Just before the holiday break, Philadelphia Union learned its entire 2023 MLS Schedule after the league announced it on Tuesday. MLS fans can watch every 2023 league match on AppleTV MLS Season Pass. No blackouts. No restrictions.
We are taking a deep dive into each month of the season to look at each of the matchups! Today we're focused on the second full month of the slate which as it stands features two home matches at Subaru Park and a pair of Eastern Conference road trips.
The two longest tenured head coaches in Major League Soccer will face off at Subaru Park as Jim Curtin battles Peter Vermes. A constant regular in the postseason, Sporting KC missed out in 2022 by finishing 12th in a highly-competitive Western Conference.
This offseason the club has re-signed Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza and Andreu Fontas to keep their core together as they look to bounce back with fully healthy attacking pieces via Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda. Philly and SKC last squared off at the MLS Is Back Tournament in 2020 where the Union notched a 3-1 victory in the tournament’s semifinal.
Should the Boys in Blue get past Alianza FC in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16, the Union would have some additional matches added to their April slate with the Quarterfinals set to begin April 4-6. The Union host the first leg at Subaru Park based upon the pairings that were determined by the competition’s bracket. The Union would host the Round of 16 winner of Liga MX's giant Atlas FC and Hondurian side CD Olimpia.
With a familiar faces on the sideline, on the pitch and designing the future of the roster, FC Cincinnati made huge strides in 2022 to go from bottom of the league to a getting a victory in their MLS Cup Playoffs debut.
While the Orange and Blue ended its losing streak to the Union with a 3-1 result in August, their biggest clash came in the postseason where the Union prevailed via a Leon Flach golazo in the second half to jumpstart Philly’s memorable run in the playoffs.
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One week later the Boys in Blue would hit the road for the decision second league of the Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals with a trip to Mexico or Honduras. Depending on the location of the match, the Union's road trip in April would go from just over 1,600 miles for the two league matches to either 5,371 miles (Atlas FC) or 7,232 miles (CD Olimpia).
The first Eastern Conference series to conclude for the Philadelphia Union in 2023 is Chicago Fire FC with the second matchup taking place at Solider Field in mid-April.
One of the original founding clubs in MLS, the Fire missed the postseason last year but were one of just five teams to knock off the Boys in Blue in 2022. Their win came in front of their home crowd at Soldier Field with a 1-0 result in late June but the Boys in Blue responded like they have done the past few seasons at Subaru Park. The Union racked up a 4-1 with four different players bagging a goal including center back Jack Elliott. Overall the two sides have squared off 30 times since the Union joined the league in 2010 and have taken a result in 12 of the 14 matches at Subaru Park.
April wraps up just like it start, at Subaru Park as the Union host Toronto FC.
No side underwent quite a transition during the 2022 regular season than Toronto FC. Head Coach Bob Bradley saw the club get off to a very slow start but things seemed to click after the DP acquisitions of Bernardeschi and Insigne. Jonathan Osorio is back for 2023 and recently said he expects a resurgence for the Canadian side that split its results against Philadelphia in 2022. Toronto FC handed the Union its first loss of the season with a 2-1 result at BMO in April but the Union capped off the regular season in style behind Daniel Gazdag’s hat trick that resulted in a 4-0 rout on Decision Day.
April could wrap up with a regular season bye week OR it could be the start of another busy stretch of Concacaf Champions League matches. Should the Union duplicate their previous run in the regional tournament, the Union would be playing its first leg of the contest April 25-27. Unlike the Quarterfinals, we won't know the hosting order as the semifinals and final hosting order is based upon the best performing clubs in the earlier rounds of the competition via wins, draws, and, if required, goal difference.
The four teams that the Union could meet on their side of the bracket include: Vancouver Whitecaps FC, RCD España, Los Angeles FC and LD Alajuelense.