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Philadelphia Union v Charlotte FC: Baribo frustrated despite goalscoring form

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 21 Jun 2024

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Tai Baribo did not feel he could fully enjoy scoring his first league goals for the Philadelphia Union, as he set his sights on helping the team turn around their form.

The Union slipped to a second straight defeat in MLS as they went down 4-3 to FC Cincinnati in midweek, despite Baribo’s double.

Indeed, Philadelphia have now gone without a win in their last five MLS games.

That run has seen the Union drop to 10th in the Eastern Conference, five places behind Charlotte FC, their opponents this weekend.

“I mean, it’s hard to enjoy,” Baribo said after the defeat to Cincinnati.

“Of course, I’m happy because I scored, but we lost again. The team is the most important thing, and if we lose I can’t be happy.

“Thank you to the coach for giving me this opportunity and I’m happy that I took it. I felt good in the game, but in the end, we lost, so it doesn’t matter.”

Union coach Jum Curtin was full of praise for Baribo’s display.

Curtin said: “He’s worked hard to get this start, and now, he’s certainly left a really good impression with the coaches, put in a great shift, and will certainly get more playing time.

“Tai worked hard in training and we rewarded him. He stepped on the field and gave us everything and did a really good job for us.

“He earned the start and like a good professional, he took advantage of his opportunity. So, I’m happy for Tai. It was something to build on, but I know he would trade the two goals for some points as well. He did a good job finishing his plays off in the box like a good striker and hopefully there’s more of that in the future.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Philadelphia Union – Kai Wagner

Wagner assisted two of the Union’s three goals on Wednesday against Cincinnati, his seventh career MLS match with multiple assists, more than any other defender since he joined the league in 2019.

Charlotte FC – Kerwin Vargas

Vargas scored Charlotte’s opener in their 2-2 draw with Orlando City last time out, taking his tally to the season to four goals in MLS. He is their leading scorer.

MATCH PREDICTION: PHILADELPHIA UNION WIN

Charlotte earned a draw against Orlando on Wednesday despite Scott Arfield receiving a red card in the 38th minute. The 52 minutes playing a man down were the longest by a team that avoided defeat in an MLS match in over two years, since the Houston Dynamo against Nashville SC in May 2022 (55 minutes).

Dean Smith’s team have lost only one of its last nine matches (W5 D3) dating back to the beginning of May, one of six teams with fewer than two defeats in that time (Real Salt Lake, FC Cincinnati, Inter Miami, LA Galaxy, Los Angeles FC).

Philadelphia have won only one of its last 12 matches (D5 L6) including losing the last two in a row. The Union have not lost three straight regular-season matches within a single season since May 2017.

However, they are backed to win this one by Opta’s model.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Philadelphia Union – 50.7%

Charlotte – 24.3%

Draw – 25%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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