Preview | Union meet FC Cincinnati in Friday friendly


Philadelphia Union’s fourth friendly of preseason will take place on Friday morning against FC Cincinnati at Joe DiMaggio Sports Complex, and it’ll mark the first meeting between the two teams since Philadelphia was knocked out of the playoffs in the 2023 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs by one VAR-decided goal.

Head Coach Pat Noonan’s squad didn’t make it much further, falling to intrastate rival Columbus Crew in the following round, but since then, they’ve made quite a few marquee roster moves in preparation for 2024.

25-year-old Brandon Vazquez was transferred to Liga MX side CF Monterrey for a hefty fee after making Cincinnati club history as their all-time leading goal scorer through his four-season tenure.

Despite his departure, their roster is still a fortified one, as they've welcomed a list of highly-touted players since 2023's close including midfielder Pavel Bucha from Czech Republic side FC Viktoria Plzeň, forward Corey Baird from Houston Dynamo, and defender Miles Robinson from Atlanta United.

Bucha is the latest to join the bunch – his signing was announced on Wednesday, and he has already joined Noonan’s group at training in Clearwater.

Friday’s match will be a test for Head Coach Jim Curtin’s squad, but he’ll have his entire healthy roster available to play for the first time in preseason. It won’t be a typical match, though. The two teams will compete for 120 minutes, adding another half hour of play to the traditional 90.

"The work that the players have put in has been impressive. Obviously, there's some tired legs and some fatigue and some soreness and the natural things that happened during a preseason," Head Coach Jim Curtin said.

"But overall, I think the staff technical staff has done a really good job. The sports performance department has done an excellent job, and all the support staff has really made sure the trip is a good one so far. Obviously, now we have two tests against a strong Cincinnati team where we'll play 120 minutes , then we'll turn around and push again against another Champions Cup team in New England on Wednesday."

Follow along with the action on's live blog and on @philaunion on X.