Readers poll: What are the Union’s biggest off-season needs?

Photo: Earl Gardner

The off-season is at hand for Philadelphia Union, and it’s about time to make some moves.

Some needs are obvious.

Some will be determined by what happens with the current roster. Will Chris Pontius be resigned? Will Andre Blake be sold? Will Brian Carroll retire? Will Maurice Edu return healthy, if at all? Some of these questions require more speculation than others.

Still, we want your view.

What do you think are the biggest off-season needs for the Union?

Please rank them below using these three separate polls, and tell us why you think this way in the Comments section below.

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[poll id=”24″]


  1. Striker and an 8 are critical. I think Yaro and Marquez could be fine as a CB pairing, potentially. I think a veteran CB to serve as number 3 and reasonable cover for those two is a must, but they don’t necessarily need a starter there.

    • I put striker as third. I have actually been down on Sapong since the Copa break, when we were actually good. And I do think we need an upgrade, but I’m of the mindset that you start from the back.

      To me, a solid back line is as important as a solid offensive line in American football. Tribett and Yaro are too young and raw (personally,I see Yaro as a 6 due to his lack of size) and Marquez deserves a solid partner to let him make his almost perfect but risky slide tackles.

      I had 8 as second. The difference in our team after Nogs left was like night and day. I didn’t like Bedoya as an 8. He’s a 10 or a winger. Play him there. Personally, I’d prefer him as a winger.

      Yes, we need a striker. All in all, the three are virtually a tie in my book, but start from the back and work forward. The other options are secondary.

  2. Can I vote striker for all 3? 🙂
    I voted striker and number 6 as the top 2. Third I think is keeper on the assumption that Blake plays half a season here at most.

    • Don’t we still own MacMath?

      I know, bring the hate, but he is actually pretty good. Poor guy just kept getting shuttled out by big signings.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I think not, but happy to be corrected by someone who knows. 2015 was a loan. No more.

      • Last I knew he was having a really good season until the Howard signing.
        I like having a human highlight reel on the team, but putting a team in front of the net that can keep a GK’s uniform clean is the way to go

      • The loan was for one season and he was traded before the 2016 season for a 2nd round pick in 2017 (at least according to his Wikipedia page).

      • Yes we no longer own MacMath this is correct. As I’ve said the Union messed this one up long ago as he had over 100 matches in MLS by the time he was 23 he was young and improved.

    • Dammit, Andy, no, you can not! Don’t do it! ;p

  3. Ultimately I think Striker, 8 and 6 are most critical mostly because I think those players are typically harder to find. I think it would be much easier to trade for a veteran CB or try to pick one up as FA etc.

  4. Team needs a high quality CB to pair with Yaro to jettison Marquez to bench… which in all due respect is where Richie Marquez needs to be… let alone Ken T.
    Team needs a 6.
    Charlie Davies is an up grade over Sapong… Charlie Davies if healthy can score 15 goals in this league. Why spend money on a striker.
    The spine of this team needs significant attention…. Need to sure up the triangle / diamond of CB CB HDM… CAM.

    • Except that Davies has never scored 15 goals or more in a season. He’s only scored more than 10 in a season twice in his career — 14 for Hammarby in 2008 and 11 for DC United in 2011. Maybe he can do better, but he hasn’t shown it yet.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Fair though I think I’d be willing to explore the options of him being the guy… before spending bucks on an import.

    • What makes you say that? The only thing Marquez was this year was steady and consistent. While Yaro and Tribbet were rotating next to him, and making mistakes, Marquez was the one tracking back, following runnings and making awesome tackles.

      • While that’s all true, he was also most frequently the guy not holding the line and keeping opponents onsides

      • el Pachyderm says:

        IMO the team needs a rock CB to steady the back line to allow Yaro to grow and be the player he is capable of being. While I appreciate Richie Marquez the guy is an average CB… prone to route 1 ball the second things get a bit tight.
        Moral of the story neither Marquez or Tribett are high quality // high ceiling CB to build a defense around.

      • james along with the Marquez route 1 ball which annoyed the hell out of me since he did it more and more as the season went on. He goes to ground to early. All his last ditch tackles should not be needed if positioned properly. Yes every now and then you need a slide tackle, but this is Marquez number one choice since he is often behind the play.

    • I agree el P except I think we need a striker more than a cam, but I wouldn’t mind the upgrade there either.

    • I went with a 6 as well, then a striker, El Pach. I notice you went CB and 6…….build from the back, if this is your notion, I completely agree. A good striker is always hard to find, so it’s always on the list IMHO.

