A first look at the Philadelphia Union’s 2018 league opponents

MLS released the regular season schedules for all 23 teams this afternoon. With many teams already revamped for 2018, it was a time for fans to sure up the competition. That’s not the case for the Union at this moment in time. For now, Union fans have to look at the fixtures with caution knowing their squad is not complete. That being said, let’s take A first look at the Union’s 2018 league opponents.

The Union’s schedule has the normal split of home and away games; 17 games being played at Talen Energy Stadium, and on the road. When you look at this specific schedule it can be broken down into groups of games that could define the outcome of the Union’s 2018.

A first look at the Union’s 2018 league opponents

Early season oppertunities:

The Union’s early season is very forgiving. They get New England at home. They then get a week off. After that they welcome Columbus to Chester. Then receive another bye week. The Union then end the five game cluster with two home matches verses San Jose and Orlando. Depending on the moves the Union make, this is a favorable stretch. It provides a real opportunity to collect points early in the season. Which cold be a huge confidence boost as they move on to harder times.

Toughest 8 days of the season:

What I see as the toughest stretch of the season is a stretch of games in May. The Union have three straight games on the road against tough opposition. They play the teams that faced off in the eastern conference final last season over five days, and then go to a place where they have had little success, Montreal. These matches could tell the fortune of this Union team. Playing against steep opposition on the road with short turnarounds. This could be where they drop points that negate any kind of success from early in the season. unfortunately this is not the only challenging group of games the Union will have in 2018.

Mid-season tests:

Philadelphia have a mid-season test that could also prove to be hard to handle. Four matches against eastern conference playoff teams from last season. If the Union are an average eastern conference team, they will look to prove themselves against some of the better off teams. This stretch of games leads into the World Cup break, and is right around the exact middle of the season. The team will need to have resolve as they play four crucial matches in 14 days. While this shouldn’t be a make or break scenario, it is important to get some points against the big boys in the east.

Summer stretch:

The Union’s summer is full of games after the World Cup. As the season progresses into the dog days of summer, the Union get a decent split of games. Six on the road, and four at home, set the stage for getting points. The Union play their last matches against some strong teams and begin their games against others. The Union get their first shot at expansion side LAFC in LA at the end of June. Philly also finishes their matches against Eastern conference contenders Atlanta and Chicago. If the Union can pull together and win the games they should win, and take some points against some of the better teams, they will be in good shape heading towards the end of the season.

The end of the season:

The end of the season is an even split of games, four at home and on the road. The Union only go out west one time during the trip They play at Seattle in September, and welcome Kansas City and Minnesota to Chester as their last western conference opponents. The rest of the matches are crucial. Playing eastern conference teams in crunch time will show what this team is made of.

Final take aways:

The final take away from the schedule coming out is that it’s still to early to judge how the Union will do. The team is not assembled, so it doesn’t make much sense to analyze how many points the Union will get from these matches at this time. Once the roster starts to be finalized we will dive deeper into the matches, and how the Union should fare.

Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Union content. Be sure to follow our writers on Twitter:

Tim Lovenguth
Matt McClain
Jeff Green

Peace out Union fans!

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Union writer. A passion for the beautiful game drives me. Twitter: @TGing21

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