In-form Philadelphia Union unafraid of litmus test coming at Atlanta United

Philadelphia Union midfielder Ilsinho celebrates goal vs DC United

CHESTER, Pa. — The Philadelphia Union are riding high after beating the Chicago Fire on Wednesday to extend their unbeaten streak to four.

What better time to fly into Atlanta to see if they can steal some points in a hostile stadium from one of the league’s top teams?

“All the confidence we have as a team, it will be good going to that kind of environment with all the fans, their record,” Union center back Auston Trusty told after the 3-1 win. “It’s a good test for us and we’ll show them what’s up.”

Saturday’s road game vs. Atlanta United (7:30 pm ET | ESPN+ - Full TV & Streaming Info) will certainly be difficult. In their only other trip to Mercedes-Benz Stadium last September, the Union were blown out of the water. And for the first couple of months of this season, the Five Stripes looked almost unbeatable at home, outscoring their opponents 18-5 through five games.

But Atlanta have since lost two straight in their building, including a 3-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls that the Union will likely use as something of a blueprint.

“We’re going to look at aspects the Red Bulls did well in that game and where Atlanta were lacking in some aspects to see where we can get after them,” winger Marcus Epps said. “But at the end of the day, it’s on us. And I think if we keep the same momentum and the same mentality, we’ll come away with three points.”

Epps said playing in front of over 40,000 fans will be fun, as well as an “exciting opportunity” to see how some of the team’s young players like him handle the situation. Meanwhile, Haris Medunjanin — the team’s oldest player — will try to make sure everyone is on the same page, fight for each other, and have the belief needed to have success on the road after a good showing in a scoreless draw at Red Bull Arena last week.

“Atlanta is a great team but I think we can play against any team,” he said. “If you go there and say you’re going to lose, then it’s better not to go. If you want to play in the playoffs and play good games, you need to win these kinds of games.”

Union goalkeeper Andre Blake, who will likely have his hands full with Atlanta’s star-studded attack, believes the Five Stripes’ two-game home losing streak, could “go the other way, where they have a breakout game.” So it’s important for the Union to keep playing like they have over the past few weeks, even if that means being “willing to suffer for a result.”

“We can’t fear them,” Blake said. “Once we fear them, and they sense the fear, they’re going to jump on us.”