SBI 2021 MLS Season Preview: Philadelphia Union – Soccer Sports

With the 2021 MLS season just two weeks away, SBI SECURITIES will launch an MLS team preview series with Supporters’ Shield winner Philadelphia Union.

Check in to SBI over the next two weeks, previewing all 27 MLS teams, watching the entire 2021 season, analyzing the league’s top players, the most promising youngsters, the most exciting newcomers, and more.

The Philadelphia Union is entering a historic season in club history, including the team’s first trophy. It was an impressive season, but Union is determined to offer even better encores.

Jim Curtin’s team lifted the 2020 Supporters’ Shield after becoming one of the most stable teams in the shortening of the MLS regular season, but suffered a playoff defeat in the first round on the home ground. , The dream of achieving a domestic double is over.

Without the services of homemade talents Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie, who secured millions of dollars in remittances during the winter, Union aims to achieve even more this season. With the two major players from 2020 gone, the coalition will rely on others to step up in 2021.

“If you want to get back to where you want to be in the league, you need to work with your team,” Curtin told SBI. “We’ve been pretty consistent about scoring points in this league for the past few seasons, but now we can’t sneak up on the team.”

“Every team wants to give us the best game and we need to be prepared for it. There are still a lot of repeaters, which is good, but many young players need it. You may need to be ready accordingly. Everyone knows that they are happy with the roster movement so far and may add a few more pieces. “

Returning to Chester’s fold are club captain and veteran midfielder Alejandro Bedoya and all-star goalkeeper Andre Blake. Both players will be reliant on setting an example again in 2021 as the main reason Union has pushed the Eastern Conference table up in recent seasons.

Kai Wagner, Jack Elliott and Jacob Gresness all had enough time in the Union backline last season, but Ray Gaddis’ retirement was a new right-wing Cartin 4-4-2 diamond formation. It means to step into. Cameroon’s international Olivier Mubaiso is a promising candidate after the bystanders, and Nathan Hariel is a future candidate.

“We have two good right backs,” Curtin said. “Olivier Mubaiso recently played against the Cameroon national team. This is a great honor and shows how special his talent is. Now we are in every match of the Union. We need to bring that talent out of him. “

“There is also Nathan Hariel, a young substitute for Ray Gaddis. I think he will eventually intervene and become a good blockade defender.”

Scottish centre-back Stuart Findley arrived from Kilmarnock this offseason, and Aurélien Collin and Matt Real also closed Cartin’s defensive options this season. Findley is an experienced defender of Scottish Premiership and fits the type of what Cartin wants from a defender in his system.

“He fits our profile, is aggressive enough to speed up, and can pass the ball really well,” Curtin said of Findley. “We really like what he can bring to this team, and obviously his past experience in Scotland should help prepare him for what he sees in MLS.”

Unfortunately, Union had a hard time seeing one of the top forwards find consistency during the pre-season camp. Katspel Psibilco, Sergio Santos and Cory Burke all missed their time with their injuries and didn’t have the opportunity to gel together this spring.

The trio achieved 21 league goals in 2020, all bringing something different to Union’s attack structure. If all three are unable to compete in the club’s opening round on April 18th in Columbus, the youth Jacques de Fries may play a role.

“We still lack Cory Burke and Sergio Santos,” Curtin said. “While Santos is missing time with a toe injury, Corey hasn’t appeared in the preseason yet due to groin problems. Katspel Psibilco also feels a little pain due to back cramps. We are now positively lean and the injuries are not helping their partnership. “

The Midfield Corps, led by Bedoya, Yamilo Monteiro and Jose Martinez, can be subject to many responsibilities. Bedoya and Martinez are box-to-box players in Curtin’s setup, chasing a lot of ground and defensive leaders on the field.

Monteiro’s role could grow with Aaronson’s departure after providing four goals and four assists in all tournaments in 2021. Local natives Anthony Fontana and Paxen Aaronson are also at the heart of the formation and continue their youth movement in Chester. With Leon Flach’s arrival from Germany, a young and versatile person has joined the mix.

“We have a wide range of people who can play in the middle, and we need to be prepared when the opportunity comes,” said Fontana. “After the post-season defeat to New England, I knew there was an opening with Brenden, so I was at the gym preparing for this season. [Aaronson] leave. I just wanted to be better in all areas of the midfield to broaden my horizons in each role. “

21-year-old Fontana scored six goals in 2021 and surpassed the bench, giving Curtin a choice for the second half of the match. 17-year-old Aaronson made his first competitive action with Union II at USL last season and showed similar characteristics to his brother Brenden in his third attack.

