The Philadelphia Union’s MLS campaign has not started out great. With 3 losses in 5 games, the concern through the fanbase is starting to rise. Lucky for the Union, the team’s defensive anchor, Andre Blake, is set to return very soon.
On Saturday against Orlando, the Union suffered their first loss at Subaru Park since 2021. The club fell 1 game short of tying the MLS record in consecutive home wins of 13. While the Union was very shorthanded, so was Orlando. Ultimately, the Union is missing something.
The Anchor is Back
One of the most significant holes in the Union’s lineup the last month was the absence of 3-time MLS goalkeeper of the year Andre Blake. Fortunately, Union head coach Jim Curtin announced Blake should be ready to return this Saturday against Sporting KC.
Curtin added Kai Wagner got a scan on his hamstring as a precaution. However, he finished by saying the team should be fully healthy going into Saturday.
Blake’s return should give a huge boost to the struggling Union side. As mentioned, the team was missing a large portion of the team against Orlando due to FIFA’s international break. However, the defensive backline was unchanged. So, when the Union gave up 2 horribly defended goals in the first 10 minutes against Orlando, it rightfully caused concern.
The defense certainly has some things to figure out. However, having Andre Blake back to snuff out fires will be huge.
A Lineup Change?
If the Union’s struggles continue, will Jim Curtin look into a lineup change? Newly added Andres Perea is certainly putting some pressure on Curtin to consider it.
Perea has played in a reserve role this year. However, getting starts in the CONCACAF Champions League and then last Saturday, Perea has now scored 3 goals. On top of that, he has brought a lot of intensity to the lineup.
If Perea keeps this play up, Leon Flach will need to step it up. Also, Alejandro Bedoya should be the first player subbed out to keep the captain fresh for as long as possible. Perea is more than capable of filling the role for 30 minutes a game.
Curtin mentioned in the preseason that he will experiment with lineups. However, a month into the season and we are yet to see it. Even when he had just 15 players dressed against Orlando.
An Opportunity to Right the Ship
The Union is struggling, no doubt about it. However, let’s not press the panic button yet. Up next they get a struggling Sporting KC at home. Build momentum there and they can take it to the CONCACAF Champions League tie next Tuesday.
It has been ugly so far but trust Jim Curtin and get things sorted out. The return of Andre Blake is the most important step of it.
Featured Image: Ben Ross/PHLSportsNation