The Philadelphia Union will try to put a stop to their three-game winless streak when they travel to Allianz Field in Saint Paul, MN on Sunday.
The Union need points. They just finished a three-game homestand where they only earned two points out of a possible nine. During this time, they dropped from first to second place. You need to win at home in Major League Soccer, so this was an opportunity to put some distance between them and the rest of the Eastern Conference, but they failed to do so. The boys in blue need to make up for that by getting some points on the road, and they’ll have a chance on Sunday as they take on the Loons.
It won’t be easy though. You might think Minnesota United FC would be pushovers based on their first two not-so-good seasons in MLS, but head coach Adrian Heath has given Loons fans reason for optimism. They have not been bad this season so far, with a 6-5-3 record good for 21 points. And they’ve yet to lose at home.
Striker Angelo Rodriguez, MNUFC’s Designated Player, has four goals scored so far. Darwin Quintero has been seeing time up top where he’s earned five goals. Their right back, Romain Metanire, is also active in the offense, with a goal and five assists to his name. The Loons have surrendered 21 goals though, so if the Union can find those finishing touches that have abandoned them lately, we might see them score a goal or two.
This is the Union’s third match in nine days, so their legs may be a little tired. Will Jim Curtin use this road match for some squad rotation? Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin have played every minute this season, and probably could use some rest. However, while Curtin gives lip service to squad rotation in his press conferences, he doesn’t actually do it.
I think we’ll see Sergio Santos get another start at striker, pairing up with Kacper Przybylko. Marco Fabian didn’t get the start in Wednesday’s match against the Colorado Rapids, but maybe he’ll be back to match fitness. The back line will be the same back line we’ve seen all year.
The Union could really use the three available points here, but I think the compressed schedule, the travel, and a tough home side will prevent that from happening.
Prediction: Union 1, Minnesota United FC 1