Philadelphia Union’s first full month of MLS soccer is one of its busiest with six matches in 30 days. Let’s take a deep dive into the Union’s May slate.
Philadelphia Union vs. New York City FC (Saturday, May 1; 7:30 p.m. ET on PHL17)
A week after the home opener, the Boys in Blue stick around for a home showdown against New York City FC. The two sides only met once in 2020 with the Union prevailing in the opener of the MLS is Back Tournament thanks to a long-range goal from captain Alejandro Bedoya. The current 2021 roster for NYCFC is quite different from the ones that Union fans have come to know. Gone are Alex Ring and starting left back Ronald Matarrita on so far the only field additions have been at the left back spot with Malte Amundsen and former U.S. U-20 national team starter Chris Gloster. While second-year Head Coach Ronny Deila says they are still looking to get more depth, expect a very young squad from the Bronx.
Tom’s Tidbit: The Union and NYCFC have never ended in a scoreless draw in 12 previous matches.
Philadelphia Union at Chicago Fire (Saturday, May 8; 1 p.m. ET on 6abc)
The second road trip of 2021 sees the Union travel to the Windy City for a matchup with Chicago Fire FC at Soldier Field. The two sides went toe-to-toe just last weekend in a closed-door scrimmage with the starters holding each other to a scoreless draw before Chicago notched a 100th-minutue goal. So far the club has made minimal changes to their roster with homegrown Djordje Mihailovic sent to CF Montreal and only Chinonso Offor, Jhon Espinzoa and Stanislav Ivanov (all under 21) added.
Tom’s Tidbit: In 25 matchups, the two sides average 3.04 combined goals per game which ranks the second-most goals combined among the Union’s Eastern Conference opponents.
Philadelphia Union vs. New England Revolution (Wednesday, May 12; 7:30 p.m. ET on PHL17)
The schedule starts to ramp up a few days later as the Union host a club they are very, VERY familiar with in the New England Revolution at Subaru Park. The two sides faced off 5 times in 2020 with the Union taking results in every regular season matchup but the Revs got their revenge in the MLS Cup Playoffs. New England cut loose Kelyn Rowe, Lee Nguyen and Diego Fagundez but Arena has added MLS vets with in the form of A.J. DeLaGarza, Emmanuel Boateng and Tommy McNamara to go along side Icelandic winger Arnor Ingvi Trautason.
Tom’s Tidbit: The Union haven’t lost to a regular season home match to New England since 2016.
Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls (Saturday, May 15; 7:30 p.m. ET on PHL17)
The Union’s run of rivalry matches continues at Subaru Park a few days later as the club hosts New York Red Bulls for another Saturday night clash. Red Bulls have made some expected moves this offseason, finding younger prospects or get loanees from other Red Bull clubs in Europe including former Union goalkeeper Carlos Miguel Coronel.
Tom’s Tidbit: Four of the last five all-time matches have gone the Union’s way against NYRB.
Philadelphia Union at D.C. United (Sunday, May 23; 7:30 p.m. ET on PHL17)
The first round of three matchups against the Union’s I-95 rival will take place in the nation’s capital as the Union cap off a three-game rival slate. The offseason for D.C. was spent interview for their head coach vacancy and finally on Jan. 18 they selected 38-year-old Argentine Hernan Losada from Beerschot in Belgium. The new coach prefers a 3-5-2 formation that could fit the playing style of Julian Gressel.
Tom’s Tidbit: The Union have taken points against their rivals in eight-consecutive contests dating back to 2017.
Philadelphia Union vs. Portland Timbers (Sunday, May 30; 5:30 p.m. ET on FS1 and Fox Deportes)
The busy month concludes with a national broadcast showdown at Subaru Park against Western Conference powerhouse Portland Timbers. The Oregon side has been one of the tougher matchups for the Union in their existence with their only win coming at home in 2015. The 2021 version of the Timbers is much like last year’s club as they are running it back one more time with their veteran group. The offseason has focused on the outside back position with Claudio Bravo and Josecarlos Van Rankin.
Tom’s Tidbit: Portland is one of six teams to have played the Union to multiple scoreless draws in the Union’s MLS existence.