Date: Wednesday, May 17th
Time: 7:30 PM Eastern, 6:30 PM Central, 4:30 PM Pacific
Venue: Talen Energy Stadium (Chester, Pa.)
Referees: REF: Jorge Gonzalez, AR1: Jason White, AR2: Logan Brown, 4TH: Mark Geiger
Television: The Comcast Network
Streaming: MLS Live
All-time record: The Union have won four, lost six, and drawn four against the Houston Dynamo in the regular season, and have also lost twice to Houston in the post-season, back in 2011.
The Philadelphia Union (2W 4L 4D) seem to have turned a corner. After going winless in fifteen regular season games (sixteen if you count the playoff loss to Toronto FC), the Union are now unbeaten in four - including a shutout draw in Los Angeles against the LA Galaxy and back-to-back thumpings of the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United. They’re going up against a Houston Dynamo (6W 3L 1D) who is second in MLS in points and points per game.
What Philadelphia will look like
Not much different than they did against D.C. United last Saturday. In yesterday’s press conference, Jim Curtin said that fatigue would be more of an issue on Saturday than on Wednesday. With the club’s recent run of form, there isn’t much need to adjust personnel. The only wild card is the 10, with Roland Alberg injured and unlikely to play. Curtin indicated either Ilson Jr. or Adam Najem could play the position.
What Houston will look like
Houston has seen a resurgence after a few bad years, so much like the Union don’t look for them to change much since their last outing against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Their 4-3-3 is designed to hit teams fast on the counterattack, with left winger Alex’s pace and Cubo Torres and Mauro Manotas up top providing a dual threat to Houston’s opposition.
What to expect
The Union are perhaps getting a bit of a break playing the Dynamo. Alberth Ellis was limited to only 31 minutes against Vancouver due to a hamstring injury. He may or may not be able to go against the Union. Houston are also winless away from home, losing all three road contests this year by a combined score of 8-2. They were shut out of their last two road games as well, which bodes well for a Union team that hasn’t conceded in 273 minutes. Both teams thrive off of the counterattack, and it will be interesting to see who blinks first.