Roster News

Union releases updated roster information

Photo: Barb Colligon

When the Union announced the acquisition of Chris Pontius, and transfers of Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger, another crucial announcement remained missing, one that even Portland Timbers and Columbus Crew had made despite having played in the MLS Cup final only hours before, joining late announcers DC, Montreal, and Los Angeles in doing so on Monday.

Namely, the end of season roster announcement.

The first official information on the Union roster came late on Monday evening when the league released the list of players eligible for the Re-entry Draft and free agency, coming on the heels of the Union’s transfer announcements as well as FC Cincinati’s signing of Austin Berry and Danny Cruz tweeting his farewell to fans.

But, even that information was incomplete from the perspective of Union fans who had been diligently following reports and tweets from trusted reporters such as Kevin Kinkead, Matthew De George, Ryan Bright, and Steven Goff. However, almost all of that reporting was based on unnamed sources. While helpful in terms of informed speculation, in the absence of official confirmation, informed speculation was all Union followers had.

Fans were understandably getting restless. Who remained under contract? Which players at the end of their contract had options exercised or declined? With whom where negotiations ongoing? Why in heaven’s name was the Union the only team in the league not to release an official roster announcement?

There were dribs and drabs of information. De George tweeted on Tuesday he had gotten “official confirmation” the Union had picked up the options on CJ Sapong and Sebastien Le Toux. On Wednesday, another nugget of information came in the form of the updated Waiver Draft list, which, unlike the original waiver list released on Tuesday, included 2015 Union SuperDraft pick Dzenan Catic. More roster information came early Thursday afternoon with the news of the Ethan White trade to NYCFC.

On Thursday, Philadelphia Union finally joined the rest of the league and released updated roster information.

The club has picked up the contract options of Eric Ayuk, Leo Fernandes, Sebastien Le Toux, Richie Marquez, Vincent Nogueira, Zach Pfeffer, and CJ Sapong.

Already under contract for 2016 are Tranquillo Barnetta, Andre Blake, Maurice Edu, Raymon Gaddis, and John McCarthy.

The club declined contract options on Zac MacMath, Steven Vitoria, Fred, Eric Bird, Danny Cruz, Jimmy McLaughlin, Dzenan Catic, Conor Casey, and Antoine Hoppenot. The club is in advanced discussions with midfielder Warren Creavalle, who is eligible for Re-Entry.

Fabinho, Brian Carroll, and Michael Lahoud are out of contract and currently in negotiations with the club.

Fernando Aristeguieta is on loan until the end of the calendar year. The Union is in discussions with FC Nantes for a possible extension of the loan.

Goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre remains on loan.

As already known, Chris Pontius has joined the team. Cristian Maidana, Andrew Wenger, and Ethan White have been traded, Austin Berry has signed with another club, and Danny Cruz has said his farewell.

To sum up, 13 players are already under contract, have had their option picked up, or just signed with the club. The club is in negotiations with four players. Two players remain with the team on loan. Needless to say, it is looking to be a busy offseason.

So, why the delay in making the announcement? The league had to approve the announcement before its release (which never happens in as timely a manner as everyone would like). More to the point, PSP understands the drafting of the announcement itself was contingent upon ongoing negotiations and impending moves, which could be made up until 5 pm today with players whose option was declined. Union press officer Chris Winkler, for one, appreciates everyone’s patience.

Stage One of the Re-entry Draft is on Friday at 3 pm, for which the Union have the third pick, with Stage Two next Thursday at 3 pm. Negotiations with players eligible for free agency commenced at 1 pm on Tuesday.

14 Comments

  1. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Figured it was a central MLS office problem. Competence does not ooze from the pores of Don Garber’s Rube Goldberg jalopie.

    • Thank you for making me snarf my water. A jalopy with oozing pores . . . That’s the most Rube Goldberg thing I’ve ever imagined. Somehow I picture Don Garber wearing a fedora with a red feather sticking out of it and a pair of goggles while driving.

  2. One thing that was interesting, I thought, in the Union’s statement was that it listed Mo Edu as a defender. Not midfielder. Not M/D. Defender.
    .
    Is that an indication of where he’s playing from here on out? Or am I reading the tea leaves wrong?

    • If Mo has bought into the idea that he is the full-time CD, that’s huge for this organization. If he wants to be, Mo Edu could be the best CD in the league, and quite frankly, the starting CD on the US Men’s National Team. If he believes that this is his path back to the USMNT, we are the fortunate benefactors of that decision. Having Mo as the CD with Ray as the RD and Richie as the LD gives the coaching staff so many options re: formations. Can go 3-5-2 with Nogs, Lahoud, and Barnetta as the triangle in the middle, a healthy Pontius and Ayuk / LeToux as the outside wingers, with CJ and a TBD up front (TAM $$)…that’s just plain nasty right there. Blake between the pipes with Sylvestre backing him up. Depth with Pfeffer, Fernandez, Nando, Fabihno. Couple of top 6 draft picks. Maybe Bedoya as a DP?

      GODDAMN I’M GETTING EXCITED FOR 2016!!

      • 3 backs??! This ain’t Serie A 😉

      • Three, or if Mo is one, two.

      • I’ve been thinking that Edu and Marquez would be a pretty good 2/3 start to a 3 man back line. But I just get the impression that Curtin would rather wear white pants after Labor Day before he played with a less than 4-man back line.

      • 3/4 length white pants at that.

      • Gee I do hope that Ernie will add a couple of more capable players because the only new player you mention in Pontius. We all know how well the remaining players have done over the years. Roster isn’t good enough.

      • With all that cap space cleared, I’d be shocked if they don’t aggressively address CDM, at least one starting quality outside back, a backup CB, and another scoring option (don’t particularly care if that’s a striker or winger). I generally like the pieces we’ve retained, but clearly that’s not enough to get to where we need to be…exciting couple of months ahead!

  3. Hopefully the FO are at least still looking for a high quality winger. Finding high quality wingers is one of the biggest factors to this teams success. It needs to be done. Second factor, I would say finding that LB. Having a high quality LB and then Fabinho for depth would make me feel pretty secure.

  4. OK, so the team has 13 guys locked in with Fabinho, Lahoud, Carroll, Crevalle in negotiations and Aristeguieta with a possible loan extension. That’s 18. Assuming all those in negotiation are picked up, there would be 10 spots to be filled to get to the possible 28 the team can carry. Here’s what I hope they use those available spots for:
    -Good depth center back
    -Starter left back (Fabinho is depth)
    -Starter right back (Gaddis is depth in either side)
    -Strong starter CDM (Key position)
    -Starter fast right winger (LeToux / Ayuk are depth)
    -Good depth fast left winger (Needed when Pontius gets injured).
    -Strong starter center forward (To pair with Sapong or alone depending on formation).
    – 3 other versatile depth players (for defense midfield and forward each).

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