MLS Preview and Prediction: Sporting Kansas City vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Sporting KC vs. Philadelphia Union
Venue: Children’s Mercy Park – Thursday, July 6 – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)
Match Odds: Sporting KC 4/7 – Draw 14/5 – Philadelphia 9/2

Preview

Sporting Kansas City welcome Philadelphia Union to Children’s Mercy Park for their lone meeting of the season on Thursday night. The hosts will look to go into the Gold Cup break with another victory to leave them clear at the top of the Western Conference.

SKC had to settle for a home draw with Portland on Saturday. Many will still feel that was a positive result given the key absentees on international duty.

Peter Vermes knows his team are in a strong position at the midway point of the campaign. He will fully expect his team to continue to set the pace at the top of the West for the remainder of the season.

Sporting Kansas City’s impressive home form makes them strong favourites for Thursday’s game. They haven’t lost at home in MLS for over a year. Defensively, they’ve only shipped four goals in nine games at Children’s Mercy Park this term.

Philadelphia arrive off the back of Saturday’s 3-0 win over New England. That victory put them back into a position to challenge for a playoff spot in the East.

However, they still have a lot to work on if they are to be playing postseason soccer this year. Inconsistency has prevented them from building any form, although things have been steadily building since May.

Jim Curtin would love to head back to Philly with at least a point from Thursday’s clash. They’ve only won one of their last eight away games in all competitions. But their record in Kansas City isn’t all that bad.

In eight trips to SKC, the Union have lost four, won two and drawn two. Impressively, they’ve scored on their last five visits, winning as many as they’ve lost in that time.

Team News

Sporting KC will once again be without key trio Matt Besler, Graham Zusi and Dom Dwyer. All three are with the USMNT for the Gold Cup. Roger Espinoza will miss out as a result of yellow card accumulation.

Maurice Edu, Fabian Herbers and Warren Creavalle all remain out for the Union. Brian Carroll and Richie Marquez are listed as doubts. Alejandro Bedoya is away with the USMNT, while Andre Blake is due to meet up with the Jamaica squad so John McCarthy will take over in goal.

Sporting Kansas City vs Philadelphia Union: Key Points

Sporting KC’s form: W/D/D/W/D

Philadelphia Union’s form: L/L/L/W/W

Key Stat: Sporting Kansas City are unbeaten at home in MLS for over 13 months. They have gone 18 league games without defeat, winning 13 of those games.

Key Player: Benny Feilhaber – The SKC midfielder made a speedy return from a potentially worrying ankle injury at the weekend. He will now look to lead the hosts to victory with so many key players away with the USMNT.

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Prediction

Sporting Kansas City 1-1 Philadelphia Union – Sporting KC would likely prove too strong for Philadelphia if they were at full strength. But the absences of Besler, Zusi and Dwyer significantly weaken them. The Union will fancy their chances of leaving with a point and that’s how we see it going. Score draw.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution

Competition: Major League Soccer – Philadelphia Union vs New England Revolution
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium – Sunday, July 2 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)
Match Odds: Philadelphia 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – New England 11/5

Match Preview

Philadelphia Union take on New England Revolution in an important Eastern Conference battle on Sunday evening. The two sides are separated by just a point as we enter the second half of the season, so this should be an exciting matchup.

Both will be disappointed to be outside the playoffs at the halfway point but they have more than enough time to turn their form around and make a charge for success over the next few months.

The Union snapped a three-game losing streak with their 1-0 win over DC United last weekend but followed that up with a disappointing penalty shootout loss to the New York Red Bulls in Wednesday’s US Open Cup clash.

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Jim Curtin’s men have won four of their last five MLS games at Talen Energy Stadium. That will feel the home fans with confidence ahead of this crunch tie.

New England had a lot more luck in their US Open Cup game on Wednesday. They edged past DC United 2-1 to pick spirits up after a tough couple of weeks. They’ve lost their last two league games and know this is a must-win game.



