I need to find a new analogy for the Philadelphia Union, but I keep going back to the Greek mythology boulder guy because it’s so incredibly accurate. Sisyphus was the dude who kept pushing the rock up the hill, then it would roll back down, and the Union have done it again this season after doing it three times last year:

Yes, that is correct. The Union are only Major League Soccer team in 2024 that has yet to lose a game. Of course, they got absolutely fucking pummeled by Pachuca, 6-0 in the Champions League, but they responded in league play by clawing back for a 2-2 draw in Austin, then ripping off three straight wins, capped off this past weekend by a come-from-behind victory in Nashville.

With three wins, three draws, and zero losses, they are second place in the Eastern Conference. Their PPG of 2.0 is tied for second-best among all 29 Major League Soccer teams. They have many months left to play, but the Mexican annihilation did not have any effect on the regular season. They flushed it and seamlessly transitioned back to MLS play.

It’s something to applaud, but the problem is that we’ve seen this movie before. We see it all the time. The Union are a great team, and continue to be. They just aren’t a trophy-winning team. They always hit the ceiling harder than anybody else, and after doing it against LAFC (CCL), Miami (Leagues Cup), and Cincy (playoffs) last year, they’ve already hit the wall once this year. When the going gets tough, it gets REALLY tough.

Union fans react in different ways. I’m one of those people who is so utterly disgusted with these competition exits that I go on weeks-long boycotts. I watched maybe 10 minutes of the four games the Union played after losing in Mexico, because it’s just hard to be excited for league play after you get hammered by one of the continental big boys. It just reinforces my belief that this team doesn’t have the horses to get over the hump this year, and will continue to fall short when reaching the upper echelons of North American soccer.

On the other hand, you then feel like a piece of shit, because these guys always respond by playing hard, competing, and winning. The kids – Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan, and Nate Harriel – have been great and look like they’re taking the next step. Julian Carranza is balling and the defense is starting to figure it out. Being a player in the Supporters Shield race gives meaning to the season and something to look forward to.

It’s just hard to get back on the Union bandwagon, because when it bucks and turns, the resulting fall is always painful. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th time, or whatever we’re up to now, shame on me. “You can’t get fooled again,” as George Bush and Roger Daltry once said.

*This post is dedicated to hater Ben on Facebook, who will no doubt comment on the story and tell me that no one cares about the Union