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Philadelphia Union v Real Salt Lake: Curtin keen to maintain tough reputation

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Apr 2024

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Jim Curtin is keen to see the Philadelphia Union retain their reputation as a tough team to play against, with his side still unbeaten this season ahead of Saturday’s visit of Real Salt Lake.

The Union sit sixth in the Eastern Conference standings with three wins and four draws so far this term, their latest stalemate coming by a 2-2 scoreline against Atlanta United last time out.

While Curtin was somewhat disappointed to see the Union’s three-match winning streak ended in Georgia, he is pleased by the resilience they have shown ahead of their return to Subaru Park.

“Whether people in the public think we’re good or think we’re bad, they will at least say we’re tough to play against,” Curtin said.

“I think that unequivocally across the board, there’s not a coach or general manager or fan in this league that would say we’re an easy team to deal with and play against.

“Part of that is not losing, finding ways to turn losses into ties, ties into wins, and we’ll look to try to continue to do that and really protect our home field.”

Philadelphia face a tough test this weekend, though, against a Salt Lake team currently flying high in third in the Western Conference.

Pablo Mastroeni’s men are unbeaten in their last four games, producing their best performance of 2024 to date last time out as they thrashed the Chicago Fire 4-0 on the road.

“I’m so excited about what we can do as a group, as players and coaches, and the onus is on us to continue to get better and really push this thing forward,” Mastroeni said after that win.

“I think we’ve established a decent standard, and we know where we are at our best and where we are lacking, but it’s testament to the work the guys are doing during the week.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Philadelphia Union – Mikael Uhre

Uhre scored the Union’s first goal as they fought back from two goals down to draw in Atlanta.

He has four goal involvements in MLS play this term (three goals, one assist), a tally only matched by Daniel Gazdag and Julian Carranza among his Union team-mates.

Real Salt Lake – Cristian Arango

Arango scored twice against the Fire last week and has now been involved in at least one goal in four straight regular-season road games, equalling the longest such streak in Real Salt Lake’s history.

Might he break new ground at Subaru Park?

MATCH PREDICTION – PHILADELPHIA UNION WIN

The Union’s only win in 12 all-time meetings with Real Salt Lake was a 4-1 home victory when the teams last met at Subaru Park in May 2018 (six draws, five losses). This will be the sides’ first meeting on any ground since June 2019.

While the visitors are unbeaten in their last five matches (three wins, two draws), this could be their toughest test to date.

Philadelphia have only lost one of their last 41 regular-season home matches (28 wins, 12 draws), including going unbeaten through their last 16 (nine wins, seven draws), a run dating back over a year.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Philadelphia Union – 57.8%

Real Salt Lake – 17.3%

Draw – 24.9%

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SoccerNews

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