A Look At The Union

A Look At The Union

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On January 22, 2010
  • 0 Comments
  • ack McInerney, Alejandro Moreno, Amobi Okugo, Andrew Jacobson, Brad Knighton, Brian Perk, Chris Seitz, Danny Califf, Danny Mwanga, Fred, Jordan Harvey, Nick Zimmerman, Peter Nowak, Piotr Nowak, Sebastian Le Toux, Shavar Thomas, Shea Salinas, Stefani Miglioranzi, Toni Stahl

Amobi Okugo could be a big time player for the Union. (Kevin Kinkead for WVHooligan)

In this expansion era in Major League Soccer we’ve seen the good and the bad on how to bring a new club into the league. The bad is obviously just about everyone but Seattle. Most clubs stumbled in their first year due to either poor management from the start or bad player choices.

With a new kid on the block it is worth looking into see how the Philadelphia Union are looking right now as they head into their first season. Coming in a year after the Seattle Sounders FC set the MLS world on fire, Piotr Nowak and company have a lot of work to do but so far their efforts have been pretty good.

The Union hasn’t dipping into any big foreign signings just yet but with the transfer window still open there is still time for a couple big signings. Also, don’t be shocked if they do end up with one of those Americans that are rumored to return to the States this winter too.

For this look at the Union I’ll go position by position to see where they need some help before the season starts. (note, I am aware there are other reports like this out there, I’ve had this one in the icebox for a week now. I was merely waiting for a rainy day to release it!)

Keeper:

What they have so far: Brad Knighton, Chris Seitz and Brian Perk.

All three really could be the day one starter so the competition for this spot is going to be good to see. I’m a big believer in healthy competition and what it brings out in good players. No doubt who ever wins the starting role will have earned it.

I don’t look for them to even consider looking elsewhere for this position from here out unless they want to use one as trade bait, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing to do if they get a quality player in return.

Defense:

What they have so far: Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey, Shavar Thomas, and David Myrie.

All quality but honestly not nearly enough to get the job done right now. More than likely we’ll see Nowak go with three in the back as he typically likes to run at 3-5-2, so right now you have a couple good options but they’ll definitely need more.

Where will they go for more help? They’ve been linked with Michael Orozco for some time now and that could be a good move if it pans out. They’ve also been said to be linked with a Colombian player as well that has already signed with the league. With the possibility of Califf being gone this summer with the National team at the World Cup, Nowak has to find someone to fill in for him. Getting a strong center back also has to be a priority too.

Midfield:

What they have so far: Fred, Andrew Jacobson, Stefani Miglioranzi, Amobi Okugo, Shea Salinas, Toni Stahl, Kyle Nakawaza, and Nick Zimmerman

So far this is a pretty solid group, though its a pretty young one. I do like the idea of Zimmerman and Salinas on the wings. Okugo has the potential to be a good rock in the middle and I do see Stahl being the defensive-midfielder that everyone expects him to be. Believe me, I’ve seen Stahl enough to know that he has the full potential to be a Jeff Larentowicz-type player.

Still I believe they do need a playmaker though Fred will probably handle those duties starting out. Though this group should be a pretty good one to watch and a tough one to face.

Forwards:

What they have so far: Jack McInerney, Sebastian Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno, and Danny Mwanga

A solid mix of young and veteran players here. No doubt Moreno and Mwanga will be day one starters for this team. Le Toux may see a starting role out of the midfield as well but we’ll see how Nowak handles his lineups before we really make that prediction.McInerney will be a project that will probably get some decent time this season too.

They probably still need a big finisher to come off the bench or even another speedster. I’d say if they did make any big splashes in the summer with transfers it will be here in this department, especially if they are wanting to me a run late in the season.

Overall:

So far its looking pretty good in Philadelphia. Nowak has been able to put together a fairly solid roster so far. They have a few more open roster spots that should fill in the rest of the holes. For me they need to concentrate on defensive additions before the season. As much as I loved they handled things in the expansion draft for their defense they have totally cooled off on that area. Depth will be key but I love the look of their midfield so far which could go a long way in an eastern conference that could still be just as weak as it was a year ago.

They’re not on Seattle’s pace from a season ago but I definitely don’t see them being another Chivas or Real Salt Lake in year one.

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