Despite the Philadelphia Union’s new identity, one thing has stayed the same.
The Union can never be counted out.

As the last remaining unbeaten team in MLS, how long can the Union keep escaping defeat?

It is never pretty, but the Union continues to grab results from losing positions. This time, the club went to Atlanta and escaped with an exciting 2-2 draw. If it wasn’t for a questionable offsides call on a Mikael Uhre goal, the Union would have left with all 3 points.

Now, 7 games into the MLS season, the Union is 3rd in the Eastern Conference. The club also holds a game in hand over 2nd place NYRB. As well as 2 games in handover 1st place Inter Miami. Perhaps the most impressive feat is the Union have been on the road for 5 of their 7 MLS games. Counter in their, albeit rough, time in the CONCACAF Champions League, Union fans can’t have much to complain about.

The biggest concern currently is the Union’s new up-and-down identity. The Union used to smash and grab a goal for a 1-0 victory. Now, if the Union wants any points, they have to score at least twice a game. Fortunately, the Union offense has clicked more than it has in a long time, with the second most goals in the East. However, clean sheets have been increasingly harder to come by.

Clear Schedule and Clear Minds

It was just about a month ago, and the Union’s season had already felt over. A 6-0 embarrassment in Mexico had fans concerned for 2024. However, it seems the result has woken up the Union players. Simultaneously, it also opened up their schedule.

For the first time in perhaps 3 seasons, the Union has just 1 competition to worry about. That is the MLS campaign. The Union is out of CCC, is not participating in the US Open Cup, and may not take this summer’s Leagues Cup very seriously. This is the first time in a long time the Union can go full focus on MLS for the entire season.

The clear schedule will hopefully lighten the burden on players’ legs. Especially with a team as shorthanded as the Union. Now, the summer will still be a tough stretch as the Union will lose key players, but the hot start will hopefully soften the burden.

The Concerns Still Lay Ahead

Every point the Union can steal will matter this season. This is especially true for the rough stretch of starting the season on the road for 5 of 7 games. The fact of the matter is that the Union needs to keep pace with the Eastern Conference powerhouses while they are still in full force. International competitions will have the Union shorthanded multiple times throughout the summer. Unfortunately, the Union may also stand to lose star forward Julian Carranza in the summer transfer window.

These facts are why the Union must stay hot as long as they can. This Union roster is as thin as it has ever been. Any injury or departure could throw a wrench into the Union’s title hopes. However, the current Union team is still a top team in MLS and could make another run for the top of the Eastern Conference. The margin for error is razor-thin for this Union team.

This makes their hot start even more crucial.
It also makes it even more impressive, given the rough start to 2024.

Photo: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation

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