The Philadelphia Union lacked much-needed depth in 2023. With Leagues Cup, CCC, and MLS on the horizon, the club faces the same issue in 2024. Should fans be concerned over the lack of improvement for the team?

The Union kick off the 2024 season in the CONCACAF Champions Cup Tuesday night in Costa Rica. With another date with Deportivo Saprissa, the Union is heading in extremely shorthanded at multiple positions.

This may be a very long season for Union faithful after an offseason that sent out more depth than it brought in.

More Depth Out Than In

It is no secret that the Union had a stereotypically quiet offseason. For the third year in a row, the club is running it back with the same roster. The big signings in the offseason were the return of Kai Wagner and Ale Bedoya.

As usual, the new additions are players who will be seeing most, if not all, of their time with Union 2. The exceptions are midfielder Sanders Ngabo and new backup goalkeeper Oliver Semmle. For the main roster, the club sent out more depth than it brought in.

Joaquin Torres, Brandan Craig, Richard Odada, and Nelson Pierre were all loaned out. The biggest hit to the Union’s depth is Torress’ departure. While Torress did not feature much last year and seemed to have a falling out internally with the team, the move leaves Daniel Gazdag without a firm replacement behind him.

The midfield is where the Union could not afford to lose more pieces. Add in the fact Leon Flach will be out for quite a while due to injury, the midfield is concerningly thin. On the plus side, this will likely mean we finally see a full breakthrough in the rotation for Quinn Sullivan. Another help is Jesus Bueno exploding onto the scene last year.

In a full turn of events, the Union comes into 2024 deepest at the striker position. Having Chris Donavan, Tai Baribo, and Markus Anderson behind Uhre and Carranza.

Something Will Have to Give

The Union will only be able to fly with this thin roster for so long. Come summertime, something will have to give. There will be multiple international summer tournaments in 2024 that will leave the Union extremely shorthanded. The team will likely lose Gazdag and Martinez for periods at the minimum.

Unfortunately, the Union also needs to be prepared for the possibility of the departure of Julian Carranza. Carranza was likely to be sold in the offseason. However, he did not want to join the teams offering him. Come summertime, Carranza will likely be a top name in the market once again.

While the winter offseason was quiet, Ernst Tanner’s philosophy will have to give. The Usual rundown of the Union summer transfer window is they bring in low-level depth who won’t see the field until the next season. If the Union is going to have any chance at trophies come the fall, Tanner will need to break this pattern. Fans will forget quickly how underwhelming this offseason was if Tanner can bring in quality talent in the summer who can make an impact right away.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the fanbase right now. Some fans aren’t happy the club is running it back with the same roster. Some fans believe this will finally be the Union’s year. Nonetheless, the Union’s current roster construction will not survive the amount of games they will play this year. As well as the amount of time players will miss for multiple reasons. For now, the Union looks to get a jump on the season with a huge win in Costa Rica.


Featured Image: Wes Shepherd/PHLSportsNation

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