Philadelphia Union enjoyed the greatest season in their history when upsetting the odds to go agonizingly close to security Major League Soccer glory. The team has never won the MLS, and until this term, they hadn’t troubled the major players.
But all that has changed in the course of a few short months. Union is now a team to be taken seriously by the Vegas sportsbooks. They are a contender for the crown.
Subaru Park’s team surprised even its fans during the 2022 season. They were up against the clock, knowing the campaign would be the most hectic they’d ever seen due to the World Cup.
Qatar 2022 will be played across four weeks in November and December, meaning soccer’s top leagues and competitions needed to tie things up before the big kick-off at FIFA’s showpiece event.
A Historic Season
The 2022 MLS season will go down in the history books as the best we’ve seen from Union as they bagged glory in the Eastern Conference. Jim Curtin’s team came close to picking up its first MLS Cup championship but was beaten on penalties. A tough one to take for the players and coaches while fans were floored by the near-miss.
There are many positives to be taken from this season if you are a follower of the Philadelphia Union. It may not feel like it on the back of such a heartbreaking defeat, but the future is bright for Philly and its soccer fans. The team lost the championship on penalties, meaning they couldn’t have gotten closer to the grand prize. We will now see what the players are made of and the character in the locker room.
Union has two options for proceeding on the back of a memorable campaign. They now know they can compete at this level and are good enough to challenge. The players and coaches would have learned valuable lessons and picked up some expert experience in successfully navigating a season. They know what’s required to make it to the playoffs and the skills to come through the lottery of MLS knockout games when anything can happen.
Coach Curtin Must Fend Off Interest
Will this Union side bounce back stronger and allow the pain of losing in the final to consume them? The team is at a crossroads with Union’s best players at a crucial junction of their careers. Having caught the eye of scouts from some of the sport’s biggest teams, will Union’s best performers hang around for another crack at the title? Will they cash in on the success of this year and force a move to a bigger club in the country or even a move overseas?
Team coach Curtin hopes this season is the building block to future success. He knows the pressure is now on him to improve the squad during the off-season, bringing in fresh talent to complement the stars already on the roster. Pre-season is when coaches, scouts, and agents work together to get the best players signed, fit, and firing for the 2023 season. But things may be different this time. Success has just made Curtin’s job twice as tough.
Attracting fresh blood is required, but Curtin must defend what he already has in Philadelphia. This year’s success didn’t go unnoticed, and Union’s best players are now the subject of interest from across the sport. When the World Cup is wrapped up, and we’re into 2023, the Union phone will be red hot with inquiries from teams offering players big money moves.
It’s up to the coach and his backers to keep the players where they are today. They must offer the right finances and working environment to ensure the squad is as happy and settled as possible.
Case for the Defense
Philadelphia was excellent last season, but they didn’t win the MLS Cup, and improvements are needed to make that happen. Philly was almost perfect, but almost will never be enough in this sport.
The union must be faultless if they are to build on the glory of this winter. The backroom staff’s priority this pre-season will be to continue their scoring ways and tighten things up even more in defense.
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