The Philadelphia Union played their last home game in the eastern conference final. They will end 2022 as an undefeated team at Subaru Park. 12 wins and five ties in the regular season helped Philly clinch the 1-seed in the east. The two wins they got in the postseason see them in their first-ever MLS Cup Final!
14-0-5 in MLS regular season and postseason
Jim Curtin says it every season, he wants his team to dominate at home. We have seen it over the past few seasons, but it’s never been like how it was in 2022. Philly was dominant at home, and never really looked like losing. The start of the season brought some wins and a the five ties at home. Then the summer hit.
From June 26th to the eastern conference final Philadelphia won all 11 matches at home, and they didn’t just win those games, they beat down on their opposition. In a span of their final eight home matches in the regular season, Philly scored 38 goals and let in only four.
This strong home form helped them play playoff matches in front of their fans, and get to MLS Cup. One main reason for that was their ability to score boatloads of goals.
53 goals scored
Philadelphia was dominant in 2022. In years past the goalkeeping and defense was great, but the offense was lagging behind; that’s not the case now. Philly’s attack led by relatively unknown players, Uhre, Carranza, and Gazdag, has helped the club turn the corner to be a great attacking team.
Philly scored 53 goals at home in front of their fans. Just a few years ago, Union fans were used to their teams scrapping out draws and getting a few wins here or there; now, they get to witness jubilant games where Philly puts up touchdowns on opponents.
The attack has been labeled as world-beating and this may be because of the chip on their shoulder, or because of the buckets of goals they produce. While the attack did amazing things at home in 2022, this team is still grounded in defense.
10 goals conceded
En route to a dominant season at Subaru Park was a defense and goalkeeping that knew they were elite. The team had a bad taste in their mouth in 2021 after some rough games at home. Philly lost a CCL semifinal at home, and eventually an eastern conference final in 2021. This was on the heels of a 2020 run that saw them lift Supporters’ Shield and really make their home a fortress. In 2022, the defesne stepped up and made history.
Philly only conceded 10 goals at home through 17 regular season games and two playoff matches! That is absolutely absurd. Philly’s D is led led by goalkeeper of the year Andre Blake, defender of the year Jakob Glesnes, runner-up for defender of the year Kai Wagner, and possibly a third place finisher in that category Jack Elliot (he was left off the ballot this season). Team’s have a lot of trouble breaking them down which has led to the Union’s success in 2022.
Now, Philadelphia is on the verge of winning MLS Cup. Should they win, a major key to their victory will likely be the best defense in MLS, coupled with an attack that is gritty and finds ways to score some goals. While the game won’t be played at home, Philly’s home form is the reason they have the chance to lift the Cup.
2022 was an undefeated year at Subaru Park; could we see a reigning MLS Cup champion have an undefeated season once again in that building in 2023?
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union, Andrew Zwarych