Match Preview

Union open 2024 season with Concacaf Champions Cup matchup against Deportivo Saprissa


Philadelphia Union’s first game action of the season is on the horizon as the team will embark on their third Concacaf Champions Cup campaign against Deportivo Saprissa in San Jose, Costa Rica. Don't miss the action starting at 10PM on both FS2 and TUDN.

What to expect

Head Coach Jim Curtin’s squad trained in Saprissa's stadium for the first time on Monday morning, but when the group return for the first of two legs against the Costa Rican side on matchday, they'll take the pitch in front of their opponent’s rowdy crowd that has earned the venue the nickname, ‘La Cueva del Monstruo’.

Saprissa is a familiar opponent for Head Coach Jim Curtin, as he’s faced the team both during his professional playing days at Chicago Fire and more recently during Philadelphia Union’s Concacaf run in April 2021.

Last time the two teams met, Philadelphia Union emerged with a healthy 5-0 aggregate scoreline, but lingering COVID-19 restrictions caused the away leg to be played in an empty stadium, nullifying Saprissa’s typical home-field advantage.

The two sides are at different points in their season which could have an impact early on in the Round One contest. Curtin’s squad enters the match after more than a month of preseason preparation between stints in Chester and Clearwater, and have played five friendlies during that span. However the last true game action they saw was in November against FC Cincinnati in the 2023 Audi MLS Cup playoffs. Saprissa on the other hand is already eight games into their season and have picked up four wins and a pair of draws.

“There's always concerns as a coach going into your first real game, right? Saprissa has been in a good run of form in the league, has seven games under their belt, and is a little bit more fit than us. That's natural,” Curtin said. “We've worked very hard in the preseason to try to get to a good fitness level. We had very good performances in our preseason games, but as we all know, coming to this stadium is something different than a preseason game where there are no fans.”

During his final press conference before game time, Curtin cited multiple Saprissa players to watch, including familiar former Major League Soocer standouts. 

“There's a lot of MLS experience in their group, its players that I've prepared for several times in the past. Players like [Joseph] Mora, [Ulises] Segura, [[Luis] Diaz with his pace and speed. With that now, too, they have a player in [Mariano] Torres, that for me is one of the top players in CONCACAF and has been for many years with his passing and his ability to play on a final ball. 36 years old, but still can control the tempo of a game.”

Despite the challenge ahead, Curtin shared that his team’s mentality is, “We don’t fear anybody.”

The Union's 15th season starts at 10pm Eastern Time. Don't miss the action which will be broadcast coast to coast on FS2!