5 Predictions: Union seeks 1st win in a month against Orlando City

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

After another come-from-behind performance down in DC last weekend, the Philadelphia Union now return to Subaru Park where they’ll look to avoid 3 straight losses at home in MLS play for just the 2nd time in club history. Here are my 5 predictions going into tonight’s game.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

1. The Starting XI

Let’s kick this off with the Starting XI. If you listened to this week’s episode of DOOP On The Volley, you’ll know that we completely forgot that Julian Carranza is set to miss Saturday’s game due to Yellow Card Accumulation. That one slipped all of our minds and put a big fork in the plans for tonight. In addition to that, Jim Curtin has ruled both/ Andre Blake and Oliver Mbaizo out for Saturday night, as well as Markus Anderson. With all that said, here’s how I think Jim lines ’em up tonight:

GK: Oliver Semmle
RB: Nathan Harriel, CB: Jakob Glesnes, CB: Damion Lowe, LB: Kai Wagner
CDM: Jose Martinez
RCM: Ale Bedoya, LCM: Jack McGlynn
CAM: Daniel Gazdag
ST: Quinn Sullivan, ST: Mikael Uhre

We’ve seen Curtin put Quinn Sullivan up top in games already this season, and I think we might see that again tonight against an Orlando team that’s missing 2 important players from its backline. He could very well start in his normal role this season on the right side of the diamond, but I think Quinn up top and Ale on the right allows you to have a better 11 out there than keeping Quinn on the right and say, Chris Donovan or Tai Baribo(more on that in a bit) up top. We shall see!

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

2. Union scores first…finally

It’s a habit they desperately need to break – conceding the first goal. 7 times in the first 10 games in MLS play – we could be having a very different conversation about this team if it weren’t for their 5 come-backs in 10 games. But on Saturday, I think the Union finally shook that trend and for the first time in 5 games…they’ll net the first goal and never look back.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

3. Tai Baribo actually gets playing time

Just when everyone – myself included – was ready to write off Tai Baribo, the forward that Union spent a reported $1 Million Plus on, we might just get a glimpse of why Ernst Tanner brought in Tai Baribo in the first place against Orlando tonight. Jim Curtin has said time and time again that playing time largely comes down to how you perform in training – which makes it easy for one to speculate why we haven’t seen Tai Baribo yet this season.

But during Jim Curtin’s press conference on Friday, Union’s manager gave Tai Baribo a shout-out on a solid week of training and said that with the absence of Julian Carranza, Baribo might see some playing time against Orlando. I think Jim will follow through with his work and we’ll see Baribo get some time on the pitch – though I don’t know how MUCH time.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

4. Quinn reminds MLS there are 2 Sullivans

It was a huge week for 14-year-old Cavan Sullivan, who finally had his Homegrown contract with the Union – the biggest in MLS history – announced on Thursday morning. There’s a lot to be excited about in regards to Cavan Sullivan – but one of the things he’s most excited about is the prospect of playing with his older brother for their boyhood club.

The Sullivan’s by nature are a competitive family with soccer intertwined in their DNA, and while Quinn is nothing but happy for his little bro, I am sure he’ll want to remind everyone where young Cavan learned to play with the older kids. I think Quinn is going to have a strong performance on Saturday night in front of the home crowd. The family is riding a high right now, and I think Quinn is going to keep that going.

Union
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

5. Score Predictions

I’ll keep this simple – 3-1 Union. As I said before, they’ll score the opening goal for the first time since their 2-0 win at home against Minnesota, and they never look back. Orlando does eventually get a goal, but Union puts a strong, 90-minute performance together and gets 3 points in front of the home crowd for the first time since March 30th. Quinn Sullivan, Daniel Gazdag, and Kai Wagner get on the scoresheet Saturday night.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union