Philadelphia Union (4-7-6, 18 points) at FC Dallas (6-7-5, 23 points)
What: Major League Soccer regular season match
When: Friday, 9 p.m.; Where: Toyota Park, Frisco, Texas
TV: The Comcast Network featuring play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and color analyst Peter Pappas
On the heels of a three-game win streak in all competitions, the Union takes their talents to smoldering FC Dallas Stadium this Independence Day, looking to continue their streak of solid form there. They went undefeated in month of June with the highlight of the month coming last week in a 3-1 win against New England.
However, July is new month and the Union cannot rest on their laurels, the same type of fight needs to become a trend with the club. The matchup on July 4 should be a good marker of where the team is headed this season.
FC Dallas currently finds itself in fourth place in the Western Conference with a record of 6-7-5 (23 points). Forwards Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo have been the poachers up top for Dallas both tallying five goals on the season, with Perez edging Castillo by one assist to lead the team in points. Luckily for the Union, Castillo is out due to suspension meaning the primary task defensively will be keeping Perez quiet.
If their previous contest is any indication of what the Union should expect morale will be high within the team. FC Dallas scraped out a scoreless draw against Columbus, although it was the Crew that generated the majority of chances throughout the run of play.
The good news out of the Union’s camp this week is that interim manager Jim Curtin confirmed that both Vincent Nogueira and Austin Berry are doing well. Nogueira had been a staple in the lineup throughout the season, but was set back with a nagging groin issue.
For Berry things have been more difficult, the reliable defender has been battling a slew of injuries during the season, and will be a welcomed sight on dressed in uniform on the Union bench.
In terms of lineup, the changes have been successful especially with Amobi Okugo and Maurice Edu. The players have switched roles over the past few games, with Edu dropping back into the center back position. Since that switch yielded dividends in the New England game it’s hard to imagine that a switch back to Edu in midfield will occur.
Where the Union has been on fire is in attack, notching nine goals in their last three MLS contests. The likes of Sebastian Le Toux, Cristian Maidana and Conor Casey if healthy, have gone hard at defenses from California to Vancouver and want to continue this trend in Dallas. Look for the Union to attack with fervor, and try and capitalize on the FC Dallas keeper Chris Seitz’s mistakes. Seitz, the former Union net minder has registered just two shutouts on the season and enters this match with a 1.45 goals against average.
However the road is a tough place to play, so the Union knows that once again it will need to put forth a dominant performance if plans are to return to Philly with points in hand.
“Anytime you go on the road it’s going to be a little different,” said Curtin. “But these guys have shown a collective effort and confidence that we can not only score goals but win on the road as well, there are positives to being on the road that I think we have embraced."
What do you think of the Union’s chances against Dallas? Leave a comment below.
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