How can you miss a single match at Subaru Park in 2023 after the Philadelphia Union went undefeated at home last season?
Look, we get it — sometimes life gets in the way. Even though all your friends are doopin’ it up with Phang and the gang, you have to spend gameday somewhere else. There you are, refreshing social media and texting the crew to find out how loud and wild the atmosphere is while everyone else is there, living it up, at the biggest party in Philly.
However, there are some games that you absolutely cannot miss in 2023.
Back in 2020, Columbus was riding high after adding superstar Lucas Zelarayan in midfield. The playmaker is still tearing through MLS, and now he has a partner up top who was imported to do one thing: Score. Goals.
Cucho Hernandez is a walking highlight reel, but he’ll be facing off against one of the best defensive units Major League Soccer has ever seen. Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes fear no striker, and they will be ready to face Cucho and Zelarayan when new head coach Wilfried Nancy brings his ambitious side to town.
Nancy and Jim Curtin were two of the top Coach of the Year candidates last season when the former was leading CF Montreal on a chase for the Eastern Conference crown. Curtin held off the hard-charging Canadians, and now Nancy has a strong roster and a point to prove.
This match will come down to energy and atmosphere as both teams have top-of-the-conference aspirations.
Early season travel can wear a team down, and after hosting Chicago on March 11, the Union play four of their next five regular season matches on the road. They are going to need every point from their home games heading into that high-travel period to gather momentum ahead of a busy summer schedule.
Orlando City SC and Sporting Kansas City both had down years in 2022 and know that taking points off the Union at home will jumpstart their playoff push in the new year. That means the Philly crowd needs to let the visitors know exactly what they are walking into.
Both teams are looking to rebuild and add firepower this offseason, so they will be a good test for the Union as the team looks to ensure Subaru Park is a fortress again next year.
And don’t forget — Orlando City knocked Philly out of the 2022 US Open Cup en route to taking home the trophy. That Open Cup match was played in Orlando, so it’s time for Philly to show the Lions what it feels like to face the conference champs at home when they have a chip on their shoulder.
In 2023, DC United is looking to bounce back from a difficult season that was highlighted by two horrific losses to the Union. Philly bombarded the MLS original with 13 goals across 180 minutes, and Julian Carranza would probably have taken home the MLS Golden Boot if he had faced DC a couple more times in the regular season. Carranza’s two hat tricks led the way for the Union, but the bigger issue for DC was that they simply couldn’t match Philly’s energy.
That electric feeling the players got after drawing first blood against DC last year was supercharged by the stadium’s rowdy, bouncing atmosphere. Philly loves beating New York, but we also don’t want DC to feel left out — there’s enough room for every rival when your city has your back!
The last two Eastern Conference Finals have featured the same two rivals: Philly and NYC. After sneaking past a thin Union squad in 2021, NYC felt the moment and let their lead slip away last season. The noise and energy that filled the stadium when the Union scored their first goal went straight to the hearts of the opponents. Moments later, they fell apart and the Union took over.
But NYC is loaded with expensive talent and, after losing three times to the Union last season, they will be out for revenge.
This match comes at the turning point of the season when teams start to round into their final form and show if they’re ready for a playoff push. Expect both of these teams to see this as a true test of their MLS Cup potential when they meet in July.
A rematch of the best MLS Cup match in history. For Philly, it ended in heartbreak. Now the city gets to show LAFC how we do playoff atmospheres on the east coast in a late season, revenge-driven showdown.
Every Philly sports fan should be on their toes for this one!
Make sure to sync the full schedule to your calendar here.