Soccer MLS

5 Bold Predictions for the Philadelphia Union’s 2014 MLS Season

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5 Bold Predictions for the Philadelphia Union's 2014 MLS Season

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Philadelphia Union stood just three points away from a spot in the 2013 MLS Playoffs. The Union were a good team but just couldn’t win the games they needed to down the stretch in order to jump Eastern Conference teams like the Montreal Impact and Houston Dynamo in the standings. All in all it was a fairly disappointing season for a team with a lot of talent.

However, this season expectations for the Union are much higher. The team has brought in multiple Designated Players in the offseason and did very well in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft. Philadelphia really doesn’t have an excuse to underperform this season, even though the Eastern Conference will be significantly better than it was last season.

Philly has a lot of things going for them this season. The team now has an on and off U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Maurice Edu anchoring the midfield and have more all-around talent, at least on paper, than a large portion of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. Don’t forget about the Union’s supporters, the Sons of Ben, who are no Portland Timber Army, but they are one of the best and most loyal fanbases in all of Major League Soccer. It may not seem important, but a diehard fanbase is absolutely essential to a successful MLS team.

With the talent that the Union have drafted and brought in, any team would be dangerous. However, if you couple that with the talent they already had with players like Zac MacMath, Sebastien Le Toux, Conor Casey and Jack McInerney, they might end up being the most dangerous team in Major League Soccer. Here are five bold predictions for the Union’s 2014 MLS season.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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5. Rookie GK Andre Blake Eventually Starts

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

When the Union moved up in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft to select Andre Blake, most people think it was for the potential that he has as a Generation Adidas player. However, current goalkeeper Zac MacMath made some negative comments about Philadelphia Union management and could be on his way out of the club by midseason if the price is right. Blake is ready to start in MLS now.

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4. Maurice Edu, Not Vincent Nogueira and Cristian Maidana, Shines for Union

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When you look at the players the Union have signed in the offseason, two Designated Players jump out at you; those two are Nogueira and Maidana. These two players will make an impact, but definitely not as much as incoming USMNT player Maurice Edu. Edu will be the player that pieces everything together for Philadelphia in the midfield and will make or break the team's season.

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3. Jack McInerney Starts Gaining Consistency

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re a huge USMNT supporter like I am, you had to be disappointed with the way McInerney finished the season after shining for so long. With the much improved midfield of the Union coming into 2014, McInerney should shine all season long.

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2. Sebastien Le Toux Leads MLS in Assists

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

I know that the incoming DP’s will get most of the attention, but I’m not sure there’s a better passer in all of Major League Soccer than Le Toux. The French midfielder always seems to be able to find that final pass needed to score. Expect him to improve with the talent around him improving.

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1. Philadelphia Makes a Legitimate Run for the MLS Cup

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Union are loaded at almost every position going into 2014. If they all play up to par, don’t be surprised if the Union make a deep run in the MLS Playoffs.