  5. Are we assuming that Bedoya is the #10 next season? If not, I think a replacement should be a top 3 priority, no? Ah. I could have voted other…. I think I’d rank #10 my #2 priority behind striker.

  6. Old Soccer Coach says:

    First and foremost, a central midfielder. And I think the team agrees because the signing of Kevin Kratz says they knew they were screwed if Bedoya went down, that there was no one but Jones, and Jones is not ready right now.
    Second, and it is second because of the Oct. 22nd injury, defensive center midfielder. The position’s first responsibility is to protect the space in front of the center backs, and our center backs are not dominant, experienced players. They need a strong central midfield presence in front of them, especially so if Superman is sold to Belgium or anywhere else. Edu is currently hurt, BC ‘s deal with the devil for eternal youth will come due for payment one of these days, and Warren Creavalle needs the support of superior players around him.
    Third, the option you did not provide, Goalkeeper.
    Fourth, striker.
    But your separation and ranking is moot because the Union badly, badly need all four. A heart without lungs, or a liver without kidneys? Gotta have the whole package.
    We are in good shape in the Flank Channels. The Central Channel has holes in four of the seven places. All need filling. ALL.

    • Apparently Kratz was a loan from Atlanta United. Very strange. Although that doesn;t change your point. Central midfield needs at minimum 1 new starter and that assumes Bedoya stays as a CM and Edu is back next year.

  7. Striker, new coach, #8; those were my choices.

  8. 1. New coach
    2-??. Doesn’t matter until #1 is addressed
    Improving the players but not the coach just leads to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmMCbTAmFI8

  9. OneManWolfpack says:

    Striker, #8, LB… and possibly, pretty sure – manager. If at least three of any of those four happen, we are a top 3 team.

  10. Two notes from the presser today that are pertinent to comments above:

    1) Stewart praised Curtin. No new coach on the horizon.
    2) Edu is the plan for #6 next year. Though, again, there’s no timetable for his return.

    • A third. Sounds like Blake isn’t going anywhere.

    • I can deal with no new coach, but please please oh please do not say that Edu is the #6 for next year. It just destroys all hope I had of this team being organized and making improvements.

  11. Vincent Nogueira please.

  12. really feeling another baptism by fire for young trusty with yaro/D Jones sliding to 8.
    I think a serious cash dump on Rudy Gestede of Aston Villa would pay dividends 300 fold(I’ll post my high intensity math later)
    upgrade over mccarthy. would much rather we keep M Jones and release mccarthy

    • Earnie indicated today in the press conference that Jones is gone along with Anderson, Taylor Washington, Cole Missimo, Walter Restrepo, and Kevin Kratz.

  13. Old Soccer Coach says:

    In musing about whom to protect, I realized why Chris Pontius only signed a one year deal with the Union.
    He meets the 28/8 requirement for Free Agency as of the completion of the 2016 season. Since his salary is over $200,000, his raise is capped at 15%. For 2017 he will cost $442,750.
    Do the Union want to sign him at that price? If yes, they will protect. If no, they won’t and someone in the league will pay him.

  14. Lucky Striker says:

    Start with the fact they never really replaced Nogueira…….

    add in my personal belief that if Yaro doesn’t find a new position he’ll soon end up a vegetable………

    Multiply by a factor of ‘pong being everything but a finisher, and that being an “issue” when playing single-high……..

    add in a team-wide need for speed-
    and then subtract the coach……

    and thereupon = my rationale.

  15. John P O'Donnell says:

    Watching today’s press conference was quite interesting. Sadly I hate to tell everybody that Ernie doesn’t share the same opinion as many on this site. He and Curtin seen to be on the same page and Stewart had heaps of praise for his coach. They looked at this year as laying a foundation and are sticking to a plan. They talked why they only use one formation, which made a lot of sense. What Stewart thinks of MLS rules in acquiring players and the American culture. Oh and I think he might of slipped talking about compensation for training academy players in the future.

  16. It’s a long shopping list.
    If they don’t move/move on from Edu (and this is salary addition by subtraction), they will again have almost 20% of their cap tied up in a player who may or may not play again. That is a borderline dereliction of duty on Earnie’s part.
    A veteran CB to start. Not a loan. Not a project or reject, a certifiable, gently used, pre-owned CB. The other guys are fine as depth. Honestly, you can’t say we’re improving at the pace the rest of the league is if Marquez/Tribbett start 15+ games together.
    A striker. Maybe 2. A little competition wouldn’t hurt Sapong.

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