Philadelphia Union Look to Build Off Two Key Wins

by Marc Narducci | May 23, 2018
Philadelphia Union Look to Build Off Two Key Wins
Philadelphia Union Look to Build Off Two Key Wins
Two things people should keep in mind when following MLS – the season is awfully long and teams who seem out of the running can get back into the race often with a two to three game winning streak.
That is what the Philadelphia Union has discovered.
Now in their ninth season, the Union looked heading nowhere after opening this year 2-5-2. Now with a 2-0 win at Montreal, followed by an impressive 4-1 victory over Real Salt Lake, this season that appeared slipping away, now has a true purpose.
MLS teams play 34 regular season games. The regular season begins the first week of March and ends the last week of October.
The top six teams in both the East and West Divisions will earn a playoff spot.
With a 4-5-2 record to begin the week, the Union were in seventh place in the East, just three behind the New England Revolution. That’s a New England team the Union beat, 2-0 at home to begin the season on March 3.
The wins over Montreal and Real Salt Lake were significant since both snapped long dubious streaks. Winning in Montreal snapped a 16-game road winless streak for the Union.
The Union’s win over Real Salt Lake was their first victory ever over the Utah-based club after 11 losses.
Both Montreal and RSL had losing records when they played the Union, but they won’t give the victories back and for good reason.
Very little separates many of the 23 MLS teams and the races for playoff spots should be intense.
The Union have qualified for the playoffs just twice in their eight-year history.
Looking on the bright side, the Union have struggled in the first third of the season to have a consistent offense as nobody has scored more than two goals.
Prized Czech acquisition Borek Dockal, Brazilian midfielder Ilsinho and veteran forward C.J. Sapong each had two goals to lead the Union. Sapong had 16 goals last season, and if he gets into one of the scoring grooves, that will greatly benefit the offense.
What has been disappointing is that David Accam, acquired in the offseason from Chicago, is off to a disappointing start.
Accam, who had a career-high 14 goals last season, had yet to score in the first 11 games.
With the Union having scored six goals in its last two games, maybe the offense is heating up. If Accam begins playing the way he did a year ago, that would bode well for the Union.
One thing in the Union’s favor is that in keeper Andre Blake has the ability to keep his team in every game. Named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016, Blake had a career-best nine shutouts last season. At 27, the Jamaican national team standout is just coming into his own.


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Author: Marc Narducci


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