The great unknown.
Those three words could sum up the feelings of many Union fans entering the season.
Unknown because it’s uncertain how the new signings (Oguchi Onyewu, Jay Simpson, Harris Medunjanin, etc.) will pan out.
Unknown because we have idea when the players absent due to injury (Maurice Edu, Josh Yaro) will play.
Unknown because it’s unclear whether Derrick Jones will live up to his potential.
And unknown if Andre Blake and Keegan Rosenberry will improve on their rookie campaigns.
But after three matches, another unknown has popped into my head:
When will the first victory come?
The point on the road against Vancouver was a solid one, and the draw at home against defending Eastern Conference champion Toronto looks like a point earned, not two points dropped.
However, the 2-1 defeat at Orlando City has led to this other great unknown.
Some have said in the past that the MLS regular season is relatively meaningless. That train of thought may have been somewhat appropriate when the league was smaller, but I don’t see how anyone can share that belief now, especially as little over half the teams experience playoff soccer now.
One of those teams in a playoff fight is the Union. I would consider a return trip to the playoffs to be a successful season, but they have work to do in order to make that a reality.
It would help if they started reeling off some wins. (It would also have helped if Ilsinho’s shot in stoppage time in Orlando had been a couple of inches inside of the post.) Although the Union struggled toward the end of last season, the strong start ensured they entered the last day of the regular season virtually assured of a playoff spot.
If the inability to snatch three points after 90 minutes continues after the next couple of matches, maybe an old Yogi Berra saying –“It gets late early” — will creep into my head.
The final great unknown that comes to mind is… I’m still figuring out who in MLS is good. Although we have some idea at the beginning of the season who might be serious title contenders and who might be glad there’s no relegation in MLS (I’m looking at you, Loons), predicting who might win on a week-to-week basis is challenging because the league is quite unpredictable.
So it’s futile to look at the upcoming Union schedule to predict how many of the next several games they’ll win. But I guess that what makes the league fun.