The Union has had a very quiet offseason. With minimal incoming and outgoing transfers, it is clear what the plan is. The Union is simply going to run it back.
Usually, when teams have a dominating season, the roster goes through a number of changes. Especially for an MLS team.
The Union was a Gareth Bale forehead away from the MLS Cup. It is safe to say the expectation was to lose a few key players.
Boring is Good?
Let’s face it. The Union offseason has been a snooze. However, that may not be a bad thing.
Kai Wagner, Jose Martinez, and Olivier Mbaizo were all question marks. The Union is in Florida for the preseason, and they are all there with the team.
The biggest shock had to be Kai Wagner. Wagner has been the best LB in MLS for multiple seasons now. Rumors that he was off to the premier league or Bundesliga have been around for a while. Ultimately, Wagner will start the season with the Union. How long that lasts? No one knows.
Minimal Loses, Positive Gain
The biggest loss is the departure of Paxten Aaronson. Unfortunately for Paxten, he would not have the same time with the Union that his older brother Brenden did.
Paxten found himself stuck behind Daniel Gazdag. Now that Gazdag has a new big DP deal, that was not changing. However, losing Paxten does hurt the depth of the team.
On top of that, the departure of Cory Burke hurts the most. Uhre and Carranza are the only 2 true strikers on the senior team right now. Jim Curtin has noted that Quinn Sullivan is preparing to help out in that role.
The most notable addition is Andres Perea. The Union acquired the midfielder from Orlando SC to bolster midfield depth.
However, given the very packed 2023 schedule, the Union is lacking depth at the forward and centerback positions.
Run it Back?
The best possible outcome for the Union this offseason was to hold together the team from the MLS Cup. The entire starting 11 plus Ale Bedoya are coming back.
Bringing back the top 12 players from a team that dominated an entire season and was minutes away from a championship is unheard of.
The talent of the league is rising at an accelerated rate. So while maybe fans shouldn’t expect a record-breaking 72-point season, expectations are deservedly high.
A Summer Wake-Up Call
Winter transfer windows usually aren’t too crazy. With the European leagues in the middle of their seasons and the world cup just ending before this window. European teams are more active and more aggressive in the summer during their offseason.
The Union could very well be in for a rough summer. Of course, we have been saying this for a while now. However, Wagner, Mbaizo, and El Brujo could very well depart mid-season. It is a huge question mark but for right now we know that the team is intact.
The Union has a very crowded season coming up. The MLS Season, US Open Cup, and a return to the CONCACAF Champions League.
On top of that, the first year of the revamped Leagues Cup is here as well. Their group opponents have been announced. Tijuana and Queretaro. A little fun fact, the Union is technically the MLS #1 seed for this Tournament’s first round as LAFC has a bye as MLS Cup winners.
The bottom line is that the Union, fortunately, didn’t lose many players. However, there should be hope for some last-minute depth additions as the bench is looking thin for such a packed schedule.
Featured Image: Ben Ross / PHLSportsNation