It seems like all hope for the Philadelphia Union’s season was lost just a few days ago.
Fast forward to now; somehow, the Union is the last unbeaten team in MLS.

It has certainly been a rollercoaster start to the season in true Union fashion. After a quiet offseason, looming depth questions, and a congested schedule, many fans were concerned.

Many fears seemed to have come to fruition after the Union suffered an embarrassing 6-0 loss in Mexico.

Since then, the Union has gone on a roll in MLS despite their limited roster.

How long can they keep this momentum going, or is this new identity they have built going to come to bite them?

The New Union Identity

After starting the MLS season with 3 consecutive ties, the Union have grown comfortable with their new identity. Just 2 seasons ago, the Union broke the record for the fewest goals allowed in an MLS season. Now, it is surprising if the team can keep a clean sheet. Through 6 games, the Union has allowed 7 goals with just 1 clean sheet. If you add in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, it gets worse. The Union allowed 11 goals in those 4 games.

It appears the era of the Union smash and grabbing a goal for a 1-0 victory is over. Despite the defensive woes, the Union still finds themselves unblemished in the loss column. The Union can now grab a goal when they desperately need it. Not only can they score, but they can also do it anywhere.

Perhaps the most impressive part of this new identity is having life on the road. The Union has played 4 of 6 games in MLS on the road. In years past, the Union struggled on the road, let alone coming back from a deficit. Now, every week, the Union seems to climb from a deficit. While that is not a good thing, it shows the Union has held on to its never-say-die mentality despite the makeover.

The Concerns Have Not Changed

While the Union’s standing as MLS’ last unbeaten is impressive under the circumstances, it is not all sunshine and rainbows. The concerns heading into the season are still present. While the Union’s unbeaten start has given them life moving forward, concerns still lie ahead. In a conference hosting Messi’s Inter Miami and the defending champions Columbus, the margin for error is razor thin.

The depth concern is still present. The Union is still headed into a summer where multiple key players will miss chunks of time away on international duty. On top of that, the biggest concern in the Union’s head right is the summer transfer window. While the summer window is an opportunity to bring in much-needed depth, the Union stands to lose perhaps their best player.

Julian Carranza is transforming into a superstar in front of our eyes. His rise to stardom will make the Union a lot of money. However, his explosion into the 2024 season all but guarantees he will be sold in the summer. Carranza had an interest in the winter but turned down multiple offers in order to earn a chance in the big leagues of Europe. With already 8 goals scored in 2024 across all competitions, Union fans need to appreciate every chance he plays for the Union this season. There is no doubt it will be his last.

How Long Can the Momentum Flow?

The Union have flipped the script on their 2024 campaign. Despite their crushing exit from CCC, the club has gained momentum in MLS. Unfortunately, the road ahead does not get easier.

With very little depth and immense talent in their conference, the margin for error remains thin. However, the Union needs to ride this momentum as long as it can.

The next test is next week in Atlanta, where the Union are yet to win an MLS game.

Photo: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation

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