Philadelphia Union’s first pre-season match of 2024 is here – and it’s available to stream for free!

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It’s only been 57 days since Union last played soccer, but it’s already time to get a first look at the 2024 squad and the new names on the roster with the Blue and Gold’s first pre-season match of the new campaign.  And great news, Union fans can actually watch this one!

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Stream Union vs Flamengo today at 2 pm

Union will play a total of 5 tune-up games while down in Florida before kicking off the 2024 season.  The first of the pre-season prep matches will take place today, January 21st at 2 pm against Brazilian giants, Flamengo at Al Lang Stadium – home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies – in St. Petersburg, FL.  The game is open to the public and tickets are available via the Rowdies’ website, but if you’re stuck in the Philly snow and not in Florida like most of us are, Union has just announced that the game will be available to stream for free at the following link:

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

So who’s all available for selection today?

Although there are a few names who won’t be down in Florida today(I’ll get to that in a second), here’s what I believe to be the full roster that Union has with them during pre-season.

FORWARDS

  • Mikael Uhre*
  • Julian Carranza
  • Tai Baribo
  • Chris Donovan
  • Jeremy Raffanello

MIDFIELD:

  • Daniel Gazdag*
  • Joaquin Torres
  • Quinn Sullivan
  • Nick Pariano
  • Leon Flach
  • Jack McGlynn*
  • Jesus Bueno
  • Jose Martinez
  • Sanders Ngabo
  • CJ Olney

DEFENSE:

  • Kai Wagner
  • Matt Real
  • Isaiah LeFlore
  • Jack Elliott
  • Damion Lowe
  • Olwethu Makhanya
  • Jakob Glesnes
  • Brandon Craig
  • Olivier Mbaizo
  • Nate Harriel*
  • Jamir Berdecio
  • Neil Pierre

GOALKEEPER:

  • Andre Blake
  • Holden Trent
  • Andrew Rick
  • Francesco Montali
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Players who I believe will not be available against Flamengo:

Jack McGlynn and Nate Harriel – USMNT International Duty.

Daniel Gazdag and Mikael Uhre – As reported by Jose Nunez at AAT Sports, the 2 have yet to join up with the team for pre-season as they continue to work through the green card process. 

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Young names to keep an eye on 

Truthfully, you should take pre-season performances – good or bad – with a grain of salt, especially the first one of the season.  But there should be some excitement around getting to see some young names stake their claim and put thought into people like Jim Curtin and Ernst Tanner’s head for the future.  Here’s a list of young players to keep an eye on over the pre-season:

Jeremey Raffanello, Nick Pariano, Sanders Ngabo, CJ Olney, Isaiah LeFlore, Olwethu Makhanya, Jamir Berdecio, Neil Pierre, Holden Trent, Andrew Rick, and Francesco Montali.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Comeback year for Leon Flach?

Another name I’m excited to keep an eye on over the next few weeks is midfielder Leon Flach.  Leon had a pretty decent first season with Union in 2021, winning the team-voted Newcomer of the Year award and being named to MLS’s Top 22 Players under 22 list. 

Flach followed his first season with Union up by playing in all 34 MLS games (started 33), but had a difficult 2023 due to a recurring sports hernia injury.  Leon has been the recipient of a lot of criticism from Union fans, but he’s always put the team first and has a lot of love and passion for the club. 

I spoke with Leon recently, and he told me he’s feeling back to 100% after his rehabilitation in the off-season and is excited to make an impact on the 2024 season.  Hopefully, he can get back to his best this season, he’s still 22 years old and I’m not ready to give up on Leon being an important piece to Union’s future.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

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