Commentary / The Overlap / Union

The Overlap: More miscellany

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Continuing my summer of tidbits rather than big narratives, here’s another collection of bon mots de moi on the state of the Union.

Julian Carranza, still

This guy, amirite?

He’s quickly entering territory where the Union have no hope to keep him at all. If he keeps things up at his current rate, he won’t even finish the season with Philly. Considering he came into the league with a $6M price tag, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Nevertheless, it’s a little bit astonishing the production he’s started putting up and, better yet, he’s a worker.

Still only 23, he could be successful in any league in the world. I don’t know if he’d immediately score four on Real Madrid like some of his predecessors here in MLS have done, but he would be useful for just about any team and a huge asset.

We’ve been lucky to have him (and yes, get ready to use the past tense).

Other departures?

It feels like we’ve been saying that Kai Wagner’s days in Philadelphia were numbered forever. Surely a player as productive as he is, at the position he plays, which is a position of need the world over, would catch the transfer plane sooner than later. And yet, here he is, still.

Not that I’m complaining—he’s a huge part of the team’s success. But at some point, you have to wonder if he’s too old to get a big move. Already 26, which puts him smack in his prime with probably five years more of top-level production ahead of him, he’s still a bit old for a really big European move. He might get one, I’m no expert, but it sort of feels like if it was going to happen, it would have happened already.

Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking, because I want him to stay forever.

There have also been some more unexpected transfer rumblings, with Werder Bremen supposedly interested in Leon Flach and the Union asking for $3M for the German-American. What a wonderful move that would be for Flach, getting to the Bundesliga. On some level, it seems weird to think that the Union might extract more from some other team for Flach than it paid to acquire the services of Mikael Uhre, who was the team’s largest-ever transfer. But look more closely and it makes some sense.

Flach does what he does at a very high, borderline-elite, level. Complaints about him have never been that he does nothing well; they have been with the things he does not do very much of, namely score goals and make assists (or make progressive passes that lead to those things). There are lots of teams that could use someone who does what Flach does (and add in things like the goal and assist he’s had the last two games and that’s gravy). I would be ecstatic for this young man who, from all accounts, is a wonderful teammate and who has been another big contributor to the team’s success.

Déjà vu

Uh-oh: Union win 4–1 over Miami? 3–0 over Montreal? 3–0 over New England? This is starting to look like last summer’s freight train.

I’m a big fan of games where the Union score early, then score again, and then one more time (or more). I like watching the hope get slowly (or not so slowly) sucked out of an opposing team. I would be happy never to watch a game that was in the balance in the final minute of extra-time ever again (as long as the Union are winning).

But didn’t they lose, too?

Yes, the Union lost a game, 2–1 away to San Jose. All it took was a West Coast road trip, two shots placed with exceeding precision, and an outstanding display by the opposing goalkeeper. The Union dominated every statistical category, won the xG battle by a lot, and lost because the two shots on goal San Jose managed were perfect. It happens. Run that game back 10 times and the Union win seven, tie two, and lose one.

C’est la vie.

The Jose Martinez goal game

Do we need to talk about this?

I mean, that game was actually terrible. I’ll admit that. But when you have a guy like Jose Martinez score that goal? Come on. Don’t sully it by focusing on anything else. Just be deliriously happy, instead. Watch the clip again and put a smile on your face.

Looking ahead

The Union have a three-game road trip ahead of them, with matches at Atlanta, LA (the bad one), and Nashville, before coming home to face NYC (avian variety). The games versus Atlanta and Nashville could be tasty. The other two have lost some of their luster, given those teams’ struggles. Regardless, fingers crossed for lots of Union goals scored, few given up, and no injuries (or transfers out). After that stretch, the weird Leagues Cup thing happens, and that will probably deserve it’s own column.


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    The final scoreline Saturday was a major disappointment for me. I’ve been comparing this season with last (since the most of the roster is very similar). Saturday was game 19. The good news is that the team has 1 more point in the standings than they had after 19 games last year.
    The bad news is that a 4-1 win pales in comparison with the 7-0 win in game 19 last year (plus that game had fireworks!). Of course if they want to keep pace with last year, they’ll need to win all 4 games between now and start of the Garber Cup or whatever it’s called.

  2. Seems like the key thing European clubs are looking for in MLS players is youth. Perhaps why no one came in for Wagner or Martinez. Solid players, but they are what they are. Young guys like the Aaronsons, Makenzie, Flach and Carranza have upside. The older guys are probably about as good as they’re gonna be. And the clubs buying our guys are probably planning to sell in two to three years….

    I can’t believe no one is knocking down the door for McGlynn.

  3. Largest transfer in Union History?

    NOT Urhe, or potentially Flach at $3mm wheren’t these guys double, at least?

    Aaronson (twice)
    Aaronson, the other

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I believe he meant the Union were buying, not selling. Largest money spent to acquire a player… not sell them.

  4. And as far as other tranfers… doubtful during this MLS season.

    This is our roster thru hosting MLS Cup 2023 in Chester!


    • Andy Muenz says:

      Transferring Wagner during the season means they get something for him. Waiting until after means they get nothing.

  5. Tim Jones says:

    European Big Five summer transfer window dates:.
    English top 4 — 14 June until 1 September
    Ligue Un — 10 June until 1 September
    Bundesliga — 1 July until 1 September
    La Liga. — 3 July until 1 September
    Serie A — 1 July until 31 August.

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    Damian Lowe is out for Jamaica on Sunday due to yellow card accumulation. I hear there is a game in Atlanta that day where he would be eligible.

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