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Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs. D.C. United

Union will look to keep their undefeated home record intact as they host I-95 rival D.C. United in the "Viernes de Futbol" national game on UniMas.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Game: Philadelphia Union Vs D.C. United

Date: Friday, May 20th

Time: 7:00 PM EST

Venue: Talen Energy Stadium - Chester, PA

Referees: REF: Jaime Herrera, AR1: Adam Garner, AR2: Claudiu Badea, 4TH: Juan Guzman

Television: UniMas

Streaming: MLS Live (no blackout)

All-time record: The Union have played 18 games against D.C., winning seven, drawing three, and losing eight.

What D.C. United will look like: United play a 4-4-2 formation, generally having Fabian Espindola and Luciano Acosta up top.  They have the speed of Patrick Nyarko and Lamar Neagle on the outsides, and have a variety of players that play in central midfield.  Their back 4 has been consistently Taylor Kemp, Bobby Boswell, Steve Birnbaum, and Sean Franklin.  They don't play much over-the-top, it's mostly connecting through-balls to diagonal runs from outside-in. Espindola is usually troublesome for the Union defense.

What the Union will look like: Union are coming off of two "moral victory" draws, against L.A. Galaxy and Montreal Impact. They have been consistently starting CJ Sapong in front of  Chris Pontius, Tranquillo Barnetta, and Sebastien Le Toux.  Ilsinho may not be fully fit, but Union may try to tweak the lineup to turn draw form into win form.  Keegan Rosenberry and Fabinho have been really good at accentuating the offense with their wide play.  The holding midfield has been in a rotation of primarily three players, so expect Brian Carroll who was a sub last week to get the start this week.  Barnetta has been the most influential player for Union, so watch for the team to go as he goes.

What to expect: There was an article posted Wednesday about how this match-up seems to always involve physical play and unusual brilliance or gaffes.  Both of these teams would like to set a tone at about the one-third point of the season to start separating from non-playoff contenders.  Union will use their 5-man midfield to try to pressure D.C.'s middle-four into hurried passes and short possession.  D.C. will likely counter by using Nyarko to get in behind Fabinho and put Philadelphia's goal at risk.  Preventing break-outs will be critical, so look for Union to be more careful in their possession with quicker passes to keep D.C.'s defense off-balance.