5 Predictions – Union at Charlotte FC: A midtable Eastern Conference clash

The Philadelphia Union is hoping to begin a new unbeaten streak this weekend as they head down to Charlotte FC. This is a clash of two mid-table Eastern conference teams with goals of making it to the top. The opportunity for crucial points is on the line! Here are five predictions ahead of this Philadelphia Union-Charlotte FC matchup!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

Union vs Charlotte 5 Predictions

1) Union will play with a “defensive” lineup

We all know that Jim Curtin loves to set his team up for defensive success, especially on the road. I expect no different in this upcoming match against Charlotte FC. Philly has used the same center-back pairing in back-to-back matches just three times in 17 matches (all competitions.) I expect to see Curtin keep the consistency going with the Elliot-Glesnes Pairing in this game, which would be their third consecutive start together. Oliver Semmle will be in goal yet again as Andre Blake is listed as out for this game as he still has that nagging Knee injury.

The midfield will be a different story for this match, as Curtin may have a difficult decision on his hands. Leon Flach is back from injury, and has played very well in the minutes he’s gotten in his return. This has coincided with a Jose Martinez dip in form. Last weekend both shared the midfield, giving Jack McGlynn a rest on the bench, until Martinez went down with an injury. El Brujo is not listed on the injury report, but will Curtin play him vs Charlotte? My money is on yes, and that we will see Flach and McGlynn in front of him to start the match.

Lineup Prediction:

Oliver Semmle
Kai Wagner, Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliot, Nathan Harriel;
Jose Martinez,
Jack McGlynn, Leon Flach,
Daniel Gazdag;
Julian Carranza, Mikael Uhre.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

2) Charlotte will concede for the 1st time in five matches

When looking at Charlotte FC in 2024 you can see the influence of former Premier League manager Dean Smith. Smith has instilled a solid 4-3-3 formation that is defensively one of the best in MLS. Charlotte has the second best goals conceded per match statistic allowing just 0.9 goals a game. They also lead the league in clean sheets with six, four of those coming in their last four matches. Their defensive form is impressive, but they are mid-table in MLS’s Eastern Conference because they are a bottom-five team when it comes to scoring goals.

Charlotte averages 1.0 goals per match, putting them 26th out of the 29 teams in the league. Their struggling attack, yet decent record shows that they have been able to win tight games thanks to their defensive organization. If there’s one thing Philly loves to do, it’s disorganize their opponent through pressing and counter-attacking. Putting pressure on Charlotte in their build-up play will leave room for the Union to strike on the counter; Philadelphia has the fourth-highest goals per match average with 1.9, and they should find chances to score in this matchup.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

3) Philly’s front three will bring their goal tally to 20 or above

The deciding factor in this match for Philadelphia will be their front three of Daniel Gazdag (9 goals,) Julian Carranza (6 goals,) and Mikael Uhre (4 goals.) They have 19 goals on the season and should be looked at as the reason why Philadelphia isn’t a complete dumpster fire in MLS this year. With question marks surrounding the health of goalkeeper Andre Blake, and a defense that is in the bottom 10 of goals conceded per match, the attack has stepped up and performed. They’ve had to out of necessity to stay in games, but these attackers are balling out, and will likely continue to do so.

Philly has just six goals that have not been scored by Gazdag, Carranza, and Uhre this season. While Charlotte will hope their strong defensive structure can hold these front three goalless, I feel like one of these three will bag at least one goal. If that happens Philly’s front three will have scored 20 or more goals through 14 league matches! The connection between these players has been great this year, let’s hope they can keep that going tonight in Charlotte!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

4) Westwood & Agyemang’s combination will be key to Charlotte’s fate

Charlotte FC has two players that have been vital to their early season success in 2024, Midfielder Ashley Westwood and striker Patrick Agyemang. The two are very different players, but they make Charlotte tick. Westwood is a 34-year-old seasoned English player who is the field general in the center of the park for Charlotte. Agyemang is an up-and-coming striker with flair tallying seven goals in his 31 MLS matches played over the last two years. Agyemang leads the team in goals with three while Westwood is just behind with two.

Only five of Charlotte’s 14 goals have come from these two players, but they are the one’s the Union will need to shut down in order to have success. If Westwood is able to direct Charlotte’s attack from the middle of the pitch then he will be able to find the runs of the three forwards to create chances. If Agyemang is not marked properly by the center backs he could have a field day with getting big chances to score goals. Take these two players off their game, and allow Charlotte to have to rely on others, and then Philly will have space to hit on the counter to try to get another positive result on the road.

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

5) Philadelphia will continue to be the lone road unbeaten team in MLS

Speaking of positive results on the road, Philadelphia is the last remaining undefeated team away from home this season. Their three wins and four draws on the road have given them 13 points away from home in league play. This is the only reason the club is even sniffing competency in the Eastern Conference as the season has moved past the first third of its matches. For some reason, the Union are very good at disorganizing their opponents away from home, this will be key if they want to keep this unbeaten run going.

I see the Union continuing this run against Charlotte FC. Charlotte is four points ahead of Philly, having played one more match. Their defensive structure is great, but their attacking output has not matched their defense. If the Union can come to a ruckus Bank of America Stadium and score a goal or two, that would likely be enough to take all three points. Tune in tonight at 7:30 pm EST on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+ to find out if the Union can keep this great road form going!

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union