The final matchday of the MLS regular season is upon us. Can the Union set themselves up for another deep playoff run? Or are the outside distractions too much for the team to overcome?
It has been a very long road to get here for the Union. Having already logged more games played than the entire 2022 season, it is safe to say everyone is glad we made it here.
It has been a very up-and-down season for the Union. A season where the club clinched a return to the CONCACAF Champions Cup with a 3rd place finish in Leagues Cup. However, the Leagues Cup was very winnable for the Union before being starstruck by Lionel Messi and Inter Miami. It was just another example that there has been an equal low moment for every Union high moment this season.
Fortunately, the road that brought us here is in the past. The only thing that matters now is tonight—the final matchday against the New England Revolution.
How Low Can the Union Fall?
The Union sits 3rd in the East, behind Supporters Shield winners Cincinnati and 2nd place Orlando City. Neither team can be caught by the Union, so the highest the Union can finish is where they sit now.
Unfortunately, the Union can still take a tumble down the standings should they suffer a rough defeat tonight on the road. Columbus sits 4th and just 1 point behind the Union. Therefore, a Union loss and Columbus win would send the Union to 4th. There is also a scenario where if the Union takes a beating from New England and suffers a 6+ goal loss, they drop to 5th.
While that is unlikely to happen, the Union just needs to win and they get the 3rd seed and home for at least one round of the playoffs. That seems simple enough but the Union has proved this season that nothing is a guarantee.
Could the Distractions Be Too Much?
On top of dealing with the end of the regular season. The Union is also now dealing with off-the-field drama. Last week news broke that captain Ale Bedoya’s time with the club is over. The Union front office went into it in a negative way. On top of that, Kai Wagner was also confirmed to be on the way out. You can find the deeper details in my post from last week.
Jim Curtin said in press conferences this week that he believes his team is dialed in. That these outside distractions are not affecting the product on the field. We just have to wait and see if that is true.
Curtin has his work cut out for him keeping his team cohesive and focused. For now, the only thing on the Union’s mind should be their last chance at a trophy this season.
Featured Image: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation