Photo: Frank Fimmano

Photo: Frank Fimmano

Match Preview: Union at FC Cincinnati, Saturday March 30 at 7:30 PM

The Philadelphia Union are hoping to get their first road win of the season as they travel to FC Cincinnati for the first time ever.

FC Cincinnati are flying high. The expansion club has gained an unexpected seven points in their first four matches. This isn’t a team that went buck wild buying Designated Players to be their team; the Orange and Blue went the more traditional route, using the expansion draft and the SuperDraft to fill their roster. In fact, the Union had even traded all their SuperDraft picks to them back in January.

That’s not to say they don’t have some good players. FC Cincinnati has plenty of names that will be recognizable to MLS fans; guys like Fenando Adi, Greg Garza, Kekuta Mennah, Kenny Saief, Kendall Waston and Union killer Darren Mattocks don their colors. And even though they might not be paying the really big bucks, they also have a couple of Designated Players in Costa Rica’s Allan Cruz and Adi.

Yeah, those are some good players. On the other hand, they also have a couple of Union cast-offs in Corben Bone and Jimmy McLaughlin. Bone even had a place in Cincy’s inaugural starting XI when they visited Seattle on week one. It’s not likely we’ll see Bone or McLaughlin though. Cincy’s head coach Alan Koch will want to stick with the players that brought the team some success in their first month of existence.

The Union will be welcoming Marco Fabian back into the lineup. I was worried that he might push Brenden Aaronson out of the starting XI, but head coach Jim Curtin has indicated that he is not afraid to put two number 10s in the lineup. The Union will be getting back Cory Burke from international duty, so it will be interesting to see if goes back to him at striker, or go with the hot hand in David Accam.

The boys in blue will also be happy to have Andre Blake back tending the goal. Backup GK Carlos Miguel Coronel wasn’t really tested a week ago against Columbus, but he did a good job when getting the start a couple weeks ago for Bethlehem Steel, where he made 8 saves. But Blake is one of the best in MLS, so Coronel will have to be content to sit for most MLS matches.

The Orange and Blue will have a big home field advantage with perhaps 40,000 fans attending and an artificial turf field. But the Union are feeling confident after last week’s easy win against Columbus Crew SC. It’s hard to predict a match when the opponent is only four weeks old, but I feel the boys in blue will rise to the occasion and bring home three big points.

Prediction: Union 2, FC Cincinnati 1