Two months in the season and the Union have seemed to have found a groove. The team is 4-3, fighting at the top of the Eastern Conference with the Montreal Impact. Even when they lose, this Union team has some fight that hasn’t been seen in the last few years. It has made Union fans excited. But how does this team actually work? How does Jim Curtin choose to lineup his players and who does he prefer to start?
Current Union depth chart:
Striker: 1. CJ Sapong 2. Fabian Herbers
Left Wing: 1. Chris Pontius 2. Leo Fernandes 3. Walter Restrepo
CAM: 1. Tranquillo Barnetta 2. Roland Alberg
Right Wing: 1. Ilsinho 2. Sebastien Le Toux 3. Eric Ayuk 4. Cole Missimo
Left Defensive Midfield: 1. Brian Carroll
Right DM: 1. Vincent Nogueira 2. Warren Creavalle
Left back: 1. Fabinho 2. Taylor Washington
Left center back: 1. Richie Marquez 2. Anderson
Right center back: 1. Ken Tribbett 2. Joshua Yaro
Right back: 1. Keegan Rosenberry 2. Ray Gaddis
Injured: Maurice Edu
Out on Loan: Michael Lahoud
- Curtin loves to run the 4-2-3-1. It gives a lot of stability in the center of the field with 3 center midfielders and added defense with two of those center midfielders being more defensive-minded.
- CJ Sapong has had a great start to the year with 4 goals and an assist through 7 games. This has pushed number 6 overall pick, Fabian Herbers to the bench where he is seeing very few minutes and spending most of his time with the Bethlehem Steel.
- Fan favorite Sebastien Le Toux has been pushed to the bench but has come on frequently as a super sub, scoring two goals and 1 assist in just 143 minutes.
- Undrafted rookie Ken Tribbett has established himself as a key cog in the Union defense, starting at right center back over the second overall pick in this year’s draft. Yaro has showed potential when playing but Tribbett has been a rock so far with the Union and has quickly developed.
- The third overall pick, Keegan Rosenberry has really stepped up. Rookie of the Year front runner, Rosenberry has established himself in a few short weeks as an elite right back, working well on defense as well as showing the ability to move forward.
- When he is back from injury, Maurice Edu is likely to start over Brian Carroll at CDM.
Budget update: The Union have done a very effective job fielding a team without using designated player spots. The only Designated Player is Maurice Edu but the Union also pay Barnetta, Pontius, Le Toux, and Nogueria a large amount in yearly salary. The Union have filled the team with not a lot of wiggle room under the cap. The Union would need to use allocation and targeted allocation money (TAM) in order to make sure they can sign a player to stay under the cap.
Teams across the league have players on a “discovery list” that essentially gives them rights of first refusal to a player if they want to come to Major League Soccer. If another team wants that player, that team must first trade for his rights. Discovery lists are not private but one player on the Union list has become known:
PSG Striker: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan is a world class player having played for years in some of the top leagues of Europe. Previously, it has been reported that he has an interest in coming to Major League Soccer but now it looks like he will make a stop in the English Premier League first. But if he does eventually come to Major League Soccer, the Union will have the first shot at one of the world’s top strikers who brings a lot of swagger with him.
Any other questions about the Union roster? Tweet at us @PHLUnionNation!