Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin scheduled seven preseason matches ahead of the 2020 MLS season so his squad – coming off the club’s most successful season in history – would be pushed to hit their stride from matchday one. The Union got their first test of the year Wednesday morning and fell 4-0 to an Atlanta United side in full prep mode for Concacaf Champions League. The result wasn’t what Curtin and the Boys in Blue wanted, but in preseason it’s less about results than development, rhythm, and form. Here are the key takeaways from the match.
Homegrowns on display
Four Union homegrowns started the match and went the full distance against an Atlanta United’s first choice starting XI that featured Josef Martinez, Pity Martinez and Ezequiel Barco. It would be hard to find a more difficult opponent for Jack de Vries and Cole Turner to face off against in their first taste of action against MLS opposition. Still, Anthony Fontana, Matt Real, Turner and de Vries grew into the match and seemed to quickly onboard the experiences as they look to show they are ready for an opening day look.
Brujo makes debut
After arriving in the United States over the weekend, El Brujo took to the pitch in the second half and showcased his ability to break up attacks that were generated in the midfield by Atlanta. The Venezuelan will be tapped as a shield for the back line during the 2020 season.
Kacper returns to the pitch
The Friendly Striker also returned to the Boys in Blue in the contest after missing the postseason due to injury and resting for precautionary reasons during last week’s training at the 76ers Fieldhouse. While he played the final 45 minutes and couldn’t find the back of the net, it was yet another stepping stone on the forward’s return to leading the Union’s offense in 2020.