(Photo credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports)
FC Cincinnati continue to have the best record in MLS but Saturday's match against the Philadelphia Union at Chester, Pa., won't be an easy task.
The Union are 9-1-2 at home this season and are 18-1-2 over their past 21 regular-season matches at Subaru Park.
Further complicating matters for Cincinnati (17-4-6, 57 points) is that star midfielder Luciano Acosta will miss the match due to yellow card accumulation.
Acosta is tied for second in the league with 13 goals and ranks fourth with 11 assists. The team captain also scored the lone goal -- on a penalty kick in the 69th minute -- when Cincinnati recorded a 1-0 home win over the Union on April 8.
Philadelphia midfielder and team captain Alejandro Bedoya also is out due to yellow card accumulation.
Union forward Julian Carranza still is with the club despite a high level of transfer speculation involving European clubs. The 23-year-old is tied for fifth in the league with 12 goals in what likely will be his second and final season with Philadelphia (14-8-4, 46 points).
"The transfer didn't work out this time for Julian," Union coach Jim Curtin said. "I think it's no secret that winter is a real possibility. So we'll have him here till the end of the season and my message to him is to continue to score goals, make a run at the Golden Boot, and let's try to lift the trophy together."
Midfielder Daniel Gadzag teams well with Carranza and has 11 goals and 10 assists. Gadzag and Carranza both scored goals in Philadelphia's most recent MLS match, a 4-1 home win over the New York Red Bulls on Sept. 3. Defender Kai Wagner had three assists.
FC Cincinnati are coming off a 1-0 loss to Orlando City on Sept. 2, their first home setback of the season.
Cincinnati defender Ray Gaddis is looking forward to the trip to play his former teammates.
Gaddis played for the Union from 2012-20 before retiring. But Cincinnati general manager Chris Albright and coach Pat Noonan -- who formerly had roles with Philadelphia -- lured him out of retirement prior to the 2022 season.
"The first time, it was a little bit more of an array of emotions," said Gaddis, who is making his third trip back. "But now it's more you see those guys you love on the other side and the fans you have relationships with, and then it's just playing the game after that."
--Field Level Media