Match Preview

Union begin busy slate hosting Supporter Shield leaders FC Cincinnati


Philadelphia Union is back at Subaru Park this weekend as they welcome Supporters' Shield leading FC Cincinnati on Saturday night at Subaru Park. The club will celebrate its Fearless 43 with KCC Night and Phang's Birthday so don't miss that action free on MLS Season Pass!

Philadelphia Union enters the weekend fresh after the FIFA International Break that created a two-week break that featured seven national team call-ups for the Boys in Blue. The whole team is anticipated to return stateside by matchday and with just one point separating the Union from the teams above and below them in the rankings, each result moving forward is crucial in laying the foundation for an optimal postseason slate.

“Five out of our next seven are in our building where we've been really a strong team. But it starts with a good performance against Cincinnati. Obviously a very well coached team by Pat Noonan, roster that’s as good as any in our league put together by Chris Albright. So we know we'll have our hands full,” Curtin said. “It's always a very tight game when we play Cincinnati, a lot of familiar faces on the field and off. So we expect a real high intensity match. Again, the team that gets plays right in front of goal offensively and defensively will come out on top.”

Cincinnati has compiled only four losses this season, holding a 17-6-4 record so far in 2023. With a lofty 57 point cushion, the Ohio side is well on its way to securing the top spot in the conference as the regular season winds down. Their roster boasts one of the most lethal attacking weapons in the league – midfielder Lucho Acosta sits tied for second in the golden boot race behind only Nashville’s Hany Muhktar. In addition to 13 goals, Acosta has totaled 11 assists, consistently creating opportunities for his teammates.

The 29-year-old Designated Player from Argentina, named MLS Player of the Month for August, has had an outstanding seventh MLS season so far. Week after week he’s proved to be one of the most impactful players on the pitch; the last time Philadelphia faced Cincinnati on April 8th, Acosta scored the lone goal, netting a 69th minute penalty that lifted his squad to a 1-0 victory.

Favorably for the Union, Acosta won’t dress for Saturday’s game in Chester after picking up a yellow card in his team’s 1-0 loss against Orlando City. The violation marked his 6th yellow card this season and sent him to an accumulation suspension. Cincinnati is the only team that has secured a postseason berth, so rebuilding momentum is essential as they look to claim the East’s #1 seed.

While Acosta won't be in Chester, PA., USMNT forward Brandon Vazquez and recently acquired DP forward Aaron Boupendza will be alongside a trio of former Union players that includes Ray Gaddis, Alvas Powell and Sergio Santos.

As for Philadelphia, midfielder Alejandro Bedoya is also out due to accumulation. The team captain had been one yellow away from a one-game suspension for four matches before earning another against Red Bulls.

“If you look at their chance creation over the year, a lot of it comes from Lucho [Acosta]. And that's natural with any 10. Just like, with Gazdag for us, that's where a lot of our chance creation comes from. So, it's a shame, a game of this whatever word you want to use – magnitude, important, significance. It's a shame that it misses a player like Acosta from their side. It's a shame that it misses a player like Bedoya from our side.” Curtin said.

“I could write you a novel on why I think it's too easy to get suspended in our league for yellow cards, and we want our best players on the field. I think we do our best to try to have that happen.”

Otherwise, Philadelphia’s roster will be at full strength with the exception of defensive midfielder Leon Flach, who’s grappling with a sports hernia injury that has sporadically given him problems all season. Jesús Bueno was sent home from Venezuelan National Team training during his first-ever callup due to a knee injury, but on Wednesday, Head Coach Jim Curtin assured that he’s recovering well.

After dealing with a myriad of injuries across the roster during the final stretch of their third place-winning Leagues Cup campaign, the rest of the squad is healthy and locked in on taking down the conference’s top dog.

“Daniel Gazdag is 100% healthy and fully training. So knock on wood right now we are fully healthy with the exception of Leon Flach. Just for full transparency and update on that situation, actually, which is good news, I think. He did get a second opinion in Germany, and we'll try a different approach, a different procedure that could maybe get him back in about two weeks rather than the longer.”

Subaru Park is anticipating a packed house, as Saturday’s game is the club’s annual Kick Childhood Cancer night. Philadelphia Union will honor and celebrate the brave children battling pediatric cancer through special warm-up tops, in-game recognition, and special activations around the stadium.

For tickets to Saturday’s exciting matchup – click here!

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Every match matters! In 2024, you do not want to miss your favorite matchups as the Union take on the best MLS has to offer! When we score, make sure you are there to get Subaru Park shaking!

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