Match Preview: Union vs D.C. United

The third-place Philadelphia Union will attempt to earn all three points in front of its home crowd on Friday as the team is set to host D.C. United.

The Eastern Conference matchup will kick off at 7 PM on Unimas. The Union have 15 points after 10 matches and are coming off of draws in each of the last three matches. The last win for the Union was against NYCFC on April 23. Last Friday, CJ Sapong scored his fifth goal of the season and the Union’s only of the game as the Union drew Montreal in Montreal. D.C. United has 13 points after 11 matches played and are coming off thrilling 2-0 home win against the New York Red Bulls last Friday, which saw goals from Alvaro Saborio and Patrick Nyarko.

The two teams have had a seven-year rivalry that has been filled with memorable matches, tremendous goals, and more than a little bit of physicality. They first met in 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in front of 35,000 fans who left on a high thanks to a Sebastien Le Toux hat trick that led the Union to a 3-2 victory. Last year, the teams met four times in all competitions and split the series 2-2, as the home side won each match. In the first game of that series, the Union’s Zach Pfeffer had a dramatic stoppage-time win to end D.C.’s unbeaten streak on May 17th. The Union also won another huge game against D.C. the following month when the Union came back from a one-goal deficit to advance in the US Open Cup at PPL Park, even after going down to 10 men early on.

A key to winning for the Union is going to be the teams’ ability to shut down Saborio, who already has four goals this season. The Union are led by Sapong’s five goals and Chris Pontius’s four. The Union will look to continue high pressing opposing teams and turning them over close to their own goal while dominating possession.

Something to watch for: DC United’s Marcelo Sarvas has already had six yellow cards, one red card and 32 fouls this season. He is second in the league in yellow cards.

Projected first XI: Blake; Fabinho, Marquez, Tribbett, Rosenberry; Carroll, Nogueira; Pontius, Barnetta, Le Toux; Sapong

Prediction: the Union take all three points at home against an inferior D.C. United team and re-assert themselves in the East. Union 2, D.C. United 1.

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