On Saturday, the Philadelphia Union will take on Orlando City SC for the second time in four days, but this time the scene moves from Florida to Talen Energy Stadium.
The Union had two weeks off with the Gold Cup break, followed by a three game road swing. As a result, the boys in blue haven’t played at home since June 8, almost a month ago. But on Saturday, they’ll get back to enjoying the comforts of home, with Orlando City following them in after losing to the Union 3-1 on Wednesday night.
The match wasn’t the only thing the Lions lost. Thanks to red card suspensions, they will also be without the services of Robin Jansson and Sacha Kljestan. Kljestan’s red card was due to a harsh challenge to Jamiro Monteiro, which resulted out in a left ankle sprain for the Union midfielder.
Monteiro has been one of the Union’s best players this season, and his absence hurts the club. We could see Brenden Aaronson move up to the number 10 spot, and if healthy enough, I’d expect to see Ilsinho start on the right wing. Ilsinho did miss the last game with a left abductor strain, so if he isn’t fit to start, head coach Jim Curtin will have some decisions to make. Being as the Union have had two midweek games in a row, this could be a good time for squad rotation. Based on past lineups, I won’t expect to too many changes from Curtin though.
One person who will almost certainly be in the lineup is Kacper Przybylko, who has scored four goals in the last three games. The friendly striker is making a statement to keep getting minutes with the addition of new striker Andrew Wooten imminent. And we’ll also see Andre Blake back in front of the goal, thanks to the US Men’s National Team 3-1 takedown of Jamaica on Wednesday night.
The Union are back at home and the stands will be filled with a fireworks show following the match. And a first place spot in the table doesn’t hurt attendance either. I think the Union will ride a home field advantage to a convincing win to further secure their place at the top of the standings. Prediction: Union 3, Orlando City SC 0