MLS Eastern Conference Preview, Predictions

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Philadelphia Union

Last year’s results: 10-12-12, missed the playoffs

Head coach: Jim Curtin, who took over in the middle of last season

Big offseason addition: Fernando Aristeguieta, on loan from Nantes

The Union reached the U.S. Open Cup final last year, but their inability to lift that trophy combined with a collapse down the regular season stretch left a sour taste in supporters’ mouths. Jim Curtin has been made the permanent manager; the team went 8-5-7 under him.

The offseason losses were bigger than the additions. Amobi Okugo, who played the second-most minutes for the Union last season, was traded to Orlando. Leading goalkeeper Zac MacMath was dealt to Colorado on loan. Colombian defender Carlos Valdes has been loaned back to South America, continuing a now-tiring saga. Entering the side is Steven Vitoria, a Toronto-born defender who has mostly played in Portugal’s lower levels.

While changes plague the back line, you can expect some goals from the Union. They had 51 last year, second-most among non playoff teams. Cristian Maidana is the creator in Philly, with 11 assists in just 26 games in 2014. Out wide, Andrew Wenger and Sebastien Le Toux are highly dangerous on their respective wings. The usual striker, Conor Casey might be upstaged by Fernando Aristeguieta, who comes on loan from Nantes in Ligue Un. At just 22 years old, he already has nine goals under his belt in France.

Glass half full: The 2014 Union were greatly improved after Jim Curtin took over for John Hackworth. A full season under his stead should be good news, right? Six teams out of ten make the playoffs; their attack might be all the Union need to get in.

Glass half empty: This team was mediocre at best last year. In the winter, they lost Valdes and Okugo, both of whom were important pieces for a defense that wasn’t great. They didn’t add all that much in return. Why should the Sons of Ben expect an improved product and a playoff team?

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  • Anonymous

    Six teams make the Eastern Conference playoffs this year. As ridiculous as that may sound, even worse is that NYRB will not be one of them. NYCFC has a better chance.


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