Philadelphia Union vs Saprissa: Betting preview, predictions & more for CONCACAF Champions Cup Clash

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union kicked off their 2024 campaign just 7 days ago down in Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Champions Cup. One week later and the Blue and Gold are set for Leg 2 of the Champions Cup against Deportivo Saprissa at Subaru Park – their 3rd game already in a young season. 

Union vs Saprissa: How to watch

When: 8:15PM, Tuesday, February 27th
Where: Subaru Park
TV: FS2, Fubo TV, TUDN

Union vs Saprissa: Betting information

Moneyline: Philadelphia Union -245 | Draw +340 | Saprissa +550

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Leg 1

Leg 1 between Union and Saprissa was a tale of two halves. A lack-luster opening 45 minutes was topped off by a howler of an own goal from Jakob Glesnes which kicked off Union’s season for the second consecutive year. But the Blue and Gold came out swinging in the second half with 3 goals from Julian Carranza. Saprissa’s Gerald Taylor would pull one back for the Costa Rican side in stoppage time, but Union still hold an advantage on aggregate due to the 3 second half away goals from Carranza.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

The Path to the Round of 16 

The stage is set and the path is pretty clear – Win or Draw and Union are through to the next round.  There are a few instances where Union could lose and still go through due to the away-goals advantage they hold as a result of their come-from-behind 3-2 victory down in Costa Rica last week, but it’s much easier and more comfortable for all involved if Union just take care of their own business on Tuesday night with a positive result.  Of course, Union feel confident against any opponent at home, with a record of 37W, 16D and 3 in their previous 56 games at Subaru Park.  

A Look at Saprissa

Deportivo Saprissa comes from Costa Rica’s top flight of soccer the Primera Division, which splits its league season into two halves in a similar fashion to Liga MX.  Saprissa breezed through the Apertura – the opening portion of the season – with a record of 18W-1D-3L for a total of 55 points and a top-of-the-table finish. 

Saprissa outscored their opponents by a total of 53-19 across those 22 games led by forward Javon East, who finished 2nd in the league during the Apertura season in both goals and assists with 12 and 5 respectively.  Ariel Rodriguez added another 10 goals for Saprissa which was 3rd best during the Apertura, and 7 from Orlando Sinclair – a former Loudon United loanee.

Saprissa has had a decent start to the Clausura season, currently sitting in 4th place with a record of 4W-3D-2L, but the fans of the Costa Rican giant aren’t particularly happy with where head coach Vladimir Quesada has their team at the moment. 

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Frustration was mounting before Union and Saprissa kicked off in the first Leg, and it certainly hasn’t settled after a 3-2 loss to Union and a 0-0 draw against a 10-man AD Guanacasteca and seeing the gap between them and the league leaders slip to 9 points. 

Union’s start to the season

We are only two games into the seasons and there are certainly some positives for Union to build on already. Most noticeably, the introduction of Quinn Sullivan at the Right midfield spot in the 4-4-2 diamond has been a welcomed tinker to the squad and has injected a fair bit of creativity and threat down the right side. 

Nate Harriel is another homegrown player drawing attention in the early-goings, looking ready to take another step not only on the defensive side of the ball but in the attack as well down that right side. Jim Curtin said the duo down the right side was so dangerous that he was reluctant to sub Ale Bedoya in for Sullivan against Chicago on Saturday, ultimately settling on putting Ale on the right to keep the two together even with Champions League midweek. 

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Julian Carranza is off the mark, Daniel Gazdag scored a stoppage time equalizer against Chicago so he’s kicking the season off on a good note, and even Mikael Uhre netted a big goal on Saturday night to get his season going. The offensive patterns of play look a lot more fluid and threatening two games in.  

On the other side of the ball, Union could probably tighten up just a bit and Jim Curtin knows that. Clean Sheets are a huge foundation of this team’s success over the years and Curtin says the team is focused on getting back to conceding goals at a minimum.  Of course, Union have missed key defensive players from their starting XI in each of the first 2 games this season.


The lineup from Curtin feels almost impossible to predict. Most expected rotation to come against Chicago with Leg 2 against Saprissa coming just a few days after, but Curtin stuck with the group that earned Union the come-from-behind win two games in a row – which means we’re likely to see a rotated squad on Tuesday night.  

I think Union has the ability to rotate multiple positions and still field a strong team – finding that recipe of correct pieces to put together is the hard part, and at times Jim Cutin seems to overthink things. One thing we know is that Andre Blake is still unavailable on Tuesday night, so Oliver Semmle will get this second consecutive start for his new club. 

Jack Elliott is ready to go which feels like the most obvious switch coming to the lineup, most likely for Jakob Glesnes who dealt with some injury issues last season.  My best guest for Tuesday’s lineup is Oliver Semmle in goal, Kai Wagner at Left Back, Damion Lowe and Jack Elliott as Center Backs, and Olivier Mbaizo gets his first start of the season at Right Back. Jesus Bueneo will likely play some minutes for Jose Martinez, Jack McGlynn, Daniel Gazdag and Ale Bedoya make up the rest of the diamond midfield, with Chris Donovan and Julian Carranza up top.  

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Union have no reason not to punch their ticket to the round of 16 on Tuesday night, and it’d actually be quite the failure not to advance. With such a dominant record at home, Union have to come out in this game knowing that they’re the team to beat, not the team that needs to win.

 In yesterday’s press conference, Quinn Sullivan mentioned that the team will be working as a unit to defend and to keep Saprissa from scoring and finding any sort of hopeful momentum, but they’ll also be looking to hit them with the final blow when opportunities present themselves.  

Union should win this game. I’m going with a 2-1 win and the ticket punched to the Round of 16, some rest is given to the starters, and Union can turn their focus to Sporting Kansas City on the weekend.  We’re really back in the full swing of things now.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union