At the heart of Philadelphia Union are the fans that helped create the club. Those steadfast supporters cemented Subaru Park as a near-impenetrable fortress this year, creating an unrivaled atmosphere that helped the team emerge victorious in all but one of their seventeen home matches in the regular season. Their passion made history by selling out every home match of their 2023 MLS regular season schedule. After finishing fourth in the Eastern Conference, the Boys in Blue will be back on the Chester riverfront for the start of their postseason, playing host in the first match of their best-of-three series against New England Revolution.
With their sixth consecutive postseason campaign on the horizon, Head Coach Jim Curtin’s squad’s sights are locked on their upcoming opponent in New England Revolution, who recently bested them 2-1 in the regular season finale last Saturday.
“Of course, it's a bit of a special situation. I don't think I've ever played the same team possibly four times in a row. I think last time we saw some things we could improve, some places where we could hit them. So it's about fine tuning that in this week and then get a good result on Saturday,” said forward Mikael Uhre.
The 29-year-old Designated Player from Denmark is in the midst of just his second season with the Philadelphia Union, but he quickly learned the intensity of the playoffs in his inaugural year, contributing to the team’s first-ever 2022 MLS Cup appearance. Ahead of Saturday's postseason match, Uhre emphasized the importance of playing at home, where the team historically plays their best soccer.
“The playoff is a totally different animal. This season, it's two games you have to lose but your season can end real quickly. So it's about being on the sharpest of your form and I think the guys are looking good and training this week,” Uhre said. “I think it’s possible for a new start. We appreciate the fans’ support, but we also need them as much as possible because they are also going to carry us through on this home field advantage. They’re a big reason why we are so tough to play against here.”
The team’s resident penalty kick specialist Daniel Gazdag shared the same sentiment on Wednesday, expressing confidence in the team’s ability to bounce back from last week’s loss after a week of diligent training with the full squad back on the pitch.
“We are ready for the playoffs. I think it's going to be a whole new game. We learned from the last game we played, so I think we are ready and we go for it. Compared to that game we can improve in every part of the game. We have to if you want to win,” Gazdag said. “I think we’ve got good players. We have a good team. Good coaching staff. So I think we can improve a lot in a week.”
Gazdag, just like Uhre and the rest of their team, will look to utilize Subaru Park’s unbridled passion to propel them through their first postseason. Even with high expectations, the Hungarian midfielder knows the unwavering fanbase will show up loud to kick off their run in the playoffs.
“They've been so good in the whole year, so let's come out again to Subaru Park and support us, and we will be good, I swear,” Gazdag said.