The Revs have really struggled away from home this season. They haven’t won a single game and have lost six of their nine road trips in MLS this term. They must end that worrying trend quickly to have any chance of securing a playoff spot come the end of October.

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This will be the 19th MLS meeting between the two sides and the first of two clashes in July, with the Revs hosting Philadelphia at the end of the month in the reverse fixture. The Union hold the advantage based on previous games, having won nine of the 18 matchups and outscoring the Revs 31-24.

Team News

Philadelphia Union will once again be without captain Alejandro Bedoya as a result of his involvement with the USMNT for the upcoming Gold Cup. Maurice Edu remains out through injury, along with Richie Marquez, Brian Carroll, Fabian Herbers and Warren Creavalle.

New England travel to Philly without Xavier Kouassi, who is struggling with a thigh strain, while fellow midfielder Daigo Kobayashi is a doubt with a hamstring injury. Juan Agudelo is away with the USMNT squad for their friendly with Ghana on Saturday and won’t be involved here.

Key Points

Philadelphia Union’s form: W/L/L/L/W

NE Revolution’s form: L/D/W/L/L

Key Stat: New England are the only Eastern Conference side yet to win an away game in MLS in 2017. They have picked up just three points from a possible 27 on the road.

Key Player: Lee Nguyen – If New England are going to take anything from Sunday’s clash, they’ll need their star man to put in a strong performance. He has six goals and seven assists in 17 games this season and will expect to add to that tally against a Philadelphia side that have conceded more home goals than any other side in the East this campaign.

Score Prediction

Philadelphia Union 2-1 New England Revolution – This is likely to be a close-fought battle in what is an important clash between two sides that need three points to get back into playoff contention. New England’s terrible away form makes it hard to see them winning here. While the Union will hope to keep their good run at Talen Energy Stadium going by picking up another narrow victory. Both will expect to score but this one should be close.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union

Venue: Citrus Bowl – Wednesday, May 25 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

Match Odds: Orlando City 1/1 – Draw 5/2 – Philadelphia Union 13/5

Match Preview

Orlando City play host to Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night in the first of two games for both Eastern Conference sides’ this week.

Orlando have managed only one win in their last seven, with their win against Montreal Impact last weekend ending a run that saw Orlando spiral down the Eastern Conference. However, that victory saw them get back into the playoff slots and they will now be looking to kick on again.

With players like Julio Baptista, Cyle Larin, Antonio Nocerino and Kaka all looking to make an impact, there should be no reason for Orlando to not make the playoffs this season.

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Philadelphia Union are currently the best team in the Eastern Conference and have the best defence as well – an impressive turnaround when you consider their poor form last season.

Much of their success this season has been down to the goal scoring of CJ Sapong. His form hasn’t gone unnoticed, with a potential call-up to the USMNT being spoken about.

The Union’s form this season would be even more impressive if the Colorado Rapids weren’t top of the Supporters’ Shield standings at this stage, but their feats should still be applauded to this point.

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That being said, Philadelphia will definitely have their eyes on the Eastern Conference title this year, with a playoff place looking nailed on.

This will be the second meeting between the two sides this season. Philadelphia won 2-1 in the first clash thanks to a late Tranquillo Barnetta free-kick. The Lions have yet to beat the Union in three attempts.

Team News

Orlando City are without Pedro Ribeiro, Darwin Ceren, Seb Hines and Rafael Ramos all through injury.

Philadelphia Union are still missing Maurice Edu, who is recovering from a stress fracture. Anderson is still a doubt with a right shoulder dislocation.

Key Points

Orlando City’s last five: L/D/D/L/W

Philadelphia Union’s last five: W/D/D/D/W

Key Stat: Orlando are undefeated in their last 12 home matches in MLS.

Key Player: Kaka – The former World Player of the Year turned on the magic last weekend against Montreal Impact where he assisted both goals. He’s the maverick of this Orlando side and will be extremely important on Wednesday night once again.

