After a grueling and regretful season filled with ‘what-ifs’ and ‘wish-haves,’ we have come to the day we were all thinking about just one week into the course of the season: the final game. Over the past few years, this feeling of relief at the end of the season has become all too familiar. So now is a good time to ask: should we even be watching this final game?
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of perks to watching the Union battle this year’s expansion club Orlando SC: you get to watch Brazilian superstar Ricardo Kaka and Rookie of the Year candidate Cyle Larin put up some of the best performances in MLS play (with no insult to the Philadelphia Union).
While watching a great team make a playoff push is interesting, there is little to root for when the winning team will probably be brushing off hordes of second-string players while going for the back of the net. Much like the Union’s last starting lineup, Andrew Wenger will probably get the start in defense where coach Jim Curtin hopes to turn him into a regular. Wenger hasn’t been the most consistent in the defensive position – in fact, he has been pretty terrible. Attackers have taken advantage of his new positioning and have been able to stride past him multiple times. It will also be interesting to see if “Chaco” Maidana, Sebastien Le Toux, and Tranquillo Barnetta will all get the start in the middle or if coach Curtin has plans to start some younger players.
And if you’re still reading and feeling confident about the Union despite their hardships and obvious lack of skill in the recent past, perhaps it will serve you right to remind you that this game means absolutely nothing. The Union have been so out of sync this season that they have failed to make the playoffs – but that shouldn’t be anything new given their poor postseason success… or lack thereof.
All-in-all, the key factor driving this disappointment is that the sooner we forget this season, the sooner we can get a fresh start; a start with a well rested team and a soon-to-be new chief executive officer. And even if after reading all of this you still want to go and cheer on the Union on Sunday, have fun without me.