The Philadelphia Union may or may not be headed to the playoffs. As of this writing, the Union are three points behind Columbus Crew SC with a game in hand and just eleven games to go. And if like so many seasons before this one the Union miss the playoffs, it will be chalked up to another season of the Union trying to get things figured out.
This match against FC Dallas though should be an indication that the club has things figured out to a degree. The Union have two good goalkeepers - no more, no less. The defense has seen the emergence of a center back in Jack Elliott that has been in serious conversations for Rookie of the Year honors. Giliano Wijnaldum is no longer "Georginio Wijnaldum's kid brother" or "that Dutch left-back that plays for Bethlehem Steel FC" but a legitimate defensive threat. Haris Medunjanin and Alejandro Bedoya have formed a partnership that looks to be central to the Union's plans for the next couple of years, and CJ Sapong has finally been able to shake off the summer swoon and continue to add to a career best season.
The club put all of this together against one of the better teams in MLS. Dallas is a team that had shut teams down defensively and hung some pretty brash numbers on opponents both at home and on the road - and the Union were able to beat them 3-1. For 90 minutes, this was what the Union are capable of when everything clicks.
If the Union are able to take that next step - be it this year or next - this Dallas game could be looked at as a pivotal moment in ushering in that next era.