Roster News / Union

Union transfer Matt Freese to NYC FC

Photo: Paul Rudderow

A Freese is heading to Gotham.

Philadelphia Union announced the transfer of Homegrown goalkeeper Matt Freese to New York City FC in exchange for allocation money on Friday afternoon.

The guaranteed return for Freese will be $350,000 in General Allocation Money, split $200,000 this year and $150,000 next year.  In addition, the Union will keep a percentage of a future transfer fee, and may be able to earn an additional $400,000 if performance conditions are met.

“We want to thank Matt for his hard work and contributions on and off the field with the Philadelphia Union,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a press release. “As a homegrown player, we are proud of what Matt has become and feel this is the best move for the player at this time in order for him to be able to continue to grow and have a chance to earn a starting position.”

Freese, 24, signed with the Union as a Homegrown player back in 2018. He made five starts for the club in his first season, but — pinned behind a league-best keeper in Andre Blake — playing time was hard to come by in the intervening seasons. Freese started one game in 2020 and six games in 2021 before making no appearances last season.

The highlight of Freese’s Union career would be his emergency appearance in the 2021 Eastern Conference final after COVID-19 protocols kept Blake out of the lineup. Freese performed well, but the Union fell 2-1 to NYC FC — his new club.

“As great of a player as he is, he is an even better young man with a bright future ahead,” said Tanner.

The move makes sense for a talented 24-year-old keeper who desperately needs first-team opportunities. City should be able to give him that, with their longtime keeper — U.S. international Sean Johnson — signing with Toronto FC earlier this week.

Veteran Joe Bendik, who turns 34 in April, will become Blake’s chief backup. The Union drafted Holden Trent in the MLS SuperDraft this year; if he is signed, he may also play a role supporting the club’s star shot-stopper.

The 2023 MLS season begins four weeks from tomorrow, when the Union play host to Columbus Crew at Subaru Park at 7:30 p.m.


  1. So LAFC, NYCFC, and NYRB all have former Blake backups.

  2. And one of Toronto’s back up keepers came from the Union Academy, Tomas Romero.
    Apropos of nothing, Venezuelan U20s beat Ecuador on a penalty kick yesterday 1-0. Jose Riasco substituted on for the PK taker in the 71st minute.
    So Venezuela is still alive, but must beat Chile to advance to the final stage.

  3. Do we think Trent is more likely than Brooks Thompson to be #3?

    • In my opinion it is too soon to try to estimate that. There has been no video.
      I interpret his 90 minutes in leg one of preseason as diagnostic, not an indication of ranking. Remember he is not from the Union Academy so they need to judge what they actually have for themselves. They don’t know him in person.

  4. Apropos of nothing. Jose Riasco did not play against Chile for Venezuela’s U20s Saturday night. Venezuela won 1-0 on a penalty, so the qualify for the final group round robin.
    Riasco will be with them until after February 12th.

  5. This was the right move. Freese was too good to be a backup and at 24 needs to start getting regular first team minutes.

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