“Men like Paxen Aaronson, Jacques de Fries and Cole Turner did a good job preparing for this opportunity,” Fontana said of a young homemade player. “They were with me before preparing for the pre-season camp. It’s good to see because I was in their position before and trying to do whatever I could to get ready. is.

Here are the details of DC United towards 2021.

2021 Philadelphia Union Season Preview

Finishing in 2020: 1st in the east (14-4-5, 47 points)

Major acquisitions: Stuart Findley, Leon Flack.

Main loss: Brenden Aaronson, Mark McKenzie, Ray Gaddis.

Featured newcomer

Stuart Findley

Unions need centre-back depth, Mark McKenzie heads to Belgium and Stuart Findley was the right choice for this offseason. Findlay is a tall, versatile defender with over 100 appearances in Scotland and upfield control of the ball.

Under pressure

Katupel Psibilco

Kacper Przybyłko sees his work hit slightly in 2020 and the union needs to get back on track to compete for the trophy. The Polish striker scored seven league goals alongside Sergio Santos at the top of Union 4-4-2. However, in some games he has been missing for a long time and tends to be unable to continue if he wants to stay in the starting lineup.


After finishing first in 2020, Union may find it difficult to recreate its success this season.

Jim Curtin needs to find a way to replace the influence of both Aaronson and Mackenzie. In addition, the club does not have the third flashy name of the attack, despite the vibrant Ilsino, which usually sparks Subaru Park faithfully from the bench.

However, Przybyuko and Santos were positively lewd and brought bright moments in Philadelphia over the past few seasons. Both were injured during the pre-season camp and hope to play an important role in the Union attack in the coming weeks.

Both Monteiro and Fontana are in 10th place this season, with Bedoya and Martinez doing a lot of dirty work in the middle. If all four are consistent and able to influence their respective roles, the coalition can once again compete for the top spot in the east.

“I don’t think the defeat of Brenden and Mark, to be honest, put pressure on anyone,” Fontana said. “There are a lot of professionals here who are always ready for the opportunity. Losing these two is definitely painful, but starting with the Conca Cuff Champions League, get ready and get the most out of your opportunity. Is our responsibility as a team. “

If they want to recreate the success of last season, a strong defense base will be the key to the union. Elliott, Gresness, and Findley are all physical defenders who can move the ball around the field. This is the key to the union working well from behind. Wagner remains an option in the upper left corner at both ends of the field, but Mubaiso lacks MLS experience, which can challenge many opponents.

Sports director Ernst Tanner didn’t make a lot of big moves this offseason, allowing the young people on the team to take action much faster than expected.

The early season challenge showdown with Deportivo Saprissa should provide Union with the best test before starting play for the regular season in Columbus on April 18.

“We need all players to be ready to go,” Curtin said. “Costa Rica has the Conca Cuff Champions League, which is not an easy task, and the season to play against the defensive MLS champions in Columbus is about to begin. It’s a lot of excitement, but it’s still improving from 2020. There’s a lot I want to do. This will be another test for this group. “

“It’s all about taking one match at a time,” Fontana said. “Since we started camping, Saprissa has been in our minds and it will be the first challenge for many in this new season. You can’t think too far ahead. Otherwise, it will be a problem. After the success of Supporters’ Shield last season, this group should fight for the trophy again. “

Philadelphia Union Roster

Goalkeeper: Joe Bendik, Andre Blake, Matt Freese, Greg Ranjisin.

Defender: Aurélien Collin, Jack Elliott, Stuart Findley, Jacob Gresnes, Nathan Hariel, Olivier Mubaiso, Matt Real, Kai Wagner.

Midfielder: Paxton Aaronson, Alejandro Bedoya, Brandan Craig, Jack de Vries, Ilsinho, Anthony Fontana, Jose Martinez, Jack McGlynn, Jamiro Monteiro, Matej Oravec, Quinn Sullivan, Cole Turner,

forward: Cory Burke, Kacper Przybyłko, Sergio Santos.

– Soccer Sports

SBI 2021 MLS Season Preview: Philadelphia Union SBI 2021 MLS Season Preview: Philadelphia Union

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