MLS- Philadelphia Union

SBI MLS Team Previews: Philadelphia Union



Major League Soccer's newest franchise will open the season Thursday night against the team to most recently hold that distinction. The temptation to compare the Union to Seattle Sounders F.C. during the season opener will be mighty, but unfair.

After Seattle's conquests in its expansion year, expectations will be high for this club to replicate that success. Make no mistake about it, Philadelphia and Seattle are made in different molds. This will be a team that the city and the Sons of Ben will embrace: a hard-working, grind-it-out squad that will rely on its strength (defense) as opposed to an attack-minded team with a bevy of high-priced offensive players.

Coach Peter Nowak has five able-bodied defenders to protect whichever first-year starter is in goal, whether it is Chris Seitz or Brad Knighton. The quintet of Danny Califf, Shavar Thomas, Michael Orozco, Jordan Harvey and Dave Myrie will be counted on for strong performances in order to get the Union off and running in year one. 

Here is a look at the 2010 Philadelphia Union:


Players to Watch – Sebastian Le Toux, Alejandro Moreno, Fred, Chris Seitz, Danny Mwanga, Toni Stahl

Projected Lineup

——————–Alejandro Moreno————–Danny Mwanga————


-Sebastian Le Toux—Stefani Miglioranzi—Toni Stahl——–Shea Salinas-

————–Michael Orozco——–Shavar Thomas———-Danny Califf—–

—————————————Chris Seitz———————————–

Biggest Question -Will the Union sign a Designated Player?

This team lacks explosiveness, and goals may be hard to come by as the season unfolds. While Nowak & Co. have done a nice job assembling a roster of hard-working and eager players, both young and old, there is a glaring need for a player with some star quality.

X Factor – Fred

Acquired in the deal that sent the top allocation spot to D.C. United, the Brazilian midfielder is in need of a career rejuvenation. He disappointed at the end of his tenure with D.C, and a change of scenery and new coach could jump-start the 30-year-old.

Fred is going to be responsible for creating much of the Union's attack, and he must be in form for the goals to start flowing for Philadelphia. He will miss Thursday's season opener while serving a one-game suspension for a red card he received in his final match with D.C.

Outlook – A Nowak-coached team always has a chance, but the expectation that this is the "next Seattle" should be tempered a bit. The Union will win its share of games, and opening PPL Park will be an inspiration, but the team is a star player or two away from making a run to the postseason.

  • sammysounder

    Gotta agree with Avi. Montero, Jaqua and Ljungberg would all be considered high-priced to what Philly’s running out there.

    True, our D was the strongest part, but our offense was truly much stronger than Philly’s is.

    Come to think of it, I’m not sure a single one of those 11 predicted starters get into Seattle’s side. Maybe with the injuries/suspension.


  • Aljarov

    Team looks short on goals. I think they’ll come in last, unless they get some ROTY form from Mwanga, who is likely to be on the bench to start. I think Le Toux is up top in a 4-4-2. I think the 3 man back line looks sensible on the surface, but it’s not what they’ve been playing. Orozco has been on the right (as a lefty) and Harvey has been playing at the left.


  • madmax

    You are right, it was defense that got Sounders into play-offs. They averaged slightly more than 1 goal a game. In their last three 2010 pre-season games they scored 1 goal, and were shut-out by two USL squads.


  • Jon

    Yes, it will probably be a rough first year for the Union – all of the predictions I’ve seen so far have us at the bottom – and this assessment seems reasonable. We Philly fans are used to adversity and as a first year team I have minimal expectations. To be honest, I’m just happy that after 15 years Philly has a team…way too long to wait in my opinion.

    I’ll be at the match tomorrow, and just hope that my eyes recover from all of that Sounders “green”…

    Jungite aut Perite

    Come on Union!


  • AD22

    I don’t see Mwanga as a starter from the get-go. Nowak will use Le Toux as a striker (forget where I read this, but it’s his – Seba’s – preferred position I believe), partnered up top with Moreno. With Fred out for the first game (damn red card vs the Wiz), Nowak will use a 4-4-2 with the midfield comprised of:

    Salinas – Miglioranzi – Stahl – Torres

    Then the back line will be set up as:

    Harvey – Thomas – Califf – Orozco

    Orozco can play on the left, but he’s a versatile player, and can play/has played on the right. The Union will need him there to counter Zakuani and his speed coming down the left for Seattle.

    Once Fred comes back, I wonder how the midfield will be set up. I don’t see a 3-5-2 formation, but maube some kind of diamond midfield with Migz as a DM and Fred in an attacking-mid role, essentially becoming more of a 5-3-2 I suppose.


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