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Dear Union, Please acquire Benny Feilhaber!

Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Dear Philadelphia Union,

Please acquire Benny Feilhaber.

He just signed with Major League Soccer on Friday.

And you, Philadelphia Union, hold the No. 2 pick in the allocation order for acquiring returning U.S. internationals.

You desperately need a playmaker like him if you want this first place thing to be anything but a temporary scheduling blip. Wins over two mediocre teams (one of which was a man down) and a Tim Ream mistake don’t make you a good team.

Yes, your defense is playing extraordinarily well, but the team looks to have exchanged the whole pass-and-move possession thing we saw last year — you know, the style that worked down the stretch after you changed goalies, added Sheanon Williams, and put Michael Orozco Fiscal at center back to establish a legitimate back five — for a park-the-bus mentality that offers nothing on offense. Right now, there’s no creativity, no playmaking, and no offense, largely because the central midfield is failing to link the defense with the forwards.

The missing piece of the puzzle

Look at the pieces you have:

  • An experienced veteran goalkeeper;
  • A solid back four;
  • Two good strikers in Sebastien Le Toux and (when he’s allowed to rejoin the starting lineup) Danny Mwanga;
  • Two solid outside midfielders in Justin Mapp and the emerging Keon Daniel;
  • A good defensive midfielder in Brian Carroll, with depth in Amobi Okugo (and Stefani Miglioranzi, his current struggles notwithstanding);
  • Depth at forward;
  • A second central midfield spot that has been occupied by holding midfielders for over a year and basically duplicates the other center midfield spot.

That last one is what we call a “hole.” A big, fat, gaping, black hole.

Fans keep asking for a playmaker. Some say it should be Roger Torres, and maybe one day it will be, once he consistently harnesses his talents.

But now —

Benny Feilhaber.

A potential long-term franchise cornerstone

Feilhaber is young, talented, creative, and in need of one visionary coach who will park him at center attacking midfielder and just let him do his thing. For years, Feilhaber has flirted with greatness (or very goodness) at various stops, only to get marginalized at just the wrong time. He has seemed to so many people to be a natural No. 10, a central playmaker with creativity, vision and a great touch, but he instead often gets pushed to the flanks, where he’s good but not great due to lack of speed.

But you, Philadelphia Union, are smarter than that. You know where your holes are. You’re smart enough to compromise the tactics of a 4-2-2-2 in order to give yourself a starting 11 among the league’s best.

Because that’s what Feilhaber would do. He’d give you a real attack and turn Sebastien Le Toux into a Golden Boot winner. He’ll even give you a regular starter who can actually do something with free kicks. And he’s just 26 years old, with top flight European and international experience. What more could you possibly want?

Trade up in the allocation draft

Be bold. Trade a draft pick or two to move up and take Chivas USA’s spot at the top of the allocation order. Send allocation money. Give them Carlos Ruiz. Pay the asking price.

Just go get him. Your fans will thank you. This is the beautiful game, and Feilhaber can help Philadelphia Union play it beautifully — and win.


A Philadelphia Union season ticket holder and founding member

UPDATE: The Washington Post reports that Chivas USA is considering passing on Feilhaber or trading their pick. (Scroll down to the bottom.) The Philadelphia Daily News reports that Union manager Peter Nowak says the Union “do not have any interest” in Feilhaber.


  1. Here here! Ive read Chivas doesn’t have the funds to pay for him, lets hope that’s true.

    • Let’s hope! They barely even have a team. 😉 One thing they do have going for them is Feilhaber played high school and college ball in southern Cal, but … Chivas? Their allocation pick can be had, if the Union offer enough.

  2. The asking price here for Chivas would have to include a potential starting forward in my mind, as well as another piece. Or perhaps, three decent pieces.

    If I was Robin Fraser, it’d be Jack Mac, a 2012 2nd rd. pick, and a partial allocation, or something along those lines. Passing on Feilhaber wouldn’t be catastphic for them, but letting him go for free may not be their best move.

    • I would ask for similar if I was Chivas USA. And then I’d settle for Carlos Ruiz (or some other player), a second round pick, and money or the Union’s allocation slot, which would put Chivas back in the #1 spot for the next guy.

      Anyone who passes on Feilhaber is foolish. If you don’t want him, draft and trade him. It’s highly unlikely that any U.S. international likely to return anytime soon would be have as high a value as Feilhaber. Altidore is the only possibility.

  3. Kerith Gabriel got a text from Nowak last night that said the team had no interest in Feilhaber.

  4. PSPTim – I would not think that the asking price for the Union to move from #2 to #1 is not the same price range that you reference which is more like what DCU had to move from #6 to #1 to get Perkins – i.e. will not cost the Union Ruiz, Jack Mac, etc. – probably some allocation $ unless there are a bunch of teams interested in signing Feilhaber and given the cap hit – the interested team count is probably small. Being in the #2 spot gives Chivas the chance to get the next returning USMNT who fills a greater need (i.e. striker Eddie Johnson) – dropping to the #6 spot essentially drops you out of the running for any top talent who goes through the allocation process.

  5. Please please please get rid of Fat Chooch and bring in Benny!

    Imagine Mwanga and Le Toux running on to his defense-splitting through balls? He’s just the creativity this stunted attack needs!

    I hope the Goats are broke and can’t afford him. Also agree with Dr. J that what they really need is a consistent goalscorer which Benny is not…

  6. ryan, i have yet to see le toux do shit this year.

  7. and actually the only defense splitting balls i saw yesterday were from ruiz.

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