The Philadelphia Union will look to gain their first win against FC Dallas in league play tomorrow when they take on one of the elite teams in the MLS at home inside Talen Energy Stadium.
The defense will be highly relied on if the Union come out of this fixture with a result. I expect the starting backline to stay the same, and they will have their hands full with the high-powered offense Dallas will be bringing into town. Communication and staying organized for a full 90 minutes will be key for the Union. They can’t have lapses in the back late in the game like they allowed last week against the New England Revolution or else they will be punished once again. The back four will also need help from the likes of Alejandro Bedoya to provide extra support. In this matchup, Bedoya will most likely focus more on his defensive efforts only going forward when he sees fit.
And it isn’t just Dallas’ offense that has been key to their success and seeing them second in the Western Conference standings. Their stingy defense is second-best in goals allowed this season in the entire league. It will be interesting to see how the Union line up attacking wise. If Fafa Picault is 100% he will get back into the starting XI, but if not expect Marcus Epps to get the nod again. Also, Jim Curtin will have to decide on the inconsistent 10 position of his squad with either Roland Alberg or Ilsinho as his main option.
Whoever does start at that 10 role will need to put in a top performance to make sure C.J. Sapong and other attacking outlets get the ball in dangerous areas to threaten the Dallas defense. In this game, they won’t be able to rely solely on the defensive midfielders to distribute the long balls to put those attacking players in.
The Union badly need to secure all three points if they want to make a late push and get into the playoff conversation. And they will have a tall task to do so when they face off against one of the best and most well-rounded teams in the MLS. The silver lining for the Union will be the reassurance this game is at home where they have won six of their last seven games in Chester, PA. Hopefully the Union can exploit FC Dallas in the same manner Vancouver was able to in route to their 4-0 victory versus Dallas last weekend. Game is set to kickoff at 7:00PM EST.
(photos: Philadelphia Union twitter: @PhilaUnion)