2021 CONCACAF Champions League – Philadelphia Union vs Deportivo Saprissa Preview
The Philadelphia Union are officially back! Today the Union kick off their 2021 season in Costa Rica as they play their first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League vs Deportivo Saprissa. It is a historic moment for the Union, as it is their first ever CONCACAF Champions League match in club history. Kick off Starts at 6 pm Est, and you can watch the game live on FS1 and TUDN.
Get to Know the Opponent
Deportivo Saprissa play in the Costa Rican Primera Division where they are currently in third place. They hold a record of 4-9-3 and have 21 points. When MLS teams enter the CONCACAF Champions League many forget the fact that they are entering the tournament as their first game after the pre season. This will be the Union’s first cmopetitve game, while Saprissa has already played over 16 matches so far and are in great game shape. I think this could play a major role in the outcome of the match this afternoon.
As you can tell by their record, Saprissa isn’t playing the best soccer as of late. In the last 5 games, Saprissa has three draws and two losses.The team’s form has been poor and they have yet won since February 21st. One big advantage Saprissa has, however, is their stadium. Ricardo Saprissa is the largest stadium in Costa Rica and has been a tough place for teams to play especially the United States Men’s National Team.
New Look Union
With the departures of two star homegrown players in Brendan Aaronson and Mark McKenzie, the Union will look a little bit different this season. While dealing with a new starting lineup, the squad will need to get back to game shape. Homegrown midfielder Anthony Fontana stole the show in a great preseason match against D.C United and looks to take a big leap this year.
Unfortunately, the Union are dealing with multiple injuries. Striker Kacper Przybylko missed the preseason game due to injury and the health of Corey Burke, Jack De Varies,and Sergio Santos are up in the air. The Union will likely have to go young today and you will probably see a familiar face in Paxten Aaronson, the younger brother of star Brendan Aaronson. Paxten is making is his official debut with the Union tomorrow in one of the biggest games in club history at only 17 years old.
In the first leg of the round of 16, I expect the Union to not be too aggressive in Coast Rica today. With the second leg being at home in Subaru Park, the Union are in a good spot to play safe. I think this will be a low-scoring game that will more than likely end in a draw. We all know how good the Union are at home, so if they can come back with a draw or a 1-0 victory, that would be a dream scenario.
The Union can’t overlook Saprissa based on their recent performances, they are still a very good club and are playing in their home stadium. I believe the Union will walk away with a 1-1 draw in the first-ever CONCACAF Champions League game.