After a heartbreaking end to the 2022 season that saw the Union drop the final in a shootout to LAFC, they are back for redemption in 2023. Here are my 5 keys for a successful 2023 Philadelphia Union season.
Key #1 -The Return of Kai Wagner
With his 15 assists last year, he posted the most assists ever by a defender in MLS history. Wagner was also 2nd in the league in 2022. Wagner was the runner-up for the MLS defender of the year award to teammate Jakob Glesnes. Bringing back the 2x all-star and keeping him here for the season will be huge for Philadelphia and their success.
Key #2 -Replacing Cory Burke
After losing Burke in the offseason to the NYC Red Bulls, Philadelphia is left looking both in-house and externally to replace Burke. They also need to add forward depth behind Julian Carranza and Mikael Urhe. With Cory’s potential for double-digit goal-scoring, it won’t be easy. Still, possibly the likes of Quinn Sullivan can take some of that scoring load and ease the loss of Burke. Head coach Jim Curtain notes Sullivan has shown promise in practice playing at the 10 and possibly even a second striker.
Key #3 – Defense Wins Championships
With arguably the best back line in the MLS returning in full once again, this will be key to lifting a cup this year. Glesnes and Elliott are the best CB pairing in the entire league. They must continue to play to that standard once again in the 2023 season.
Key #4 – Daniel Gazdag
After a breakout season in 2022 with 22 goals and 10 assists, the 26yr old Hungarian will suit up as the no. 10 for a union team that is poised to lift silverware in 2023. After an amazing 2022 campaign, Gazdag must continue his stellar play if Philadelphia wants to raise a cup in 2023.
Key #5 – Andre Balke
After another great 2022 season that saw Blake make 100 saves and only allow 26 goals, the fewest by a keeper in a 34-game season, to go along with 15 shutouts was incredible. If the Philadelphia Union wants to continue their success in the past few years, Andre will have to play a key part!
These are 5 keys for a successful 2023 Philadelphia Union. Will they be able to do any, or all of this will be determined as they approach the season?
I’m Diego, born and raised in Philadelphia. My Love for sports started at 11 years old watching the 2001 Allen Iverson-led Sixers making a finals run. Since then, I have been Mr 6-or-6, in love with every sport and Philadelphia. You can catch me every Monday night on my podcast, The Sully Squad, at 6 pm on Edge of Philly Sports!