Philadelphia Union look to close out CCL quarterfinal versus Atlanta United


All of the Philadelphia Union's attention has been on the Concacaf Champions League to start the season.

On Tuesday, the Union can secure a spot in the competition's semifinal with a victory over Atlanta United. Fox Sports The Gambler will have pregame coverage presented by DraftKings Sportsbook at 7:30 p.m. ET with Jon Jansen and Joe Tansey. The game airs on FS1 on 8 p.m. ET. The Gambler will have postgame coverage beginning right after the final whistle with Jansen and Tansey.

Jim Curtin's side won the first leg 3-0 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which allows it to play a bit looser compared to if it lost in Atlanta last Tuesday.

The Union have three away goals in hand. Atlanta needs to win 3-0 to force extra time in the tie. If the Union score at all on Tuesday, it will force the Five Stripes to score four or more goals inside Subaru Park to advance.

Philadelphia will be without defensive midfielder Jose Martinez, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Stuart Findlay, Jack De Vries and Ilsinho are out due to injuries.

The Union have two formational approaches to replace Martinez, both of which revolve around Leon Flach playing in the defensive midfield role.

Flach played on the side of the midfield diamond to start the campaign, but he can easily shift back to the No. 6 role. The coaching staff has to determine whether they are comfortable with Flach playing there on his own, or in a double-pivot with Jamiro Monteiro.

If Monteiro is aligned deeper than usual next to Flach, Alejandro Bedoya, Anthony Fontana and either Sergio Santos or Cory Burke would occupy the three attacking midfield spots in a 4-2-3-1. Curtin could opt to put Bedoya next to Flach, but the more natural move would be to have Monteiro there since Bedoya has played on the wing throughout his career.

If Tuesday was a Major League Soccer match, Curtin might be inclined to try out one of his Homegrown players at defensive midfield, but the stakes are too high in a continental competition for that to happen.

The good news for Flach, and whomever else occupies the defensive midfield slots, is he will not have to deal with Ezequiel Barco, who was ruled out for the match along with Jurgen Damm.

The Union enter the match as a +125 (bet $100 to win $125) money-line favorite. Atlanta United is at +210. A draw for the match sits at +255. Over 2.5 goals has a price of -130. Two of the last three matches between the clubs across all competitions have had three or more goals scored.