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We are waiting for the Union

Photo from the Philly Soccer Page Archives

There has been a palpable malaise in Union-land ever since the team departed Orlando after losing in the semis of the MLS is Back Tournament. And the stupor only deepened after an uninspiring 0-0 draw against New England to re-re-start the regular MLS season.

That’s a good thing.

It’s a sign of a fanbase that has grown in two significant ways. First off, Union fans are no longer satisfied with showing well and earning a road point (as they did in Orlando and Foxborough respectively). There’s a stack of pithy remarks that would describe this attitude, but “good enough isn’t good enough” is probably the most accurate. Union fans have seen what this team is capable of, and they know that it’s more than what the team have done in the past. So when they see the team fail to finish strong in a knockout tournament, or simply failing to lose a game, they’re not impressed. Jim Curtin, Ernst Tanner, and the whole Union front office have told us they can do better, and now we expect them to.

But on the other side of the coin, no one is seeing the performance at Gillette as a harbinger of the end times. In years past such a tepid response would have resulted in cries for someone’s head; be it the under-performing striker corps, Jim Curtin, or for some reason Ray Gaddis. There would be a sense of crisis, a desire for quick fixes and immediate results. And yet right now, there’s is patience. No one is reassured by what they saw against New England, but it doesn’t sound like anyone is particularly worried either. That doesn’t mean there aren’t (abundant) concerns about how the team will perform tonight or throughout what remains of the MLS season. But we’re nowhere near the cliff of Union despair.

So when there’s no joy of a newfound potential future, and no panicked sense of a ship which is sinking, what is left? Fortunately it’s not disinterest. Union talk is as lively as ever around the Internet regardless of the inroads it has failed to make into “mainstream” sports culture. And it’s relatively positive too, both on the prospect of selling home grown talents overseas and also the new talent promised to be coming up through the pipeline. The general consensus appears to be that while the Union are not yet where they need to be, they’re certainly on their way. And that’s a new feeling for Union fans.

One Comment

  1. This team had a two game reprieve from me for games played in a short time/law of averages type reasons.
    I have a quick packed suitcase at the ready- if the play is as lackluster, stale and unimaginative like the last two games.
    I’ll stop at Wawa for a Shortie and fountain Coke — be on my summer residence at the 5 points intersection of Cynicism Corner, down the Cliff– if tonight is not quite better. I’m prepared to light them up and damn hope I do not have to.
    Just. Play. Well.

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