An Open Letter to Mikael Uhre

Dear Mikael,

Like all good Philly sports fans, we Unionites want to love you. We really do. We have a burning desire for you to score goals and we will doop your praises from greased lightpoles when you do what you came here to do.

But Mikael, right now, you’re making it really hard to love you.

Take Saturday’s game against the hated Loons. (BTW, you should know that the descriptor “hated” is automatically applied to all opponents of all Philly sports teams). But I digress.

In the first half on Saturday, in a potential breakaway you took a hard, but obviously fair, shoulder charge from a hated Loon. You went down easy in a heap and immediately raised your arms in the international sign for “Where’s the call?” This is a right of passage in the MLS. New imports come into our league and they don’t know exactly how the game is played and officiated here, where defensive mugging is allowed by unsympathetic refs of questionable breeding. Players are understandably taken aback by the physicality in those first few games. This is your 3rd season now starut, make the adjustment.

You know your teammate, Daniel Gazdag? We love him. He has made the adjustment. A hated Loon put him in a modified Figure Four Leglock with a People’s Elbow garnish and he still scored a goal. We’re getting ready to nominate Daniel for Viceroy of Chester.

What’s the difference between you and Daniel? Gazdag knows he’s playing in the MLS and has made the adjustment.

Mikael, you play for fans of a city that booed Mike Schmidt, but later loved him. We hounded Dick Allen too but adopted him only after he left town. That Trea Turner thing last year? That was an aberration not likely to be duplicated any time soon, so don’t count on it. It is amazing that the River End or other Unionites have not yet figured out how satisfying “Booo-hre” would be to belt out if your run of form does not improve.

It would be one thing if you were a dud from the start, but you weren’t. You were part of the Doop-a-palooza that was the summer of ’22. This, and an increasingly friendly (some may call it casual) game day crowd, has equipped you with some level 22 “Anti-Boo Armor” that your predecessors were not afforded. But as the tape on you has gotten out to the league, that armor is starting to show some wear, like Beowulf’s when he faced the dragon.

That’s the other thing, it’s not like we are the Union of yore, where we sent strikers from all over the world: Venezuleans (Aristigueta), Frenchmen (LeToux), Poles, (Przybylko), Brazilians (Santos), Jamaicans (Burke), Panamanians (Ruiz), Americans (Sapong & Casey, Wenger & Wheeler), Germans (Herbers) into the moors that was our attacking third with nothing but the mere scraps of 3 crosses from Fabinho per game to sustain themselves. They were being asked to slay Grendel with a butter knife. You are getting chances delivered by your entire team, good ones, and you are not converting. Make the adjustment.

Union’s ownership invested more in you than any *clap* other *clap* player *clap* ever *clap*. But as fans, we’ve invested even more. Our hopes and dreams for this team, our adrenaline and blood pressure and our lung capacity – our doop equity is invested in you.

So it’s time to recognize where you are. Ascend to the warrior status we wish you to be. This is MLS, it’s kind of a different league. This is Philly, it’s kind of a different city. It’s the City of Brotherly Love and the most outrageous love – hate relationships of any fan base in the country.

We want to love you. We want to see you make the adjustment. Please don’t be a skuffelse.

Doopfully Yours,

The Philly Phaithphul


  1. Delco Roots says:

    I like the hopeful, but honest, tone of your comments, Matt. I share your opinion. I believe that Uhre works hard, but the reality of the league’s physicality needs to sink in and be addressed. As a forward, he will be judged by goals.

  2. He really does seem lost and/or confused out there. For a big guy he does go down pretty easily, as you point out, but he also seems not to be on the same page with his teammates–zagging when he should zig, half-hearted forays into the six yard area, getting caught in possession, and more often than not taking one too many touches before trying to deliver a ball or taking the shot.

  3. All good and needed to be said…. He is too big of a man to drop “Jose Altidore in the box” style most times when physically challenged… I, too, want to love him, but groan every time I see him in the starting lineup now…

  4. At least he’s awesome in FC 24.

    Growth mindset, Mikael.

  5. Well stated!! He has to adjust or take a hike..

  6. Just don’t shoot it directly at the keeper. All sorted.

    • John P. O'Donnell says:

      My lord even when he does score it goes through the goalie or off him. The clean goal he had off the corner this year was the first clean goal I can remember since he’s been here.

  7. Thanks for saying the quiet part loud Matt! Usually that comes from the Elephant Man but it needed to be said! I think as fans we all want to see the young man turn it around! Like yourself I have not given up hope. I love that you also pointed out the Philly sports mentality and capacity to forgive and forget when a player makes good on their promise. I’m not sure how it goes in other city’s, but so many players come to the area and either never leave or come back to finish a career. So I think you speak for most if not all fans when you say get it together Uhre! Thanks for your continued work and support on this site! It truly is the best!!

    • Uhre is not earning his keep. He plays like a prima Donna, his physicality is not imposing, he does not play like he is hungry for improvement, and would stop subbing him early makes him look like a part time player.He should be benched but that seems like it makes no sense since he is the highest paid player in the team, so love us back and we will be even.

  8. So well said.
    For as frugal as a club that we are, our return on investment for Chester’s top earner Mikael Booya, is worth the release. Throw some more moolah at Kai !

  9. Trying to be as objective as I can. I think he has played more physical this year than in the past. At this point he is still a better option than Donavan who works hard but I doubt would start on any other MLS team. Baribo must have serious problems. Anderson the only other option would take a half a season to blend in. I think they have to start him . He needs a couple of goals to gain confidence Hope he gets up off the ground next time and runs down the play.

