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Union continue Supporters’ Shield chase in Atlanta

Aug 31, 2022; Chester, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Daniel Gazdag (6) controls the ball against Atlanta United defender Andrew Gutman (15) in the first half at Subaru Park. Mandatory Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Mitchell Leff-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union will look to keep their high-octane offense churning on Saturday afternoon when they visit Atlanta United.

The Union (18-4-9, 63 points) have scored a robust 23 goals during their five-match winning streak, including four in a victory over the Five Stripes on Aug. 31.

Daniel Gazdag found the net in that 4-1 triumph and extended his goal-scoring streak to five matches on Saturday in Philadelphia’s 5-1 romp over Orlando City SC.

Gazdag has a club-record 28 goal contributions (19 goals, nine assists) during his second season with the Union. Per coach Jim Curtin, the Hungarian midfielder should be in consideration with Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar for the 2022 Landon Donovan MLS MVP trophy.

“(Gazdag’s) up there and he should be considered,” Curtin said. “They’re both amazing and they’ve both had amazing seasons, Mukhtar and him. But I think that’s probably who it’s going to come down to, and I think I’ll at least bring that up for my guy.”

Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia has MLS-best totals in goals (68) and goal differential (plus 46) to reside two points ahead of Los Angeles FC in the bid for the Supporters’ Shield.

While the Union already have secured a playoff berth, Atlanta United (10-12-9, 39 points) recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season to find themselves two points shy of the Columbus Crew for seventh place in the East.

Thiago Almada scored a goal in his second straight match in Atlanta’s 1-0 victory over Orlando City SC on Wednesday night.

“I think the team is playing better, we’re starting to understand each other better,” said Almada, whose six goals are two shy of Josef Martinez for the team lead. “Obviously, after two wins in a row it gives a lot of confidence.”

Defender Andrew Gutman, who assisted on Almada’s game-winning tally on Wednesday, scored the lone goal for the Five Stripes against Philadelphia last month.

–Field Level Media