Commentary / Roundtable

PSP’s Cracked and Cloudy Crystal Ball: Stayin’ or Strayin’?

A few days before the Cavan Sullivan announcement, we asked our writers these questions: What happens if Julian Carranza, Jack McGlynn and Quinn Sullivan all depart this summer? And are we already in a post-Blake era? Here are their responses.

Kyle Grantham: Personally I’m certain Carranza is gone. In fact I’m certain he’s regretting not leaving this winter given one of the clubs that made him an offer will be playing the Premier League next season, but the Union will do what they can to get SOMETHING for him before he 100% leaves at the end of the season.

Blake Zuschnitt: As much as the Union want to sell Carranza before his deal is up, how much does that weigh against wanting to win hardware? Would the Union be ok with potentially seeing Carranza leave on a free transfer if it meant that they had a better shot at trophies in Leagues Cup or MLS cup? To me, that is the decision Ernst and the front office need to wrestle with. Maybe there’s a deal that can be made that will allow Carranza to see the season out in Philly. The Union may not have the negotiation power in that type of deal, as it is evident Carranza would want to end up in Europe sooner rather than later.

Chris Turk: I don’t disagree that Carranza regrets not accepting one of the offers this past winter, however, I also believe that there is a good chance he won’t leave in the summer window. Let me get this out of the way – Julian Carranza is a really, really good MLS striker. I love having him on the Union and think he is a terrific fit for the team. But he is not of the quality that he values himself at – he supposedly turned down offers because he wanted to go to a team in Spain. I don’t see a La Liga or EPL team buying Carranza. He is not on the Argentine national team (he featured once at the U17 level, I believe). I was discussing this with a friend this morning, and trying to figure out what team might take a chance on Julian – perhaps Ipswich Town, or one of the Championship teams in the playoffs for promotion? (Other than Leeds – I don’t see them buying another Union player.) Will Carranza be willing to move to a West Brom? Perhaps a lower-half side in Serie A will take a chance on him? I see Carranza staying and running down his contract, hoping to make a free agent move. That said, I could see him back here next season because I don’t think his value is as high as he thinks it is (see: Wagner, Kai).

Tim Jones: Chances are high that Carranza leaves. The summer window is the union’s last chance to realize money from his sale, and he seems to want a change. But if Jonathan Tannenwald’s story last winter was correct, he wants specific leagues within the big six as landing spots. If those opportunities do not present themselves, he will need a place to play where he can showcase himself as successful and productive. Philadelphia is where he has proven himself successful and productive.

Kyle Grantham: I wouldn’t expect Quinn to go anywhere yet, especially with Cavan on his way to the first team. But in the winter I would see clubs making a run at him.

Blake Zuschnitt: I agree with Kyle on Sullivan. I don’t really think there is any real shot Sullivan leaves in the summer. I don’t know that he will even make the Olympic side, which I think would be unfair to him, as he’s a great player and someone whose athleticism would have US coaches in awe. But the reality is he’s had some really strong minutes for the Union, and some really “meh” minutes for the Union. Even If he does get selected to go to the Olympics, unless he has an absolutely stand out tournament, I foresee him in the starting 11 for the Union in 2025.

Chris Turk: I agree with Blake and think Sullivan is back with the Union in 2025. He looks really sharp playing in the midfield where he can make runs up the right, but has only looked so-so when he plays up front as a striker. I think he will continue to improve and be an integral part of the Union for at least a couple of years. That all could change, however, if he does make the Olympic team (which I would not bet on) AND he has an incredible Olympics. Making the team but sitting on the bench or being a late game sub is not going to bring in the offers. I think it more likely that Quinn and Cavan feature together in 2025 than Quinn winds up in Europe.

Tim Jones: Unless some club makes an overwhelming surprise offer, I do not see Sullivan as a serious candidate to leave. The edge is off his play in the last few matches. He needs to rest and recharge and won’t get the chance until Leon Flach returns to top form and allows him respite from double duty. Even then he is Carranza’s best partner because of his continuous ground coverage and defending as a striker.

Kyle Grantham: McGlynn may see some offers but probably not what the club thinks he’s worth. If he can improve his defensive work-rate then I think you’ll start to see Aaronson money come to the table. Right now he’s a helluva shooter and his cross has dramatically improved, but his positioning and defensive instincts leave you screaming too much for a major European club to invest $7-8M.

Blake Zuschnitt: As far as McGlynn is concerned, I somewhat agree with Kyle. I will add his performance in the Olympics this summer will have the most impact on his overall value, and I would highly doubt the Union accept any offers before that competition. I have heard rumblings that Earnie Stewart would be interested in seeing him at PSV, which honestly might be the best fit for his game. The Eredivisie may be a good league for him to get his footing in Europe. I am one of those that feels he is more ready for Europe than others, and that in the right situation and system, he would absolutely thrive. While I don’t think he will depart the Union before the end of the season, when he does move on, I think we will all see how important/dynamic of a piece he is in breaking down opponents.

Chris Turk: Perhaps I am overestimating McGlynn’s value to the Union, but I am more concerned about him leaving than I am Carranza. I’m not saying he is as good of a player (right now) as Carranza, but I think that when McGlynn does leave, he will prove more difficult to replace than Carranza. A lot depends on how well McGlynn plays in the Olympics. A stellar Olympics from him could a see a team from smaller European league, like the Eredivisie, or even a lower-third of the table team in the bigger leagues, take a chance on him this summer. More likely, I think, is that McGlynn stays with the Union through the remainder of the 2024 season. As he continues to mature as a player and perhaps becomes more defensively aware when not on the player with the ball, how value should increase and we may be saying goodbye after the season.

