Recent years may have been complicated in the world of soccer, yet one MLS team appears to have thrived, regardless of the disruption and problematic fixture scheduling caused by the pandemic. However, now that some semblance of normality has returned, Philadelphia Union is once again entertaining fans in large numbers at their home stadium.
Following many failed attempts to bring Major League Soccer to the banks of Delaware, some dating back to the foundation of the MLS itself in the early 1990s, Philadelphia Union was eventually founded in 2008. Their inaugural season in the competition came in 2010, accompanied by establishing their home at what is now called Subaru Park, the soccer-specific venue located adjacent to the Commodore Barry Bridge, connecting Chester, Pennsylvania, to Bridgeport, New Jersey.
Aside from finishing third in the Eastern Conference and 8th in the overall MLS standings in 2011, greater league success was decidedly slow in arriving, although the Union did enjoy exciting runs in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Following the appointment of Jim Curtin as head coach, they reached consecutive finals in 2014 and 2015. In the 2014 final, Philadelphia took the game to extra-time before falling 3-1 against Seattle Sounders. Then in 2015 final, the Union tied 1-1 against Sporting Kansas City, only to lose out after a tense penalty shootout.
The official website of the competition recounts what happened in that dramatic 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final, here: https://thecup.us/2015/09/30/sporting-kc-wins-third-us-open-cup-title-after-pk-shootout-with-philadelphia-union/
Despite having come so close to winning their first silverware, the disappointments actually seemed to spur Philadelphia Union towards harboring much greater ambitions. They reached the U.S. Open Cup final again in 2018, and once again the outcome proved frustrating, losing 3-0 against Houston Dynamo this time. Nevertheless, the team was improving significantly and there was a growing sense that just around the corner, this franchise would earn the honors it so richly deserved.
Perhaps the clearest signal of things to come was during the 2019 MLS campaign, boosted by the scoring talents of Polish striker Kacper Przybyłko, who arrived in 2018. His goals helped the Union to finish 3rd in the Eastern Conference, and 5th in the overall MLS table, before the team eventually fell short in the MLS Cup Playoffs, beaten 2-0 by Atlanta United FC in the Conference Semifinals. Nevertheless, this talented squad of players had laid solid foundations upon which to build.
The only problem was that circumstances beyond the control of anyone would intervene. Once the COVID-19 pandemic swept throughout North America, it inevitably caused massive disruption to all the major sporting competitions, including the MLS. After starting and being halted because of severe travel restrictions, then the playing of the interim “MLS is Back Tournament” during the summer, filling the gap in competitive action.
The “MLS is Back Tournament” proved highly successful, especially for broadcasters and sponsors. More about that unique MLS competition can be found at their official website: https://www.mlssoccer.com/news/mls-is-back-tournament-wins-sbj-s-sports-event-of-the-year
Regardless of all the difficulties that year, Philadelphia Union excelled in 2020, winning the Eastern Conference and comfortably finishing top of the overall MLS table, once again it was the MLS Cup Playoffs that would prove frustrating. Eliminated in the First Round this time, the dream of an overall MLS championship title would continue beyond reach. However, there was somewhat considerable consolation, given that Philadelphia had qualified for continental competition for the first time in the club’s history.
During the 2021 campaign, the Union reached further than any of the other MLS teams in the CONCACAF Champions League, making it all the way to the semifinals of the continental competition. However, even their magnificent efforts couldn’t surpass the traditional power of the Mexican sides, beaten in both legs of the tie by Club América, who themselves were beaten in the final by Monterrey.
Still, having developed a growing base of support that now stretches beyond the borders of the United States, all around the world, and reaching as far as Asia, continued growth beckons for the Philadelphia Union. Comfortably top of the Eastern Conference after 25 games and third in the overall MLS table, some bookies are confident the Union can finally break their MLS Cup hoodoo. But as always, odds can vary from one betting site to the next.
This is why Asiabet has compiled a detailed list of the top betting sites in the Asian region, accompanied by information published in country-specific languages, including Thai: https://www.asiabet.org/th/sports-betting/
Looking ahead, if this talented Philadelphia Union side can maintain the same rhythm and performance, already the hardest team to beat with the fewest losses in the 2022 MLS campaign, they could be destined for the top domestic prize at long last. Los Angeles FC remains outright favorites at the moment, but just over their shoulder and tipped as the strongest contenders, none other than the Union are there and ready to pounce. The patience and enduring pride of their fans could finally be rewarded.