Union play the story “What if” as NYCFC lifts 2021 MLS Cup finishing an unforgettable season
NYCFC lifted the 2021 MLS Cup on Saturday night after defeating the Portland Timbers in penalty kicks. For Union fans, this was absolutely brutal. NYCFC advanced to the finals of the MLS Cup after beating a depleted Philadelphia Union squad due to COVID health and safety protocols. Following the outcome of the MLS Cup finals, it can only make you ask, “what if?”
“What if” the Union had a full squad?
I’m not one to engage in “what if” scenarios, but it’s hard not to think about it. What if the Union had the entire squad available that game? The Union lost in the final seconds with a third-string goalie and a lineup mostly of bench players. The Union were up 1-0 in the 63rd minute of that game. One can only think that a fully healthy Union roster could’ve advanced to the finals in front of their home crowd.
It’s hard not to imagine Andre Blake being the one in goal Saturday night, saving two PKs back to back leading the Union to their first-ever MLS Cup. But, instead, it was NYCFC’s Sean Johnson in the net. Obviously, if Portland won last night, we wouldn’t feel as bad, but they didn’t, and now we’re here, playing the game of “what if?”.
Even if the Union had advanced to the finals, we wouldn’t have known he could have played due to health and safety protocols. This one stings for the fans and the club. Everything was going so well and in the end, it turned out all just too good to be true.
Everyone will now look back at this squad and season and remember it as the year of “what if?”. The Union have made their roster decisions and look forward to competing and getting some revenge on NYCFC and the entire MLS next season.
Mandatory Credit: MLS