Tim Jones: When McGlynn goes to Paris for the Olympics, if both he and the Americans do well, he could very easily do go to a first-tier European developmental league. He will have to prove his ground coverage and underlying pace of play. If the Union still have playoff hopes, they will try for a sign and loan back. Since McGlynn still needs development to play at Europe’s very highest levels, the Union may well secure that loan back until Decemeber.

Kyle Grantham: Blake voicing his frustrations openly was a big step, but it’s hard to consider a post-Blake era when he’s just not been healthy for two seasons now. Keepers can play, especially in the MLS until they’re 40, so he’s got plenty of life left, but with the youth movement at the position and increased value placed on young MLS keeper prospects lately (see Gaga Slonina, Matt Turner, Đorđe Petrović) I don’t know if I see many clubs pursuing an older keeper unless they’re LAFC and in a “win-now” window or just don’t have anyone in the pipeline worth developing. Blake leaving the Union to go to another club, uprooting his family from Bear and starting over, just seems hard to imagine, but at the same time, something’s brewing there.

Blake Zuschnitt: Agree with Kyle here. I don’t really know what to make of his comments before the season regarding the Union’s lack of spending. his recent comments on Instagram don’t paint a great picture either. They depict a locker room that lacks focus and belief. Not to mention, coming from a club legend who we all assumed was a Union lifer at this point, it was unexpected. Frustration with his recent injuries maybe? Fear that his career will come and go with only the COVID Supporter’s shield? A little Kai Wagner-esque hardball with Ernst? I don’t know, but I just don’t see another team being that interested in an injury prone 33 year old. I think he stays and sees out his career in Philly.

Chris Turk: I think a season-plus of nagging injuries and the Union “rolling out” the same team in 2024 as in 2023 (yes, the homegrowns are getting more time, but it’s still the same team) has Blake feeling a bit down. I certainly got that impression when speaking with him in the locker room after the RSL loss (are we allowed to say that?). He is a competitor, and wants to get healthy to help the team, but I get the impression he wants the team to invest some of the money recouped from the Aaronsons, etc. back into the team. That said, I too don’t see Blake leaving unless his relationship with Tanner / front office deteriorates a whole lot more than it has (which is not much in the grand scheme of players complaining). He was at Sporting Delaware’s practices last week with one of his kids playing with Sporting on a trial basis (are we allowed to say that?). He seems to be invested in the area. I openly voicing his frustrations was both venting and perhaps playing a little hardball with Tanner as well.
Ultimately, I don’t fear losing two players this summer, let alone three. I think it is more likely that all three are back next year than it is that all three are gone. The reality is probably somewhere in the middle. I definitely could see Carranza running down his contract, not liking what he is offered in Europe, and Tanner coming in with enough of a contract to see him back in 2025 and 2026. (Again see: Wagner, Kai.) All bets are off, however, if the Union cannot right the ship in the next 5 or 6 weeks. If the team continues to play poorly as it goes into the international departures, and exits Leagues Cup before the semis, we could be in for a disappointing second half of the season – one that does see Carranza along with McGlynn leave before the 2025 season. There may be an impetus to blow things up and rebuild. If things don’t improve soon, the Union may be willing to take a cut-rate deal for Carranza, and he may be willing to settle for a team a level or two below where he thinks he should be.

Tim Jones: We are not in the post-Andre Blake era. His injuries and age have reduced his negotiating leverage in a contract year. Public complaint is a negotiating tactic. It also may communicate locker room sentiment to ownership. The act of becoming a United States citizen demonstrates a certain level of commitment.
If a team from Serie A or La Liga makes a decent offer for Carranza, he will go and his roster slot will be taken by Jose Riasco, for better or worse. When that happens, the Union becomes a team hoping to make the playoffs, not a probable participant in them. McGlynn will finish the season in Philly. Sullivan and Blake are not going anywhere.


  1. Delco Roots says:

    Great conversation from all of you – thanks. I especially appreciate that you do not all agree on each player’s future. That speaks to the many variables involved here, including each player’s ability, the team’s current form, and Tanner’s 3-5 vision.

    Here are my humble predictions:

    – Blake stays, but really wants to win here

    – Carranza goes to a top second division team in Spain or Italy and hopes to help them get promoted

    – McGlynn stays, until his defensive positioning overcomes his lack of pace

    – Sullivan is the toughest call for me, but I think he goes to Holland or second division Germany as his speed and upside are worth a bet from a club not quite at the elite level.

    In the end, hope all them stay and are happy here.

  2. John@127 says:

    My friends and I have been having a similar conversation on Carranza, McGlynn and Quinn. Where they could, should or will go. Nice to see many of the same thoughts here.

    My thoughts – Julian’s value is not what he expects. I expect him to go. If he doesn’t get an offer he likes this summer, I see him testing free agency. I had not thought about him staying, a la Wagner. But I like that thought. Love the player.

    McGlynn may be sold this summer, the price will depend on his Olympic performance. But he’s here until the end of the season before heading to Europe. I don’t see him in a top 5 league just yet. I like the Eredivisie as his next stop; they are also a selling league. He needs to play, not sit at his next stop.

    Quinn is getting overshadowed by his brother, but he is a better player than many realize. He is just giving us a glimpse of who he will be with the minutes he’s getting this year. They are over using him now. That’s shown up in the last couple of games. I think he is the hardest worker they have on the field. I also see him more effective at the 8 on the right, than as a second striker.

    Blake is the heart and soul of this team. I think he’s frustrated by his injuries and the lack of ambition from ownership. I think he’s underpaid based on his value to the team and fans – not sure where he fits in with MLS comps. Andre wants to win. We want Andre to experience winning as a Union player. We are lucky to have him. I don’t see him leaving in the near term. But he needs recovery time and some peace. Captaining Jamaica this summer at the Copa must be on his mind, which means rest and recovery is not happening anytime soon.

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