The MLS is Back Tournament could be the best thing to ever happen to the Union. With professional sports slowly getting started again, many Philadelphians’ eyes have been on the team as they play through the Knockout stage. The Union have yet to disappoint, and the fan base seems to be constantly growing.
Coming into the game, the Union were a +260 underdog vs SKC according to the oddsmakers in Vegas. The first half told a much different story.
The Union dominated the pace of play for almost the entire half. They played a brand of aggressive, but smart soccer typical of Sporting KC. Jamiro Monteiro opened the scoring off of a beautiful feed from the captain, Alejandro Bedoya, in the 24th minute. Monteiro just tapped it in for an easy far post goal.
In the 26th minute, SKC was on the attack when Sergio Santos picked up the ball and tore down the pitch to deposit the ball in the back of the net to give the Union the commanding 2-0 lead. 13 minutes after that, Brenden Aaronson, who has become a young phenom on this Union team, dished a unbelievable ball to Santos for his second goal of the night, and the third for the Union as a team. Manager Jim Curtain called it “a top ball” and would have been in any of the top leagues in the world. It helps that Aaronson showed out in front of scouts from Juventus, Milan, Celtic, and Milan, just to name a few of the teams with eyes on the game.
While SKC was able to get a goal late in the first half from their captain and star Alan Pulido, it was not enough. The Union sat back in the second half and protected their lead.
Andre Blake continued his hot goalkeeping, as the Jamaican finished the game with 6 saves. Including last night’s game, Blake has 27 saves in the entire tournament, which is the most by any goalie who participated. His performances have put him well on his way to winning the award for tournament’s best goalkeeper.
The Union will play the the winner of the Portland Timbers/New York City FC game to be played Saturday at 10:30 pm. The Union already defeated the NYCFC in the group stage 1-0, but we saw a different NYCFC team in their most recent win against Miami.
With a win in their next game, the Union will advance to the tournament finals to get there shot at the club’s first trophy in history.
With sports just starting to return to pre-pandemic life, the Union have been the talk of the town. Soon, hopefully, all the people of Philadelphia will realize how good this team is and will have only one word to say.