Analysis / Union / Union II

Union players on international duty this June

Photo @PhilaUnionII

FIFA’s June international window has seen nine call-ups from the Philadelphia Union and Philadelphia Union II to seven different national teams.

  • Tai Baribo (Israel)
  • Jamir Berdecio* (Bolivia)
  • Dániel Gazdag (Hungary)
  • Nathan Harriel(USA U-23)
  • Damion Lowe(Jamaica)
  • José Martínez (Venezuela)
  • Jack McGlynn (USA U-23)
  • David Vazquez* (USA U-19)
  • CJ Olney* (USA U-19)

Three younger players* have so far played no regular season minutes for the first team but have been mainstays for Philadelphia Union II. MLS NEXT Pro is MLS’s developmental league, and in baseball-dominated US sporting parlance, Union II is the Union’s farm team in the minors. David Vazquez and CJ Olney will be in Argentina and Uruguay with the USYNT U19s preparing for the 2024 Concacaf U20 Championship that begins July 19 in Mexico.

Jamir Berdecio received his first cap with Bolivia’s full national team Friday, May 31st in Chicago against Mexico. He then played Sunday, June 2 for Union II in Chester against Columbus Crew 2. Bolivia’s next warm-up friendly is at Subaru Park on Wednesday, June 12 against Ecuador. Whether Berdecio was called up only for the Mexico game, for the subsequent five as well, or for some combination in between remains to be revealed.

Vazquez and Olney will definitely miss Union II’s match Thursday, June 13 hosting Crown Legacy – Charlotte’s farm team – at Subaru Park as they will still be recovering from the flight home from Montevideo. Were Berdecio to dress for the Ecuador match at Subaru Park but not play, he could easily dress for that Union II match the next day against the North Carolinians.

Missed first team games

 The bottom line is who misses how many first team games.

Three of the older players are affected by tournaments that last longer than or begin after the international break. They are the ones who will miss first team games in June and perhaps earliest July.

  • Attacking midfielder Daniel Gazdag plays two tune-up friendlies in the break itself and then will play with Hungary in Group A in UEFA’s Euro 24 in Germany. He will miss three Union games and could easily miss two more if Hungary advances to the round of 16 of the knockout stage.
  • Center back Damion Lowe plays two Concacaf second round FIFA World Cup qualifiers during the break itself and then moves into the 2024 CONMEBOL Copa America being staged in partnership with Concacaf in the United States. Jamaica is in Group B. He will miss two Union games but almost certainly no more.
  • Defensive midfielder Jose Martinez has no matches prior to Copa America itself, Venezuela is competing in Group C. He will miss the same two Union matches as Lowe, and probably no more, unless Union Academy Alumnus Jahmali Waite plays out of his mind in goal and Pachuca’s striker Solomon Randon who got a hat trick against the Union in Mexico goes on a similar tear.

Here’s the breakdown why Gazdag misses three Union games for certain and probably four or five.

Since the 24 teams in the six Euro 24 groups will produce 16 knockout stage participants, Hungary should have a decent chance to advance beyond June 23. Six group winners, six group runners-up, and the top four group third-place finishers will advance. Hungary’s group includes Germany, Switzerland, and Scotland.

British oddsmaker website Squawka writes that Hungary might make the round of 16 but are unlikely to advance to the round of eight. If that assessment is correct the latest Hungary would play might be July 2, so the Union’s starting attacking mid would miss these five games,

Sat, June 15 Inter Miami
We, June 19 @Cincinnati
Sat, June 22 Charlotte
Sat, June 29 @Montreal
Tu,   July  02 @Chicago

and return for Red Bull at Subaru Park on July 6.

Jim Curtin’s most radical option to replace Gazdag would be to start one of these youngsters, David Vazquez or Cavan Sullivan, or to use one of them after the other in sequence. But since Lionel Messi is expected to be to be with Argentina rather than Miami on June 15, and since starting them would directly contradict the coach’s stated philosophy of young player development, fulfilling the younger Sullivan’s publicly stated Messi fantasy seems unlikely for mid-June.

