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Wait a Minute, the Union Could Finish the Weekend in First Place!

Aug 17, 2013, 10:33 AM EDT

If you’ve been following The 700 Level over the past couple of days, you’ve seen Steve Moore’s excellent writeups on how Philly fans can pick an English Premier League to root for. (If you haven’t, stop reading this and go do that immediately.)

Honestly, it’s hard not to get excited for the start of the English Premier League, which is undoubtedly one of the best leagues in the world, in any sport. But as the EPL season is about to begin, the MLS season is finally kinda sorta winding down as a little more than two months remain. And here’s one aspect of MLS that I think is more fun than the EPL, where the same three or four teams win every year: the parity.

If you look at the Eastern Conference standings right now, there are seven teams within nine points of each other, all of them battling to earn one of the conference’s five playoff spots. And when you factor in games in hand, the top five teams are in a virtual dead heat.

One of those teams is none other than your Philadelphia Union, who currently sit in third place, one point behind the second-place New York Red Bulls, who they just happen to be playing tonight in a nationally televised showdown at Red Bull Arena (8 p.m., NBC Sports).

Leading up to the big game, Hackworth was asked about the parity this season. Here’s what he said:

“It’s a little scary. You can’t ever rest on what you did the last game, even if it’s a positive game. … We know we’re in a good spot but we also know how vulnerable we are right now. And if we take it for granted that we’re in a good spot, I think we can be hurt really quickly. That’s what happens right now. You’ve got so many teams that are bunched together and some teams have games in hand, it’s difficult to look at those standings and sort out where everyone’s going to end up at the end of the year.”

With 10 games left in the season, Hackworth admitted he’s started to do some math in his head to figure out how many points the Union need to get into the playoffs. “And it’s difficult math,” he noted. Well, here’s something that’s simple: If the Union beat the Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City loses to San Jose on Sunday, Philly will be in first place in the Eastern Conference at the end of the weekend.

So after going to the pub this morning to watch the EPL kick off Saturday, make sure to also watch one of the most important games in the New York-Philadelphia soccer rivalry this evening. The good part is Steve Moore won’t need to tell you who to root for.

  1. Mostel - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    The Union must win this game! All trash from NY must be defeated!

  2. Broadsthooligans - Aug 17, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Can’t wait till the union are the lead for epl posts instead of epl being the lead for union posts. Huge rivalry game with first place in reach for either team in the middle of the unions most attractive season to date and they get half a post about epl and half about the game. I feel like Rodney dangerfield everytime I read about the union.

    • Broadsthooligans - Aug 17, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      Best record in the city on the year too. May be the only playoff team we get this year.

      • Steve Moore - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:24 PM

        Not sure I understand why it has to be a competition? It’s a blog, unlimited amounts of information can go on it. So why does the presence of a few EPL posts diminish the Union post?

      • Broadsthooligans - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        You’re right it isn’t a competition and I don’t mean to make it out to be. I just believe that a Philly sports blog should cover Philly sports teams above all else. I love some good epl coverage and didn’t see anything wrong with yours. A Philly sports blog should cover the local teams rivalry game over the start of a foreign league though shouldn’t it?

      • 33 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:43 AM

        It’s a blog, it should be whatever its bloggers want it to be. I asked it on a similar comment of yours yesterday—what’s the harm in having a few fun EPL posts (that actually did have a Philly sports angle, btw)? Have you already read the many posts PSP has on the match? tBG? But need a few more? A credentialed guy who also writes for the Union and swings by to give a perspective on the match and a unique quote from the coach, and you complain about its brevity rather than offering an opinion on its content. Steve Moore did a lengthy and fun read on Seba earlier this very week, and you were nowhere to be found. As you’re making clear here, you’re not going to be happy even when there is a 700 level Union post, so they might as well just do what makes them happy to research and write about.

        Suggestion: If you think there’s a good angle to cover, why not ask Enrico if you can do a guest post? Or, grab a wordpress domain for and give it a shot…

        Not trying to be a jerk here, just thinking the conversation could use a little more than the complaints you’re bringing. If that’s all you have to bring to the discussion, it’s hard to see them wanting to cater to you.

      • broadsthooligans - Aug 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM

        In response to 33 :) I’ve been doing it on and off for the last few years.

        And I do read many of those sites; there’s a lot of good writing on the Union out there, whether it be from Tannenwald, tBG or anyone else. But other teams have their own sites, Liberty Ballers, Crashburn, The Fightins and still get regular coverage here. For me this site has always been a place to see all of the Philadelphia teams. I know it does other things and they obviously have every right to write what they want, but if readers are expecting Philly sports coverage than a Union game deserves at least as much coverage as the start of the BPL.

        It’s great to have Zetlin write and the Seba piece was really good. I do appreciate having Moore here, he’s a good writer and he knows the game. He’s a great addition to the site. I don’t mean to complain so much, I didn’t comment on that post, but I do post on most Union stories and a few others. I just get frustrated to see the Union skipped over for an admittedly better league.

  3. DOOPerman - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    No one likes us, no one likes us, NO ONE LIKEEESSSS US WE DONT CARE! WE’RE FROM PHILLY FUCKING PHILLY, no one likes us we don’t care! – GO UNION!!!!!!!

  4. 33 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    I’m liking the Fabinho experiment (albeit due to Gaddis being out). He brings another attacking dimension to a team that often lacks it. He may prove to be exposed as a poor defender, but he held his own last night.

    Danny Cruz…. I just don’t get it. His heatmap is where opportunities go to die. Time to at least let him watch a few from the reserves while Michael Farfan gets a turn, maybe bring him on to burn it up the sidelines if you want the speed late.

    Zac MacMath really impressing lately, too. Loved seeing his command and confidence last night, other than the one missed punch.

  5. gootman2017 - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Hack needs to follow through with what he mentioned a the half and move Le Toux back on the right side.

    MacMath, Okugo, and Parke looked really solid last night. If they are going to slop it up and play the counter game on the road, they really need to work on retaining possession off a goal kick.

    Danny Cruz is the worst.


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