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Match Preview: Mid-week Philadelphia Union game in San Jose crucial for both teams

The Philadelphia Union are in San Jose looking to get their offense clicking again against a shorthanded Earthquakes team

After the Philadelphia Union suffered a heartbreak defeat to rival New York Bulls Sunday night in Harrison, NJ, they had to travel to the opposite coast where they’ll face a hungry San Jose Earthquakes squad tonight that is fighting for their playoff destiny.

“We’re going to get now San Jose also who is like desperate for points,” said midfielder Haris Medunjanin after the loss on Sunday. “And it’s going to be a tough game for us and in three days, another game to show that you are good team on the road.”

The Earthquakes are coming off a 3-1 defeat to Atlanta United in the packed house at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The game was filled with drama as Matias Almeyda, Chris Wondolowski and Cristian Espinoza were all sent off. After playing with only 10 men since the 34th minute, the Earthquakes held their ground. Unfortunately for them, Emerson Hyndam, who is on loan from Premier League club AFC Bournemouth, scored a goal in the 90th minute after he was left unmarked inside the box.

With the loss, the Earthquakes currently hold the seventh and last playoff spot in the Western Conference, tied with the Portland Timbers with 44 points (both are 13-5-13). The Earthquakes’ place in the playoff race only makes the game even more important for them as they try to be one of competitors for the MLS Cup. However, after all the ejections Saturday at Atlanta, they will be without their head coach (Almeyda), top playmaker (Espinoza), and leading scorer (Wondolowski with 14 goals).

The Philadelphia Union (15-7-9) enter this weekday battle after a detrimental loss at Red Bull Arena. After Andre Blake’s rare miscue led to an open net goal for Tom Barlow in the 32nd minute, the Red Bulls finished the Union off with a Daniel Royer in extra time during the second half. Not only did the Union suffer their ninth loss of the season to a rival, but they are now in third in the Eastern Conference, two points behind Atlanta United for the second spot.

With Atlanta facing Eastern Conference leader New York City FC, this is the Union’s best chance to take over second place. The Blue and Gold, however, will also have to win without recent starting center back Mark McKenzie, who is out with a left hamstring tear. Matt Freese (right quad strain) and Sergio Santos (right hamstring strain) are also out for the game against the Earthquakes. It will also come with a tough environment to play in as the Earthquakes have been fantastic at Avaya Stadium this season, posting a 10-3-2 record.

How to watch

Where: Avaya Stadium, San Jose, California
When: 11 p.m. ET, Wednesday, September 25, 2019
TV: Live Well Network
Streaming: ESPN+ (blackout restrictions apply), (in-market)
Radio: Union Radio

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