A year ago, Philadelphia Union’s first-ever Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League run ended with a hard-fought semi-finals loss to Liga MX side Club America at Subaru Park.
Now, the Union welcome a potential 2023 SCCL opponent from Mexico to town for an international friendly as they aim to show once again they belong on the list of the biggest and best clubs in North America.
Pachuca, two-time SCCL winners, has already qualified for the 2023 Scotiabank Champions League and currently sits third in Liga MX’s Apertura standings. They qualified for the 2023 SCCL after making the finals of the 2022 Clausura. Their +13 goal differential is fourth best in the league and they boast the third best defense in the league, allowing less than a goal per game.
Already qualified for the playoffs, Pachuca has lost only once since league-leaders Club America knocked them off on August 17. That run of strong form has seen brilliant young playmaker Erick Sanchez take center stage as he seeks Mexican National Team manager Tata Martino’s attention ahead of the World Cup.
In Pachuca’s 6-1 win over Club Tijuana, Sanchez notched two goals and two assists, furthering his case to be included in a squad looking for an injection of new attacking talent.
The most dangerous man on the roster, however, is Nicolas Ibanez. Tallying eleven goals in 14 starts in the 2022 Apertura, Ibanez added nine in the 2022 Clausura. With Pachuca staring down a huge matchup against Monterrey on October 1, Ibanez will aim to keep his rhythm going against a Union side that will be short players due to international duty and Philadelphia Union II’s playoff match against TFC II.
For Union fans, this will be a wonderful opportunity to experience a stellar soccer atmosphere and see some of Mexico’s top players. Young talents hungry for time could see significant minutes to complement in-form players looking to keep momentum from the club’s recent six-match unbeaten run.
Last time a Liga MX side came to Philly for a friendly match, things got heated in a hurry with Fafa Picault diving into his back of tricks and taking a heavy tackle from Juan Iturbe that resulted in a straight red card. Anthony Fontana curled in a sumptuous direct free kick goal to highlight the Union’s 3-0 victory.
Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m. ET from Subaru Park and a few tickets are still available for this exciting cross-league matchup on September 24.