Coaches across the Eastern Conference have said it in recent years: The competition in the East is as fierce as it's ever been.
And now there's a new rising power they're contending with. The Philadelphia Union under head coach Jim Curtin and sporting director Ernst Tanner took a major step in their growth as a championship contender in 2019 and on August 31 they faced a pivotal test to their ambitions.
The Union welcomed defending MLS champs Atlanta United, who were coming off their latest triumph in the final of the U.S. Open Cup. It was a battle for the top spot in the Eastern Conference in front of a rabid, sellout crowd in Philly. And the match did not disappoint.
Both starting lineups follow below. Looking for another match to take in? Check out the full catalog of MLS Classics matches.