Philadelphia Union: Preview vs the Colorado Rapids

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

With the Philadelphia Union set to face off against the Colorado Rapids, here’s everything you need to know about the game.

The Ins and Outs

Philadelphia Union (1-1-0) @ Colorado Rapids (0-1-1)

When: Saturday at 9 PM Eastern – Dick’s Sporting Goods Park (Commerce City, CO)

Where to Watch: Live Well Network (Streaming on Union site in Philly Area)

PRO Referees: Head- Robert Sibiga, AR1- Eric Weisbrod, AR2- Jeffrey Greeson, 4th- Fotis Bazakos, VAR- Kevin Terry Jr.

Coaches: Jim Curtin (Philadelphia Union) – Anthony Hudson (Colorado Rapids)

Strength on the Road

Teams in Major League Soccer are not known for their road form, so people should be able to glean a lot from the Philadelphia Union’s first road trip of the year. While many would think they have a chance in Colorado against a weak looking Rapids side, the Union have consistently struggled while on the road.

The fact of the matter is the Union are a little depleted following the injury of starting Left Back Fabinho in the most recent match against Columbus Crew. If the young Union side wishes to be a part of the heights of the MLS hierarchy they will have to do well on the road. Not just getting ties, but winning games and this could be the time to show a little strength on the road.

Related Story: Preview vs the Columbus Crew

The Lineups

As mentioned earlier Fabinho is out for 4-6 weeks and that means one of two things: either Matt Real gets his first MLS minutes at Left Back, or longtime everyman Ray Gaddis returns to start in the position. Many fans would like to see the young Real added to the many youth minutes this season for Anthony Fontana, Derrick Jones, and likely season-long starting center-back Auston Trusty. That said, Ray Gaddis is a long time trusted fullback for the squad and seems the likelier to start.

As for the rest of the squad, it does not seem like a lot of changes are in order. With Fafa Picault out for one more game, and attacking force looking rather in need of some inspiration his return cannot come sooner. The main points of interest could be a return of Ilsinho at Right midfield, or Corey Burke getting a chance to potentially start. It is also of note that youngster Mark McKenzie is said to be in the 18 with the injury of Josh Yaro, and an injury to Richie Marquez. Perhaps the team is looking for a more defensive output in the upcoming match.

Player to Watch: Mathew Real

Next: Philadelphia Union start off new year on hot note

The likely big battle for Left Back this week should be won by Mathew Real. While Curtin may favor the more experience Gaddis, Real is the more natural Left Back and is better on both sides of the ball. If he starts, it will surely be the focus of Colorado’s attacking efforts, and the Union will likely hope to escape this early road trip with at least a draw. The fullback will have many eyes on him as he attempts to show that he is deserving of starting over Fabinho as the season moves forward.