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Fans’ View: Playoff’s eve

Photo: Earl Gardner

So here we are. Two days before the start of the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. Three days before the Philadelphia Union play their first home playoff game in eight years. At the end of the best season in club history, and the dread has been building.

One win in five. Losing our hold on first place in the East, after hanging on for almost the whole season. A depressing final day loss to the diving, whining, admittedly very talented pigeons of NYCFC. The Union’s best season yet did not have the regular season finish we had hoped for. And it has introduced no small amount of worry into the minds of Union fans leading up to the playoffs. But there’s a reason this team finished third in the East and fifth overall. There’s a bunch of reasons actually.

Kacper Przybylko has confounded MLS defenders and pundits alike with his strength, deadly finishing, and incredible name. After some terrible injury struggles, his career has been reborn through his move to Philly. He finished 6th in the league goal-scoring charts and was rewarded with a nomination for the ever-nebulous Comeback Player of the Year award. The Friendly Striker has provided so much more than any fans could have imagined this year, which was especially important after Cory Burke went down to a season-ending visa injury.

The central midfield of Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro, and Haris Medunjanin has shown the ability to go toe to toe with the best in MLS. They combine high-energy pressure and ball winning with the ability to maintain possession that the team established last year, finally giving the team two options to break down opponents.

Brendan Aaronson broke out in a big way, culminating in his call-up to the US national team this past week. The US are a national team in shambles, admittedly, but Aaronson should still be proud of the honor and his play this year. He continues the growing Union homegrown player tradition. Now let’s hope that next year he avoids our other tradition of exciting young players experiencing sophomore slumps.

Ilsinho continued to do what he has done his entire Union career, but with a bit more end product this time, and it was enough to put the entirety of MLS on DEFCON 1 for about a month. His performance against the Red Bulls in June was magical, and hopefully he can put on a similar show this Sunday. His form has definitely slowed over the past few months, but he still seems to be good for one ridiculous set up a game. In the playoffs, that can be enough. It’s just up to his teammates to finish the opportunity when it comes.

That’s not even to mention the revelation of Wagner at left back, or Elliott’s bounce-back year, or the homegrown center-backs, or Jim Curtin’s continuing growth into an actually-pretty-good soccer coach. It’s been a great and memorable year.

Now let’s go win a damn playoff game.

6 Comments

  1. Please… please win this game.. I don’t care what happens after that….

    • I think this is where I am right now too. Had the Union not had their Blew September or heck, had they won the NYC game, I would have felt more confident.
      .
      I just want to see them top off their best year ever in the right way – a win at home in front of the fans.
      .
      Anything beyond that is a bonus.

  2. PK Shootout is the most terrifying outcome of this game for me.

  3. Actually, after reading that yesterday is the first day back to training with the first team for Bedoya, an early injury exit to beodya or kacper (who has apparently been playing with a fractured foot for months) would be the worst case scenario. go union! please please please dont send elliot forward on every corner kick. practice pens!

  4. To Union players leave it all out on the pitch for the WIN, and Yes, WE Need the WIN. To the folks in RiverEnd and Supporters all groups Up your game bring back the flags. S.O.B. & all the others groups get loud get together cheer on Our Union.

    Non Supporters in the River End deal with the noise, the flags the standing, cheers, cursing, yelling, smoke,and HOPEFULLY alot of Dooping with fighting.

    NYCFC game Sucked not just the lost but the atmosphere.

    It’s the Playoff!!! Me I’m hoping the final match up happen to be the Union vs LAFC for the Cup. We are Philly but please if the MLS Cup comes home please No images of Union fans eating Horse Shit.

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