Away points in LA and Nashville should have the Union feeling good. However, one glaring concern for the Union keeps coming up early this MLS Season. Is it time for us to worry about the Union’s title hopes?
As far as concern goes, do not consider the Union’s 2-1 defeat to Orlando City, knocking them out of the US Open Cup. Jim Curtin was correct to keep the starters on limited minutes. He did go for it by having most of the first team in by the end of the game.
If the Union wants to contend for MLS hardware, it was probably best to exit the US Open Cup this early anyway. It would have added another game in an already packed May MLS schedule. The Union balanced the CCL and MLS well last year. However, one of the only benefits to being in the USOC, besides a chance at a trophy, was to get the young guys playing time. With Union substitutes practically being the starting 11 for Union II in MLS Next Pro, it’s not needed.
So when the question is asked if the Union needs to start to worry about the team’s trends, the USOC should not factor in. Now the Union’s MLS play may start to become a concern.
A Concerning Trend
As stated, 2 points on the road from LAFC and Nashville should have the Union very happy. However, the team held late second-half leads in both games. Failing to close the game out and clinch all 3 points. This trend is becoming all too common for the Union.
The Union has held a lead in 9 of their 10 games. While that is great, they have only won 5 of them. The trend of the Union not being able to hold a lead is concerning. They are dropping meaningful points almost weekly at this point.
This is just the way the game flows. If the Union were down in those games and rescued a point then fans should be feeling good. However, the fact that they are giving up second-half leads this consistently is concerning.
There should be a concern. However, The Union still possesses a top defense in MLS. They should be able to start going up by more than 1 goal once the offense starts to click. Until then, no lead feels safe for the Union right now. A surprising fact given their stacked defense.
Find Good in the Bad
The current trend of the Union isn’t pretty. Especially given Mikael Uhre already has his 2nd injury scare of the season. However, there is still some good coming from Philadelphia right now.
That is Julian Carranza. Carranza has been the most influential signing so far this season. Already crushing his goal-scoring records with Miami last year. Carranza seems to just keep getting hotter and hotter and he is putting goals in the back of the net. Once his intended running-mate of Mikael Uhre becomes consistently available, the Union offense should be fine.
The big 3 of Julian Carranza, Mikael Uhre, and Daniel Gazdag pose one of the greatest offensive threats in MLS.
The Tests Keep Coming
Road points are always welcomed, especially in 2 tough environments. However, the May tests just keep rolling in.
The Union remains 1st in the Eastern Conference. With a date with 2nd place New York Red Bulls at home this weekend that could change. If the Union can get a big 3 points in the game, they should quiet the concerns and put some space between them and the rest of the conference.
Featured Image: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation