Since being bounced in two tournaments, the Union has bounced back red hot in MLS play. Holding an 8-game unbeaten streak, the Union has skyrocketed to 3rd place in the Eastern Conference.
Can the Union stay hot when key players depart for their National teams?

Just a few weeks ago, the Union was eliminated in CCL and the open cup, sitting 9th in the Eastern Conference.

Now, they sit with the 3rd most points in MLS. A lot of fans were rightfully worried. However, the tough times may not be all behind the Union after all.

The Formation that Saved the Union

The Union was struggling in their 4-4-2 diamond this year. Both offensively and defensively. Finally, Jim Curtin made the switch he needed to, and that was to run 3 centrebacks out.

This accomplished many things. It provided more defensive coverage, allowed the wingbacks to push further up, and, most importantly, gave Damion Lowe the minutes he deserved. It has also woken up the offense, especially Julian Carranza and Daniel Gazdag.

Unfortunately for the Union, Jim Curtin may have to stray away from this new 3-5-2 formation due.

Union Lose More to National Team Duty

The Union has already been without Jack McGlynn and Branden Criag. The two have been representing the US at the U-20 World Cup. The Union stands to lose more.

The Gold Cup and the international friendly season is upon us. The Union has already announced they will release Olivier Mbaizo to Cameroon, and they will also have to plan to be without Andre Blake and Damion Lowe at the Gold Cup.

This comes at a very bad time as Damion Lowe is really growing into his role in the new 3 man backline for the Union. It also comes at a rough time as Branden Craig is not there, so CB depth is razor-thin.

Of course, losing Andre Blake is never good. The Union already had a spell without the 3x MLS Goalkeeper of the Year earlier in the year. Long story short, the Union missed him, and they will certainly miss him again.

Rough Stretch No Matter What

Even if the Union wasn’t losing key players, the stretch the Union is entering would be rough no matter what. The Union gets one more home game against Montreal this weekend. After that, they travel all the way to Sacramento and then to Orlando. Then the “easiest” game is at home against Inter Miami. After, the toughness continues.

The Union goes to Atlanta, then back to the west coast to face the LA Galaxy, before finally closing the road stand in Nashville. Pick any reason you want that this will be tough for the Union. Whether it is the travel, the quality of the opponents, or the key players the Union will miss.

The Union is going to be tested. They already bounced back once this season. If they struggle, could they do it again?

Or can the Union throw their name back to the top of the MLS standings?

Featured Image: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation

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