The Philadelphia Union will host Atlas F.C. in the 1st leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals Tuesday night at 8 pm on FS1. This will mark the first meeting between these two teams in the history of their clubs. The boys in blue cruised past Alianza in the 1st round of the CCL with a 4-0 victory in the 2nd leg at Subaru Park. On the other hand, Atlas faced a tougher test in the first round of the Champions when they fell behind on aggregate 4-1 to C.D. Olimpia on the road.
The 2nd leg was a different story. Atlas turned the tables on Olimpia, winning 4-0 at Jalisco Stadium, giving them the edge on aggregate 5-4. Sending them through to the quarterfinals and a matchup against the Philadelphia Union. Atlas have been off to a rough start this year in Liga MX, sitting in 12th place with only 12 points in 12 games played. Their best chance at lifting a trophy this year is the CCL. Look for Atlas to bring their A-game to the pitch come Tuesday in Chester.
Andre Blake returned this weekend vs. Sporting KC just in time to knock off some rust. That will be key for a team that allowed five goals in 2 games in his absence due to a grade 1 adductor strain. He suffered against Chicago on March 11th. Blake was solid as always in his 1st game back from injury. Stopping all four shots he faced, giving him his 1st clean sheet of the season and 2nd in all competitions.
Nate Harriel got the start this week in place of Olivier Mbaizo. Matt Real filled in for injured Kai Wagner at left-back. Although solid defensively, Real didn’t provide much to an already struggling offense. An offense that looked out of sync for another game this season. The Union hopes to get Wagner back for Tuesday’s match-up versus Atlas. When asked after the game about the Kai Wagner injury, Head Coach Jim Curtin said, “I wouldn’t rule him out yet for Tuesday. It’s a grade 1 hamstring which is as minor as it gets. I think hell be back sooner rather than later, which is a good thing.”
The Union has been unable to find their footing offensively this season. They are struggling to put together consistent stretches of good soccer. Curtin said after the game, “we don’t look like ourselves.” Flach, Gazdag, Bedoya, Uhre, and Carranza have done little to get the engine running for the attack. The Union must look to turn that around quickly with a CCL match-up against Atlas and a 3-game road trip coming up after that. Philadelphia looks to get back on track Tuesday night at home.
My name is Diego Bianchi born and raised in Philadelphia. I’m a sports analyst, writer, and show host covering Philadelphia sports for Edge of Philly Sports. I also am a credentialed media member covering the Philadelphia Union for EOP. My passion for sports started since forever ago. At least, it feels like that. Thanks to my amazing family. I love doing this every day. You can catch me every Monday night on the Sully Squad at 6 PM on Edge of Philly Sports.