It took five seasons but the Philadelphia Union are back in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
It has been a very long, wild five years for the Philadelphia Union. Multiple coaches have come and gone, their CEO has left, and countless players have come through and left Talen Energy Stadium with aside from two U.S. Open Cup appearances little to no success to show for. But in just one year the Earnie Stewart reign in Philadelphia has pushed the club back into the MLS Cup Playoffs.
While it is certainly a great story and a true testament to the work of Stewart and coach Jim Curtin to turn around this side in such a short period of time it has not been easy. Considering that the club enters the playoffs having won just three matches in their last fifteen (3-7-5, 14 points) it is fair to say that this club has struggled as of late. Injuries and a poor defensive effort saw the club slide from the top spot in the Eastern Conference to the number six seed.
So can the Union turn things around in a short period of time and come out on top against Toronto FC (7:30pm ESPN2, UNiMas, TSN2) on Wednesday? It is certainly possible. The structure of the MLS Cup playoffs has proven through time that lower seeds can get hot into the playoffs and get past sides who had better regular season records. The Portland Timbers were perfect examples of this. But it requires a stout defensive effort, good organization up top, and a little bit of luck. Can the Union get this? Time will tell.
So with that in mind let’s look at the three hopes and one fear of the Philadelphia Union!