the road against a Crew team that was 8-2-0 in their last 10 at home with Union missing 3 key players is not a bad result, and hopefully something the team can build off of for the remainder of the season. 

The final stretch of the season is finally here with just 3 games left for Union – an opportunity to secure the #2 spot and some home games in the Eastern Conference Playoffs is theirs for the taking, with all 3 games coming against Eastern Conference opponents.  Next up, Atlanta United. 

Philadelphia Union vs Atlanta United Betting offers

2023 Season So Far

Atlanta is a really interesting team to dissect. They’re a team with a high powered offense, ranking in 2nd place in MLS with 61 goals scored. They’ve got the highest Shot on Target percentage (38.3%), sit 1st in goals per shots and goals per shot on target, and 4th in shots on target (154). 

But on the other side of things, Atlanta has conceded 47 goals which is 5th highest in MLS at the moment, and have allowed those 47 goals on just 111 shots, the 3rd least amount of shots faced in the league. That stat line means Atlanta has the lowest save percentage in the league at just 60.4%. They might score a lot of goals, but they’re susceptible to giving them up as well. 

Things with Atlanta get even more strange when you consider their home vs away form. Through 31 games, Atlanta has a record of 13 wins, 10 draws and 8 loses for a total of 49 points, good enough to be in 6th place in the East, just 5 points behind 2nd. 


With an impressive  home record of 10-3-3 for 33 of their 49 points, Atlanta tend to struggle on the road, amassing a record of just 3 wins, 7 draws and 5 losses while playing visitor. And speaking of their struggles on the road, just 20 of Atlanta’s 61 goals scored have come away from home, and they’ve been outscored by a total of 27-20 across those 15 games.  

X-Factor: Atlanta

It’s a surprise to many that he even made it through the Summer Transfer Window, but Thiago Almada is the easy pick as the player that’s most likely to have an effect on the outcome of this game for Atlanta.  He’s a threat from every area of the pitch. Whether he’s on the ball, off the ball, shooting on net, setting up chances for his teammates, or taking free kicks, Thiago Almada has the ability to change the landscape of a match in a matter of seconds. 

He is 2nd on the team in goals with 10, but leads the team in assists with 16. Almada is second on the team in Expected Goals(8.5) and first in Expected Assists(11.5), Shots taken (100), Shots on Target (37), Key PAsses (86), Passes Into the Final 3rd (174), passes Into the Penalty Area (84), Progressive Passes (257), Shot Creating Actions (187), Goal Creating Actions (29), Total Progressive Carries (118), Progressive Carries into the final 3rd (117), and Carries into the Penalty Area (25). 

When compared against other midfielders in MLS, Thiago Alamada ranks among the top 96% percentile in stats such as Total Shots, Assists, Expected Assisted Goals, Non Penalty Expected Goals + Expected Assisted Goals, Shot-Creating Actions, Passes Attempted, Progressive Passes, and Successful Take-Ons. 

X-Factor: Philadelphia

For Union, I’m calling on Julian Carranza returning from injury to have a big game.  He’s gained a lot of attention from European clubs looking to strike gold from the MLS streamline this Winter, but has struggled since it became public which teams specifically were looking at the Union striker.

With 12 goals on the season, Carranza is just 3 goals off the Golden Boot, but he’s only scored 2 in his previous 10. While the Union certainly missed him while he was out a few games going though concussion protocol, I’m hoping it served as much needed rest for the Union striker and that he comes back firing to end the season on a high note going into playoffs. 

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 20: Philadelphia Union midfielder Jose Martinez (8) jumps on top of the pile with defender Olivier Mbaizo (15), forward Mikael Uhre (7), midfielder Alejandro Bedoya (11), forward Julian Carranza (9), and midfielder Jack McGynn (16) as they celebrate after Uhre’s first half goal during the Philadelphia Union versus D.C. United Major League Soccer (MLS) game on August 20, 2022 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

When comparing him against other forwards in the league, Carranza ranks amongst the top 80% percentile of players in stats such s Non-Penalty Expected goals, Non-Penalty Expected Goals, Total Shots, Expected Assisted goals, Non-Penalty Expected Goals + Non-Penalty Expected Assists, Shot Creating Actions, Attempted Passes, Progressive Passes Received, Tackles, Interceptions, and Blocks.  Carranza forcing Atanta’s shaky defense, especially on the road, could be key to Union securing all 3 points Wednesday night.  

How will the Union line up?

As I said earlier 5 draws in a row might be frustrating for fans, especially with the 2nd spot in the Eastern Conference seemingly up for grabs, but the positive in this situation is that Union are starting to get key players back from injury. 

Jakob Glesnes, Jose Martinez, and Julian Carranza will all be available for selection on Wednesday night which should serve as a bi boost for the blue and gold. I think Jim Curtin will return to the 4-2-2 Diamond in this one against Atlanta.  Andre Blake in net, Kai Wagner, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott and Olivier Mbaizo make up the back-line. 

Jose Martinez returns to the defensive midfield position, with Jack McGlynn ad Ale Bedoya on either side of the Diamond. Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre and Juliana Carranza make up the front 3 responsible for putting Atlanta’s defense under pressure until they crack.

Union vs Atlanta predictions

I think this could be a bounce back game of sorts for Union. An opportunity to not only get 3 points and get closer to taking the #2 seed in the east, but to give the energy within the fans and around the stadium a new breath of fresh air as well. 

I think it’s going to be another close game for Union, but I’m hopeful that having a few key players back will give them the edge they need to grind out a win in this one. On the back of Julian Carranza and Daniel Gazdag, I’m predicting a 2-1 win for Union on Wednesday night. Be sure to catch all the action via MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, and keep up with Union coverage all season long with PSN.