The Philadelphia Union enter this mini-break in second place of the Eastern Conference only three points behind the Revs. They’ve been vastly improving as the season progresses. Although you would like them to continue on this run of six straight games of earned points, rest is surely welcomed with open arms by the players. Let’s take a look back at the Union’s grueling first three months.
A Grueling First Three Months
The Union played 12 games since the start of the season including four CCL games. These 12 fixtures spanned just under three months giving the union an extremely condensed schedule For all intents and purposes, they handled it quite well. The start of the year was clearly centered around the Champions League which showed in their first three MLS results. As they tied Columbus and lost to Inter Miami and NYCFC. However, this focus on CCL came with good results with the Boys in Blue now finding themselves in the Semi-Finals. They dispatched Deportivo Saprissa and Atlanta United both over two-leg ties. Following the CCL games, the Union came alive in their last five games tallying 13 points, scoring 8 goals, and only conceded one.
Playing at a high level with little rest
For a team with that many games in that little amount of time to be succeeding in two competitions is outstanding. It goes without saying the players could use this break to rest their bodies and minds. As someone who has played this sport for the better part of 18 years it is incredible that at the highest level, players are able to perform as well as they do with as little rest as they have. Even in college, we had two games a week and training every other day besides Sunday. That was a lot so these guys playing basically the same amount but for longer periods and at a higher level are grinding their bodies and minds down day in and day out.
Carrying the load the rest of the way
One of my favorite mantras for the sport is that nobody is 100% following the first week or two of the season. This means that whoever can perform their best at 75% is the guy who’s going to win the battle. The more guys who win their battles, the better the chance that team has of winning. The Union along with other teams won’t be at 100% health for the rest of the year, but it sure looks like their 75% can carry them far into the postseason after a Grueling First three Months.
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Mandatory Credit: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire