Philadelphia Union face Charlotte FC for first time on Saturday

The Philadelphia Union return from the international break to take on Charlotte FC for the first time in franchise history.

Philadelphia opened the 2022 Major League Soccer campaign with 10 points from four games to sit atop the Eastern Conference.

The Union are one of three teams in MLS to eclipse the 10-point mark. Los Angeles FC and Real Salt Lake are the other two.

Jim Curtin's side is second to the Chicago Fire in goals allowed in the Eastern Conference heading into Saturday. The Union recorded back-to-back clean sheets against San Jose and New York City FC.

Charlotte FC could test the Union back line with its top striker, Karol Swiderski, who has four goals this season and is coming off a brace against FC Cincinnati.

Swiderski came to the expansion side from PAOK in Greece. He bagged two goals against FC Cincinnati and in the prior weekend against the New England Revolution.

Both of those performances were nice to see from the expansion side, but they both came against flawed teams. The Revs were coming off a week in which they played in Concacaf Champions League and FC Cincinnati is still one of the worst teams in the league.

Saturday serves as a test for Charlotte FC to go up against one of the top defenses in the league, and a full-strength squad that the Union will trot out.

Curtin confirmed in his weekly press conference on Thursday that Mikael Uhre will play some type of role inside Subaru Park.

Uhre started training again last Friday and he has been doing work with the limited group that has been around during the international break. Curtin noted that all of the international call-ups were either back, or in transit on Thursday.

At minimum, the Union will have one of their two offseason striker additions in the starting XI. Julian Carranza has two assists in three games. He had an assist in Week 4 against NYCFC after serving a one-game red-card suspension during the last home game against San Jose.

Only two of the Union's seven goals have come from their strikers. Cory Burke has a pair of tallies. Daniel Gazdag leads the team with three strikes and Alejandro Bedoya has a pair of goals to his name.

Gazdag, Carranza and whichever other striker starts will challenge the Charlotte FC defense that conceded seven goals to start the season.

Charlotte has the highest expected goals against (9.4) of any team in the Eastern Conference. The Union are on the opposite end of the table with a 3.1 xGA through four games.

The Union also hold the advantage in expected goals on the offensive side. Philadelphia is at 7.9, while Charlotte sits at 5.3.

Philadelphia will have its full complement of players available for Saturday's match. No one was listed on the injury report.

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