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2024 Season Preview: Philadelphia Union

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Welcome to the 2024 season preview for the Philadelphia Union! Last season was a mix of good and bad for the Boys in Blue, but unfortunately it was cut short as the Union lost to FC Cincinnati 1-0 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. After much surprise, however, the Philadelphia Union will run it back one more time with mostly the same team as the previous couple of years.

2023 Recap:

Record: 15-10-9 (55 Points/ 4th in Eastern Conference)

Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs: Knocked out by FC Cincinnati in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Team Leaders in Goals: Daniel Gazdag: 15 goals, Julian Carranza: 14 goals, Mikael Uhre, 10 goals.

Team Leaders in Assists: Kai Wagner: 8 assists, Daniel Gazdag: 6 assists, Julian Carranza: 5 assists.

2024 Outlook:

Manager: Jim Curtin (10th official season as head coach.)

Additions: GK, Oliver Semmle from Louisville City, CM, Sanders Ngabo from Lyngby Boldklub, CM, Nick Pariano from Duke University, RB, Jamir Berdecio from Oriente Petrolero, ST, Markus Anderson from CF Rayo Majadahonda, LB, Isaiah LeFlore from Houston Dynamo 2. Additionally, the Union were able to resign star LB, Kai Wagner, and captain, CM, Alejandro Bedoya, to new deals.

Departures: CB, Brandan Craig to El Paso Locomotive, CM, Andres Perea to NYCFC, GK, Joe Bendik to free agency, CAM, Joaquin Torres to Universidad Catolica.

Designated Players: CAM, Daniel Gazdag :ST, Mikael Uhre: ST, Julian Carranza.

Projected Starting XI:

As the new MLS season is about to kick off, Philadelphia Union fans should feel excited as the front office quietly did their job at bringing in depth pieces while also and more importantly holding on to Kai Wagner and resigning Alejandro Bedoya. Additionally, star striker, Julian Carranza, who was heavily linked to leave in the offseason, stuck around for at least the beginning of this new season.

As the Union once again compete in additional tournaments besides MLS, like the Concacaf Champions Cup and Leagues Cup in the summer, depth will once again be tested. The Union went out and got players like Markus Anderson and Sanders Ngabo primarily for this reason. Also, this season, lots of Union starters and constant subs will miss action due to international games like the Euros and friendlies. Coach Jim Curtin already has talked to the media about this issue, that the Union could be missing lots of players and talks about the importance of young homegrown players stepping up.

Jack McGlynn and Quinn Sullivan have been steadily improving both offensively and defensively during the offseason. While McGlynn will most likely play on the left side of the Union's diamond, Sullivan's position is unknown as we do not know if he will play on the right side of the diamond or up top as a second striker. Due to the congested schedule that the Union have this season, Union fans could expect to see glimpses of other youngsters like Jeremy Rafanello. Another point to note is that Nathan Harriel has slowly started to get more games under his belt and could soon start over Olivier Mbaizo at right back. Jim Curtin likes utilizing both right backs so Union fans can expect to see Mbaizo and Harriel trade games at times.

Overall, the Philadelphia Union will once again rely on Gazdag, Carranza, and Uhre, to spearhead the attack while Blake remains in command of the backline. In his new role this season, captain Alejandro Bedoya, probably will not play as much, which opens the door for other players to make their mark. As of the writing of this article, the only players that are out long term are Leon Flach (Shoulder) and Isaiah LeFlore (ACL).

My prediction for the Philadelphia Union is that they will finish either 4th or 5th in the Eastern Conference.

Ben Brecher

Twitter: @BenBrecher18

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