10things_PHI

10 things on Philadelphia Union

With its first win of the season in the bag, the Impact returns to the United States this Saturday to take on the Union in Philadelphia at 1pm EDT (TVA Sports, 98,5FM & TSN Radio 690) Here are 10 things to know on the Bleu-blanc-noir’s next opponent.

Context

The league’s only winless team at this stage has lost its four most recent games, including the last two at its Talen Energy Stadium home. The Union has scored fewer goals than it has played games, all the while conceding nearly two per match on average. Head coach Jim Curtin is looking for solutions – his team hasn’t won since August 27, 2016 –, and his decision to play an additional creator in the centre of midfield against New York City didn’t yield the desired result as the Union lost 2-0. What will he try next?

Current form

D-D-L-L-L-L

Head coach

Jim Curtin (28-40-24 all-time as Philadelphia Union head coach) has been head coach of the Union since June 10, 2014. Curtin first took the job on an interim basis until November 7, 2014, when he was confirmed as first team head coach. A player with Chicago Fire and Chivas USA from 2001 to 2009, Curtin joined the Union Academy in 2010 before moving on to the first team technical staff on November 29, 2012. An assistant coach for almost two years, Curtin replaced John Hackworth, whose bad start to the 2014 season cost him his job, at the helm.

Current top scorer

CJ Sapong (3)

Players to watch

1. Keegan Rosenberry (#12) – The Union’s iron man has missed a grand total of six minutes of his team’s games since turning pro.

2. Haris Medunjanin (#6) – Medunjanin has been creating more chances than his teammates seem able to finish.

3. Andre Blake (#18) – He didn’t exactly look like a world beater on David Villa’s goal last weekend, but Blake can steal the show – and the win.

Team profile

Here is what Impact Media wrote on September 9, 2016: “The signing of Alejandro Bedoya has allowed Tranquillo Barnetta [who returned to Switzerland in the winter] to move back up to his preferred position, behind the forward. The Union manages to diversify its play and can create danger from just about anywhere, but the team mostly tries to take the game to the opposition. On the flanks, Ilsinho, Fabian Herbers and Chris Pontius can provide width, but they are efficient cutting inside. Impact fans will remember the first goal conceded to the Union at Stade Saputo this season, when Pontius crossed for Le Toux, who crossed back into the six-yard box for C.J. Sapong who tapped the ball home. Given the profile of Sapong and the habits of Pontius, Ilsinho and Herbers, this area will likely be under threat. The Union has also been doing well on set plays, especially on corner kicks. For its part, the Union defence, led by an ever-improving Richie Marquez at centre back, anticipates plays well and recovers its fair share of balls. But it can get caught if the opponent speeds things up, all the more so if that team finds space between the lines to combine quickly.”

In 2016:

Shots on target*

Goals scored from inside the penalty area

Goals scored from outside the penalty area

Goals scored on headers

5th (167)

10th (42)

1st (10)

16th (5)

Possession (%)

Big chance conversion (%)

Successful passes in attacking third (%)

Duels won (%)

13th (48.7%)

11th (47.2%)

15th (63%)

1st (52%)

*Source for all data is Opta

In 2017:

Shots on target*

Goals scored from inside the penalty area

Goals scored from outside the penalty area

Goals scored on headers

11th (25)

18th (5)

15th (0)

1st (3)

Possession (%)

Big chance conversion (%)

Successful passes in attacking third (%)

Duels won (%)

10th (50.3%)

14th (50%)

15th (61.5%)

14th (50.1%)

*Source for all data is Opta

Tactical formation

Jim Curtin sticks to a 4-2-3-1 that can turn into a 4-3-3. Lineup v New York City FC (April 14): Blake; Rosenberry, Elliott, Marquez, Fabinho; Bedoya, Medunjanin; Ilsinho, Alberg, Pontius; Sapong.

Most recent games against the Impact

The Impact pulled off two good results in its last games against the Union. On July 23, 2016, the Impact delighted its supporters with a 5-1 triumph over a Union team that had no solutions for the Bleu-blanc-noir’s play that night at Stade Saputo. Then, on September 10, 2016, Montreal was down a goal for a long time in Chester, Pennsylvania, but a well-worked corner kick led to an 88th-minute Matteo Mancosu equalizer, and the Impact returned home with a point.

Injuries, absences and call-ups (as of April 19)

GK John McCarthy (concussion)
D Joshua Yaro (shoulder) -- now training on the sidelines
D Ken Tribbett (ankle)
M Maurice Edu (ankle/tibia)
M Warren Creavalle (calf)

Next games

LA Galaxy v Philadelphia Union (MLS, April 29)
Philadelphia Union v New York Red Bulls (MLS, May 6)
D.C. United v Philadelphia Union (MLS, May 13)

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