Breaking News / Roster News / Union

Union sign midfielder David Vazquez as homegrown player

Photo @PhilaUnion 

Monday morning, as predicted earlier this winter by Jim Curtin when Vazquez was signed to Philadelphia Union II, the Philadelphia Union signed midfielder David Vazquez to a first team contract as a homegrown player.

Vasquez has been spotted at Union II games but not practices, a pattern which will most likely continue until late summer’s transition from academic year 2023-24 to academic year 2024-25. There is a possibility it continues all the way to the end of this season, but that may depend on Cavan Sullivan’s development after the late summer transition.

Vazquez has consistently been Union II’s most credible attacking central midfielder, while also boasting the ability to play either of the shuttling midfielders in the narrow diamond well. For the US U17s last summer, he played as a striker/left winger. Tanner’s descriptor “versatile” clearly applies.

He and CJ Olney both stand over Union II attacking restarts together when Kyle Tucker is not on the field. He can be expected to defeat double teams on the dribble at the MLS NEXT Pro level, although not yet triples and quadruples.

He has practiced frequently with the first team since last July and appeared credibly in preseason matches against Flamengo and Austin this past winter.

He remains slight and wiry. He will never be a fireplug, so he may be vulnerable to strong defenders who have length and therefore leverage advantages. His engine build is making solid progress. That Tanner has signed him suggests his ground coverage quantities and rates are acceptable, as must be his sprint speeds and frequencies.

His signing to the first team unblocks Cavan Sullivan from Union II minutes as an attacking midfielder later this season. It also pressures Jeremy Rafanello from below. Vazquez does not have Rafanello’s thunderous long-distance shot but he is more effective this season pressuring defensively as an attacking center mid than Rafanello was last in MLS NEXT Pro. Comparing MLS to MLS is not yet possible.

Together with CJ Olney who is nearly a full year younger, Vazquez is a candidate to develop into a Jack McGlynn replacement on the flank should McGlynn move on after the Olympics. Neither of them are the first tier backups to McGlynn as Leon Flach’s return to the bench against RSL herald’s his resumption of that role. But both Vazquez and Olney should be rated as having higher offensive upsides, should they transition well to the first team level. On defense Flach has a proven advantage over both.

No one tells the story how Vazquez came to Join the Union’s academy better than the Inquirer’s Jonathan Tannenwald. The December 12, 2023 story is worth the time.

It is much too soon to say that Vazquez is Daniel Gazdag’s heir apparent. Comparing an 18-year-old late adolescent to a man almost exactly ten years his senior is perilous. But the way Vazquez presses the opposition as a single number 10 does remind us how Gazdag did it in his first full season with the Union.

One Comment

  1. Awesome!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *