The Philadelphia Union, once again, fell victim to the trap game.
It seems the Union is on the verge of a breakout year after year before getting shot down back to earth.
Are the lights just too bright for the Union?
Wednesday’s game in Toronto was ugly for the Union. There is no other way to put it, especially Given the context that the Union could have made some noise in the Supporters Shield race.
The Supports Shield is far out of the Union’s sight, and they have more things to worry about. A 3-1 embarrassment against Toronto ensured that. Toronto sits dead last in MLS and could not buy a goal to save their franchise. At least, that was the case until the Union made them look like MLS Cup contenders.
Disappointment Has Become a Bad Habit
This era of the Union has certainly had its ups. They have a Supporters Shield and an Eastern Conference championship to prove it. Also, they sat as one of the top MLS teams over the last 5 seasons. However, for every single achievement the Union has earned, there is an immediate disappointment.
The Supporters Shield win was immediately followed by elimination in their first playoff game. Their hands were on the MLS Cup before Gareth Bale crushed our hopes and dreams. Even this season, the Union got a clear path to a Leagues Cup trophy and then got starstruck by Lionel Messi.
Against Toronto FC Wednesday, the Union once again disappointed. With a chance to put pressure on FC Cincinnati for the Supporters Shield, the Union just choked. The loss did not just kiss their Shield dreams goodbye. It also sent the Union tumbling down the standings in a crowded Eastern Conference.
Who is to Blame?
The blame is to be shared through all levels of the club. First, ownership simply needs to open up the wallet. With Messi and company changing the landscape of the league, the Union won’t survive for long. It is a remarkable story of how the Union has been a top team in MLS by spending the least, but those days are over. Without having a superstar to change the game, the Union is falling behind.
This stretch of success has exploded the Union’s growth in terms of business. As of right now, there is not much to show for it. There is no superstar coming, and there have been no stadium upgrades. Ownership needs to wake up if they want to capitalize on this stretch of success.
Blame could easily be thrown at Ernst Tanner and Jim Curtin. However, not much can be done when they have pennies to work with compared to other teams.
Ernst Tanner has had his misses with transfers, especially as of late. Add to that Jim Curtin putting out a terrified lineup against Lionel Messi and Miami. Tanner and Curtin don’t get off free, but ownership is failing the Union.
It May Get Worse Before Getting Better
The Union is absolutely gassed right now. An extended Leagues Cup run has them fighting for their breath. They will get a break during the upcoming international break. Unfortunately, the Union is looking at one more setback before that.
The Union welcome the New York Red Bulls to Subaru Park on Sunday. Where an already gassed Union will be very shorthanded. Leon Flach (injured) is unavailable, along with Jose Martinez and Jesus Bueno (suspension). Flach may be down for a while as he will need surgery on his injured groin.
The Union is begging to get to this break.
Hopefully, they can at least put up a fight on Sunday in Subaru Park.
Photo: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation