The Union drew 1-1 against Montreal this past Saturday.
While the result keeps them at the top of the MLS Eastern Conference standings, lackluster offensive production may bring needed changes to the Union offense.
The Union does remain at the top of the Eastern Conference, but the questions are arising.
The defense is top of the league, but the offense has left much to be desired.
Time for a Change
A struggling offense would usually fall under the blame of strikers or the number 10. However, the trio of Carranza, Gazdag, and Uhre have created their fair share of opportunities. The biggest knock on that trio is finishing. Uhre is still getting used to his new environment; he is due for his first goal with the Union.
Other than that the 3 are being way too unselfish to each other. Once they get more of a feel for playing together and when to pass or keep it themselves, the goals will come from them.
The biggest area in need of a change is the flanks. Jim Curtin said last week he has shied away from lineup changes due to not wanting to mess with the flow of what’s working.
Well, it isn’t working anymore. Having Leon Flach and Ale Bedoya on the flanks is great for defensive energy, but it is killing the offense. Bedoya is the captain and should be starting 99% of games. However, Bedoya is not a 90-minute player anymore. We saw last year he was getting gassed by the 60/70th minute, and we are seeing it again this year.
In the case of Flach, it is the opposite. Flach has been a diamond in the rough find for Ernst tanner. However, the Union’s problem is not the defense. Having Flach come off a bench for a few games will not hurt. Quinn Sullivan, Jack McGlynn, or Paxten Aaronson need a shot at the left flank position. When the defense is needed, call Flach’s number, but right now, the Union needs to start putting goals in the net consistently. Flach is not going to help with that.
Not Everything About the Offense is Bleak
While the Union attack has been disappointing at times, there has been one bright spot. Julian Carranza.
Ernst Tanner took a risk bringing in a 21-year-old DP who struggled at Inter Miami. However, we have learned under the right circumstances, Carranza can be huge for the Union.
Carranza has 3 goals and 2 assists so far for the Union. He has been integral to the Union attack so far this year. If Uhre and Gazdag can start clicking around him and the midfield flanks start helping offensively, Carranza may have found the perfect fit in Philly.
Biggest Test of the Year
Coming off a disappointing loss to Toronto and a home draw to Montreal, the Union now enter their biggest test of the season: a packed May schedule. With the Union now looked at as second favorites to win the MLS at Betway, it will be interesting to see their standing come June.
Not only do the Union play 7 games alone, but the team will also have 2 cross-country trips.
It starts May 1st when the Union travels to Nashville for what will be a very hostile environment. It will be Nashville’s first home game in their new stadium.
After that, they head off to Los Angeles to face league leaders LAFC. Just 3 days later, the team has to be in Orlando, facing elimination in the US Open Cup.
Then, they return home to face 2nd place in the Eastern Conference New York Red Bulls, and then a short week Wednesday game against Miami.
The Union then goes back across the country to face Portlxand and back across to New England to close out the month.
The Union will be tested this month. Not only if they can stay atop MLS, but stave off elimination in the US Open Cup.
This is by far the Union’s toughest stretch of the season, and a successful run through May might keep them atop MLS all year long.
Featured Image: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation