The Philadelphia Union, shockingly, sits in 7th place in the MLS Eastern Conference. However, MLS is not on the top of the Union’s brain for now. Right now, all that matters is doing what just 1 MLS team has done, win the CONCACAF Champions League.
The Union had steep MLS expectations coming into the 2023 season, coming off a dominant 2022 season that ended with an MLS Cup appearance. However, the Union have 11 points in 9 matches played and are 9 points back of the top of the east.
It has been rough in MLS for the Union. Their record-long home win streak ended, they’ve dropped points from winning positions, and they are the only team to allow Montreal to win and score a goal… (they scored three.) It has been an ugly ride.
Fortunately, the tides may have turned as the Union got back on track in MLS play with a 4-2 win against Toronto this past weekend.
However, MLS does not matter right now. The only thing on the Union’s mind right now should be winning the CONCACAF Champions League.
History Has Already Been Made
The Union has already had a successful CCL run in 2023. Not only making it to the semifinals again, but this time going down to Mexico and knocking out a LIGA MX team. The win in Guadalajara against Atlas could be the top moment in the Union’s short history.
For the 2nd time in their 2 appearances, the Union is in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League. In 2021, they faced historic Club America. Now, the Union has the matchup they have dreamt of.
A date with LAFC awaits. The Union is looking to avenge the 2022 MLS Cup heartbreak and send the tournament favorites home.
Sacrificed MLS Points?
The main thing of a successful CCL run is being okay with dropping points in MLS play. The only issue the Union has had with that is the fact that they have dropped points with the same lineup that goes out in CCL.
The Union and LA went about last Saturday’s MLS match day differently. LA rested key players and accepted a draw. The Union went with a full-strength lineup. While rest is going to be a question, the Union’s attack needed to be woken up. Hopefully, the 4 goals scored on Saturday did the job, especially with Mikael Uhre netting a hat trick.
At the end of the day, the Union is okay with being 7th in the East in MLS. Their bye week is this weekend, so the next two games are the 2 legs of the CCL semifinal with LAFC. With the lineup tweaks and struggles endured so far in MLS, it all comes down to the next to games to see if it was worth it for the Union.
The only thing on the Union’s mind right now should be avenging MLS Cup and moving to the CONCACAF Champions League Final.
Featured Image: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation