Match Preview

Union host Chicago Fire for 2024 Home Opener Saturday


MLS is Back as Philadelphia Union welcome fans to Subaru Park for the first time in 2024 on Saturday night as they battle the Chicago Fire for their home opener. Don't miss the action with MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.

The match will mark the start of league play for the Boys in Blue after a long trip on the road that started with preseason training in Clearwater, Florida, then culminated in a 3-2 Concacaf Champions Cup victory against Deportivo Saprissa in San Jose, Costa Rica.

Head Coach Jim Curtin’s squad landed in the states on Wednesday evening, but they were back to work hours later, training on the pitch in Chester on Thursday and Friday in preparation for their first Major League Soccer test this weekend.

Saturday’s match against Saprissa injected the squad with confidence, after they found their footing after halftime for a come-from-behind win. 23-year-old forward Julian Carranza led the charge with a dominant hattrick in the second 45 minutes that deflated Head Coach Vladimir Quesada’s Saprissa in front of their rowdy home crowd. The group overcame a lackluster first half to find their rhythm, emerging on top in their first 90 minutes of consequence this year.

Less than a week later, Philadelphia will take line up against Eastern Conference at Subaru Park, where they lost only one game through the entire 2023 regulars season.

The projected gameday roster will only feature just three players who have played in a Major League Soccer, while the rest have at least months of experience suiting up in front of the home crowd of Union faithful at Subaru Park.

As for Chicago Fire, their team has yet to play a game in 2024, meaning their new-look group hasn’t had a true 90 minutes on the pitch together. Last season, the team finished 13th in the East with just 10 wins – none of which came against Philadelphia. Curtin’s group beat Chicago 1-0 in their home opener in March 2023, then picked up a draw at Soldier Field in April.

Sunday will be the first time recent marquee additions like defender Chase Gasper from Houston Dynamo, forward Hugo Cuypers from Belgian top-flight club KAA Gent, and MLS veteran midfielder Kellan Acosta suit up together, among other offseason signings. Saturday’s match will also mark the official return of Frank Klopas as Head Coach after the team parted ways with Ezra Hendrickson in May. The upcoming season will be Klopas’ second time leading the Fire as head coach, while also taking on the role as an interim hire on three other occasions.

Philadelphia Union, dissimilarly, haven’t had made significant change in their gameday group, and the team knows what to expect from both each other and the energetic environment at Subaru Park.