Philadelphia Union’s final regular season homestand begins on Wednesday night against Atlanta United FC. The Eastern Conference match presented by Widener University has postseason implications so don't miss the action with MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
Philadelphia’s midweek matchup is an important one with mounting playoff implications for both sides. The Boys in Blue presently sit in the final spot guaranteeing home-field advantage in the first round with 51 points accumulated in 2023. The New England Revolution sit above Philly in third by a single point while Columbus below at fifth is the same margin away. With three games remaining, racking up as many points as possible is the goal for Philadelphia Union as they look to grab the No. 2 spot in the table that could see them nab home field in the postseason if Supporter’s Shield-winning FC Cincinnati were to fall in the playoffs.
The last time Atlanta United and Philadelphia Union met was down south on Independence Day, where Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda’s squad kept a clean sheet against their visitors for a 2-0 win. Atlanta’s premier goalscorer Thiago Almada shined in the match, contributing an early goal in the opening 10 minutes before creating another scoring opportunity to close the game, assisting Brooks Lennon’s 79th minute goal.
Throughout 2023, the 22-year-old designated player has cemented his playmaking reputation compiling 10 goals and leading the league in assists with 16 so far this season. The attacking midfielder from Argentina is a part of one of the most dangerous international attacking duos in the league, with 28-year-old Strike Giorgos Giakoumakis holding a 15 goal total in his first MLS season.
Head Coach Curtin’s squad has claimed five consecutive draws, most recently tying Columbus Crew, 1-1, on the road despite a limited group of available players due to injury and rest. Favorably for Philadelphia, the group will be back at nearly full strength on Wednesday, as Jakob Glesnes, Leon Flach, and Jose Martinez each be available for selection. The team will only be without Kai Wagner, who will be out due to card accumulation after earning a yellow card in Saturday’s game.
The team’s have had parity in schedules as of late, with Atlanta United entering the match following 10 days of rest, while Philadelphia has played three times since the Five Stripes last were in action.
“We recognize it's a lot of ties in a row now against good competition and we have to have a good response with a quick turnaround against the strong Atlanta team that's been sitting waiting for 10 days to play us. They’re a team that's in really good form, obviously scored a ton of goals this year, and has picked up some big additions in the summer window that have really improved their group,” Curtin said.
“So we'll have to be very disciplined, be organized, like Columbus, they’re a team that loves having the ball, a lot of short passes, and can pick you apart if you give them time and space. So a tough test, one we will have to be up for and one I know the guys are excited for.”