The Philadelphia Union is in 1st place in the east! They take on the team sitting 11th in the west, Colorado Rapids. This match is the most important match of Philly’s 2022 season! From the outside looking in, this looks like just another winnable game for a confident Union team in the heart of their late-season schedule. However, circumstances have changed. A win tonight would mean Philly would be just three points (one win) behind LAFC for the top spot in all of MLS.
Union plays their most important match of 2022 tonight!
LAFC lost on Friday night to Austin FC 4-1. This has blown the race for the Supporters Shield wide open. The team that beat LAFC is in the thick of that race but so is Philadelphia, who might just be in the driver’s seat should they beat Colorado tonight.
LAFC had a nine-point lead over Philadelphia and Austin just two weeks ago. now, that has dropped to six points over both, but if the best team in the east can beat a non-playoff side in the west then the gap will be even tighter. While the goal for Philly this season has been to win the east and make a run for MLS Cup, they are now within striking distance of the Supporters Shield with just six weeks left in 2022.
The race for the Supporters’ Shield is now wide open
LAFC has fallen on the road in the last two weeks. They have lost to 2-1 to San Jose and 4-1 to Austin. The top team in MLS has looked tired over these last two matches, and the time to strike at them is now for the Shield challengers like Austin and Philly. The Union has the easiest remaining schedule on paper of the Shield contenders.
Philly plays just two teams in current playoff position (Red Bulls and Orlando), the rest are against teams currently 10th (Charlotte), 11th (Toronto), and 13th (Atlanta twice) to end their season.
LAFC has to play five western conference teams currently in playoff position on their home stretch (Dallas, Minnesota, Salt Lake, Nashville, and Portland), their other two matches are against bottom dwellers Houston.
Austin plays four games against teams currently positioned in their last seven matches (Salt Lake, Nashville twice, and Portland), they also go to Seattle and Vancouver who are both looking to get back above the red line and finish the season at lowly Colorado.
For Philly, they need to win this game to shorten that gap on LAFC and widen it against Austin. Their newfound style of play might just be what allows them to make some major history.
Philly will lean on a historic attack while margins are thin
Philadelphia is not always thought of as an offensive juggernaut, but this season, they have a front three that is producing at a rate the team has never seen before. The Carranza (13)-Uhre (9)-Gazdag (12) front three has scored 34 goals this season, tied for first with Austin’s front three of Driussi-Urruti-Fagundez. The Union rarely lead in attacking categories, but now they’re a force to be reckoned with during the final stretch of the season.
Not only is the attack clicking on all cylinders, but the midfield is too, thanks to the addition of Jack McGlynn. The homegrown midfielder brings a calmness to the Union; he’s a ball-dominant player who can unlock defenses with his passing range, to which the front three has feasted on. Add these four to a defensive unit that has only allowed 20 goals on the season, and you have a team that could just be the best in MLS.
The potential is there, but this side will have to perform in front of a packed home stadium to ensure a win in what is the most important game of the season.
Union vs Rapids 7:30 pm ET; Don’t miss it!
The Union has been one of the best teams in MLS in 2022. They have dominated the eastern conference, but it seemed like LAFC was going to run away with the Supporters’ Shield. Now, we are seeing a bit of a slip-up from Los Angeles, and Philly is prime to pounce on the opportunity to be the best in the league.Listen to “DOOP By The River Podcast: WE’VE NEVER SEEN AN ATTACK LIKE THIS!” on Spreaker.
Their game against Colorado presents the biggest question as to who this Philly team really is in 2022. If they want to settle for just being the best team in the eastern conference, then they won’t get the job done against a Colorado side that has greatly underachieved this season. However, if they want to be “DOOPing Great” then they’ll stomp this Rapids side that has leaked goals all season, allowing 40 on the season so far.
You really don’t want to miss this match! It’s practically a sellout, as all home matches have been for Philly recently. The crowd will be rocking to create an amazing atmosphere! If you can’t make it to the game, you should still watch this team. They’re statistically great in the attack and the best defensive team in the league. the chances for another blowout win like we’ve seen four different times over the last two months is high as well against an inferior Colorado side.
The game kicks off in just a few hours, where will you be watching?
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Doop on Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire