Philadelphia Union 2021 MLS season preview

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Union officially opened their 2021 season on April 18, taking on the defending MLS Cup Champion Columbus Crew. The Union are now set to defend their Supporting Shield championship, all the while attempting to remove the bitter taste of an early playoff exit from their mouths.

Though the Union lost a few players, like Brenden Aaronson to RB Salzburg, Mark McKenzie to K.R.C. Genk, and Raymon Gaddis to retirement, the team was able to retain several of their “big names” from the past few seasons, such as goalkeeper Andre Blake, midfielder Alejandro Bedoya, and defenseman Jack Elliott. They were also able to add a few international players such as Stuart Findlay and Leon Flach and sign homegrown players like Nathan Harriel, Jack McGlynn, and many more.

The Philadelphia Union have a lot to prove in 2021.

Coming into last season, the Union were on a hot streak after winning their first-ever playoff game the season prior. But the COVID 19 pandemic put the season on pause after only the Union’s second game of 2020.

The season resumed in July at the ESPN Wide World of Sports facility at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida during the “MLS is Back” tournament. The MLS was the first team sport to resume from the pandemic with a “World Cup” style tournament.

The Union went 2-1-0 in their group, beating New York City FC, and Inter Miami, while tying Orland City to advance to the knockout stage. Philadelphia went on to beat the New England Revolution and Sporting Kansas City to make it to the semi-finals before losing to the eventual tournament champion Portland Timbers.

Once the regular season resumed, Philadelphia went 11-3-3 to win their first-ever Supporters’ Shield as the team with the best regular season. But the good times did not last long as the Union lost the New England Revolution in the first round of the playoffs.

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The Philadelphia Union have already started play this year in the CONCACAF Champions League, where they defeated Saprissa of Costa Rica in a combined score of 5-0 and will face the Columbus Crew next. Philadelphia’s MLS home opener will be April 24th as they take on Inter Miami.