"Ale is the heart and soul of this club. He’s the captain and a leader.”
That’s how Philadelphia Union Head Coach Jim Curtin described Alejandro Bedoya during his press conference ahead of Saturday’s 2020 season opener at FC Dallas. Few can argue that the first captain to lead the Union to a playoff win has already become a club legend, and that is why the news that he will be wearing blue and gold even longer will be greeted with near-universal positivity.
Bedoya is coming off his best season in MLS, and he has raised the bar on his level of play every year he has been in Philadelphia. Since joining the Union midway through the 2016 season, he has become the club’s all-time leader in post-season goals. And with four regular-season goals in 2019, he set his own personal record.
At San Jose late last year, with the Union pushing for playoff position, it was Bedoya that started an epic comeback with a goal in the 70th minute. He dedicated the goal to the Fearless 43’s Lucy McCabe whom Bedoya met just before she sadly lost her battle with cancer. The veteran also notched the walk-off winner last April, against this weekend’s opponent, FC Dallas. His 92nd minute combination with Ilsinho sparked a run to the playoffs after a slow start. It was also Bedoya that scored in the opening half of the infamous playoff win over New York Red Bulls last October.
In big moments, Bedoya has delivered, and that doesn’t surprise Jim Curtin.
“I think sometimes in pro sports when there is pressure, some guys can shrink and others take it and rise to the occasion,” the head coach said recently. “Ale is a guy who certainly really rose to the occasion for us in a big way. He led a young group and did his talking on the field which for me is the best way to do it. He led by example and scored big goals in our road games and is a big reason why we had so much success last year. I expect more of the same and Ale is a very consistent player and has done it year after year.”
Bedoya is more than just a soccer player and has made a few headlines by speaking his mind. If any city embraces that kind of player and person, it’s Philly. He’s a guy that will fight, and he will grind out results no matter what they take. Now there will be even more memories to celebrate under Bedoya’s leadership, with the first coming this Saturday.