On Saturday night, the Union will officially begin their fifth season of existence. By the team's own admission, it is a year when they have to deliver serious results on the field.
Making the playoffs is the minimum expectation, and for good reason. This winter's overhaul has dramatically strengthened the team, and taken away just about all the excuses for any lack of success.
To help preview the season, I called on a good friend who knows the Union inside and out. Eli Pearlman-Storch is one of the lead writers for the Philly Soccer Page, a website that you've seen linked to often here. I'm sure many of you read the PSP regularly too, as well you should - it delivers some of the best and most in-depth Union coverage of any media outlet anywhere.
Eli and I got together for a video chat during the Union's jersey unveiling party Tuesday night at Dave and Buster's on Columbus Boulevard. You can watch it above.
Our conversation focuses on two Union players who are likely to be among the most crucial this year: forward Jack McInerney and central defender Austin Berry. We conclude by offering our predictions on whether the Union will indeed break through and reach the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
Before you do, though, here's a little bit more news. I'm thrilled to announce that Philly.com and the Philly Soccer Page have entered into a content-sharing partnership that will see PSP content published on Philly.com's soccer page. Along with Eli, you'll get to know reporter Dan Walsh, columnist Ed Farnsworth, soccer historian Steve Holroyd and many of the site's other great writers.
You'll also see Philly.com videos on the Philly Soccer Page, and you'll hear me contributing to the KYW-Philly Soccer Page podcast.
My thanks to Dan, Ed and Eli for helping to bring this together. I know (too well) how much you all want to see more soccer coverage here on Philly.com, and I think this partnership will go a long way in helping that happen.