With a season ending thud, the Philadelphia Union are trying to figure out what went wrong. A 2-0 loss to New England was not expected.
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Supporters Shield Winners
After earning the Supporters Shield and home advantage throughout the MLS Cup playoffs, it was expected the Union would go deep. This wasn’t the case. On November 24, the Union lost to 8 seed New England in the first round.
Mistakes were costly
What happened to the Philadelphia Union? According to MLS Soccer, a lot. It started with two rapid fire goals by New England in five minutes of first-half play.
Union coach Jim Curtin said that when a team does lose, they wanted to lose knowing they gave it their best. “Tonight, for whatever reason, we were not ourselves.”
He went on to say that part of it is the opponent. “They made us feel uncomfortable. They did a great job of disrupting us. No question about it.”
Sloppy passes, bad turnovers, falling asleep on the restart–things the Union did well with all season–did not happen during the playoff match.
Questions run rampant
Was it a combination of swelled heads and expectations, combined with a lengthy playoff rust? New England was playing on four days of rest following a play-in victory over the Montreal Impact. This was supposed to give Philadelphia an advantage after a draining regular season.
After Curtin spoke to the media, Alejandro Bedoya went off when it was his turn to speak with the media.
Bedoya breathes fire
“An abysmal first half performance. That’s what was disappointing,” the team captain told the media. “It was a combination of a rustiness from not playing in almost three weeks and some players reading too many headlines.”
It’s very difficult for the Supporters Shield winners to win the MLS Cup in the same season. The feat has only been accomplished seven times in the 25 year history of MLS.
The two teams played six times in 2020 and Philadelphia won all five regular season meetings. Who will hoist the MLS Cup this year? We will know on December 12 when one team will walk away victorious.