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 first month of games where the Union look to jump out of the blocks on fire both in MLS play and in Concacaf Champions League play.
The Eastern Conference Champion Philadelphia Union will start off its 14th season in MLS in front of the Union faithful with an Eastern Conference clash against the Columbus Crew. The opener at Subaru Park marks the second-straight season the Boys in Blue start off a new campaign in front of the Union faithful where the club is unbeaten in its last 23 regular season games in Chester.
After missing the postseason in 2022, the Columbus Crew are under new leadership with 2022 MLS Coach of the Year Runner-Up Wilfred Nancy making the move from CF Montreal to take over the Ohio side. Regardless of who is in charge, the Union and Crew are always one play games and last year was no exception with only one goal scored across the pair of league contest. That goal wasn’t even scored by the winning side as Jose Martinez floated a cross into the box two minutes into the contest that Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room fumbled into his own net.
The Pink Herons seem to always be in the spotlight when the offseason hits and 2022 has been no exception with rumors floating all around that a certain World Cup Champion might be coming stateside. Inter Miami has always had its share of big names but they gave quite a bit to the Boys in Blue this past year in points and forward Julian Carranza. After battling to a scoreless draw at Subaru Park, the Union went to Fort Lauderdale and left with all three points with goals from Daniel Gazdag and Cory Burke.
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The schedule does the Union a bit of a favor for its travel as the Union will shift its focus to Concacaf Champions League action. The Union make the trip from Miami to El Salvador for a midweek clash against Alianza FC on Tuesday, March 7, with kick off from Estadio Cuscatlan set for 8 p.m. ET. The Boys in Blue will need a strong start in the first leg as they they make their second appearance in the major tournament starting on the road where they got a pair of shutouts in its 2021 run to the Semifinals.
The Union return stateside for a home contest four days later against the Chicago Fire on March 11. Sitting in-between the Union's Champions League contests, this could be the first time Head Coach Jim Curtin showcases the 2023 Union's depth depending on the result in El Salvador.
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.
The Union stay at home to wrap up their Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 match up against Alianza FC on on Tuesday, March 14th, with kick off set for 8 p.m. ET at Subaru Park.
The club qualified for the 2023 Concacaf Champions League as the best ranked losing quarterfinalist in the 2022 Scotiabank Concacaf League. The El Salvadorian side finished atop Group B of the 2022 Apertura Salvadoran Primera Division with a 6-1-3 record before falling in the quarterfinals via a 2-1 aggregate to Platense. After a two-year absence, Alianza return to the SCCL for its fifth SCCL appearance overall. In their last appearance which game in 2020, they barely missed out of a quarterfinal appearance with a narrow 5-4 aggregate defeat in the Round of 16 to eventual champions Tigres.
After finishing second in the East last year, CF Montreal will certainly be a different team in 2023 with the departures of many pieces that saw guided their run to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Head Coach Wilfred Nancy is with Columbus, wonderkid Ismael Kone is headed to the Watford F.C., Alistair Johnston to Celtic, Djordje Mihailovic is leaving for AZ Alkmaar plus captain Victor Wanyama seems destined to be going elsewhere as well. On the field, the Union got their first win on 2022 against the Canadian side with second-half goals from Alejandro Bedoya and Julian Carranza before battling to a 1-1 draw in late April.
The Boys in Blue wrap up March at Subaru Park with their fifth-straight Eastern Conference matchup as they host Orlando City SC on Saturday night at Subaru Park.
After nabbing the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture in 2022, Orlando City SC is undergoing some roster rebuild with the Lions sending midfielder Andres Perea to the Boys in Blue earlier this month. Alongside Perea’s departure has been Junior Urso, Alexander Alvarado and Joao Moutinho but Oscar Pareja has been busy adding Luca Petrasso and Felipe Martins as they too prepare for Concacaf Champions League. In 2022, the Union and Orlando battled three times with the Lions taking the contest in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup but the Union got all six points in MLS play highlighted by a 5-1 rout in September by the Boys in Blue.