Streaking Whitecaps visit slumping Union

After back-to-back losses before a two-week break in league play, the Philadelphia Union look to get back on track Saturday night when the Vancouver Whitecaps visit Talen Energy Stadium.

They’ll have to do it without Bosnian international Haris Medunjanin.

Major League Soccer announced this week it had suspended Medunjanin an additional two games for actions that saw him ejected from Philadelphia’s 3-1 loss at Atlanta on June 2.

Referee Sorin Stoica sent Medunjanin off for his very animated protest of Stoica’s decision to award Atlanta United a penalty kick in the 19th minute. Among other things, replays suggested that Medunjanin had spit in Stoica’s direction as part of his protest.

It’s an ironic fate for the midfielder, who won acclaim last year when he offered information to a referee that helped reverse a red card given to an opposing player, D.C. United’s Luciano Acosta.

Philadelphia (5-7-3) has insisted that Medunjanin did not intentionally spit at Stoica. The decision came after an appeal by the MLS Players Association.

“I don’t agree with it, but we have to live with it,” Union coach Jim Curtin said of the suspension. “I think Haris, it’s the first red card of his career, which says a lot about who he is as a player. You could reference the Acosta incident last year. You could go through a lot of things.”

Philadelphia will also be attempting to avoid a third-straight league defeat for the first time this season. They won their last match, a 2-1 victory over the New York Red Bulls in the U.S. Open Cup round of 16 last Saturday.

Vancouver (6-5-5) has also gone two weeks since its last league game, a 5-2 victory over Orlando City that included a breakout performance by Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies.

The 17-year-old scored once and contributed three assists in the win, a result that extended Vancouver’s unbeaten run to six games.

That was just the start of a busy stretch for the winger, who during the two-week break traveled to Russia to speak on behalf of his nation after the United States, Canada and Mexico were named joint hosts of the 2026 World Cup.

Davies, who was named the best young player of the 2017 CONCACAF Gold, returned in time to train with the Whitecaps this week.

“Just like always. Just focusing on the day-by-day, you know?” remarked Davies, who leads Vancouver with seven assists. “Trying not to get too distracted going forward. So, I think with all this stuff that’s happening, I just try to stay in my lane, try to do what I have to do on the field.”