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Nowak discusses The Three Zs

Peter Nowak spoke to the press on Thursday, only hours after the Philadelphia Union announced Costa Rican left back Porfirio Lopez as the team’s fifth offseason signing.

“Porfirio [Lopez] has a great capacity going back and forth and taking pride at defending, and that’s a part we take a look at very closely,” Nowak said. “And we determined that this is the guy that, at the end of the day, we needed. We made a commitment to this – we bought his rights, he’s our player – and I think we are going to benefit from that because he’s relatively young, being 25 years old or 26.”

Lopez is listed at 5’11” tall and 172 pounds, meaning he is not a giant who will dominate on set pieces. Incumbent left back Gabriel Farfan is 5’10” and 165, and new signing Gabriel Gomez is listed at 6’0″.

Speaking about Gomez, Nowak said: “He’s a big guy who has a great range as a midfielder, he’s not only playing square balls but also playing the ball forward and going forward. From our perspective we need this guy and we’re going to make this happen.”

“All three signings were at the top of our list,” Nowak said, “We’ll see. The quality is there, it’s just how we’re going to embrace this thing and how [Gomez] is going to embrace the league.”

The third signing is Costa Rican striker Josue Martinez, signed from Saprissa earlier this month.

The Union coach emphasized how important he felt it was to wrap up Porfirio Lopez’s signing before the new year. “We are very selective with how we add the pieces,” he said, “We did this last year with Faryd and Carlos Valdes and Carlos Ruiz, and Brian Carroll as well, so now we don’t need much. But we need to be active, we need to be already set to go.”

A major theme of the press conference was the team’s need for experience. Nowak noted that Lopez comes from two-time defending Costa Rican league champions Alajuelense, while Gomez has been a star for the Panamanian national team and Martinez has a championship with former club Saprissa and has excelled with the Costa Rican youth teams.

“I think we have the pieces now that are going to allow us to look for the optimal starting lineup every week, with that it’s going to be easy work for the technical staff as well,” Nowak said. “We’ll see how the first couple of months will go but we are very excited about this signing and we are still looking for what is out there, what is possible to do it for us, and how to make our team even better.”



  1. Transfer fees paid for both Martinez and Lopez – no definitive word on whether or not we paid for Gomez. Ok, so, now I’m wondering exactly how much we got for Ruiz and how much we got for Harvey. Rumors said 500K for Ruiz and 100K for Harvey. A chunk of that went back into buying Valdes’ rights (supposedly). Reports out of Norway said a club there was outbid for Martinez above 400K.

    So, my only scenario here are that both Mondragon and Adu become DPs to bring their cap hit down to 315 and that Bimbo money is spent on their overages – I just can’t see how we have this much allocation cash to throw around and be able to bring them in under the DP threshhold unless all of the rumored numbers were wrong.

  2. I saw another chunk of this conference call on tropigol (or something) that had Nowak quoted as saying Lopez was also expected to be a capable LCB. Positional flexibility is a huge plus if its legit and not just resume filler.

    • Ed Farnsworth says:

      From Tropigol.com: “Nowak said that Lopez was versatile because he can play a few positions, including central defender on the left side.”

      • Yeah, Nowak did say he can play LCB. I left that quote out because… who cares? Last year’s left back was a left midfielder. Michael Farfan and Keon Daniel both played in the back. Sheanon played in the middle. Wherever Nowak needs people to play, they will play there. The past does not matter.

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