It is still wild to me that in the year 2022 I have witnessed the Philadelphia Union raise the Supporters’ Shield, play in the Concacaf Champions League and host an Eastern Conference Final.
After a near decade of disappointment, the last few seasons have marked substantial growth for the Philadelphia Union. And by saying this I’m not telling anyone within the Philadelphia Union organization anything they likely don’t already know:
There’s no where else to hide. It’s MLS Cup or bust for the Philadelphia Union.
I don’t like laying down the gauntlet like this, but the achievements they’ve earned over the last three seasons have left us with no other path. Maybe the U.S. Open Cup would be a big success, but that feels like an appetizer rather than a main course. Especially now after hosting the Eastern Conference Finals only to lose in heartbreaking fashion.
The Union has one of the best defensive foundations in MLS. The back four, plus Andre Blake are easily a S-Tier group in the league and if you look to convince me otherwise, you’re just flat out wrong. The midfield diamond, plus Leon Flach (who will likely be first off the bench all year in their standard 4-1-2-1-2 formation), is a cohesive unit with one of the league’s best defensive midfielders in Jose Martinez, the heart and soul of the Union Alejandro Bedoya, one of the most skilled midfielders ever to put on the blue and gold in Jamiro Monteiro, and now, finally finding his groove late last year, attacking midfield Daniel Gazdag.
The last piece? A striker group that is more reliable than the previous year’s. No offense to Kacper Pryzbylko, who is one of the best to player here, but the lack of finishing during the playoff run likely stopped us from reaching the pinnacle. In to replace him, the Union’s highest paid transfer fee in history by the name of Mikael Uhre. Uhre comes off a stellar Danish Superliga season where he was the golden boot winner and helped lead Brondby to a league title for the first time in over a decade.
With Uhre, expectations are high. He’s clinical. He’s exactly the type of striker the Union need. A high work rate striker always getting into the right spots so the midfield and fullbacks, which create an abundance of chances, can find him.
We have every reason as fans to expect the best. The team remains as talented as they were last year and, aside from a bout of COVID-19 knocking out almost all of our key players, we were arguably one of the favorites. Time is now. There’s nothing else to aim for. Nowhere else to look and nothing else to hide behind.
Let’s get it done.