Scouting The Schedule | Push for the Postseason

Sprint To the End

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 schedule with a preview of every single matchup.

The push for the postseason appears like it could be a challenging one for Head Coach Jim Curtin's squad, as the final weeks of their schedule features some of their toughest conference opponents.

It starts with Columbus in early August, which will mark the first time Philadelphia plays the Ohio side since they hoisted the 2023 Audi MLS Cup.

Although they are the defending champions, they were unable to defeat the Boys in Blue last season. Even more impressively is that the Union haven’t lost to the Crew since 2020, but Wilfred Nancy’s s squad presents a difficult contest every time, requiring clinical execution in front of goal. In 2023 the Union had just that with a 4-1 win in the 2023 home opener thanks to braces from both Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza.

The Red Bulls rivalry renews again in September, but this time, on the road.

When the Boys in Blue battle the Red Bulls, the matches are like a playoff match regardless of where they fall on the calendar. Both teams focus on pressing and going direct to goal with the matchups usually decided by a single play. The Union were the ones making the plays, having not lost to the club from New Jersey in their last 12 matches. New York will have some new faces however with Sandro Schwarz as their new manager and Swedish international midfielder Emil Forsberg making the move from German Bundesliga sister side RB Leipzig to Red Bull Arena.

The Union will pack their bags again, this time heading to the sunshine state to take on Inter Miami for the second time in 2024. By the time the away match on September 14th comes around, the Union will have a better picture of what the first full season of Lionel Messi in Major League Soccer brings out in their Eastern Conference foe, though success is predictable with his similarly impressive cast around him in teammates Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, and marquee offseason addition Luis Suárez.

Another trip to the New York area comes again mid-September, but this time, Philadelphia will take on NYCFC at Yankee Stadium.

NYCFC missed out on the postseason for the first time since its 2016 inaugural season with a 9-11-14 record in 2023. While New York had a disappointing season by their standards, they have kept for now much of their youthful core including former Union Homegrown Matt Freese. Offense was the trouble spot for the Cityzens as they scored the second fewest goals in the East with 35 in 34 games, but they were able to find the back of the net in each match against Philly. However, the Union prevailed in both with a 3-1 road win in Queens and a 2-1 win in front of the Union faithful.

The Boys in Blue have built extensive familiarity with D.C. United as of late after meeting the side from the capitol on three occasions in 2023. Philadelphia claimed a win and a draw during the regular season, plus a penalty kick win during Leagues Cup in August.

This year when the pair faces off for the second time in 2024 on September 22nd, D.C. United will have undergone several months with the direction of a new General Manager and Chief Soccer Officer in Ally Mackay, who joins the club after five seasons at Nashville SC.

Part of Philadelphia Union's tough end-of-season stretch will include their second meeting of 2024 with Atlanta United. Favorably, the matchup will take place in Chester in front of Union faithful, but Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda Reyes’ squad will be likely remain a tough opponent as their roster features two of the league’s 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.

October will start with a test against Orlando City SC, this time on the road. The Boys in Blue will have already gotten a glimpse into what Oscar Pareja's 2024 squad could bring to the table as the match will mark their second meeting of the season, but the result for this match could mean even more as Decision Day approaches.

Quite a few of 2023's Eastern Conference powerhouses will each have a chance to take on Philly in the final weeks of the 2024 regular season, including the league's top team in Columbus Crew. The defending MLS Cup Champions will host Philadelphia on October 5th for the Union's second to last game before the playoffs.

To close the 2024 MLS regular season, Philadelphia Union will host a contentious Decision Day rematch against FC Cincinnati at Subaru Park on Saturday, October 19th. The Boys in Blue will look for revenge at home against the side that ended their most recent playoff run with an unfavorable 1-0 result in the 2023 Audi MLS Cup Semifinals.

2023 was a historically successful season for Cincinnati. In his second season as head coach, Pat Noonan led the club, which had finished last place overall for three straight seasons before his arrival, to become Supporters Shield winners. With league MVP Lucho Acosta still under contract alongside more than 20 additional players from last year’s campaign also set to return, matches against Cincinnati are likely to be a tough test.

The result could mean even more at the end of the year during the Union's final push toward the playoffs, and it'll be essential for fans to pack Subaru Park for the occasion.