Roster News / Union

Union loan Brandan Craig to Austin FC

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union made their first move in the MLS summer transfer window yesterday, loaning Homegrown center back Brandan Craig to Austin FC for the rest of the season.

In exchange, the Texans sent back a third-round pick in the 2024 MLS SuperDraft and up to $125,000 in conditional 2024 General Allocation Money.

Craig, 19, is a promising but unproven prospect. Signed to an MLS Homegrown contract before the 2021 season, he has just one three-minute appearance for the senior team, and is yet to play a minute in 2023. He has three goals and three assists in his 38 appearances for Philadelphia Union II.

The Philadelphia native’s performances with the U.S. U-20 National Team have raised his profile. Craig has 15 appearances for the U-20s, including playing every minute at the 2023 U-20 World Cup and a string of strong performances at the 2022 Concacaf U-20 Championship.

That hasn’t been enough for him to break into Jim Curtin’s side, though. Center back depth is one of the team’s strengths, including reigning MLS Defender of the Year Jakob Glesnes and stalwart veterans Jack Elliott and Damion Lowe. And Curtin hasn’t judged Craig as ready (or a good fit) to fill in as the left-sided center back in a 3-5-2 with Lowe unavailable, preferring Kai Wagner and Nathan Harriel in that spot.

With that in mind, this looks like a good deal for all parties. Craig should get a chance to play and develop with Austin, who need center back help. And the Union get a return for an underutilized asset, while retaining long-term control if Craig continues to grow.

It remains to be seen whether there will be any other outgoings from the Boys in Blue this summer. There have been rumblings of interest around Kai Wagner, Julian Carranza, Leon Flach, and Olivier Mbaizo. But no concrete offer has been reported for any of these players.

The Union are back in action on Saturday night against Los Angeles Galaxy, looking to shake off Sunday’s loss to Atlanta United. Kickoff from Dignity Health Sports Park is at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.


  1. Gruncle Bob says:

    I agree with PA’s summary – good for all parties. It will be interesting to see how Craig performs in an environment where, shall we say, offense is emphasized more than defense.
    Let’s go Brandan!

  2. Tim Jones says:

    MLS’s Jonathan Sigal explains what’s been going on at center back for Austin FC this year:
    “Austin’s center back group has been in flux for months, starting with Ruben Gabrielsen’s unexpected offseason return to his native Norway and long-term injuries to starters Julio Cascante (adductor) and Leo Väisänen (knee). Cascante has returned from injury, though short-term loanee Aleksandar Radovanović recently departed to his Belgian parent club and Austin have often played midfielder Alex Ring in central defense out of necessity.”
    Furthermore, left back Zan Kolmanic has been lost for the season to an ACL injury.
    Radovanovic’s departure at the end of his loan (June 30th) probably is the immediate reason why Austin moved for Craig.

  3. Great One says:

    Really wish we would have played him at some point, but happy for him that he’ll be getting minutes.

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