Analysis / Philadelphia Union II

Three ways to look at Union II’s roster

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Now that MLS NEXT Pro roster compliance day has passed, a roster has appeared on the league’s website, and an official game with a starting lineup and an enumerated bench has been played, it is time for first estimates of the 2023 Philadelphia Union II rosters for practice, for a game, and for its role within the professional organization as a whole.

Practice roster

The practice roster includes only one player on a first-team contract. And to reflect practice’s positional interchangeability, it is not fully differentiated that way.

Union reserves U II professionals U17 amateurs
Goalkeepers Goalkeepers Goalkeepers
Andrew Rick
Jonathan Evans
Left backs Left backs Left backs
Juan Castillo Luke Martelli
Center backs Center backs Center backs
Gino Portella Devon Stopek
Nathan Nkanji Daniel Kreuger
Hugo Le Guennec
Right backs Right backs Right backs
Frank Westfield
Noe Uwimana
Defensive midfield Defensive midfield
Maike Villero Logan Oliver
Boubacar Diallo
Pedro Alvarez
Attacking midfield Attacking midfield
CJ Olney
David Vazquez
Luciano Sanchez
Marcello Mazzola
Anthony Ramirez
Strikers Strikers Strikers
Nelson Pierre Jose Riasco Alex Perez
Stefan Stojanovic
On game day

A game-day roster includes two categories of Union reserves, those who are expected to get most or all of their game minutes with Union II, and those who are not. The latter are in parentheses and are not counted towards the game-day roster limit of 20. if the name is followed by a number from one through nine, the player was on the bench for game one.

Union reserves U II professionals U17 amateurs
G K Goalkeeper G K
(Holden Trent) Brooks Thomspon 7 Andrew Rick
L B Left Back L B
Anton Sorenson Luke Martelli 6
L C B Left Center Back L C B
(Brandan Craig) Gino Portella
R C B Right Center Back R C B
Nathan Nkanji 5 Devon Stopek
R B Right Back R B
Frank Westfield
Noe Uwimana 4
L D M Left Defense Mid L D M
Maike Villero
R D M Right Defense Mid R D M
(Richard Odada) Boubacar Diallo
Pedro Alvarez 3
L A M Left Attack Mid L A M
CJ Olney
Luciano Sanchez 2
R A M Right Attack Mid R A M
(Jeremy Rafanello) David Vazquez
Marcello Mazzola 8
Anthony Ramirez 9
Strikers Strikers Strikers
Nelson Pierre Stefan Stojanovic
Jose Riasco 1

The only guarantee about this game-day roster is that it will almost certainly never be repeated.

Pro organization depth chart

Now that MLS NEXT Pro has begun play for 2023, it is time for a professional-level, organization-wide  depth chart estimate.

  • The ages given next to each name are rounded to the nearest tenth of a year on the given date.
  • Since reaching the first-team is the goal, positioning reflects its most usual tactical shape, even though that is not yet the more appropriate developmental approach for younger second-team players, especially defensive midfielders.
  • Classifying by position suggests greater rigidity than the positional flexibility displayed in actual play, especially in the midfield and the attack. Only the keeper and the four defenders, particularly the center backs, really “stay home.”
  • The organization assumes that defensive mids can also play as attacking ones, although the reciprocal is not as likely to be true.
  • This season Union II attacking midfield depth comes from amateurs who are former strikers moving back a line. Ian Abbey exemplified the concept in the first several months of 2022.

The chart reveals disciplined adherence to Ernst Tanner’s age parameters.

In only a few of the three and a half dozen comparisons below is the lower ranked player nearly a year older than the higher ranked one. The extreme case is the three years separating Gino Portella from Brandan Craig, which probably reflects Portella’s several injuries while playing in the United States.

Amateurs are italicized, first-team professionals are at the top, and ages date from Saturday, March 18, 2023.

Striker Striker
Uhre 28.5 22.8 Carranza
Donovan 22.6 19.0 Sullivan
Pierre 18.0 19.1 Riasco
Perez 16.9 22.0 Stojanovic
Attacking Mid
Gazdag 27.0
Torres 26.1
Rafanello 22.9
Left Mid Right Mid
Flach 22.0 35.9 Bedoya
McGlynn 19.7 22.3 Perea
Olney 16.3 17.1 Vazquez
18.1 Sanchez
  18.2 Mazzola
  17.2 Ramirez
Defensive Mid
Martinez 28.6
Bueno 23.9
Odada 22.3
Villero 22.1
Diallo 20.3
Alvarez 22.1
Oliver 17.9
Left Back Left CB Right CB Right Back
Wagner 26.1 Elliott 27.6 29.0 Glesnes 25.6 Mbaizo
Real 23.7 Craig 18.9 29.9 Lowe 21.9 Harriel
Sorenson 20.1 Portella 22.0 18.1 Stopek 17.3 Westfield
Castillo 20.5 21.6 Nkanji 18.1 Uwimana
  17.2 Kreuger  
  23.7 Le Guennec  
Blake 32.3
Bendik 33.9
Trent 23.7
Rick 17.1
Thompson 20.9
Evans 16.7


  1. I learned today from coach LeBlanc that Juan Castillo and Hugo Le Guennec are still waiting for their international paperwork to clear.
    I also learned that CJ Olney and David Vazquez will be with the U17s at the GA Cup, but that Andrew Rick will not and will stay with Union II.

  2. For anyone interested in the activities of the first-team players who were away on international duty here’s what I’ve found on the internet, starting from Wikipedia and then following trails, for the most part.

    As far as I can tell Hungary won twice and Daniel Gazdag dressed but did not play in both matches.
    Venezuela won one and tied one. Jose Martinez played 180 minutes and got the assist on the goal in the draw.
    Jamaica tied Mexico at the Azteca. Damion Lowe was the captain. for those with long memories YSC Academy alumnus Jahmali Waite was the goalkeeper.
    Kenya lost to Iran in a friendly. I could find no information about lineups, so have no idea whether Richard Odada played.
    the US U20s lost to France, lost to England and tied Serbia in Spain. Jack McGlynn started all three. Brandan Craig started all three. Quinn Sullivan started the first two and was on the bench for the third.
    A final note is that Twitter has reports that FIFA has just Wednesday announced moving the 2023 U20s World Cup away from Indonesia. I have not confirmed it, yet. And the report gave no indication of the replacement host.

    • In re my Indonesia 2023 information above. the change is announced on FIFA’s own website.

    • I think Craig and McGlynn also started two — neither started against France, but iirc McGlynn subbed in. Also as always appreciate all the work pulling this together!

  3. Thank you, Tim. Insightful, as always. Very curious to see more of Richard Odada.

    • You and me both.
      Full credit to Bueno for pushing ahead in the competition.
      Odada looked good last fall the few times I saw him.

  4. Could that chart be redone, republished? Needs to be cleaned up and left justified. Good info, just formatted less than ideally.

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