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The Philadelphia Union’s quest to return to MLS Cup continues on Saturday with a daunting trip to the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed.
FC Cincinnati opposes Jim Curtin’s side in the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET) at TQL Stadium. It will mark the third head-to-head showdown between the two clubs in 2023, both of which the Union have failed to win.
With the season on the line, the Union are ready to throw everything they can against the reigning Supporters’ Shield winners.
“Overall, we’re ready to go,” Curtin said. “It’s been a while since we played a game, but I know the guys are anxious to get after an opponent that isn’t themselves.
“I think in some of the stretches of this year, we played seven games in this amount of time so it’s definitely different,” Curtin added. “But guys got to rest up and recover, we’ll be fully ready to go and give our best in Cincinnati and try to move on to this thing.”
Several of the Union players featured during the international window including Andre Blake, Daniel Gazdag, and Jack McGlynn. All of them are back and healthy, including Julian Carranza and Jakob Glesnes, both of whom who were fighting respective injuries earlier in the playoffs.
FC Cincinnati have been tough for everyone to beat in regulation this season, including the New York Red Bulls, who lost both head-to-head meetings in Round One of the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Union defeated FC Cincy 1-0 in last season’s semifinal showdown at Subaru Park, but will face a much different atmosphere on Saturday night.
“When we play Cincinnati, whether it’s in the regular season or in the playoffs now, the history is there that it’s usually a one play game,” Curtin said. “So the team that does better in both boxes offensive and defensively will be the team that comes out. It could come down to a restart. It’s going to be a really tight game and we hope to come out on top.”