Last season was like no other for the Union.
In achieving the best Major League Soccer record and winning the Supporter’s Shield – the club’s first-ever trophy – 2020 will long live in the memory of Union fans.
But what then of 2021? Can the Union repeat the feat of last season? Absolutely, but only if they do the following:
Conquer The Crew
Few sides managed to get the better of The Union last season, as we know. Except for Columbus Crew of course who managed to get the better of The Union not once, but twice!
The Crew are favorites to win the Eastern Conference with PA Unibet and the states other legal betting sites and pose the biggest threat in terms of The Union retaining their crown.
Finding a way to ‘Conquer The Crew’ should be a priority for Jim Curtin’s side who don’t have to wait long to exact revenge with a fixture between the two scheduled for the opening weekend!
Forget about last year
Arguably the greatest coach in the game’s history, Alex Ferguson, led his Manchester United team to trophy after trophy over a 26-year period.
A large part of such success stemmed from Ferguson’s desire to forget about what had just been won and instead focus his side on winning ‘the next one’. Rather than rest on one’s laurels, United became hungrier with every trophy won.
Jim Curtin needs to instill the same mentality with The Union. As fantastic as it was, last season is now in the rearview mirror and should stay there.
Have faith in Fontana
With homegrown duo and key performers Brendan Aaronson and Mark McKenzie moved on, coach Jim Curtin has identified now as the perfect time for Anthony Fontana to play a more prominent role in the first team.
Having used the 21-year-old sparingly during the last three years, Fontana will, this season, be granted more game time by Curtin, who believes Fontana has what it takes to become the next Philly home-grown to make a name for himself, just like Aaronson.
If what we’ve seen from Fontana so far is anything to go by (an average of a goal a game during his limited showings), Fontana could even prove to be a better fit in the No. 10 role than anyone before him.
Improve the roster (and spend some money)
As mentioned, the likes of Aaronson and McKenzie, sold to RB Salzburg and KRC Genk respectively, won’t feature on this year’s roster. Nor will we see Union veteran, Ray Gaddis, who, after nine seasons, has announced his decision to retire from Major League Soccer.
Naturally then, the squad is in need of some rebuilding, notably incomings. Aside from center-back Stuart Findlay signed on a two-year deal from Scottish Premiership side, Kilmarnock, there has been little by way of players coming through the door.
It’s a point recognized by coach Curtin himself, and with money in the bank, you have to think they’ll be one or two new faces through the door before the new season gets underway on April 18.