Match Preview: Philadelphia Union

BRADENTON, Fla. – After three preseason friendlies in Arizona, the Orange and Blue host the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday afternoon in the first of three matches at IMG Academy.

This match – which is closed to the public – will be the team’s first against an Eastern Conference foe and one of the last opportunities for players to prove they should play in the season opener on March 1 at Red Bull Arena.

“Philly was top of the table in the Eastern Conference last year, so it’s a huge test for us,” left back Greg Garza said. “They have a very good and athletic team…It’s a big challenge for us.”

Here’s what you need to know ahead of kickoff…

The match will be closed to the public.

Because it’s a closed scrimmage, that means starting lineups and statistics won’t be available before and after the game.

Similar to other matches this preseason, there won’t be a livestream.

FCC’s last closed scrimmage was March 24, 2018, when Cincinnati beat Columbus Crew SC, 4-2, in Obetz, Ohio.

The lineup will be split, similar to the first preseason games

Head coach Ron Jans said he’ll swap his outfield players at halftime against the Union, similar to what FCC did in the 3-0 win against Phoenix Rising FC and the 4-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City out in Arizona.

“One of the most important things is to keep everybody healthy because we had three days off in Cincinnati,” Jans said. “We’ve been training twice now (in Florida); today was a tough session. So, tomorrow, we will go back to the 45/45. And in the weekend against Nashville, a lot of players will play much longer than 45.”

Jans said only the goalkeeper will play the full 90 minutes against Philadelphia. Other than that, the only certainties are Andrew Gutman and Tom Pettersson will miss the friendly with injuries.

Gutman should be ready for the friendly against Nashville SC this weekend, while Jans said Pettersson could return to training with the group next week.

About the Union

Philly finished third in the MLS Eastern Conference standings in 2019 and are the only 2019 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs participant FCC will face this preseason.  They’re led by Brendon Aaronson and a wave of young Homegrown Players who’ve given the Union their identity. Last December, we profiled their academy during the “Examining the Academies” series.

Additionally, center midfielder Haris Medunjanin spent the last two seasons with the Union before joining FCC last November. Winger Jimmy McLaughlin was one of the club’s first Homegrown Players and came to FCC in December 2015 after starting his career with Philadelphia.