Analysis / Philadelphia Union II

Saturday’s roster conundrum

Photo: Ben Ross

This coming Saturday, Keystone Sports and Entertainment must staff two games in separate places while missing nine players. Numerically and positionally, it will lack almost one full side from its 27-man roster.

Several times this season, Union and Union II have had simultaneous matches in different locations. In a situation comparable because of  international absences combined with injuries, the organization sought and received a postpone-and-reschedule, but that is not an option now.

 All the federations have published their call-ups, including US Soccer for the U-20 men’s Revelations Cup in Mexico. The Union received eight such invitations.

International Friendlies U-20 Revelations Cup
Andre Blake – Jamaica Paxten Aaronson
Jose Martinez – Venezuela Quinn Sullivan
Olivier Mbaizo – Cameroon Jack McGlynn
Daniel Gazdag – Hungary Brandan Craig
  • Cory Burke was not called in to Jamaica’s final attempts to qualify to the world cup from Concacaf, and also they have a new coach.
  • Richard Odada’s Kenyan federation remains suspended by FIFA for “outside interference,” so its scheduled African Cup of Nations qualifiers have been cancelled.
  • Mikael Uhre was not called in by Denmark, since they will be making final preparations for Qatar.

The ninth absence is August 4th signing Abasa Aremeyaw, a 19.1-year-old Ghanaian center back who has not yet arrived in Chester.

The organization will be missing a goalkeeper, two center backs, a right back, a defensive midfielder, a left center midfielder center, a right center midfielder, an attacking midfielder, and a “striker,” Paxten Aaronson. Aaronson played center forward for the U-20s during their Concacaf qualification tournament in July and won the golden boot doing it, and he has appeared at striker for the Union several times, including one start.

A left back and a second striker would complete a credible starting IX (see below).

[???] Aaronson
McGlynn Sullivan
[???] [Aremeyaw] Craig Mbaizo

Were there a proven left back and a proven striker, only center back would have players unproven at the first team level.

Where does that leave Union and Union II Saturday evening?

The charted estimate follows the principle that the second team exists to provide the first team whatever it needs.

v Pachuca 6 PM

@ Toronto FC II 7 PM

GK Matt Freese GK Brooks Thompson
LB Kai Wagner LB Maike Villero
LCB Jack Elliott LCB Gino Portella
RCB Jakob Glesnes RCB Nathan Nkanji
RB Nathan Harriel RB Frank Westfield
DM Richard Odada DM Boubacar Diallo
LCM Leon Flach LCM Bajung Darboe
RCM Alejandro Bedoya RCM Juan Perdomo
AM Julian Carranza AM Carlos Paternina
S Cory Burke S Stefan Stojanovic
S Chris Donovan S Marcos Zambrano



GK Joe Bendik GK Andrew Rick
OB Anton Sorenson OB Noe Uwimana
CB Cole Turner CB
DM Jesus Bueno DM Logan Oliver
M Matt Real M Marcello Mazzola
M M Anthony Ramirez
S Jeremy Rafanello S Jose Riasco
S S Nelson Pierre

It is PSP’s impression that amateurs are not allowed to play in the Pachuca match, so substitutes are distributed accordingly. The Union II lineup does maintain the mandate of six professionals on the pitch.


  1. The friendly is not so friendly.

  2. I have since learned that Marcos Zambrano is a late call-up to the US U-19s camp, and so is not available.

  3. Amazing to me the front office scheduled a friendly this late in the season, when they had to know many Union players would have national responsibilities.
    Additionally with it being crucial to keep stars healthy for the run at the Supporters Shield and MLS Cup, I would park the bus and play 4-5-1 with Burke sitting deep as a hybrid 9/10 target and Donovan running off him.

    GK Freese
    LB Sorenson
    LCB Elliott
    RCB Turner
    RB Harriel
    DM Odada
    DM Bueno
    LM Flach
    RM Real
    S/AM Burke
    S Donovan

    Hate to have Elliott out there, but no other option and maybe you sub him at half for Glesnes.
    Its not the team the fans want to see, but if someone important gets injured, there will be hell to pay.

  4. Totally agree about scheduling this match. What were they thinking?

    Seriously, who cares who plays vs Pachuca. Heck sign anyone for a day contract, it’s a friendly… and give U2 the kids to win their match.

    Heck Brian Carroll looked like he could play in a friendly. I’ll play for 1 day…. why waste ANY starters for Pachuca. Who cares.

    • Well, … .
      FIFA, Concacaf, US Soccer, MLS & Liga MX care.
      All the layers of regulatory bodies that define and control professional rosters care that a club follows the roster rules.
      Union do not play in an outlaw league.

  5. FCdelcofella says:

    Maybe this will be a lesson for the club. I’m not sure what kind of money they make with these matches but if a starter goes down things will get messy for the union. What’s to be gained by playing this match?

    • A great deal. WE learned:
      that Richard Odada is quite credible as a double pivot six against one of the better teams in Liga MX.
      that Jeremy Rafanello is fairly credible at that level as a role player at attacking midfield.
      that Jesus Bueno is decently credible as a dm when in a double pivot.
      that Matt Real has improved some of his defensive deficiencies enough to play a tough opponent as a left back.
      And Nelson Pierre got an undeniable demonstration of everything he needs to improve if he hopes to earn a first-team contract anytime soon. Game tape does not lie. If Pierre does not get the message he is not long for a place in the Union’s plans.

      • In what was a somewhat underwhelming match, i agree that key takeways for me were that Odada looks like a really interesting addition, and i thought Raffanello showed very well was confident on the ball, etc. Those two stood out the most. Pierre did seem a bit lost. And what more can be did about Wagner? One of the best talents to suit up for this club, and he showed very well filling in at CB. Happy he’s still in the navy and gold and not in Europe somewhere.

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