The Philadelphia Union will be battling to stay in first place when they host the Houston Dynamo on Sunday evening.
Things are looking good for the the Union right now. They are coming off a convincing 5-1 road win last week against DC United. They are on top of the table. And they have no one listed on the injury report.
But their grip on first place isn’t tight. Atlanta United are just three points below with a game in hand. NYCFC are four below with two games in hand. The Union don’t have a lot of breathing space there.
The Dynamo did the Union no favors when they lost to NYCFC Thursday night by a score of 3-2. It was a strange game, going down a man in the 28th minute when forward Romell Quioto was sent off for violent conduct after taking down NYCFC defender Ronald Matarrita. Despite being down a man, Houston actually had a 2-1 lead going into the last 10 minutes of the match, but then let up two goals including one in stoppage time to lose the match and give NYCFC all three points. But one good thing came out of that match. It means that Houston will be playing on short rest.
Unlike the Union, things aren’t looking that good for the Dynamo lately. They’ve lost six of their last seven matches and are below the playoff red line by two points going into the weekend. They will be desperate for a win. They’re trying to juice up their offense with the recent additions of striker Christian Ramirez and midfielder Niko Hanson, but it’s a big question on whether those moves will actually help the club.
Union head coach Jim Curtin has a full squad to choose from for this match. Marco Fabian is fit and starting to look like the DP we all expected. Jamiro Monteiro is back from his ankle injury and is hopefully fit enough to be in starting XI. Aurelien Collin was adequate last week replacing Auston Trusty, but I expect Trusty will be back in the lineup. Warren Creavalle got a rare start last week and did well, it will be interesting to see if Curtin decides to ride him some more, though he could decide to go with Fafa Picault, Ilsinho, or Brenden Aaronson. Plenty of choices, and you could make an argument for any of them. Yes, its a good place to be in for the Union right now.
The Dynamo are struggling and are playing on short rest. The Union are home and they are simply a better team than the Dynamo. I am hoping to see the boys in blue make a statement this match. Prediction: Union 3, Dynamo 1.