On Friday morning, the Philadelphia Union announced the acquisition of Colorado Rapids' 2017 MLS SuperDraft second round pick for goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
MacMath Latest Addition In Flurry of Union Trades
The fifth pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, MacMath, played in 103 games (102 career starts) and finished with a record of 34-39-29 with Philadelphia. At the beginning of the 2015 MLS season, he was loaned to the Colorado Rapids, where he made three starts and had a 1-2-0 record.
This has been an extremely busy week for Philadelphia. Just in trades alone, Philadelphia moved midfielders Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger to Houston, centerback Ethan White to New York City FC and MacMath to Colorado. In exchange, the Union received the number six overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, targeted and general allocation money as well as two picks in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Those will come in the second and fourth rounds.
Other Philadelphia Roster Moves
On Thursday, Philadelphia also announced more roster moves. The Blue and Gold officially picked up the contract options of Eric Ayuk, Leo Fernandes, Sebastien Le Toux, Richie Marquez, Vincent Nogueira, Zach Pfeffer and C.J. Sapong. The Union also declined the options on defender Steven Vitoria, midfielders Fred, Eric Bird, Danny Cruz and Jimmy McLaughlin, and forwards Dzenan Catic, Conor Casey and Antoine Hoppenot.
There will few surprises on the list of options picked up and declined. The only name that stood out among fans was forward Dzenan Catic. Catic, Philadelphia’s 2015 second round pick, did not see a minute of the field in the MLS Regular Season in his only year with the organization. Among other 2015 starters, Fabinho, Brian Carroll and Michael Lahoud are currently out of contract, but are currently in negotiations with the club to return. Warren Creavalle is also in “advanced negotiations” to return to Philadelphia, according to a press release.
Current Philadelphia Roster
With all the roster moves, Philadelphia currently has only 14 players on the roster.
Goalkeepers (2): Andre Blake, John McCarthy
Defenders: (3): Maurice Edu, Raymon Gaddis, Richie Marquez
Midfielders (8): Eric Ayuk, Tranquillo Barnetta, Leo Fernandes, Sebastien Le Toux, Vincent Nogueira, Zach Pfeffer, Chris Pontius
Forwards (1): C.J. Sapong
One of the positives of the flush of excess players on the roster is that the Union will stand to be big players in the upcoming transfer window. They could choose mostly to focus on defenders and depth in the midfield and at forward. This will also be the first transfer period for the Union with new Sporting Director Earnie Stewart at the helm. Stewart has done much with the notion of “moneyball” and said in his introductory press conference that he plans to use this philosophy with Philadelphia.
The “moneyball” philosophy could serve the Blue and Gold right, as the Union have had little success signing big name free agents. When the Union have added players at a high price, the success has been very mixed as seen with Rais Mbolhi and Steven Vitoria most recently. In the July transfer window, Philadelphia were linked with United States International Alejandro Bedoya, but the deal fell through at the last minute. With the gained general as well as targeted allocation money through trades, could Bedoya again be a possible transfer target this period as well ?
Moves Appear To Move Union In Right Direction
Blowing up of the roster was necessary for a team that once again underachieved in all phases of the game. With two of the top seven picks in this year’s SuperDraft, the Union stand to get an influx of good young talent. The former Director of Football Affairs at AZ Alkmaar, Stewart, led the Dutch side to the Rinus Michels Award. That is awarded to the best youth academy in Dutch football. With top young talent likely to be selected by Philadelphia in next month’s draft, Stewart's experience in helping to develop players at AZ, such as Jozy Altidore and Aron Johannsson, will come in handy for a team that is in dire need of guidance in young player development.
Want more Philadelphia Union news? Follow us on twitter: UNION_VAVEL