The last time the Philadelphia Union lost a match (other than a friendly) was July 4th against FC Dallas in MLS play. Tonight, the Union head back to Frisco, TX in the club's biggest match ever - a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Semifinal match against the 1997 winners. That's not hyperbole. The Union have only been this far in the tournament once - back in 2012 when they lost 2-0 to the eventual tournament winners Sporting Kansas City. This time, they're guaranteed to host the Cup Final if they can beat Dallas - a team they've never beaten before, let alone on the road.
The Union are on a tear, not having lost in the six contests since that ill-fated July 4th match. Dallas won that match 2-1 with the deciding goal when Fabinho tried to clear the ball out of the box, but instead hit Sheanon Williams and the ball ricocheted in. That game also saw Maurice Edu sent off in the 88th minute on a hard tackle from behind on Blas Perez.
Dallas, however hasn't lost since May, dropping 2-1 to the San Jose Earthquakes on the 31st of that month. That's an eleven-game unbeaten streak in both MLS and US Open Cup competitions. The Union are a much different team since that last match, having added goalkeeper Rais M'Bolhi and center back Carlos Valdes - both fresh off of playing with their national teams (Algeria and Colombia, respectively) during the World Cup. M'Bolhi has yet to feature for the Union, however Valdes played a solid 90 minutes on Saturday against the Montreal Impact.
FC Dallas will most likely be without ex-Union goalkeeper Chris Seitz, who hasn't played since coming out of the match against the Union with a right quadriceps injury. Peruvian Raul Fernandez looks to seize the opportunity, giving up three goals in the four games since. Mauro Diaz is also questionable, as he was only able to go 54 minutes in their game against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday and hasn't gone more than that since going 89 against Toronto FC back on April 19.
The Union have several questions regarding fitness and who may play. Sebastien Le Toux - the tournament's leading goalscorer in the modern age - is questionable after suffering a nasty foul at the hands or Krzysztof Krol that left Seba limping and taping up his leg after the Montreal match. The aforementioned Carlos Valdes played a full 90, however hasn't played prior to that since he played against Japan in the World Cup group stage. Also, Rais M'Bolhi has yet to start for the Union, although incumbent Zac MacMath has been stellar since before M'Bolhi's arrival. And curiously, Amobi Okugo was an unused sub against Montreal. This was only the fourth match he's missed (the other three were due to suspension) since June of 2012.
Projected FC Dallas Lineup: Raul Fernandez; Je-Vaughn Watson, Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges, Zach Loyd; Andrés Escobar, Victor Ulloa, Adam Moffat, Fabian Castillo; Blas Perez, Tesho Akindele
Projected Scoreline: I think that the Union are confident because of their form as well as the recently added pieces to the team, and will get their first ever win against Dallas .1-0 Union AET.