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Score Prediction

Orlando City 2-2 Philadelphia Union – Orlando’s unbeaten record at home will be hard for Philly to end. Yet the Union are unbeaten in their last five and look in great shape. This one has draw written all over it, though there should be some goals.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Philadelphia Union vs LA Galaxy

Competition: Major League Soccer – Philadelphia Union vs. LA Galaxy

Venue: Talen Energy Stadium – Wednesday, May 11 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 

Match Odds: Philadelphia 6/4 – Draw 23/10 – LA Galaxy 9/5

Match Preview

Philadelphia Union welcome LA Galaxy to Talen Energy Stadium on Wednesday night in an interconference battle between two sides in good shape.

Philadelphia sit third in the East, just two points behind Montreal at the top but with two games in hand. Head coach Jim Curtin will be delighted with the start his side have made to 2016 and knows they must now push on.

The Union did not play last weekend and will hope the extended rest gives them an advantage here. They drew 1-1 with San Jose in their most recent match and are now unbeaten in six at home.

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A win on Wednesday would move the Union to the top of the Eastern Conference ahead of the weekend but the visit of an in-form Galaxy side means that three points are far from guaranteed.

The Galaxy come into this fixture off the back of their 4-2 win over New England on Sunday night, stretching their unbeaten run to seven.

Bruce Arena’s men have only lost once this term and are seemingly improving on the road, having not lost any of their last three away games.

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This will be the club’s first trip to an Eastern Conference side since last June. They only won one of five trips to an Eastern opponent last season and face a tough task in winning this contest.

LA sit second in the West heading into the game, just two points behind Colorado and have a game in hand over the Rapids at this stage, so they look to be in a strong position.

This will be just the ninth MLS meeting between these two sides. Philadelphia have only won one of the previous eight meetings (D1 L6) and have yet to beat the Galaxy at home since joining the league six years ago.

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Team News

Philadelphia Union will be without Maurice Edu once again as he continues to recover from a long-term leg injury, while Ken Tribbett is a doubt. CJ Sapong will spearhead the attack once again as the Union will hope their 11-day rest will help their cause here.

LA Galaxy will welcome back Ashley Cole from suspension here and he will hope to return to the lineup at left-back. Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard are fit again, having both played on Sunday night and it will be interesting to see if they are both ready to start here. Jeff Larentowicz made his first start in a Galaxy shirt last time out and will hope to retain his place. Alan Gordon remains a doubt with a groin injury.

Key Points

Philadelphia Union’s last five: L/W/L/W/D

LA Galaxy’s last five: D/W/W/D/W

Key Stat: Philadelphia Union have yet to beat LA Galaxy at home in MLS (D1 L2).

Key Player: Robbie Keane – The LA Galaxy talisman returned from injury in fine style at the weekend, scoring two first-half goals to help his side past New England. He now has four goals in four appearances this season and is a real threat whenever he plays.

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Score Prediction

Philadelphia Union 1-1 LA Galaxy – There is little to choose between the two sides ahead of this one. Philadelphia are tough to break down at home and should be fresh off the back of an extended rest. However, the Galaxy look to be in great shape at the moment and have nearly a full squad available. Both will fancy their chances, though a score draw looks the most likely outcome.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Chicago Fire vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire vs. Philadelphia Union

Venue: Toyota Park – Saturday, April 2 – 17:00 ET (22:00 BST)

Match Odds: Chicago Fire 11/10 – Draw 12/5 – Philadelphia Union 12/5 

Match Preview

Chicago Fire host Philadelphia Union on Saturday evening following the international break, with the home side still in pursuit of their first win of the season.

Life under new coach Veljko Paunovic has started slowly but he has installed a new system, and with it, a stronger defensive work ethic which should start to yield results sooner rather than later.

Paunovic also trusts his younger players, proven by the fact rookie Brandon Vincent has played every minute so far in a wing back role and seems to be settling in well.

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Only time will tell how well the Fire adapt under their new boss but three points will be expected on Saturday.

Philadelphia Union have started 2016 with two impressive wins after an opening day defeat at the hands of FC Dallas. Since then they have managed to defeat Columbus Crew 2-1 away from home, before blowing away New England Revolution 3-0 before the international break.

