Alejandro Bedoya came to the Philadelphia Union in 2016 when no one else would. After the Union finished ninth in the Eastern Conference in 2015, Bedoya's August arrival from Nantes in what was then a club-record move fueled them to a sixth-place finish in 2016 and it snapped a four-year postseason drought.
It was a sign of good things to come as the United States international pushed his teammates on and off the field and became the face of the club. Bedoya led the Union to their first MLS trophy in club history and they've also become one of the best teams in the league, with a top-three finish in the East for three consecutive seasons.
Whenever the team is mired in a slump, Bedoya is one of the first people pushing them to break it. A captain through and through, he's always the first person to speak up after a loss. Bedoya was even heavily involved in Philadelphia's successful bid to host matches during the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the United States. But the one thing that Bedoya hasn't done since his first full season with the team is lead the way in goals scored.
His best attacking output came in 2019 when he scored three goals, assisting six more (including secondary assists). While Bedoya is a versatile midfielder who can play as a 10 or on the wing, the move to a 4-4-2 diamond formation has caused him to become a box-to-box midfielder day in and day out.
But while he's still diving into tackles and breaking up passing lanes to start the break for Jim Curtin's Union, Bedoya this season is showing that he still has what it takes to get forward at 35 years of age. He has better players around him these days, but this iteration of the Union hasn't exactly been a goal-scoring machine, with only seven goals in the past eight matches entering Friday.
That changed in a big way on Friday as the team opened the floodgates against D.C. United and interim coach Chad Ashton, a 7-0 thrashing in front of the Subaru Park faithful thanks to a hat trick from Julian Carranza and braces from Mikael Uhre and Bedoya. The result matches the record for the biggest blowout in MLS history.
Bedoya got the scoring started in the eighth minute, but little did he know it would be the first of many goals to hit the back of the net.
Bedoya would go on to score another via a Kai Wagner cross in the first half, giving him his first multi-goal performance in a Union uniform as he is in the form of his life attacking-wise. While Wagner has been orchestrating the attack from the left side of the pitch, Bedoya has been the most dangerous Union attacker from the right since Nathan Harriel isn't as offensively inclined as his partner on the left.
Bedoya is up to five goals to go along with two assists for the Union this season. In his Union career, Bedoya has only had two seasons where he has contributed more than eight goals, and this season he has been involved in seven goals in only 18 games. Even expanding things to France, Sweden and Scotland, Bedoya has never been involved in more than nine goals in a season.
It's a testament to Bedoya's versatility that he is able to do just enough to keep things ticking in Curtin's system without a true 10. Things aren't always pretty, but the end result is what matters and the Union sit first in the East despite a league-leading nine draws. Led by a defense that has allowed only 13 goals and their captain, this is a team that will make it hard for anyone to beat them.