Blogs > Union Tally

A Philadelphia Union blog hosted by Christopher A. Vito and Matthew De George

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Double bubble: Training notes from Day 3

Ilsinho at Union trianing: Always a good time.
The Union wrapped up the last of three days at the Bubble over Dunning-Cohen Champions Field on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania (I will not missing typing out that lengthy title) Thursday.

The club will have at least three more days on the field at the Power Training Complex, the Saturday session of which will be open to the public, before jetting off to the first phase of their Floridian training camp next Tuesday.

Thursday’s session involved a lot of attacking drills, particularly from the wings, and finished with some full-field 11-v-11 scrimmaging. Here are some belated highlights.

- First up: Attendance report. Haris Medunjanin has headed off to Bosnia and Herzegovina camp in southern California. CJ Sapong is still away with the U.S., as those two prepare to possibly meet in a friendly next week. Fafa Picault (personal reasons) has yet to report to camp, and Andre Blake was excused from training for the same. That left 28 bodies, with Tomas Romero as the third goalie plus the voluminous Steel roster of James Chambers, Olivier Mbaizo, Brandon Allen and Santi Moar.
- The first group of 11-v-11 lined up thusly:

Team 1:

Team 2:

From that group, the center back pairings are interesting (Mark McKenzie rotated in for Marquez for the second round of games), restoring a certain right-left symmetry that Jim Curtin harped on in 2016 but relented on in 2017. It also raises eyebrows that Anthony Fontana is being deployed in a more withdrawn role, but I’d write that off as fewer central players sans Medunjanin. David Accam on the left with Fabinho is an attacking axis, though Matt Real seems to naturally gravitate higher up the pitch, which is promising.
Read more »

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Under the Bubble: Notes from Day 1 of Union training

Day 1 under the Bubble at Penn for the Union.
The Union congregated under the bubble at Penn Tuesday, beneath intermittent sunshine and deluging rain, for their first official day of training camp. A few takeaways from a pretty slow opening day.

- Everyone was present and accounted for save for Fafa Picault (family reasons) and CJ Sapong (U.S. national team). Haris Medunjanin is training with the Union for most of January before heading to join Bosnia and Herzegovina.

- Among the Bethlehem Steel faces present were James Chambers as the obligatory veteran midfield presence, Santi Moar, Cameroonian defender Olivier Mbaizo and Brandon Allen. Expect more Steel participation toward the end of the week as they get going. Those four players certainly shined, with Allen scoring a couple of goals and looking decent as the presumptive fourth forward on the organizational depth chart.

- To the chagrin of "name that trialist" enthusiasts like myself, nothing to report on that front. Perhaps as the week proceeds and more academy kids and Steel trialists join, there will be more names. But with the influx of Homegrowns, the Union lack open spots and the general organizational chaos of years past that made trialists dropping in a viable option of player recruitment.

- There are plenty of opportunities for strikers to get some play in the absence of Sapong in the early weeks of training camp, and players seemed to be taking advantage. Jay Simpson looked sharp, scoring a couple of times in 9-v-9 drills. Corey Burke netted a couple of goals and looked physical in the middle. And Allen impressed, his physicality at 6-1, 190 pounds certainly up to the level of MLS.

- There’s not a ton that can be gleaned form 9-v-9 drills since they weren’t full field will full tactics. Saw a lot of new signing David Accam and Fabian Herbers generally in the neutral jersey to work for both teams. Herbers looked pretty sharp, not the extent that he has in the past (he’s a great practice player) but pretty good.

- It’s no secret that distribution on Auston Trusty’s left foot is a big piece of the skillset the Union staff is trying to grow with him. He hit a handful of long balls from his left center back-type spot to the opposite wing that were inch-perfect. That ability to hold down the left side bodes well for the Homegrown’s prospects of playing (more on that later this week).

- In Union grooming news:

Also Richie Marquez, now the defensive elder statesman, tells the Daily Times exclusively that his trimmed beard is merely the starting point for the year’s growth. While he was out in the humid climes of California in the winter, he had to trim it back a little. Heard it here first.

- John McCarthy looked sharp facing shots. Jake McGuire did as well, except for saving one shot from Anthony Fontana with his face. Fontana looked ready and able to shoot early, which is a plus from him. And I liked what I saw from Warren Creavalle, who is not to be overlooked in the midfield reckoning this year, sharp on the ball and intercepting passes in the middle of the field.

- Not present were any of the three SuperDrafted rookies – Mike Catalano, Aidan Apodaca and Matt Danilack – selected in the third and fourth rounds Sunday. They’ll likely work into the group with Steel first and potentially with the Union toward the end of the week or early next week.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, January 19, 2018

Union acquire David Accam from Chicago

PHILADELPHIA >> Lacking a pick in the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft, Friday shaped up as a quiet day for the Philadelphia Union. But the club has made a splash outside the drafting realm.

The Union acquired Ghanian winger David Accam from the Chicago Fire for $1.2 million ($300k in general allocation money and $900k in targeted allocation money).

Accam, 27, has 33 goals in 78 games over the last three seasons with the Fire, but increasingly has looked the odd man out as the club has stocked up on attacking talent. He scored a career-high 14 goals and eight assists in 30 games last season.

The details, first reported by ESPN FC’s Paul Tenorio, indicated the sum of allocation money sent to Chicago to be in excess of $1 million.

Accam occupied a Designated Player spot last year for the Fire, with a guaranteed salary of around $820,000. The Union have two DP spots open, with only Alejandro Bedoya in that capacity on the roster.

The speedy midfielder has been capped 10 times by the Ghanaian national team.

The Union have made it known that they are looking for impact players, particularly in attack, to replace Chris Pontius and Roland Alberg. There’s no incumbent starter on the wing opposite Fafa Picault, and Accam would seem a ready-made insertion to that void. With Accam having proven his ability in MLS and game-breaking speed, he’s a lower-risk acquisition than someone from outside the league.

Labels: , , , ,