To get everyone ready for Atlanta United’s matchup against the Philadelphia Union, we spoke with Brotherly Game’s Matt Ralph to get his take on playoff optimism, why they could hand Atlanta a second straight loss, and the best and worst quality the team possesses.
DSS: The Union are two points back from the last playoff spot in the East with a match in hand. Are you cautiously optimistic about their playoff chances?
BG: I’m cautiously optimistic the Union will hang around the playoff line the rest of the season and need a win or two late to make it in. I thought this going into the season and not much has changed. They are still above average at home and dreadful on the road.
DSS: Atlanta hasn’t lost after coming off a loss this season. Make a case as to why the Union will ruin that statistic this weekend.
BG: This is a tough case to make, but the Union play well at home and will have their midfield back together for the first time since they played a decent 18 minutes at Mercedes-Benz. There was plenty of angst in that game entirely directed at the referee and not Atlanta, but Alejandro Bedoya and Haris Medunjanin will be extra motivated to avenge that disastrous situation. Borek Dockal, whose wife just gave birth to their second child, is back after sitting out the LAFC match. They blew out Vancouver 4-0 their last time out in Chester, so they at least have that riding on them.
DSS: What’s Philly’s best and worst quality?
BG: They have been great at creating chances this season, but just dreadful at finishing those chances. CJ Sapong, who has only two goals after leading the team with 16 last season, has forgotten how to score and David Accam’s only contribution was from the penalty spot in an Open Cup match against the Richmond Kickers.