Philadelphia Union takes its nine-game unbeaten streak to the West Coast as they face off against a resurgent San Jose Earthquakes side on Saturday night at 10:30PM ET on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
The Boys in Blue enter the final match before the FIFA International Window full of momentum riding a four-game winning streak after taking care of CF Montreal last weekend at Subaru Park. Forward Julian Carranza nabbed MLS Player of the Matchday Honors for the second time in three games for his role in the victory as the South American bagged his fourth multi-goal game of 2023. With the strong scoring burst lately, Carranza finds himself with nine goals in league play and one away from the lead of MLS Golden Boot. Daniel Gazdag set up Carranza's second-half goal to register his eighth assist of the season which sees him leading the league as well.
San Jose is having a remarkable debut season under Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez as they sit fifth in a competitive Wester Conference table. One way they've done it is similar to Philly, maximizing points collected in front of their home fans and the Quakes have done just that as they enter the weekend as one of five teams yet to lose at home. In seven matches at PayPal Park, San Jose has taken 17 out of a possible 21 points and have allowed the fewest goals at home in MLS thus far with only four.
"In their building they are going to be brave and difficult to play against," Head Coach Curtin said. "We're going to again have to be almost perfect to take points back to Philly."
As Curtin alluded to in his pre-match press conference on Wednesday, two players have taken the reigns of San Jose's offense with the duo of Cristian Espinoza and Jeremy Ebobisse combining for 14 goals and seven assists so far in 2023. Like the Union, it is the Argentinian Espinoza who leads the team in goals with eight and both players will be a focus according to the Union's Head Coach.
"For me it's pretty clear and you just have to do a simple check on who scores their goals and it is pretty heavy and dominant toward Espinoza, who has been phenomenal this season, and Ebobisse who has been very strong in the box too. He used to be an incredible box finisher and he still is but now he's comfortable back off the strikers and coming into midfield. Those two have the bulk of their goals and other players can hurt you because they have a good team but we really have to be on task to take them away."
While the last four matches have seen the Union move from the 4-4-2 diamond to a 5-2-1-2, it is all based upon two key factors. Player availability and the the opponent. Saturday night will be quite the battle for the Boys in Blue so don't miss out on the action that kicks off at 10:30PM ET on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.