The Philadelphia Union have 11 games remaining in the regular season - 5 at home and 6 away. The combined away record for teams slated to visit PPL Park between now and mid-October is 9-30-20. Meanwhile, 34-12-24 is the combined home record for teams the U will face on the road.
Home-field advantage has been huge for everyone this year. Away teams are 44-99-83 this season. The Los Angeles Galaxy are the only ones unbeaten at home, but no team in the league has lost more than 4 games in their own stadium. The Union have only lost 1 of 12 home matches in 2011 and 4 of 27 since joining the league.
Could it be that every supporters group REALLY IS the best supporters group? Looking at the broader picture, can Major League Soccer teams expect to compete in the CONCACAF Champions League when so few of them win on the road in their own league? Hit the jump for more...
Supporters' Shield Race a.k.a. If Major League Soccer Used a Single Table:
(Games played in parentheses, ties broken by goal differential)
48 pts Los Angeles Galaxy (25)
43 pts FC Dallas (25)
42 pts Seattle Sounders (25)
40 pts Colorado Rapids (26)
37 pts Columbus Crew (24)
36 pts Real Salt Lake (22)
34 pts Philadelphia Union (23)
31 pts New York Red Bulls (25)
31 pts Houston Dynamo (24)
30 pts Chivas USA (24)
30 pts Sporting Kansas City (23)
30 pts DC United (22)
26 pts Portland Timbers (23)
25 pts San Jose Earthquakes (24)
23 pts Toronto FC (26)
21 pts New England Revolution (24)
20 pts Chicago Fire (23)
18 pts Vancouver Whitecaps (24)
17 points separate first from last place in the Eastern Conference. 30 points separate the top and bottom of the Western Conference. The Columbus Crew are the only team in the East with more wins than ties. The Seattle Sounders are the only team in the league without a loss in their last 5 matches. Toronto FC has allowed more goals (46) than the Crew (23) and the Union (22) combined. DC United average better than one penalty kick every three games, while Chivas USA and San Jose Earthquakes have gone 24 games without a spot kick. Who will finish with the best regular season record and win the Supporters' Shield? Who will win the MLS Cup?
Peter Nowak hopped on Twitter and caused a stir among the usual crowd, but Freddy Adu joining the squad brings hundreds of thousands of new eyes to the team through social media. When you look across the league, only Landon Donovan has more online minions (and not by much).
Union-Related Twitter Account Followers:
Taylor Twellman - 23,352
Faryd Mondragon - 18,601
Philadelphia Union - 18,370
Alecko Eskandarian - 11,799
Carlos Valdes - 2,684
Veljko Paunovic - 2,623
Peter Nowak - 2,444 * account only 24 hours old
Roger Torres - 2,370
Kyle Nakazawa - 2,353
Sheanon Williams - 2,254
Amobi Okugo - 1,863
Gabriel Farfan - 1,238
Ryan Richter - 1,193
Freddy Adu - 433,096
Who will be the first to be fined by the team/league for their Twitter comments? Will a certain hot-tempered manager make his thoughts on officiating public after a match? Can Freddy continue his recent effort to keep his tweets vague and positive? Will Taylor Twellman go on a rant while watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette that will make J.P. Dellacamera question their partnership?
Extra exposure could mean the world to the Union youngsters. We know Juergen Klinsmann has his eyes on Freddy, and he will undoubtedly be looking for other kids to support/replace parts of the aging squad Bob Bradley brought to the 2010 World Cup. We'll see plenty of holdovers, but there are bound to be many new faces due to club form, injury, age, and Klinsi's personal preferences.
Ages of 2010 WC Team as of the start of the 2014 edition in Brazil:
41 Marcus Hahnemann (would turn 42 during the tournament)
35 Steve Cherundolo
35 Carlos Bocanegra
35 Tim Howard
34 Jay DeMerit
33 Edson Buddle
32 Jermaine Jones
32 Oguchi Onyewu
32 Landon Donovan
32 Clarence Goodson
32 DaMarcus Beasley
32 Herculez Gomez
31 Ricardo Clark
31 Clint Dempsey
29 Brad Guzan
29 Jonathan Bornstein
29 Benny Feilhaber
28 Stuart Holden
28 Robbie Findley
28 Jonathan Spector
28 Maurice Edu
26 Jose Francisco Torres
26 Michael Bradley
23 Jozy Altidore
Danny Califf and Brian Carroll have been capped before and have a chance to help out during qualifying, but time is not on their side for the big tournament. Freddy Adu, Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan, Zac MacMath, Justin Mapp, Jack McInerney, Danny Mwanga (pending citizenship), Kyle Nakazawa, Amobi Okugo, Zach Pfeffer, Ryan Richter, Sheanon Williams, and every kid in our academy system will be under 30 years old. Who has the best shot? If you could choose 5 guys from the 2010 USMNT roster around whom the 2014 squad would be built, who would you pick?
There are nearly more former Union players than there are current ones. 4/6 goalkeepers are no longer with the team and those responsible for 16 goals / 10 assists have been sent packing. Some have been quite successful since moving on, while others have yet to see a minute on the pitch.
Where are they now?
Chris Seitz - FC Dallas
Andrew Jacobson - FC Dallas
Jordan Harvey - Vancouver Whitecaps
Shea Salinas - Vancouver Whitecaps
Shavar Thomas - Sporting Kansas City
Brian Perk - Los Angeles Galaxy
Alejandro Moreno - Chivas USA
Chris Agorsor - Real Salt Lake
Eduardo Coudet - Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)
Toni Stahl - Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)
Cristian Arrieta - Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)
Brad Knighton - Carolina RailHawks (NASL)
Nick Zimmerman - Carolina Railhawks (NASL)
Thorne Holder - FC New York (USL)
Michael Orozco-Fiscal - San Luis (Mexican Primera Division)
Carlos Ruiz - Veracruz (Mexican Segunda Division)
David Myrie - Limon FC (Costa Rican Primera Division)
Fred - Melbourne Heart (Australian A-League)
If you could bring one former Union player back before playoffs to improve our team, who would it be?
The international transfer window has closed and the Union look set to keep the roster essentially the way it looks today. They have the opportunity to make trades, free agent signings, and homegrown additions, but the core of the roster will remain unchanged. With the Montreal Impact joining the league next season, we will once again face the possibility of losing a player through the expansion draft. We will have the ability to protect 11 players in addition to any homegrown or Generation Adidas players (and Danny Mwanga will almost certainly graduate from GA at the end of the season).
Juan Diego Gonzalez
Sebastien Le Toux
Roger Torres (on loan)
Zac MacMath (Generation Adidas)
Jack McInerney (Generation Adidas)
Amobi Okugo (Generation Adidas)
Zach Pfeffer (Homegrown)
11 safe spots, 19 guys that need protection (3 of whom have yet to play a minute this season). Who do you pick? Do you leave a player with a large contract available in hopes that Montreal will balk at the price? Do you make an offer to Montreal under the condition that they don't take one of our guys in the draft? Does this all hinge on whether or not this roster is successful in the playoffs this year?
Leave your thoughts below!