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Oppo Research: 5 Things about Philadelphia Union

We look at the strengths and weaknesses of team coming off a wild win over Nashville on the road.

Blake is back | Courtesy Philadelphia Union

In this edition of Oppo Research, Hudson River Blue spoke up with Joe Lister of Philadelphia Soccer Now for the second time this season to get the dirt on Philadelphia Union, New York City FC’s opponent on Matchday 24 at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. Back in May, Lister predicted that Philadelphia would beat NYCFC at Citi Field 0-2 — which they went on to win 1-3. Shows what he knows.

Here is your NYCFC vs Philadelphia preview.

1. Blake is back

Hudson River Blue: Philadelphia had a wild game on Wednesday in Nashville: Two penalties, three red cards, 25 fouls called. You’ve been Boiko’ed! It was a game the Union should have lost on paper and yet they flew home with a win — it must have tasted good after suffering two road losses in a row. Now Philadelphia sit comfortably in fourth place in the Eastern Conference. What’s the feeling in Chester these days? 

Joe Lister: It’s up and down, especially after last night.

It’s worth noting that a lot of the recent poor form can be attributed to playing through the Gold Cup. Yes, everyone lost players to the tournament, but not everyone went from Andre Blake in goal to Joe Bendik. Against the Los Angeles Galaxy, two of the Union’s three goals can be directly attributed to Bendik’s mistakes. The third goal Blake may have gotten a touch on to poke it over the bar. 

But Blake will be back for Saturday’s game, so the vibes are higher. With the addition of Kai Wagner back to the starting XI after missing time due to injury, fans are feeling alright. Away stretches are tough, and this summer is full of them, but the win over Nashville feels like the squad could be turning things around. A lot of guys took a bump in quality, which means that it’s probably a managing change over a player change, which is ideal.

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