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Three Questions with Brotherly Game about RSL vs. Philadelphia Union

RSL’s opponents are on a four-game winning streak. Should they be worried about struggling Salt Lake?

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Philadelphia Union Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

1) I remember last year and the start of this year when a common mantra among RSL fans was, "At least we're not Philadelphia." You've now won four consecutive games and we're jealous. What changed?

There's been a couple of things that have helped us go from absolutely awful to not quite so bad. I think that the club's insistence on playing a single formation and not panicking with formation and personnel changes - even in the club's darkest hours - is paying dividends. Guys are gelling with one another. The team that played against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday had five players that weren't on the roster last season. It takes time for chemistry to develop there. You're also seeing guys like Haris Medunjanin and Fafa Picault getting acclimated to MLS and its style of play.

Another thing that can't be discounted is that the Union are playing easier teams. The early season malaise can be in part blamed on playing teams like the Vancouver Whitecaps, Toronto FC, Orlando City, the Portland Timbers, and New York City FC. The turnaround has happened against teams like the Montreal Impact, LA Galaxy, D.C. United, and the aforementioned Colorado Rapids. Sure there was a loss to D.C. United early on and a wins against the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo, but overall the Union find themselves playing teams that are struggling lately. This has helped immensely - in a league where parity is gospel, these things can make or break a season.

2) All things being equal, what will it take for you to win on Saturday?

The Union can't take Real Salt Lake for granted. We all can look at the table and see where the two teams are. As a fan of the Philadelphia Union, I know just how quickly a team's fortunes can change. The Union are going to have to come out and impose their will on RSL. While not completely necessary (see the match against the Rapids), scoring the first goal will be huge. RSL has had trouble scoring, and I feel like if the Union can beat Nick Rimando early, they'll be set up for success. They'll need to exploit every weakness that RSL has and look to work hard to earn any points.

3) Are you worried at all about playing against us? Is that still a thing? Is there any sense that playing at Rio Tinto Stadium is ... you know, hard?

Absolutely. Again, parity in MLS means that no team is ever untouchable and no team is a guaranteed win. The Union traveled 2100 miles and two time zones and went from sea level to 4200 feet in elevation. That is a lot physically before they even make it to the hotel. So I'm definitely worried about playing at the RioT, and I don't imagine the Union will just walk in and take three points.

Predicted lineup:

Andre Blake; Fabinho, Oguchi Onyewu, Jack Elliott, Ray Gaddis; Haris Medunjanin, Alejandro Bedoya; Fafa Picault, Ilson Jr., Chris Pontius; CJ Sapong