Time to Run it Back: Keys to the 2023 MLS Regular Season

With the wounds of a heartbreaking 2022 MLS Cup Final finally beginning to heal, it’s time to shift focus to the beginning of the 2023 season. A familiar foe returns to the Eastern Conference, the schedule has been expanded to run for 8 months, and 3 different cup tournaments are being thrown into the mix. The Philadelphia Union are looking to build on their success from last season and make another run at the MLS Cup. With a little bit more than a month until league play begins, let’s talk about the three keys for the Union to see repeated (and, hopefully, complete) success in 2023. Time to run it back.

Key #1: Andre Blake

For the Union to continue to have the success they have had, they need goalkeeper Andre Blake to maintain the level of play he has shown since he came into the league. A 2-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Blake is the linchpin of this team. The Union had a league-best goal differential of +46 last season behind Blake’s outstanding play in goal being paired with the next key.

Key #2: The Back Line

The Union back line of Wagner, Elliot, Glesnes, and Mbaizo/Harriel helped play a major role in the team’s run over the last three seasons. Helping lead the Union to the best goal differential in the league last year, along with the play of Andre Blake in net, the club’s defense is lauded as one of the league’s best. There was speculation that defender Kai Wagner would not be back with the team this year, with the expectation that he would be poached from the Union in the transfer window. But, thankfully, Wagner is still with the club now that the transfer window has closed. The continued success of the Union will hinge on these four, Andre Blake and our final key.

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Key #3: Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, and Mikael Uhre

Daniel Gazdag just secured a Designated Player contract with the Union that will see him attempt to build on the amazing offensive showing he had last year. Paired with Uhre and Carranza on the attack, the trio amassed a total of 52 goals last season. The Union’s attack will be paramount to get through this staunch Eastern Conference. The addition of Andres Perea from Orlando City will help solidify midfield ball movement to get into the best-scoring trio in MLS.

If all three factors can keep clicking on the level they have, there should be no doubt in the minds of Union fans that this team has all the potential to make it back to (and win) the MLS Cup Final. The preseason begins January 21st, with the regular season getting underway on February 25th at home against Columbus. This team managed to do the main thing to be able to make another spirited run in the MLS: retain the core. Keeping everyone here and suffering minimal losses in the transfer window and offseason, the Union thinks it is time to run it back.

Pat Bernard
Pat Bernard

Pat Bernard has four years of podcasting. His first year with the Pattison Ave Phantics and four years running Devereaux Sports. Now currently, both Devereaux Sports and Edge of Sports. Pat is a  for 6 Philly sports fan.  Flyers, Phillies, Eagles, Sixers, Wings, and Union. The Gobbler is a former pro wrestler and ACPW Hall of Famer! He is originally out of Ambler from Northeast Philly (by the Tacony Bridge).  Pat is a credentialed Philadelphia Wings Beat Reported under Edge of Philly Sports.

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