Match preview: Philadelphia Union vs Alianza FC – The Philly Soccer Page

Who: Philadelphia Union vs Alianza FC

What: CONCACAF Champions League, Round of 16

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania

When: Tuesday, March 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET

Watch: FOX Soccer Plus

Whistle: REF: Bryan Lopez; AR1: Enmanuel Aguirre; AR2: Keytzel Corrales; 4th Offical: Sergio Reyna; VAR: Ricardo Montero; AVAR: Guillermo Pacheco

The Philadelphia Union and Alianza FC will finish up their CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 match tonight in Subaru Park after a 0-0 draw last week in San Salvador.

Due to the 0-0 draw, the Union will need to win the match in order to advance. If both teams score and the match ends in a draw, Alianza will advance due to more away goals scored, despite the  tie on aggregate. Another scoreless draw will see the matchup decided by penalties.

Scouting Report: Alianza FC

Since their last match, Alianza played to a 1-1 draw with CD Dragon on Friday night in the Salvadoran Primera Division. The result saw Alianza drop to second in the league, posting a record of 5-4-1, and allowing a total of only 3 goals through those 10 games.

Defense has been the name of the game thus far this season, with Alianza having conceded only twice through their first nine games, for a +11 goal differential.

Offensively, attacker Michell Mercado leads the team with five goals. Salvador international Isaac Portillo scored his first goal of the season on Friday night.

Those who followed the U.S. Men’s National Team through World Cup qualifying this past cycle may recognize a few names for Alianza, as several players featured for El Salvador against the U.S., including goalkeeper Mario Gonzalez, defender Alexander Larin, midfielder Narciso Orellana, and forward Rodolfo Zelaya.

In the first matchup of the tie, Alianza looked threatening against a heavily rotated Union side. It will be interesting to see if they will change the gameplan for a road matchup, especially in one where a lone goal can send them through.

Injury Report: None

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

The Philadelphia Union currently sit 5th in the MLS Eastern Conference after three weeks of play. After the draw in San Salvador, Philadelphia picked up a 1-0 win at Subaru Park over Chicago Fire, extending their home win streak to 12 games. The Union did lose an integral part of their squad as star goalkeeper Andre Blake exited the game with an apparent groin injury. He is expected to miss this match.

Much like the first game against Alianza, the Union are expected to feature a heavily rotated lineup tonight. The team rolled out a full strength lineup for league play three days prior.  Only a few first team players will likely get the start.

Most of the rotation will happen in attack as the Union have depth options in Jack McGlynn, Jesus Bueno and Andres Perea, as well as Joaquin Torres, who scored the winner on Saturday. Matt Real, Damion Lowe and Nathan Harriel are also likely replacements in the Union’s defense.  Joe Bendik will most likely be in goal with Holden Trent an option off the bench.

In attack, the Union will most likely feature the same pairing of Chris Donovan and Quinn Sullivan with Julian Carranza and Mikael Uhre able to provide an option off the bench in the second half.

Injury Report: Andre Blake – Out

Match-Up to Watch: Bunker vs Rotation

There is a good chance that Alianza tries to keep this match to a scoreless draw or tries to find a goal on the counter attack. Either way, Alianza will be prepared to have all 11 men behind the ball and defending. This was something the Union struggled against last season, and a heavily rotated lineup could have an even greater struggle.

Player to Watch: Joaquin Torres

Coming off of a game winner last week, Torres will be looking to find the back of the net in an early season start at home. Torres has been effective off the bench for Philadelphia, but will be looking to make a long lasting impact to find more starts in a crowded schedule for Philadelphia.

Prediction: Philadelphia 2 – 0 Alianza 

Philadelphia get a goal to bring Alianza out of their bunker and get another to see off the tie and keep their home win streak alive.

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