If center back Lowe were to return to the Union before leaving again for the Copa America, Curtin might change formations and play three center backs against Miami and Cincinnati. But Lowe would have to be made available and the move could not work for Charlotte, Montreal or Chicago.

PSP’s notoriously cracked and cloudy crystal ball hints that Jack McGlynn might be asked to do his best as the number 10, although Jesus Bueno’s hair is also brunette but much shorter. Currently blonde Jeremy Rafanello and the youngsters would wait in the wings as relief.

Similarly, we breakdown why Lowe misses two games for certain but probably no more. The advance betting consensus suggests Jamaica needs a miracle to advance to the knockouts. Andre Blake’s knee cancels out how close the reggae boys came last June 24 to beating the US in the Gold Cup semis (stoppage time equalizer).

Lowe will miss Charlotte on June 22 and Montreal on June 29th. Barring miracles like Greece over Portugal in Euro 2006, he will be available to the Union for Chicago in the Windy City on July 3.

Martinez will miss the same two matches as Lowe. It would not be as miraculous for him to miss more, but it seems unlikely.

July and August

Jack McGlynn, probably Nathan Harriel, David Vazquez, and late-comer CJ Olney of Union II will miss time, but in July (and perhaps earliest August if their sides advance sufficiently). The two older homegrowns will be in Paris for the Olympics with the US U23s. The youngsters will be in Mexico for the Concacaf U20 championship that qualifies teams for the 2025 FIFA U20 World Cup.


Here’s our raw chart summary, including the first two results.

  Player Opponent Score Min Start Union Game(s) Missed
  Tai Baribo (Israel)      
1 Sat,  June 08 Hungary
  Jamir Berdecio (Bolivia)  
1 Fri,  May  31 Mexico L 1-0 12 No
2 We, June 12.  ? Ecuador Th,   June 13 @Crown Legacy
3 Sat, June 15.  ? Colombia
4 Su,  June 23.  ? US of A
5 Th,  June 27.  ? Uruguay We, June 26 NY RB II
6 Mo, July  01.   ? Panama Su,  June 30 @Toronto II
  Daniel Gazdag (Hungary)
1 Tue, June 04 Ireland L 2-1 DNP Dressed
2 Sat, June 08 Israel
3 Sat, June 15 Switzerland Sat, June 15 Inter Miami
4 We, June 19 Germany We, June 19 @Cincinnati
5 Su,  June 23 Scotland Sat, June 22 Charlotte
  Nathan Harriel (USA U23s)
1 Tue, June 11 Japan
  Damion Lowe (Jamaica)
1 Th,  June 06 Dominican Rep
2 Su,  June 09 Domenica
3 Sat, June 22 Mexico Sat, June 22 Charlotte
4 We, June 26 Ecuador
5 Su,  June 30 Venezuela Sat, June 29 @Montreal
  Jose Martinez (Venezuela)
1 Sat, June 22 Ecuador Sat, June 22 Charlotte
2 We, June 26 Mexico
3 Su,  June 30 Jamaica Sat, June 29 @Montreal
  Jack Mc Glynn (USA U23s)
1 Tue, June 11 Japan
  David Vazquez (USA U19s)
1 Fri, June 07 Argentina
2 Tu, June 11 Uruguay Th,   June 13 @Crown Legacy
  CJ Olney (USA U19s)
1 Fri, June 07 Argentina
2 Tu, June 11 Uruguay Th,   June 13 @Crown Legacy


  1. SoccerDad says:

    If Lowe doesn’t come back for the Miami game we will have issues at CB, with Jack suspended due to the Red card. Is it 2 games for the straight red ?

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Normally one game unless the disciplinary committee decides it was especially flagrant and adds to it.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    One small but significant correction to the Copa America groups is that Venezuela is actually in Group B with Jamaica (and Ecuador and Mexico). That means that unless they finish in 3rd and 4th in their group, then one of Lowe and Martinez would play on July 4 or 5 and miss more games. On the flip side, the game against each other is the 3rd group game meaning that if one or both of their teams has been eliminated from a chance of advancement, it’s possible that one or both could be released after their June 26 second group games and be back for the June 30 match against Montreal.

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