A new Union II roster update

Photo: Paul Rudderow

For those trying to follow Philadelphia Union II in 2021, a new roster appeared on the club website late Tuesday afternoon.

All 2021’s graduated seniors are no longer listed, save Selmir Miscic who is on loan to North Carolina F.C. (He has started nine of their ten games as of July 13.) No uniform jersey numbers are given.

There are fifteen players and thirteen are confirmed as Academy members for both soccer and academics. Graduated professionals Miscic and Shanyder Borgelin are the other two.

The assumption here is that Miscic will not return to the Union organization. He remains rostered probably because they think they can  get something for him from some other club.


By age, the oldest player is 19.7. The youngest is 14.7. The one 18-year-old is a physically small left-footed left-back. He plays a position of scarcity. The others are four 17-year-olds, four 16-year-olds, and three 15-year-olds. The roster’s average age is 16.8

By position, there is one goalkeeper. There are three defenders – the already mentioned left back, a right back and a right-footed center back. There five midfielders. One is a  DCM, one is an ACM, and three are primarily shuttlers. Of the five strikers, four are under age 17.

As in the past other academy players will be called in for practice as appropriate and needed. For matches, the roster will be complemented by first-team homegrowns and other younger professionals.

First-team homegrown Brandan Craig has started every Union II game for the last 12 months. He has appeared most often as a center back, although we think he could someday grow into a lone defensive center mid. Most recently he has been on the right next to left-footed Gino Portella, with Samuel Jones probably being their primary backup.

Academy player Anton Sorenson usually starts at left back, with first-team homegrown Nate Harriel as the right back. Jackson Gilman backs up at both positions. Gilman will play if Harriel fills in on the first team for this fall’s pending international absences of Olivier Mbaizo and Alvas Powell.

Defensive center mid will be interesting to follow because Marlon LeBlanc’s Union II has tended to play a 4-2-2-2 “empty bucket” with a double pivot. One of the pivots has been first-team homegrown Cole Turner. If the empty bucket pattern continues, Diego Lopez will play next to him. If not, Turner could begin to appear as a lone number six.

Our earlier guess that Jack McGlynn was now unlikely to appear often for Union II seems wrong, since he has started in every subsequent Union II match. He and Quinn Sullivan will probably be the starters at the shuttling center mids. When they are not available, Jack Jasinski and Ian Abbey will stand in. The two first-teamers will be “building their engines” as Earnie Stewart might say. And they will be reinforcing how to control and dominate games as they look to add such skills to their first-team appearances.

Paxten Aaronson will probably be the attacking center mid if Union II play a diamond. If not, he will join McGlynn and Sullivan building engines and practicing control and dominance. Anthony Ramirez would seem to be Aaronson’s ACM understudy.

The roster’s numerical emphasis on strikers reflects that the stable of first team homegrowns has none at all. Shanyder Borgelin is making up for his lost season from last year, and has begun to score with greater frequency although only two data do not inspire certainty. He is a classic number nine, tall, strong and quick although not exceptionally pacey.

The other four are youngsters at 16, 16, 15, and 14. Only one is noticeably tall.

A potential lineup

In the unlikely event that everyone mentioned were available simultaneously, the strongest gameday roster might look something like this.

Starters (4-1-2-1-2, L-R): Matt Freese; Anton Sorenson, Gino Portella*, Brandan Craig, Nate Harriel; Cole Turner; Jack McGlynn, Quinn Sullivan; Paxten Aaronson; Shanyder Borgelin*, Nelson Pierre. (* means the player is known to be professional but is not listed on the active first-team 30-man roster.)

Bench: Andrew Rick; Jackson Gilman, Samuel Jones, Diego Lopez, Anthony Ramirez, Ian Abbey, Jack Jasinski, Bajung Darboe, Gael Medrano.

Probably LeBlanc would switch from the diamond to the empty bucket were he to make multiple midfield substitutions, unless he moved Craig to DCM and brought on Jones at RCB.


  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    Excellent info. Thank you as always. Can’t wait till they can start playing consistently again

  2. Each of the two schedule changes announced late afternoon Thursday 7/15 adds an extra day of rest to the last game in a congested sequence.

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