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After leaving for Clearwater, Florida a few weeks ago, the Philadelphia Union have been hard at work. New signings have joined the team and full games have been played. With the regular season only a week away, it’s important to understand where the Union will come out of their warm weather preparation.

The team has played two games so far. They’ll play DC United this Saturday (Feb. 25) before opening the season in Vancouver.

Their first game of the pre-season was held at Al Lang Stadium as the Tampa Bay Rowdies hosted the Union. It was a generally quiet game with many players getting a runout. It’s important not to put too much stock into these games as the first string players rarely play longer than a half. Chris Pontius assisted Derrick Jones for the winner in the 73rd minute. In a twist of pre-season proportions, a Rowdies player was sent off for a verbal altercation with the referee, and Jim Curtin allowed the Rowdies to substitute a player to end the game 11v11.

Wednesday night, the Union held the Montreal Impact to a 2-2 draw. They took the lead in the 34th minute with a long range shot from Ilsinho. The shot skidded across the grass just past the hands of the Montreal goalkeeper. Andre Blake showed his true potential with some incredible 1 on 1 saves. The Union defense held a shutout for 60 minutes before giving up their first goal of the night. CJ Sapong continued his pre-season hot streak and scored the second goal to give Union the lead. It all ended level with the Impact tying late.

We can take a good amount away from these games. Although we have little indication on how the performance will be of the first few regular season games, we do have a pretty good idea of what opening day’s starting 11 will be.


It’s clear the Union has depth at every position. Curtin has been adamant that having too many good players is a nice problem to have. Some positions will be true battles until someone is truly in form. 2017 will be a year that will hopefully have more answers than questions.

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