On Wednesday, December 20th, Philadelphia Union announced its entire 2024 MLS Schedule in conjunction with the league. Just like last season, fans can watch every league match with MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. In anticipation of the season to come, Scouting the Schedule is back for 2024! Take a deep dive into the Union's schedule with a preview of every single matchup.
April could see the Union back in Concacaf Champions Cup action with the first leg of the CCC set to begin in early in the month. The Boys in Blue would be battle tested after getting past Deportivo Saprissa and CF Pachuca as they head into the Quarterfinals. The Union could be take on Deportivo Toluca from Mexico, CF Herediano from Costa Rica or SV Robinhood from Suriname.
Much like the Union, the squad from the Music City has built its reputation on defense first, which required the bulk of the offensive load to fall on a single player. That pressure turned Hany Mukhtar into the 2022 MLS Most Valuable Player, but when he went on a scoring drought so did Nashville SC as they made it back to the MLS Cup Playoffs but didn’t score in its final three games.
Forward Sam Surridge joined during the summer window but netted only two goals in 11 appearances, which will have to increase rapidly as the club looks to take the next step. The Union and Nashville have recent history with the 2021 MLS Cup Playoff battle decided by a penalty kick shootout, but the Boys in Blue were unbeaten against the Tennessee side in 2023 with a 2-0 road win coupled with a scoreless draw in the Union's final regular season home match at Subaru Park.
A spot in the Concacaf Champions Cup Semifinals would be on the line in early April as the Boys in Blue would once again battle their Quarterfinal opponent for the second time in a week. Opposition includes Deportivo Toluca from Mexico, CF Herediano from Costa Rica or SV Robinhood from Suriname.
The Union will head South mid-April to take on an Atlanta United team that finished sixth in the East in 2023.
Under Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda Reyes, Atlanta finished their 2023 campaign with a first round exit in the final match of their best-of-three playoff series against Columbus Crew, who went on to become MLS Cup Champions. Against Philadelphia, Atlanta picked up a loss and a win last season, finishing two spots below them in the standings.
Atlanta will be an opponent to circle for the Boys in Blue, as their roster features two of the league’s top offensive talents. 2023 MLS Best XI awardees forward Giorgio Giakomakis and midfielder Thiago Almada are both under contract for the 2024 season, though the latter has drawn international interest after an outstanding season that saw him earn MLS Young Player of the Year honors.
Based on the Union's history in Concacaf Tournament play, one could expect the Union in the Semifinals that would kick off in late April. Being the A1 position in the draw would mean Philly once against starts on the road and would have quite a task given the potential opposition it could see in the round. The big ones hail from Liga MX as Club America and CD Guadalajara would have played one another in the Round of 16 while MLS rival New England Revolution could be in the mix alongside LD Alajuelense of Costa Rica.
To end the month, Philadelphia will welcome yet another Western Conference opponent to the Subaru Park fortress, hosting Real Salt Lake on Saturday, April 27th.
The Utah side completed 2023 with a 20-16-10 record that saw them land in fifth in the west. After falling to Houston Dynamo in the first round of the playoffs, the team announced roster decisions, confirming that 31 players from the 2023 squad, including 11 from their MLS Next and MLS Next Pro teams would return for the season to come. The team also welcomed back club fixture Jason Kreis to a new role. Kreis, who's built legend-status as the club’s first-ever player, captain and head coach, will rejoin the club as it's Director of Operations & Special Projects.
Philadelphia Union hasn't taken on Real Salt Lake since 2019 and haven't hosted them since 2018 -- so both teams will enter unchartered territory with limited familiarity in this matchup.