I apologize for the lateness of this as finals occurred during the last week of the month so I was a little overwhelmed, but the Philadelphia Union and my finals had a very similar pattern in the month of April. The Union had nice, easy wins like my Oral Communications final, and the Union had some tough losses, like my Physics final. The Union continued their hot streak this month, going 2-2-1 and claiming first place in the East for one week. The Union remain unbeaten at home (Wins against Orlando City FC and NYCFC, Draw against San Jose Earthquakes and LA Galaxy) and have claimed 13 points during the first two months of this season. It was not until June last year that the Union had more than 13 points so things are already looking up for the boys in blue.
Their key wins were against a hot, however Brek Shea-less and Cyle Larin-less, Orlando City FC off a Tranquillo Barnetta stunner in the 90th minute, and a victory against (rival?) NYCFC. In the losses to Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders, The Union were always in the game, losing both by only one goal. The San Jose draw was a tough one to swallow after Earthquake midfielder Anibal Godoy was sent off in the 59th minute, but Simon Dawkins was still able to equalize in the 83rd minute. As always, there were standouts in the month of April
Tranquillo Barnetta: Barnetta has returned from injury and has made his pretense known in the MLS. Having one of the most beautiful free kicks Union fans have ever seen (almost identical to Kleberson's in 2013) Barnetta was snubbed for Goal of the Week but was put up for Goal of the Month and saw himself in the MLS team of the week. Barnetta has been a key player for the Union and has kept the offence running through him, so having him back at full health has been vital to this team.
Keegan Rosenberry: This canidate for Rookie of the Year has been outstanding since coming to the Union and has been on the MLS Team of the Week once already and is poised and in form to do it again. He has shut down some big names like Kaka, David Villa, and the star-studded attack of LA as a rookie and has been the most consistent defender (in my own opinion) this year. He and the following player are two key reasons that the Union are where they are in the standings.
Andre Blake: Once again, Blake is standing out among the rest. His acrobatic saves and awareness are almost routine at this point, but he is proving himself to be one of the greatest young goal keepers in the world. The Jamacian international has 28 saves this year and has come up big in games that were close and helped keep the Union fighting as they end the month in a playoff position.
I did not see anybody that to me was distinctly struggling, however my brain is just about broken right now so I'm not even sure I'm writing about the right team, but comment if there are any players you think I should have talked about or anything I missed during the month of April.
Overall, I think the Union did a good job of maintaining a healthy pace that they can make the playoffs with. While extra help in the offense is needed, summer is coming and I'm sure Earnie Sewart has something big planned to help boost and support the forward position.