Photo: Steven Spear
Who: Philadelphia Union (6-7-1, 25 points, 2nd in the East) vs. Cincinnati FC (6-1-7, 19 points, 8th in the East)
Which: 2022 MLS Regular Season – Week 15
Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania
When: Saturday, June 18, 7:30 pm (Eastern)
Whistling: Referee: Timothy Ford, Associates: Jeremy Kizo, Jeffrey Schwarzel. Fourth official: Jeremy Scheer, VAR: Ian McKay.
Since the Union last played, the Dow dropped 3,200 points, the federal funds rate rose 0.75 points, crypto somehow got even more worthless, the Phillies are worth watching (or at least , pay attention to him) Bill Barr called Trump Election fraud claims to be both nonsense and nonsense …
Well, you get the idea. It was a long wait.
But it all ends on a Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. when Cincinnati FC comes to town to start a steady dose of matches in October (and beyond).
The Union went undefeated in their six meetings with Cincinnati with 5 wins and one draw, scoring 11 goals and conceding only one. It was a bit one sided. All indications are that this trend will continue.
Scout Report: FC Cincinnati
In the three seasons since joining the MLS, Cincinnati have finished bottom of the Eastern Conference on all three occasions. So in the off-season, management did what any smart club would do, found a successful team to emulate and poached their talents.
Cincinnati looked east and saw Philadelphia and they liked what they saw. Thus, Chris Albright became general manager and Pat Noonan became head coach. Throw in Ray Gaddis, Alvas Powell, and Haris Medundzhanin, and Cincinnati could be accused of plagiarism.
In their first match against Austin, they went out in a familiar 4-4-2 formation, but the 5-0 shellac they devoured quickly convinced them that their talent was not suited to that formation. Since then, Cincinnati has played almost exclusively in a 3-4-1-2 formation, winning several games and moving from the bottom of the table.
Unlike years past, this new version of Cincinnati has the ability to score goals. Brandon Vasquez seems to be reaching his potential with seven goals in just 13 games. He is served by midfielder Luciano Acosta, an attacking midfielder and playmaker.
Injury report: Yuya Kubo, Ronald Matarrita
Doubtful: Junior Moreno
Intelligence Report: Soyuz
So where are we? In second place is still only one loss in 14 games with the fewest goals per game in MLS (0.71). There are perhaps too many draws that could have been wins and it was a bit difficult to score goals at times. In general, it’s not even bad.
The starting eleven will be back in full force on Saturday as everyone is healthy and without suspension. Both teams will be resting, with the possible exception of Hungary’s Daniel Gazdag, who may have been tired after scoring against England in the UEFA Nations League.
Micheal Ure will finally return to the field paired with Julian Carranza. We’ve seen a frustratingly few talented Union strikers together due to various injuries, contract conditions and suspensions, but their good form will certainly solve the goals problem.
The team will be left without the services of Paxten Aaronsohn, Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn and Brandan Craig as they continue their participation in the 2022 Koncacafe U-20 Championship. With Sergio Santos also out (gaining his green card), the bench and subs will look a bit different than usual.
Iinjury report: Nobody
Suspension report: Nobody
key match: Brandon Vasquez vs. Union centre-backs
Vazquez is in good shape and makes strong and frequent entries into the box. Glesnes and Elliott will need to stay sharp to keep those goals lower than average.
Player to watch: Mikael Ure
Time for the rain maker to start flooding.
Prediction: Philadelphia 3-0 Cincinnati
Ure’s double and the team’s first three-goal game of the season. Send Cincinnati home for some bad chili.
Philadelphia Union: -170
Cincinnati FC: +450
Note. Ray Gaddis receives a +2000 bonus to score a goal.