  10. Not a Homer says:

    This is the dumb part said our loud. A typical Philly keyboard warrior under an official title. Gazdag made adjustments? He’s been here longer and looked lost until Saturday and even that was off a set piece. Open the letter to all of our goal scorers (besides Carranza at this point). I don’t get the lame articles and social media posts from fans. It’s incredible. He was scored 9 goals during play last season compared to Gaz 3 (11 from PKs) and currently they are tied with 2 non PK goals this season. Would I love to see him be more physical and prolific than he’s current state? Absolutely. Does being a typical Philly Homer work? Let’s check the facts, no Philly sports team have won a championship when their players were deep in the boobirds. Last MLB season fans took a different approach to a floundering Trea Turner and helped him (mentally) turn his season around. If the author was a true fan, they would know that Uhre has struggled with his mental in the past. Let’s get the chants rolling and show him he’s got ALL the fans behind him.

    • All3Points says:

      The conclusion here is correct. Cheer him – he’s got it in his bag, just needs to find it again.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Agreed. What’s interesting is that Uhre has outperformed his npxG in each of his two plus seasons here according to FBRef.

      In his first year, he lead the league in % of shots on target (68% in ’22), but that dropped to 36% last year (it’s around 40% this year in the league). His last three seasons at Bronby were 43.8%, 44.6% & 44.1%. Granted there’s a lot of factors that affect this number, but on the surface, his recent performance in this area is more in line with his previous numbers.

      From the eye test, I’ve always felt that he either was carrying an injury last year or had lost a half-step in his ability to accelerate & create space with defenders.

      To his credit, he does seem be involved with generating more goals & scoring chances when paired with Carranza. Carranza scores more goals, but has a similar shooting percentage and goals to non-penalty xG ratio to Uhre with the exception of 2022 where Uhre outperformed by 5 goals.

    • As a co-author on this piece, and while the original author is away on vacation and out of internet range, I’ll step in here.

      I think you misunderstand the premise here and wanted to get riled up about something today.

      The article is not to encourage booing of a player. It is to ask more of our most expensive player. You’ll notice the article is not talking about specific production, the author and I are well educated enough in our understanding of soccer to know that players can have intangible / non-stat related contributions to a game.
      The premise is asking for the attitude adjustment.

      We love that Carranza and Gazdag play through the physicality that is the MLS. Uhre has not made that adjustment.

      Gazdag scored a lot of pens last year, yes, but he also led the team in assists.

      Mentality can help fix mental problems. When you go down soft, it affects the rest of your game. When you play strong, you finish strong. On the challenge cited in the article from this past Saturday, everyone in the stadium, save Uhre, knew that challenge was coming. Make the adjustment.

      Questioning people’s fandom (or quality there of) on a site who took the time to write about something they’re passionate about and giving you an opportunity to opine on their entry is a bit paradoxical though wouldn’t you say?

      • Not a Homer says:

        The root of the article is hyper criticism without stance. And to be honest it should rile everyone up. You’re pointing out one recent instance of what you thought was soft and followed by “welcome to the MLS” nonsense. He battles equally as hard as Carranza or Gaz and for most points I would say harder. If you watched him in the Danish Super League you would know that is something he learned here. And attacking someone’s mentality NEVER helps them solve their mental issues, it’s literally the mantra of the Heads Up initiative of the Union Foundation. This was the main point of my response and his mentality was the main point of your “article” so I’m sure what premise I missed. Opinion pieces like this aren’t journalism. They are almost always more damaging than not. And as a writer you both should know better. Don’t be upset that you didn’t get a comment section full of applause like usual. Take the criticism to heart and realize what you both did is more damaging than helpful, especially to someone who has had struggles of the mind in the past.

  11. Steve Mecke says:

    Pat Fidelia, lol haven’t heard that name mentioned in a while!

  12. El Skorcho says:

    Please don’t ever encourage any union player to emulate Gazdag!! Made WHAT adjustment?! Mastery of the PK (except for when it counted)?!

    • John P. O'Donnell says:


    • Appropriate burn for missing a big one… but several others choked that day.

      Look at the past players in his role… Maidana, Dockal, Barnetta, Noguiera, Caroll (gulp), you mean to tell me that you would take all of them over Gazdag in today’s MLS? Who else would you want to emulate as a previous key playmaker on our team?

      I’m not absolving Gazdag of his sins or previous poor production, but he is playing in the system, getting results, and isn’t looking for fouls that don’t exist every game.

      • I will say THIS…. Daniel ha sat least stayed on hos feet for the most part this season. Last season was painful watching Carranza, Uhre and Gazdag flop, flap and backheel flip their way to nowhere… it was contagious across the squad with flailing arms out of Wagner and Bedoya all season, too.

        So for that part, I totally agree with the Uhre attack piece and the support of Gazdag for playing a bit tougher this season. Although, I will still say, I was thoroughly impressed with Julian infilling the #10 role while Danny was getting Hungary.

    • It still drives me nuts when a game day commenter says he remains perfect from the spot.

  13. Twin Oaks Keeper says:

    Minor correction on past strikers: Union Ruiz from Guatamala, Phillies Ruiz from Panama; fwiw Uhre does a lot of dirty pressing that doesn’t really show up on camera, but definitely needs to get these one on one with keeper shots in better spots, has had too many blasts right to the keepers midsection

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