Match Preview: Union vs FC Cincinnati, Wednesday May 1 at 7:30 PM

Fresh off of an important road point, the Union welcome FC Cincinnati to Talen Energy Stadium with an eye on first place in the East.

Your Philadelphia Union (4-2-3, 14 pts, 3rd in East) face expansion side FC Cincinnati (2-2-5, 8 pts, 11th in East) in Chester tomorrow in an Eastern Conference battle.

It was not so long ago that we felt fortunate when the Union defeated someone. The team has progressed to the point now where there are matches they should be expected to win; such is the case with the fixture tomorrow. This match is of particular import for the Union for a number of reasons:

  1. It’s generally important to win your home matches in soccer, but even more so in MLS due to the nature of the league (such as a harsh travel schedule and built-in parity things, like being limited on the amount of chartered flights you can take).
  2. This is a badly-struggling Cinci side, one that the Union beat 2-0 in Cincinnati in a dominating performance a little over a month ago. The Queen City’s side’s results since that match look like this: draw, loss, loss, loss. Anything less than three points by the boys in blue would be an utter failure.
  3. A win would put the Union on 17 points and in first place in the East, over DC United by goal differential

Working for the Union:

FC Cincinnati’s aforementioned ineptitude, home field advantage, general team depth (which they will need because…)

Working against the Union:

…they’re playing a midweek match following a hellish travel day (thanks MLS!) and have another match this weekend at home against New England.

Also: goalkeeper Andre Blake (groin strain) and Mark McKenzie (appendectomy recovery) will be unavailable for selection for the U, while Marco Fabian (ankle sprain), Anthony Fontana (ankle sprain), and Ilsinho (hamstring sprain) are questionable. (UPDATE: Kai Wagner will also not be available, as the disciplinary committee handed down an extra match suspension yesterday for his red card against Montreal).

For Cincinnati, Greg Garza (calf injury) and Corben Bone (shoulder injury) are questionable.

The Pick:

Travel worries or not, this is a team the Union should beat at home, and that’s exactly what will happen.

Union 2 – FC Cincinnati 1

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