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Philadelphia Union will open the new MLS season as heavy favorites in their match on Saturday against Minnesota United at Subaru Park. The Union were one of the most consistent teams in the 2021 season, finishing second in the regular season in the East before moving on to the conference final in the postseason. It was at that stage that they were upset by eventual winners New York City FC 2-1 in the semis of the MLS Cup.
The Union will miss the services of Polish striker Kacper Przbylko this season after he was traded to the Chicago Fire for USD 1,150,000 in General Allocation Money. That will leave a hole in Philadelphia’s offense considering he was the club’s most proficient goal scorer last season, with 12 goals in 34 appearances.
One of his most impressive metrics was his shooting efficiency. He took 63 shots in total all season and 31 of those were on target at a conversion rate of close to 50%. Przybylko is tied for third-most goals scored behind only Atlanta United striker Josef Martínez (38) and Seattle Sounders FC striker Raúl Ruidíaz (37) since he made his MLS debut back in 2019.
Philadelphia finished the regular season in 2021 with defensive strength but they scored just 48 goals in 34 games. That tally was the fewest among the top four in both conferences. Without Przbylko, the Union will need to find their offensive rhythm quickly if they are to make a deep run in the postseason again. The MLS is one of the quicker moving competitive leagues in the world, which makes a functioning offensive unit a requisite to compete in a long season like this.
This Minnesota United team should be performing a lot better than they have done in the last few seasons. While they made the postseason in 2021, they were beaten in the first round of the playoffs: 3-1 at the hands of Portland.
Minnesota was the only team that made the postseason despite having a negative goal difference. That is indicative of two contrasting things: it showed that they were able to close out tight games, but a negative goal difference is untenable in the MLS.
Minnesota eventually finished fifth in the West with 49 points in 34 matches. They scored 42 goals in that period but conceded 44. If the United are to stand any chance in this game against a stoic Union defense, then staying compact at the back will need to be at the forefront of their planning.
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|Philadelphia Union vs Minnesota United Information
|Philadelphia Union vs Minnesota United
|Subaru Park, Chester, Pennsylvania
|Saturday, 26 February 2022, 19.00 PM EST
|How to watch
With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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