The Union will kick off their season at home against the New England Revolution this Saturday at 7 PM.
Just a week ago, this match would have seemed the first step to another lost season. Now, hope abounds in Philadelphia, and while the reason for that hope (midfielder Borek Dockal) will be unlikely to play in the match, Union supporters have a bit of a team to hang their collective hat on this year.
The future was bright for the Union, but now the present looks good too. The Union have improved significantly on offense, adding speedster David Accam to the wing and Dockal to the central attacking midfielder position. Coupled with 16 goal scorer C.J. Sapong up top and the Alejandro Bedoya/Haris Medunjanin duo behind them, this could be an exciting team to watch. Former Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake is back on a new deal to anchor the defense that includes rookie sensation Jack Elliott at center back and a potentially-resurgent Keegan Rosenberry at right cornerback, not to mention promising young center back and United States U-20 World Cup member Auston Trusty.
In old foe New England, they’ll face a slew of talented players like Juan Agudelo, Diego Fagundez, and the unhappy Lee Nguyen, not to mention US International Kelyn Rowe. The players have a new minder in old warhorse goalkeeper and US International Brad Friedel, who played more than 450 matches in the Premier League and gained 82 caps for the US in his career and should bring a wealth of experience to the club.
What happens on Saturday? The Union were 10-4-3 at home last year. They’ll need to start fast this year as five of their first seven matches are at home, with luxurious two-week breaks between their first three matches to offer them ample opportunity to acclimate Dockal and the rookies to the grind of the MLS season and make the necessary adjustments as a whole. As for that fast start? Done.
The Union win on Saturday, 2-1.