Much of their early success is down to the consistency of new recruits Chris Pontius and Keegan Rosenberry who have fit in well thus far. CJ Sapong is providing a good platform for the team to build on in attack and Jim Curtin will be delighted with what he has seen to this point.

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Things are looking up for the Union who still have Maurice Edu to come back into the fold later in the season, and who knows, they could be pushing for the playoffs come September.

These two sides met three times last year, with each winning once. The most recent meeting saw the pair play out an exhilarating 3-3 draw in Philadelphia, though Chicago won the lone meeting at Toyota Park 1-0.

Team News

Chicago Fire will be without Patrick McLain, while Sean Johnson and David Accam are both doubts but should be fit enough to make the squad come kickoff.

Philadelphia Union are still without Maurice Edu for the foreseeable future. Tranquillo Barnetta, Vincent Nogueira and Cole Missimo are all doubts but will hope to recover in time to feature.

Key Points

Chicago Fire’s form: L/D/D

Philadelphia Union’s form: L/W/W

Key Stat: Chicago are unbeaten in six-straight MLS meetings with the Union. A run that stretches back to August 2013.

Key Player: CJ Sapong  The Union striker has been in excellent form early on this term and has played a crucial part in recent wins, scoring twice last time out against New England. We expect this form to continue in what is certainly a winnable game for Philadelphia.

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Score Prediction

Chicago Fire 1-2 Philadelphia Union – Chicago are yet to register a win this term, while Philadelphia have won two on the bounce. We’re expecting the Union to edge this one, but a very open and exciting match could be played out at Toyota Park on Saturday evening.

New England aim to keep fine run going with first win at Philadelphia

New England Revolution travel to PPL Park on Saturday night to face the Philadelphia Union for the second time this season and will looking for their fourth consecutive win.

The Union will be in better spirits following their impressive 2-1 win at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night, but will have to slow down a New England attack that put five past Seattle last weekend.

The Revs can go top of the Eastern Conference with a win, while Philadelphia who sit in seventh, can continue to climb the table with a victory.

It’s the second meeting this season between the sides, with Philadelphia winning 1-0 back in March on home soil, courtesy of a Sebastien Le Toux goal. New England have never won at PPL Park but will fancy their chances of changing that tomorrow.

The Union desperately needed the three points they got on Wednesday night, as they were on a nine-game winless streak heading into the game in Kansas City, and that result will take heaps of pressure off the team.

Though they will still look to build on that win in front of their own fans as they look for what would be just their third win of the campaign.

Maurice Edu will not be available once again, as he is now with the USMNT at training camp in Stanford, while Danny Cruz will hope to keep his place in the side after such a strong showing against Kansas City.

New England are arguably the hottest team in Major League Soccer at this moment in time, and they shocked the league by beating the Sounders 5-0 last weekend, in a dominant counter-attacking display.

This will be a different game, as Philly will sit and absorb the pressure, restricting the Revs chances of hitting them on the counter-attack, and they will need to be patient to break them down.

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(Photo: Lee Nguyen will need to be as influential as he has been in recent weeks)

New England are unbeaten in their past five, and have picked up thirteen points from a possible fifteen in that time.

Rookie, Patrick Mullins will look to add his third goal in as many weeks, while Diego Fagundez and Teal Bunbury will hope to pick up where they left off in last week’s demolition of Seattle.

In the earlier meeting, Philadelphia were good value for their win and dominated possession on that occasion, but with the in-form Lee Nguyen pulling the strings for the Revs, expect this to be a balanced game.

Philadelphia Union host New England Revolution on Saturday night at midnight (UK Time).

Philadelphia stun Kansas City at Sporting Park

Philadelphia Union travelled to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night, and pulled off quite a shock by beating the reigning champions 2-1.

The victory was the first away win for the Union since the 27th September 2013, and they were worth the three points on the night.

Although the game saw the Union make nearly 300 less passes than their opponents, and they only saw 34% of the possession.

Having said that, their defensive display was assured, and going forward they were able to take their chances once they came.

