The Philadelphia Union kick off their 2021 MLS season tonight in Columbus against (no big deal) the defending MLS Cup champions Columbus Crew. We asked our readers and contributors to give us their bold and not so bold predictions for the 2021 season. Typically, it’s a lot easier to decipher between the two but after winning the Supporters’ Shield in 2020 anything really does seem possible this year, even a guy with 727 career minutes leading the team in goals, the team scoring regularly off set pieces and Andre Blake doing the seemingly impossible: winning MVP of the league as a goalkeeper.
The Union make the Champions League final. Maybe it won’t win the whole thing, but Philadelphia has the pieces to get through its side of the bracket.
Eastern Conference Finals.
Fontana leads the team in scoring.
Three players score double digit goals.
New HG players receive a lot less playing time than expected.
Paxten Aaronson earns a starting spot.
Fontana will be the Union’s leading goal-scorer.
The defense will allow fewer goals this season than last and will be best in the Eastern Conference.
Bedoya declines in production and people question whether he should be starting by end of season.
The back line will score more than three goals.
Kacper comes back better.
Kai Wagner will be sold to a Premier League team at the end of the season.
Sergio Santos will record three hat tricks.
Paxten Aaronson scores more goals than Sergio Santos.
Mbaizo will score a goal but nobody will riot.
Most red cards in the league.
Mbaizo’s play will make or break the season - best case, he unlocks the right side of the field and they become even more dangerous and balance going forward. Worst case, he is inconsistent on the back end, leading to more scramble defense which Glesnes isn’t great with.
Santos/Burke/Przbylko/Fontana combo all score fewer than 10 goals each.
Martinez will have no yellow cards this year.
Mbaizo will lead in assists.
They win the whole damn thing.
The starting lineup will most often feature no homegrowns.
Monteiro will be an MVP candidate.
Three more signings from academy.
Someone will the golden boot.
Oravec will get minutes and be a key factor to the team’s success.
Mbaizo leads all outside backs in MLS in assists.
Top 5 goal scorer or a top 5 assist leader.
Homegrowns take over most of the starting spots.
Win MLS Cup not letting up a single goal in playoffs.
The Union will have more than five goals scored from set pieces and corners.
The best two midfielders will have more goals than the best two forwards.
Kacper and Fontana will not equal their goal production from last year.
Both Sergio and Kacper score 10+ goals and the Union finish top 2 in the East.
The Union possibly finish in the middle-bottom of the conference due to the key roster losses.
Union pull off the double.
Anthony Fontana scores double digit goals, El Brujo does not receive a red card all year.
Matt Real and Olivier Mbaizo end the season as the best attacking fullback duo in the league.
The Union set a new record for consecutive minutes without conceding a goal.
Not So Bold Predictions
Kacper Przybylko scores 15 goals in the MLS season.
Andre Blake will be best keeper In MLS.
We won’t set a new team points record (under 55).
We will miss Mark and Brenden.
Alejandro Bedoya will look gassed by the end of the season and playoffs.
Anthony Fontana grows into MLS-wide known name as quality attacking player.
Union will win more games than they lose.
Their new Jerseys will sell out.
Union will have a top 4 home record in the league.
Ray Gaddis appreciation day when capacity is back to or near full house.
Blake will lead them to win a few matches they should lose.
We’ll say goodbye to Ilsinho.
We (fans) will not be embarrassed.
First round exit in playoffs.
Top three or four in East.
Martinez will get lots of yellow cards.
Blake will continue to preserve games late with great at least one great save.
Sergio Santos will have a slow start to this season but pick up his form.
Monteiro will lead the team in assists.
Fontana get legitimate offers and maybe is transferred in the offseason.
Slight regression at the beginning of the season.
El Brujo gets a yellow card suspension.
1 homegrown becomes crucial starter (Brenden Aaronson-esque).
There will not be a 15 goal scorer on the team.
The backline will be good again.
Top five in MLS
They make it past the opening round of the MLS Cup Playoffs
Andre Blake will win the league MVP
Union are a playoff lock
The Union mesh well and take the Eastern Conference
Kacper Przybylko ends the season as the second all time leading goalscorer
Alejandro Bedoya starts every game this year
Alejandro Bedoya, at age 33, continues to justify being one of the best shuttlers in the league with his hustle and tactical prowess.
The Union will not repeat as Supporters’ Shield winners but will go further in the playoffs