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What we learned from the win over Atlanta United

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A couple takeaways from Saturday’s win going into the international break

MLS: D.C. United at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union took on Atlanta United in a battle for first place in the Eastern Conference and walked away with three points in a 3-1 victory at Talen Energy Stadium.

There’s a bit to look at here, so let’s get into it.

The back line is impressive

The Union may have finally found the secret sauce to their defense, after rotating Auston Trusty, Aurelien Collin and Mark McKenzie around, all paired up with Jack Elliott.

With Mark McKenzie starting the past two games and having strong performances, it seems that Jim Curtin and the front office have put together the perfect combination of players to close out the season.

Against Atlanta, the combination of Kai Wagner, Elliott, McKenzie, and Ray Gaddis was able to hold off a strong United attack. The Union was able to stand strong outside of a few mishaps, but they were the reason the Union won the game.

It is important to note that Curtin did say that he would be moving players around throughout the remainder of the season. However, it does appear that the Union has found a core group to take on their most difficult opponents, something that Philadelphia will need down the stretch.

The offense needs to show up up for the full 90 minutes

This next one is going to be unpopular, but here it is.

Outside of the last ten minutes of play, (from 85’ to 90+5’) the Union offense didn’t come to play. They chased Atlanta for most of the game until they decided to play to win the game with five minutes left in regulation.

They played incredibly then, and I’d rather them play for just the last ten than just the first ten, but is it too much to ask to see even just 60-75 minutes of strong soccer?

At halftime, the Union looked like they were barely holding, and the goal by Josef Martinez to close out the half didn’t seem like it would help them any. At the end of the match, it was impressive that Philly stayed alive and able to fight. But I won’t attribute that to the lackluster offense that fans saw Saturday.

By no means am I complaining about a win, but I do believe that there is plenty more for the team to work on if they want to make a playoff run. The end goal is the MLS Cup, and until they look like the team that can win it all, there will be more to work on.

What were your takeaways from the Atlanta win?