The game started off lifeless, with an outstanding through ball from Graham Zusi that cut open the Philly defence the only highlight.

Kansas City were slow with their build-up play but they managed to control the tempo of the game.

Just after the half hour mark, Kansas City has a glorious opportunity to take the lead, as a move started by Matt Besler found its way to Zusi on the left, and his cross met the head Sal Zizzo, only for it to be cleared off the line.

Philly came out firing in the second half and scored three minutes in, after a break down the left side by Cristian Maidana led to a shot, which was parried by Eric Kronberg, only for Danny Cruz to tap in the rebound.

Kansas City were troubled by conceding the goal, and called on Dom Dwyer in the seventy-first minute to try and change their fortunes.

It took him nine minutes to get on the score-sheet, as a beautiful one-two with Paulo Nagamura was followed by a great strike that ended in the top corner despite Dwyer taking a knock on contact.

However, the lead was short lived as Andrew Wenger managed to bring the ball down in the Kansas City box, and put it on a plate for Maidana, who guided it to the bottom corner just a minute later to restore the Union’s lead.

The drama hadn’t finished there though, after Corben Bone, who had only come on a minute before, was shown a red card for a late tackle on Jacob Peterson.

Philadelphia held on to snatch a vital three points and will take confidence from their best result of the season.

The result leaves Sporting tied atop the Eastern Conference, with Philadelphia moving up to seventh place.

Matt Besler and Graham Zusi now travel to Stanford to join up with the USMNT squad, with the Union’s on-loan Stoke midfielder, Maurice Edu, already there.

Philadelphia host New England on Sunday, while Sporting Kansas City travel to Chicago hoping to bounce back quickly.

Philadelphia have it all to do against Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City host Philadelphia Union tonight, with both sides coming into the game in very different positions.

Kansas City are currently joint-leaders of the Eastern Conference, whereas the Union sit second from bottom in ninth place.

The Union are looking to end a club-record nine game winless streak, but it’s a difficult task against last year’s MLS Cup winners.

Philadelphia have only won one game this season, beating New England 1-0 back in March, and have now lost their last three on the bounce, and have scored just one in their last four.

The Union have scored a goal from open play for six matches, and are in real trouble as they take on an ever-dangerous Kansas City side.

Sporting have won their past two games, keeping a clean sheet in both, and have now shutout their opponents in four of their last five games.

A well organised Kansas City side are clear favourites for this game, and they are yet to lose at Sporting Park this season.

They beat 10-man Montreal Impact on Saturday, in a dominant display that saw English forward, Dom Dwyer score his second brace of the season against Montreal.

Dwyer has now scored six goals this season, and is looking a real threat. Don’t be surprised to see him on the scoresheet once again.

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(Photo: Dom Dwyer is looking increasingly dangerous for SKC)

The Union played with a 4-4-2 formation in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to DC United, but they failed to control the middle of the park and suffered as a result.

This could punish them again tonight, as Oriol Rosell has been brilliant for Sporting, and completed 160 of his 166 passes on Saturday, the highest percentage ever recorded in MLS since Opta began collecting statistics before the 2011 season.

Sporting manager, Peter Vermes was  full of praise for Rosell: “His biggest quality is that he finds himself always in the right positions to receive the ball in space, and always with options once he gets the ball. He knows before he gets it where he wants to play it, so from that perspective that’s one of the reasons why he’s been good in our team.”

The Union have it all to do, but they were in a similar position lasts season when they came to Sporting Park on a five-game winless run, and took all three points in a 1-0 victory.

A result that prompted a three-game unbeaten streak, and Philadelphia desperately need something to go their way again tonight.

Union midfielder Maurice Edu thinks that they just need a bit of luck to go their way: “I think we have to keep our heads up, maybe sometimes is just going back to the basics and grinding results.”

“We are a team that likes to play, but sometimes the best teams do not win the prettiest ways… sometimes it’s just a fluke goal or a set play and you just grind the rest of the game and maybe that is what we need right now,” he added.