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Posted by on Dec 14, 2012 in MLS, Philadelphia Union, Recent | 0 comments

Possible Options for the Union in the Re-Entry Draft

Union manager John Hackworth has made it very clear he aims on improving the team for next year.

The pieces he is looking for are also quite clear.

MLS experience.

Height across all positions.

Depth in numerous positions.

Goal scoring ability.

The accumulation of new players has already begun with Sebastien LeToux and Jeff Parke being brought in during the early days of the offseason, but there is another opportunity to add to the growing roster for 2013 on Friday with the second round of the MLS Re-Entry Draft.

During the second round teams may select a player and negotiate a new contract with them, meaning many players selected will accept an offer much lower than their current contract to stay in the league.

This is not like other American professional sports where a team can grab any and all available players they may like. There is an order to the draft, based on last seasons standings, and each team will get a chance to pick a player or pass. Once a team passes their pick they are out of the draft. Teams will continue to pick until they have passed.

The Union will be selecting 5th behind Toronto FC, Chivas USA, Portland Timbers, and the New England Revolution.

While we don’t know who is on Hackworth’s list of wanted men, here is a look at a couple players that could likely be a good fit in blue and gold.

Great Fits:

Conor Casey, Forward, 31 years old

When talking about needing a big body up top to score goals, Casey has been exactly that during his career in MLS. He has 50 goals to his name in 121 appearances, 101 of them starts. His stats have declined due to injury the last few years, but at 31 he still could offer a few years of service. He would also make a great mentor for young forwards having played his whole career in the league.

Khari Stephenson, Midfielder, 31 years old

Union fans might remember the 6 foot 1 midfielder going a full 90 minutes at PPL in 2012. He is a big presence and can get forward in the attack. Besides the size he would bring to the small midfield, he also offers experience in MLS as well as a 4 year stint in Europe. Stephenson could fill the central creative role, allowing Michael Farfan to push out wide where he is most dangerous.

Eric Avila, Midfielder, 25 years old

While the creative central midfielder does not check the size box, there is still plenty he could bring to the Union. He has former US youth international experience and has played for coach Hackworth before so there is a level of familiarity between the two. He also offers a lower salary than many of the players in the draft with still a young age. Same with Stephenson, he would push Farfan out to the wing.

Tyson Wahl, Outside Back, 28 years old

Gabe Farfan has done a great job filling in at left back, but let’s be serious, it’s not his natural position. Allowing Gabe to push further up the field would be ideal. Wahl give the Union the ability to play a true left back in the position. While not a very offensive outside back he would be a solid addition defensively. His 6 foot frame would also give the backline a boost in size.

Mike Chabala, Outside Back, 28 years old

The outside back would not have to move far as he spent the end of the 2012 season with DC United. He checks most of the same boxes as Wahl, but would offer a bit more speed and options going forward. Either of these two players would be an upgrade along the Union’s mismatched backline.

Kevin Hartman, Goalkeeper, 38 years old

With Chase Harrison being left open to the Re-Entry draft it is the perfect opportunity to bring in a veteran to compete with MacMath and add some veteran leadership. Hartman holds a number of league records for the position and the Union would be getting one of the longest standing No.1s in league history.

Bill Gaudette, Goalkeeper, 31 years old

Gaudette has proven he is capable of playing well in the league, but has always found himself on the short end of the stick when a new keeper is brought in. He could be a great fit to push MacMath, but also be content to be a No.2, filling in when needed. He is also “local” having grown up near Harrisburg.

Worth a Look:

Chase Harrison, Goalkeeper, 28 years old

If the name rings a bell, it should. Harrison was the co-back up for MacMath in 2012 and played a great game standing in for him. Harrison is nothing flashy, but showed he can do the job. While he doesn’t offer the veteran experience that some others in the Re-Entry Draft do, but he knows the team and there is a level of comfort here. The team does need a third keeper, so if he’s available he could well find himself back in Philly.

Jeremy Hall, Outside Back, 24 years old

While Hall has mostly played at right back, he is a very versatile back with great athleticism. He has bounced around a bit, but has a past history with Hackworth having played at the IMG Soccer Academy. He is also a former Maryland Terrapin as a number of current and former Union players have. He would add depth to the defense at a nice price tag.

Ramiro Corrales, Outside Back, 35 years old

If the Union are looking for experience there is no better place to find it than in Corrales. He is an MLS original and has played for four different franchises, including two stints with San Jose. He showed last year that he can still play in the league and would be a great mentor for the younger players along the back line. Should Valdes miss time because of national team duty, Corrales would be a great fill in captain.

Danny Califf, Center Back, 32 years old

Danny has to find his way on to the list somehow. It’s a long shot that the Union will be looking to add another central defender after bringing in Parke, but if he is available after the Union have picked all the other players they wanted, and the price is right, then they may make the deal for the feel good factor. With the current crop of center backs Califf would seldom see the field and may be limited to cup action, but if it is what both parties would like to see, why not?

Colin Clark, Wide Midfielder, 28 years old

Clark’s 2012 season made headlines for all the wrong reasons. He was suspended for using a homophobic slur on the field at a ball boy and suspended by the league. He failed to make much impact for the Dynamo upon his return and did not find much playing time. Aside from 2012 though, he is a skilled wide midfielder that could be an asset if Freddy Adu moves on or is moved into the central midfield. He wouldn’t be a terrible pick up for depth either.

Juan Pablo Angel, Forward, 37 years old

There were rumors in 2011 that the forward could make the move from the Galaxy to the Union, but Chivas landed the long time MLS forward instead. This could be an opportunity to add a proven goal scorer for a fraction of the cost. He has slowed down in recent years, but proved he can still score some spectacular goals. Not being the focus of the attack and having the luxury to rest more could be just what the veteran needs to play the best soccer possible at this point in his career.

 

Keep an eye out here for more analysis of what the Union ends up doing in the Re-Entry Draft as well as in the rest of the offseason.

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