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Philadelphia Union Eyeing Maiden MLS Cup Glory


With each passing year, the number of franchises yet to get their hands on the MLS Cup grows smaller and smaller.

Los Angeles FC’s maiden success in 2022 means that there are now just four teams – Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, and FC Dallas – who have played in the MLS Cup without getting their hands on the silverware.

For Philly, revenge could be a dish best served cold. Los Angeles defeated them in the 2022 final – a titanic collision that Gareth Bale rescued for LA with a 128th-minute equalizer. That broke the hearts of the Union players and staff, but they have dusted themselves down and have performed excellently during the 2023 season. So can they go one better this time?

Bouncing Back

The betting odds for football leagues like the MLS fluctuate throughout the season as the relative qualities of each franchise become apparent. What’s interesting about Philadelphia’s 2023 campaign is that they started as the fourth favorites in the betting before a ball was kicked, and they remain so behind FC Cincinnati (+450), LA FC (+600), and Inter Miami (+700).

So it’s very much a case of keep calm and carry on for Jim Curtin’s side, who have remained consistent throughout as change has occurred all around them – make no mistake, Lionel Messi’s move to Miami sent shockwaves throughout the United States soccer community, not just in Florida.

Barring a set of results that would be almost unfathomable, let alone unpredictable, the Union will qualify for the first round of the MLS Cup playoffs. Only three franchises – Columbus Crew, Atlanta United, and St. Louis City – have scored more goals than them so far, while only Cincinnati and St. Louis have won more games than Philly.



So the signs are that Curtin has been able to rally his troops despite the heartbreak of that MLS Cup loss in 2022, and another year older and wiser after the fact, Philadelphia may finally get to glimpse the famous trophy at close quarters.

The Odd Couple

Although soccer is a team sport, games are often dominated by individuals or partnerships of players. Those pairings don’t come any more unusual than Philly’s Daniel Gazdag and Mikael Uhre, whose unique skills come together to make the Union such an irresistible force.

Gazdag is the archetypal number ten; stylish and technically gifted, the Hungarian is a key creative outlet for Curtin and has a happy knack for popping up with key goals from time to time too – such as his equalizer in the 2022 MLS Cup game.


As for Uhre, he juxtaposes the balletic grace of Gazdag with a rather more physical approach to the beautiful game. Standing tall and wide-set, the Dane is a target man in every sense of the term, and his robust style is the ideal counterpoint to the creative talents of his Hungarian teammate. Together, they’ve combined for 21 goals so far during the 2023 season, and if Philadelphia is to win the MLS Cup, then their partnership will be vital.

Curtin recently gave an interview in which he revealed that his group of players ‘wants more’, with qualifying for the playoffs now the lowest bar to be set by an increasingly ambitious bunch with revenge on their mind.

That’s a warning to anybody that stands in Philadelphia Union’s way during the rest of the season…