Match Preview

Union resume MLS play with rivalry showdown at D.C. United


MLS regular season play is back! Philadelphia Union will head to the Capitol on Saturday to take on a familiar foe in D.C. United for the third time in 2023. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m., tune in for free with MLS Season on Apple TV!

This weekend’s match marks yet another installment of Philadelphia and D.C.’s rivalry. After a draw at Subaru Park in May and a win-or-go-home Leagues Cup shootout victory earlier this month, the Union will look to reopen regular season play with one more favorable result against their Eastern Conference foe, this time on the road.

It’s been more than a month since Major League Soccer play paused and Philadelphia currently sits at third place in the Eastern Conference standings with 40 points thanks to a near-perfect season home record that includes just two losses and a draw. The lone tie came against D.C. on May 17th after a scoreless battle. D.C.’s most recent run-in with the Boys in Blue took place during Leagues Cup on August 2nd, with both teams unable to score through regular time once again, but ultimately concluding in a 5-4 shootout win for Philly.

Head Coach Wayne Rooney has led D.C. to 8-11-6 season so far and his squad is sitting just below the playoff line in 10th. They’ve only won four of those games at Audi Field and the team has only emerged victorious in one regular season match since the start of July. Regardless of the discrepancies between the two teams overall performances so far this year, the stage is set for a fierce match as both squads are overwhelmingly familiar with each other.

With 11 games left in the regular season, Head Coach Jim Curtin expressed the importance of picking up as many wins as they can to improve their seeding once the postseason comes around.

“We want to finish as strong as possible and play as many home playoff games as we can. We look forward now to a D.C. team that, look, is a rival, a very competitive team,” Curtin said.

“We've had two games against them already this year where we've kind of canceled each other out. So we expect a difficult match. They're very well organized and well coached. So, obviously, we look forward to a tough game.”

With D.C. United bowing out of the tournament in the Round of 32 last weekend saw the club return to league play and suffer a 1-0 road loss to the Red Bulls. Despite being held without a single shot on goal during the match that featured Christian Benteke, the Black and Red were on the verge of another scoreless draw but conceded in the 88th minute to John Tolkin. Rooney's side finds itself on the outside of the MLS Cup Playoffs line by only two points but is surrounded by clubs with a game in hand with pressure lurking below them from Red Bulls and Inter Miami CF who will square off in New Jersey on Saturday night. With nine games left for D.C. they’ll need to find a way to break the scoreless draws against the Union if they want to keep pace for a postseason spot.

Oppositely, Philadelphia Union could welcome back forward Julián Carranza to their attack after missing two games due to a Grade 1 hamstring injury. He’s currently listed as questionable.

“Julian was on the field today doing his final sprinting tests. Looks like he's moving pretty well. I'll check in with the medical staff but I'm hoping he's available for DC, which would give our attack obviously a big boost. We missed him a lot at the end of the Leagues Cup competition.”

In his pre-match midweek press conference, Curtin also nodded to forward Mikael Uhre, who was in great form in the team’s third place game against Monterrey. He scored the team’s second of three goals on Saturday, increasing the lead to 2-0 just before the first half concluded.

Watch the Boys in Blue duke it out with D.C. once again on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.