It has been a season of ups and downs for the Philadelphia Union.
The Philadelphia Union followed a lengthy winless streak with a four-game winning streak. It seemed like the tide would be changing and the mood could be described as cautious optimism. Fast forward a few weeks and the Philadelphia Union are riding a three-game losing streak in the league and it is becoming apparent that the most likely path to a trophy is through Open Cup play.
While preaching the long view is painful, it gets a little easier when fans can watch the youth progress and grow during the season. For a while, this wasn’t possible in Philadelphia with youth practices being closed to the public but with Bethlehem Steel FC being added as a USL team last year, the growth of top prospects can be easily charted by the average fan.
USL is easy to watch with games being streamed on YouTube for free and they’re usually at convenient times that don’t interfere with other sports as well. Looking at how the Philadelphia Union used the pipeline last year, by watching Bethlehem, fans will be tuning into the future first team roster.
More from Philadelphia Union
- VIDEO: Even Philly Fans Can’t Hate Messi’s First Goal vs Philadelphia Union
- DraftKings Pennsylvania Promo Will Give You $200 Bonus GUARANTEED for Betting Just $5
- Philadelphia Union 2021 MLS season preview
- Don’t laugh, but the Union might be Philadelphia’s next champions
- Philadelphia Union: Previewing upcoming matchup vs Atlanta United
Joshua Yaro, Ken Tribbett, and Fabian Herbers all spent time with the Steel last season before breaking into the first team for the Philadelphia Union. This season, only Jack Elliott has broken through to the first team lineup so far from Bethlehem but there are multiple guys on the cusp of becoming regulars.
Marcus Epps, Giliano Wijnaldum, and Adam Najem have made appearances with the Philadelphia Union but they have a little more to prove in USL before they make their full jump to MLS. Najem, in particular, scored his first professional goal in Bethlehem’s win over New York Red Bulls II on Friday and has gained confidence with each game.
Najem is intriguing due to his role as a 10 that can control possession but the Philadelphia Union have been doing the right thing by taking things slowly with him. While the team could use an upgrade at the 10, it is better to tough it out while Najem properly develops in Bethlehem.
With the team hitting its stride, Najem and other prospects in Bethlehem are gaining confidence. Development is the most important thing but winning while you do it never hurts which is why Bethlehem Steel may be more exciting to watch than the Philadelphia Union at this juncture.
This isn’t a shot against the Philadelphia Union but more of a plug of why more fans should be paying attention to what’s going on in Bethlehem. The team is currently riding a four-game unbeaten streak that has seen them climb to fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Steel could make a playoff appearance in their second year of existence which is pretty impressive.
While the stadium is tough to get to, the ease of which their games can be streamed Steel games are worth watching. Tuesday at 7 p.m. Bethlehem Steel will take on the Harrisburg City Islanders. Tune in to see the future of the Philadelphia Union.