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Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas | 2017 MLS Match Preview

Philadelphia Union vs. FC Dallas
2017 MLS Regular Season
Talen Energy Stadium — Chester, Pennsylvania
Saturday, August 5 – 7 pm ET
WATCH: MLS LIVE

Fresh off another dismal performance on the road — a 3-0 loss to New England on Saturday that dropped them to 1-7-3 in away matches this year — the Philadelphia Union may need to take all remaining available points at home to stay in the playoff hunt.

But while the Union have been solid at home with a 6-3-2 mark this season, they'll have one of their toughest tests to date at Talen Energy Stadium. That's where they face an FC Dallas team that's both very good on the road, and very hungry to prove a point.

The latter is the case because Dallas, currently sitting in second place in the Western Conference, is coming off a humbling 4-0 home loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. That could spell trouble for the ninth-place Union, who begin a vital two-game homestand before hitting a daunting part of their schedule.

Philadelphia Union

It was a good week for Union rookies, as winger Marcus Epps bagged his first career goal in last Wednesday's 3-0 home win over Columbus Crew SC, and center back Jack Elliott had a monster goal-line clearance in Saturday's loss to New England.

That led to Union head coach laving some high praise for Elliott, who took over as a starter in April and hasn't relinquished the spot since.

“For me, I think he’s been the Rookie of the Year,” Curtin said of Elliott. “He’s played at that level and I thought he was excellent again.”

Considering Epps was taken in the second round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and Elliot in the fourth, the Union are getting some unlikely production from this year's draft class. But questions remain about last year's star class as Joshua Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry, and Fabian Herbers have all seen their roles reduced, either because of injury or performance.

A more pressing question for the Union is whether Andre Blake will return to face Dallas. The Jamaican goalkeeper has missed the last five Union games because of his starring role in the Gold Cup, and then a hand injury he suffered in the tournament final

  • Suspended: None
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M Maurice Edu (left ankle/left tibia surgery recovery), F Fabian Herbers (sports hernia surgery recovery); QUESTIONABLE: GK Andre Blake (hand), D Oguchi Onyewu (left groin strain), Fafa Picault (left hamstring strain)

Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1, left to right): John McCarthy – Giliano Wijnaldum, Oguchi Onyewu, Jack Elliott, Raymon Gaddis – Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya – Chris Pontius, Roland Alberg, Fafa Picault – CJ Sapong

Notes: After going winless in their first four home games in 2017 (2L-2D), Philly has won six of their last seven home games (1L). The Union have outscored visitors 14-3 over that span. ... Philadelphia is averaging 47.1% possession this year, the second-lowest average in the team’s MLS history (45.5% in 2015).

FC Dallas

Fresh off an impressive Gold Cup, Kellyn Acosta could be eyeing a move to Europe as early as this summer. 

“Any window is a possibility,” Acosta said from Chicago, while with the MLS All-Stars. “Ideally if I were to move, I would want to move during this window because this is the preseason for them rather than the winter when I’m winding down my season as well as jumping in the middle of their season. So I mean, ideally, now would be the time, but when the time comes, the time comes.”

Of more immediate concern will be the loss of midfielder Carlos Gruezo, who was issued a straight red in last week's match and will thus be suspended for the Hoops' game in Philly.

That's a tough blow for an FC Dallas side that was just getting everyone back together after Acosta, goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, and defender Matt Hedges were all on Gold Cup duty.

  • Suspended: Carlos Gruezo (red card)
  • International Duty: None
  • Injury Report: None

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1 left to right): Jesse Gonzalez – Ryan Hollingshead, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Atiba Harris – Kellyn Acosta, Victor Ulloa – Roland Lamah, Mauro Diaz, Michael Barrios – Maximiliano Urruti

Notes: FC Dallas has only lost two games on the road this season, the fewest in the league. They have only conceded nine goals on the road, which is also the fewest in the league. ... FC Dallas conceded four goals to Vancouver last weekend, the first time they conceded four or more goals in a league home game since April 2015, and only the fourth time they have done so since the end of the 2008 campaign.

All-Time Series

FC Dallas has never lost to Philadelphia, scoring in all nine meetings between the two clubs, including multiple goals in seven of the nine games.

  • Overall (9 regular season matches): Philadelphia 0W-5L-4D (8 GF/17 GA); Dallas 5W-0L-4D (17 GF/8 GA)
  • At Philadelphia (4 regular season matches): Philadelphia 0W-1L-3D (5 GF/7 GA); Dallas 1W-0L-3D (7 GF/5 GA)

Referees

Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Assistant Referees: Jeffrey Greeson, Kyle Longville
Fourth Official: Jorge Gonzalez
VAR: Hilario Grajeda

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