In manager Jim Curtin’s view, it may be the first time he’s had four strikers "capable of double-digit goals" at his disposal to use however he chooses.
Designated Player Mikael Uhre has recovered from the quadriceps injury that has limited him to only 22 minutes since he was signed for a reported club-record $2.8 million transfer fee from Danish giants Brondby this offseason.
The 27-year-old, who won the Danish top flight’s scoring title in 2020-21, joins Julian Carranza, Cory Burke and Sergio Santos as options for Curtin, whose side enters Week 5 atop the Eastern Conference standings with an unbeaten 3W-0L-1D record.
"Imagine a situation where we run two of them at a team for 60 minutes and say, 'Empty the tank. Make it hell on this back four.''" Curtin said. "And then two fresh ones come in and it's not a big drop off."
The home fans still have yet to see Uhre, who scored 19 times in his most recent full professional season in Denmark, but was held up by visa issues from joining the club prior to his injury.
His lone appearance came as the Union salted away a 2-1 win at Stade Olympique over CF Montréal in Week 2. Curtin did not rule out him starting in Week 5, even though he's only had a week-plus of full training since the injury.
"His first day of full training was last Friday," Curtin said of Uhre. "And then we had a couple recovery days, and then he has picked up and trained for the first time with a full week. You see a player that is getting to know his teammates even better and better. Really sharp in front of goal, finishes plays off. He's not the type of forward that needs five, six, seven looks."
Despite Philly’s bright start, no single Union striker has shone as brightly as Charlotte’s Karol Swiderski, who has scored a brace in consecutive games to lead the debutants to their first two MLS wins.
"You're never going to shut down the top players for 90 minutes and not let them ever touch the ball. It's not possible in the modern game, just the way things are played," Curtin said. "With these players, you're trying to limit the amount of times they touch the ball and you're trying to limit where they touch the ball."
While Curtin expressed confidence in his side, he also has been impressed by Charlotte’s early days in the league under manager Miguel Angel Ramirez.
He sees more similarities between Ramirez’s ball-dominant tactics and Philly’s own possession-indifferent approach than you might expect.
"I don't want to speak for them and their coach, but just from watching on tape, they're very proactive and not reactive," Curtin said. "They want to impose themselves on the game, which is something I like and something I respect. I think we're similar. So that will make for a really good match."