Date: Wednesday February, 17th 2016
Time: 4:00 PM
Venue: Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, FL
All-time Record: The Union have played 18 games against D.C., winning seven, drawing three, and losing eight.
How D.C. will look: We'll get to see D.C.'s new logo in action! So far their only preseason action has been a 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies. In that game, new signing Luciano Acosta assisted Fabian Espindola for the only goal. D.C. United has been trying to break in a new formation to suit Luciano Acosta, going with a 4-4-1-1 in the game against Tampa Bay so expect to see more of the same against the Union. D.C.'s starting XI consisted of Andrew Dykstra in goal behind a back four of Luke Mishu, Jalen Robinson, Steve Birnbaum, and Taylor Kemp. In the midfield they started Patrick Nyarko, Rob Vincent, Paul Clowes, and Nick DeLeon. Luciano Acosta took on a free attacking role behind Fabian Espindola who was the sole striker.
How Philadelphia Will Look: The Union looked good during periods of their 4-2 loss to the Chicago Fire but they also exhibited some issues that we know all too well, mainly a shaky back line. Joshua Yaro will look to make up for his nervous mistakes against the Fire. Players such as Fabian Herbers, Walter Restrepo and Leo Fernandes are definitely going to be on the radar after strong showings against the Fire. The Union's starting XI against the fire is below:
Blake; Fabinho, Tribbett, Marquez, Rosenberry; Nogueira, Fernandes;— Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) February 11, 2016
Pontius, Barnetta (c), Le Toux;
Look for the Union to come out with a close to full-strength starting XI vs D.C. I would expect some rotation with C.J. Sapong starting up top and Roland Alberg slotting into the midfield or wing.
What to expect: With us now being 19 days away from the start of the regular season, look for both teams to try to play more polished football. Neither team has put together a clean match so far but that's OK at this point. A win isn't important but to go out and beat a full strength D.C. United squad would be great. With this being an invitational, it will be a little more competitive than the prior friendlies that the Union have had, which will serve them well. The rookies and newcomers need game time to settle into Jim Curtin's system and that's exactly what they're going to get.