Thursday, bombshell news broke that The Union informed long-time captain Alejandro Bedoya that his time at the club is over. On top of that, confirmation Kai Wagner’s time with the club will also be over. The Philadelphia Union we have seen over the last few years seems to be entering its final chapter.
All Union fans had the sense this would be the last year to enjoy the team built over the years. A team that has won a Supporters Shield and came within seconds of the MLS Cup.
Whether the Union can rebuild their losses or not, this is the end of an exciting era. If the reports are true, the Union may be facing some extreme backlash from the fanbase from the way things have transpired.
The Reports Are Concerning
Tom Bogert of the Athletic broke the news on Twitter. If the reports are true, Union ownership and Ernst Tanner have some explaining to do.
Reports say Bedoya approached Tanner for clarity when he heard the news the club was moving on from him. Bedoya was met with the response that “he will not be returning and he needs to find a new club” in a conversation that lasted 20 seconds.
If this report is true and the club was that short with its long-time captain, it is an awful look. Bedoya just celebrated his 200th cap with the Union.
Alejandro Bedoya has been a staple for the Union as they climbed from mediocre newcomers to yearly title contenders. Any situation where Bedoya leaves on bad terms is a total blunder from the Union front office and ownership.
There is no question that Bedoya’s time as a staple player for the club is over. However, the relationship just can’t end on negative terms. Send Bedoya off with his name in the ring of honor like he deserves.
The Roster Needs to Be Overhauled
Unfortunately, the way this winter is shaping up, the Union will need to overhaul its roster.
Not only is Bedoya out, but so are Kai Wagner and Julian Carranza. However, it doesn’t end there. Olivier Mbaizo is likely out and Jose Martinez has been linked to move for many seasons now.
Not only do they need to prepare for departures, but Ernst Tanner will need to make decisions on current players as well. Is Mikael Uhre really capable of carrying the offense without Carranza? Also, will the Union be able to not only fill the holes in the lineup but also obtain the depth they didn’t have this year?
All of these questions and the pressure is on Sporting Director Ernst Tanner.
Ernst Tanner on the Hot Seat?
The Union would not be where they are without Ernst Tanner. He has had a direct role in building a team that has captured a supporter’s shield and Eastern Conference title over the last 3 years.
However, the seat is getting hotter as his moves just have not been up to par.
Following a season where the Union was the best MLS team to not win the MLS Cup, what was Tanner’s approach in the offseason? To poach from other MLS teams’ reserves. Let’s just say it hasn’t really worked out.
Andres Perea and Joaquin Torres have been non-factors. The Union even shipped Perea away in the summer. Damion Lowe has been the best new player but has had his share of struggles at very inopportune times. Nonetheless, Tanner just did not do enough to build from the MLS Cup.
With MLS expanding roster rules it is imperative Tanner comes out firing this winter. Especially if the Union loses what they are expected to. With Lionel Messi’s arrival, the league is changing. Tanner won’t hit diamonds in the rough every time as he did with Wagner and Martinez.
Not only is it up to Tanner to bring in top competitive talent, but ownership needs to open the checkbook. Tanner has earned the faith of Union fans. However, that leash is very tight if the next transfer window isn’t up to par.
Let’s Hold Out Hope
This era of the Union may be closing but the pieces are still here. Jim Curtin is still here (for now). The Union still holds a top youth academy. Just because the Union roster is going to undergo many changes, doesn’t mean the towel needs to be thrown in. This team could still compete for years to come.
However, that is (the very near) future. The Union still has an MLS Cup Playoff run to prepare for. While the Union has been up and down all season, bringing home the MLS Cup will surely soften the blow of all the upcoming departures.
Featured Image: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsnation