Can the Philadelphia Union exorcise the demons of the 2021 ECF?

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The Philadelphia Union set a goal after falling short of MLS Cup by one match in 2021. That goal was to get back to the eastern conference final and make it to their first-ever MLS Cup! They have achieved part one of their goal. Now it’s time to exorcise the demons of last season in the 2022 eastern conference final against the same team that knocked Philly out. Can the Union do it, can they make MLS Cup?

CHESTER, PA – DECEMBER 05: A Philadelphia Union Fan holds up a “Believe” sign during the first half of the Major League Soccer Cup Playoffs match between New York City FC and the Philadelphia Union on December 5, 2021, at Subaru Park in Chester, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

Can the Union exorcise the demons of 2021?

The pain of last season was felt when a rag-tag Philadelphia side fell just short of MLS Cup. Philly was beatdown by Covid-19 with 11 players out, six of them normal starters. Philadelphia still fought and almost pulled off a major underdog story.

Now in 2022, things are different, yet the same. It’s Philly vs New York City at Subaru Park for the chance to go to MLS Cup. It’s the same two teams, the same location, and the same round of the playoffs. Philly and NYCFC are very different from the teams they were in 2021, and the tables might be turned one year on.

A full-strength Union side!

Philadelphia has no injury concerns in the team coming into the 2022 eastern conference final! The one main injury Philly has been dealing with has been centered around their captain Alejandro Bedoya. Bedoya seems to be back and will feature in the match. This is a huge addition, and on top of that, Philly is now at full strength for the ECF!

There won’t be missing players for this one for the home side like there was last season. With the way this Philly team has played their 2022 season, they know that if they are at their best they can beat anyone on any given day. Their goalkeeper is the best in the league, the defense is elite, the midfield is tenacious, and the attack is world-beating. This team is fired up and ready to go against NYCFC.

NYCFC getting the injury bug

On the flip side, NYCFC looks to be dealing with three major injuries. center-back Maxime Chanot, talisman-attacking midfielder Maxi Moralez, and attacker Talles Magno are all playing injured. NYCFC’s head coach Nick Cushing hasn’t said too much about how injured these three players are, but saying they’re doubtful could be telling the truth, or be a smoke-screen to out-strategize the Union.

Chanot is a staple in NYCFC’s three-center-back system. If he can’t go that will be a huge blow for their defensive shape. If Moralez can’t play, then NYCFC will be without their on-the-field leader and huge spark for their attack. The same can be said about Magno, whose speed and knack for scoring hurt the Union in the 2021 ECF. IF NYCFC is without those guys then Philly will have the upper hand.

Union vs NYCFC; Sunday, October 30 @ 8:25 pm ET

This match is another in a budding MLS rivalry. It’s an opportunity for Philly to get revenge and make their first-ever MLS Cup. It’s an opportunity for NYCFC to make their second-straight MLS Cup and solidify them as one of the best teams of the last three years.

This one is going to be epic; it will be historic no matter what happens. But the soccer God’s seems to be giving Philadelphia the opportunity that is rarely ever presented. Philly has the chance to get revenge on the team that made them fall short last year. This is a redemption arc for a Philly team that went from a well-organized good team to one that has played like a champion for most of the 2022 season. Can they exorcise the demons of 2022, and hit the next milestone for this club?

Listen to the Hype on DOOP by the River!

For more Union hype, check out the DOOP by the River podcast for video and audio previews from Philly Sports Network’s soccer podcast!

This week, El Parcero Philly and Justin had Christian Polanco from the Soccer Cooligans on to preview the rematch that is the 2022 eastern conference final!




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Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire