Photo: Earl Gardner
In 2010, we got a new and exciting franchise. One that we hoped wouldn’t have the same pitfalls of mediocrity as the other Philadelphia teams.
Six years in, those hopes were gone. The Union ended up proving that they are in fact a Philly team.
In their seventh season, however, we feel a new sense of hope.
Last year, we saw the team begin the season exceeding expectations and end it coming back down to earth. It was the first year with Earnie Stewart in the big chair. That offseason, he made some obvious moves like letting go of Steven Vitoria and Andrew Wenger, some controversial moves like trading Christian Maidana and Sebastian Le Toux and some great moves like signing Chris Pontius and Roland Alberg.
Here we are in year two of the Earnie and Jim Show with a new sense of optimism. The team made a checklist of all the boxes that needed filling and broke out the spackle.
This is the deepest team the Union has fielded yet. New additions like Medunjanin and Oguchi Onyewu fill those holes and a full year of Bedoya has me thinking about the goals he could help create.
Even though he has not yet been able to produce a consistently successful team, they’re sticking with Jim Curtin. I’m not completely sold on Curtin, but my gut tells me he’s good for the team. That may not mean much, but making it to the playoffs after an abysmal 2015 means something’s going right.
Unlike the other teams in Philly, we have more than just future prospects to look forward to. We have actual free agent signings, for one. While the other teams are still worrying about developing young players, the Union have that and established veterans. There’s a genuine chance of being a championship-caliber team.
I want to see a parade down Broad Street and a cup in Philly before New York gets one. I may be getting ahead of myself, but we’re getting close and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m pretty excited for this next season. If you’re a true fan, how can you not be? At worst, we have something else to watch besides the Phillies this summer. At best, we can finally add a trophy to the case (or even buy a case) and flaunt it in front of the Red Bulls.
There’s a lot to look forward to and but also a lot that can happen. Edu might never come back. Someone else could get injured. Maybe Rosenberry goes through a sophomore slump or Medunjanin is another M’Bolhi. Those are all possible but I don’t see it that way.
The team starts the season at Vancouver, so I can’t attend the game. But you can rest assured that I will be at Fado at least an hour before the game to get my buzz started. I might need it.