Ranking Five Philly Sports Teams by Likelihood of Next Winning a Championship
It hasn’t been a great year for Philly sports: The 76ers crashed and burned in the NBA postseason; the Flyers did a little better, reaching the Eastern Conference Second Round, but wilted against New York; The Phillies failed to make the postseason yet again; and the Eagles are doing their best to make simple things look difficult in this NFL season.
Phlly’s soccer team, however, is flying in MLS, and there is a fair chance that the Union can bring home a first-ever MLS Cup to Philadelphia. In light of that, we are ranking the Philly teams we think are most likely to bring home a championship next, starting off with a soccer team that is really coming together at the right time:
The Union have been progressively improving over the last couple of seasons, and we can say objectively that they are one of the best teams in MLS right now. One thing we like about this team is that goals are shared around the line-up, and an injury to, say, Sergio Santos would not be that detrimental to the Union’s season. Couple that with a mean defensive set-up, and we can see a first MLS Cup win for Jim Curtin’s team. It’ll be tough – Seattle, Toronto and LA are among the favorites – but Union represent Philadelphia’s best hope of securing a championship, and they might just do it sooner rather than later.
Of all major sports competitions in North America, the NHL feels the most open in the sense that you could pick any one of a dozen teams at the start of the season and see a likely champion. The Pittsburgh Penguins are the only team to have made it to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals in the last decade, and there is certainly no team you could point to as being dominant. Anyway, 888sport has made the Flyers 14/1 – fifth favorites – for next season’s Stanley Cup. That feels just about right to us after the improvement under Alain Vigneault. A solid chance next year, but some players need to learn how to step up in the big games.
The 76ers were the hardest to place on this list. We know expectations were reasonably high going into the 2019/20 season, but it didn’t go the way we hoped. Ben Simmons was a big loss for the Sixers in the Playoffs, but would his defensive excellence have been enough regardless? The Australian is an elite defender for Philadelphia, and perhaps one of the main building blocks the team’s future should be built on. But everything else seems messy about the organization.
Injuries, a luke-warm Bryce Harper and a lack of pitching depth cost the Phillies a postseason place last month. They haven’t made the postseason – or finished over .500 – since 2011. So, what’s the point of having someone like Harper on a massive contract if you aren’t going to support him in his peak years? There isn’t an easy fix here. They can start by getting a competent GM on the books, and then move on to areas like pitching. The biggest roster question the organization will have to face, however, is what to do with star catcher, J.T Realmuto. Give him a massive contract? Or spend the money elsewhere? While such doubt is in the air, The Phillies won’t be heading to a World Series.
Is it harsh to put the Eagles at the bottom of this list? Perhaps. While we aren’t part of the sack Doug Pederson club, there is nevertheless a need for an overhaul among the coaching staff. The team is not a trade or two away from being a great one, and a reset might be an option. If that means being big sellers at the trade deadline even if the weak NFC East can still be conquered, then so be it. Pederson might still be the man to deliver, but another Super Bowl triumph feels a long way away.