Tag: Philadelphia Union

Analyzing The MLS Playoff Race In Detail

There’s about a month to go in the MLS season, which will wrap up at the end of October. That means playoff races are reaching their apex, as the field is set for the November tournament that is the best of what the league has to offer. MLS doesn’t have promotion and relegation – and no, it’s almost certainly not happening in your lifetime – the playoffs function as the alternative drama to the race against the drop. Some would say it’s better drama. David Villa marveled at the playoff system, saying at the MLS NEXT launch in New York ... Read more

Recount Of The Drama That Unfolded At The US Open Cup Final

Many know that while I am a huge soccer fan and a fan of my local Philadelphia Union, I am not a fan of MLS at all. While the quality of play leaves a lot to be desired, my main complaint with the league is the way it (for me) sucks the soul out of the game, with all of its complex rules for signing players, parity mechanisms such as player lotteries and drafts, as well as the fact that many games mean really nothing at all since over half the teams make the play-offs and there is no relegation. ... Read more

New Coaches and Same Results for MLS Teams

For Toronto and Philadelphia, the “international break” was an opportunity for renewal and revival.  Both teams had miserable starts to the season but both still were in shouting distance of fifth place in the Eastern Conference.  For the Union, the Nowak era was loudly coming to an end as popular players were slowly being shipped off as the head coach kept trying to remake the team in his image (see Earl’s analysis here).  Toronto’s woes were even more embarrassing: a year after beginning the implementation of the Total Football style Canadian edition, the Reds set a record for most losses to ... Read more

Who is the Best Head Coach in MLS?

As the preseason gets into full swing and rosters begin to stabilize, it’s time to take a look at the men who pull the strings and have the greatest impact on the team itself.  The modern manager is part tactician, part showman, and part PR man.  The best are the ones who can bring a diverse team together and make it into a trophy-winning side.  Rarely can a side win an MLS Cup, Open Cup, or Supporters Shield with a mediocre or poor manager.  However, at times its the team that makes the man and only the perfect marriage of players ... Read more

What is the ceiling for Philly? Three Questions on the Union

In their second year in MLS, the Philadelphia Union surprised the league by combining unbreakable defense with timely scoring.  Philly was in the top three of the East most of the season before slipping a bit at the end of the year and bowing out of the playoffs to eventual champ Houston.  Regardless, the year has to be seen as an unquestionable success, as the team secured a lucrative shirt sponsorship deal, packed its new soccer stadium, and showed that it could compete long-term in MLS. So, with the calendar turned to 2012, where does this team stand in the ... Read more

Can Portland Answer the Curtain Call? Three Questions for the Timbers

The “expansion” Portland Timbers had a debut MLS season to remember.  The team quickly became the darling of the TV networks with their passionate and creative fans, the team played an exciting brand of soccer, and the resurgence of Jack Jewsbury gave them some high-profile players.  The team even had a goal of the year candidate and an MLS moment of the year.  All that was lacking was a playoff berth, something that will not be any easier to obtain with their Western Conference rivals either improving or remaining strong, plus a new playoff format. They say second acts are ... Read more

MLS Gauging Market for a Team in Baltimore

On the eve of the second leg of the conference semifinals, the league has stirred some intrigue around one of its teams not in the playoffs.  According to Steven Goff of The Washington Post, soccer fans in the Baltimore, MD area have begun to receive surveys gauging their interest in locating an MLS franchise in the city.  Obviously this is a major issue for fans of DC United, whose franchise has been searching for a home and for the past few years has been rumored to be moving to Baltimore or outside of DC. According to Goff and Craig Stouffer ... Read more

Is Sporting Kansas City the Team to Beat Out East?

Anyone who has been looking for a new home understands the feeling of displacement that comes with it: the yearning for something new and different which you can model after your vision, while still feeling unsettled because you haven’t found that perfect place yet.  In June, MLS fans looked at Kansas City and either pitied or ignored them.  For a team who should have had Ricky Nelson sing its theme song, the season looked like a lost one.  Despite the new name and new logo, it was the same ol’ Kansas City, going from road game to road game trying to hang on until ... Read more