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Three takeaways from the Philadelphia Union’s no good, rotten, very bad 3-2 loss against Seattle



Photo by Carl Gulbish

Well, folks, that happened.

Despite facing one of the worst teams in Major League Soccer, the Philadelphia Union dropped its second straight game in a home loss to the Seattle Sounders. A second-half, two-goal comeback wasn’t enough to work past the three goals that Seattle put past backup goalkeeper Oliver Semmle early in the match, and Philadelphia continued to fall down the Eastern Conference standings.

With that travesty of a match behind us, let’s talk about what we learned.

Tale of two halves

Let’s be nice for a little bit, shall we?

Without a doubt, the Philadelphia Union team that took the field in the second half was not the same team that went down 3-0 in the first 45 minutes.

When head coach Jim Curtin took Jesus Bueno, Jose Martinez, and Olivier Mbaizo off the pitch and replaced them with Ale Bedoya, Jack McGlynn, and Kai Wagner, something changed.

The Union became an entirely different team filled with self-belief that a comeback was possible. Philadelphia didn’t score quickly but once they did, there was an energy that the game wasn’t quite over. After Daniel Gazdag’s header found the back of the net, Gazdag quickly went to work exciting the crowd to generate some momentum and energy.

It was reminiscent of the Union habits we saw earlier this season, which often saw the team claw back to earn draws. This year’s Union side has some spunk to it and a “never say die” attitude, which will be huge down the stretch.


Too little, too late

…it wasn’t enough. Philadelphia lost this game, plain and simple. It went into the game facing one of MLS’ worst teams and didn’t leave its home stadium with a single point. The Union will now have to try and find a result against a good D.C. United team on the road in just five days.

The first half was some of the worst soccer the Union have played in a long, long time. The passing was lazy (see: Martinez handing Seattle a goal on a platter), the ball movement was weak in the attacking third, and the Union couldn’t keep possession longer than a five-year-old keeps attention on a historical documentary. It was bad soccer.

As good as the second half was, the Union gave up three goals in the first half. That’s unacceptable, no matter the opponent. Against Seattle, it’s even worse.

This was the same version of the Union that lost 6-0 against Pachuca. It’ll be the same version of the Union we’ll likely see down the stretch at some point. Sometimes, no amount of postgame frustration from Bedoya can save this team.

2022 ain’t coming back, folks

This is a different column for a different day, but it has to be said.

The Philadelphia Union of the 2021 and 2022 seasons is dead. It will never come back. The magical memories we all made with these players during those playoff runs are now just that, memories.

Until Philadelphia (looking at you, Jay Sugarman) decides it wants to invest in this club again, it won’t compete. How can it? Literal Lionel Messi plays in the same league, the same conference.

Nobody is looking for Messi to join Philadelphia, despite the graphics that many of us spammed on Twitter for many years. However, the club is in dire need of some real investment. The Union team of today is worse than the Union team of two years ago, and the MLS of today is noticeably better than the MLS of two years ago. The Union can invest or die.

Again, this is a different rant for a different day. It just had to be said.

Joe is a junior at Penn State studying journalism and sports studies, among other things. He's covered the Union since 2017 and has written for Brotherly Game / Philadelphia Soccer Now since 2019. He seeks to answer life's greatest questions, such as, "How did I get here?" and "Where is that large automobile?" You can find Joe on Twitter (iamjoelister) or via email (

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