What should AFC Bournemouth expect in friendly against Philadelphia Union?

Premier League newcomers AFC Bournemouth play their first preseason game on Tuesday night as Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union will play host to the Cherries at PPL Park in what should be an intriguing game.

Bournemouth won the Championship with relative ease last season and so Eddie Howe‘s side fully deserve their place in the top flight of English football. But they know it will be a tough season and so their preseason preparations must be executed perfectly.

A trip to the United States to face the Union will improve team spirit and will help the new signings gel with their teammates before they play their first game together on Tuesday night in what will be a real test.


The fact that Philadelphia are in the middle of their domestic campaign will help them as fitness levels will be at the perfect level, whereas Eddie Howe’s squad have not played a game for over two months.

Preseason is all about improving match fitness but the Cherries may suffer against physically more equipped opponents at this stage of their summer.

As well as fitness, Bournemouth will be looking for a positive result and there is no doubt that returning to England with a win will be the aim here.

Many Bournemouth fans, and perhaps players too will likely be surprised by the quality of play that the Union will be able to demonstrate. Major League Soccer has improved dramatically each year and teams are now in a position to give even the strongest Premier League sides a test.


Philadelphia are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference and sit 16th in the overall MLS standings. It’s not been a perfect season by any stretch for Jim Curtin’s side but they haven’t lost in three and beat Portland Timbers 3-0 at home on Saturday night – a game the Bournemouth players watched from inside the owner’s box at PPL Park.

Five of their six wins this season have come at PPL Park and they are always better in front of their owns fans.

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Philly lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace in a friendly last July and will be looking to put in a better performance this time around against the Premier League newboys.

Over 15,000 fans turned out to watch the game against Palace last year and so another good atmosphere is to be expected for Tuesday night’s game.


Jim Curtin will no doubt be prioritising Saturday night’s game against Toronto FC and so star players will not feature for more than 45 minutes on Tuesday. But a strong team is to be expected as Philadelphia will likely line up in their familiar 4-2-3-1 formation – a system Bournemouth will come up against numerous times in the Premier League this year.

Maurice Edu has made more starts than any other Philadelphia player this season and the versatile American will likely continue in defence for the visit of AFC Bournemouth.

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At the other end, CJ Sapong and Cristian Maidana will need to be watched closely. Sapong has five goals and two assists in his last nine games, while Maidana assisted all three goals in the win over Portland on Saturday.

Eddie Howe will likely opt to start with the 4-4-2 system that worked so well last term and new signings Sylvain Distin, Christian Atsu, Tyrone Mings and Joshua King will all expect to feature.

What do you think the score will be in Tuesday night’s friendly?


6 thoughts on “What should AFC Bournemouth expect in friendly against Philadelphia Union?

  1. Blimey, is your goalie huge or are the two players in front of him small? Still, with our American friends it should be a good game, result? I don’t really care…..just don’t damage our players 🙂

    • It’s combo of both, haha. He’s 6′ 5″ (1.96 m).

      Congrats to Bournemouth. Hopefully their impressive Championship form will translate well to the Prem and they’ll make their mark (and break up some of the monotony at the top of the table).

      As for the match, I agree with your sentiments. Don’t hurt our guys, as we’ve had more injuries the past few months than we had the previous two seasons combined. Aside from that, should be a fun watch and hopefully a good experience for your players experiencing a different (and much younger) soccer/football culture.

  2. Union fan here with a few things to add:

    – This is only the 6th season that the Union have been in the MLS. Interestingly enough, the supporters group (The Sons of Ben) was formed before the team. In fact, a movie was made about it (http://www.mlssoccer.com/sideline/news/article/2015/04/21/sons-ben-movie-story-unions-famed-supporters-group-premier-summer)

    – The Union started the MLS season very poorly but have been playing much better as of late with 6 wins in their last 10 across all competitions. At one point, the supporters group even staged a protest outside the stadium due to their distrust with the front office and frustrations with bad contracts being signed and a lack of accountability.

    – The Union are at there best on the counter attack and rarely outpossess their opponents. Expect Bournemouth to win the possession battle.

    – Another key player not mentioned above is #5 Vincent Nogueira. He is the key for connecting our backline to our forwards and is one of the most technical players on the team.

    – Keep an eye on #14 Eric Ayuk. This is his first year that the 18yr old Cameroonian is with the team and he brings a lot of flair to the field, including a backflip celebration when he scores a goal.

    – Zach Pfeffer (#27) and Jimmy McLaughlin (#20) are the first two players to come from the Union’s academy and join the first team and so are two players most Union fans watch closely when they get on the field.

    – Defender Steven Vitoria (#23), keeper Brian Sylvestre (#49), and forward Fernando Aristeguieta (#18) are all with the team on loan with an option to buy at the end of the season and so all players that Union fans are watching closely. Current opinion seems to be positive for both Sylvestre and Aristeguieta while not quite sure about Vitoria yet simply because he has been injured.

    – Finally, it must be noted that there has been a mess of a keeping situation in Philadelphia – as laughable as it is sad. The starter from last year, Zac MacMath, was loaned out to make room for Rais Mbolhi after his stellar World Cup performance with Algeria. However, he did not mesh well with the team and has since been sent home while being marked for transfer. To further make matters worse, presumed backup Andre Blake required surgery on his knee leading to 3rd string keeper John McCarthy to get the call. Brian Sylvestre was then brought in on loan for cover at the position and was forced into action right away because McCarthy suffered a concussion during training. Since he arrived though Sylvestre has won the job and has been the most consistent of all the keepers.

    In any case, I hope you all enjoy the game and wish all Bournemouth supporters the best for their upcoming season!

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