On Wednesday, Philadelphia Union announced an agreement with C.J. Sapong for a three-year contract extension.
The 27-year-old joined Philadelphia in 2015 via a trade, in which the Union traded the number ten overall pick in the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft for Sapong.
Solid Year in 2015
In his 2015 campaign with the Blue and Gold, Sapong played in 27 league games, with 20 starts, where he tallied nine goals and added four assists. To add, he tied the Union franchise record of four consecutive games with a goal. For his efforts, Sapong was named a finalist for June MLS Player of the Month.
“We value the energy C.J. brings every day and we’re very happy to have him committed to our club for the long term,” Philadelphia Union Sporting Director Earnie Stewart said in a press release. “His athleticism and natural finishing abilities make him a true difference maker and we have the utmost confidence he will settle in as a leader for the team, ultimately becoming a building block for our club for years to come.”
Sapong joined MLS in 2011, when Sporting Kansas City drafted him with the number ten overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
Known for his pace and physicality, the 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year will continue to give the Union a tough presence up top.
Success and Failure in 4-5-1
At times, Sapong flourished in Head Coach Jim Curtin’s 4-5-1 because of his great hold-up play, which allowed him to find the outlet pass to start the Union counter attack or the wide open player on the top of the box.
On the other hand, Sapong was at times isolated in the 4-5-1 when the Union midfield could not feed him the ball to run onto. Further, he is somewhat versatile as he did at times play on the wing for Philadelphia in 2015, but it will still need to be seen whether he can play the wing necessary in the rumored 4-3-3 that Philadelphia could play this season. Despite of this versatility, Sapong will likely play forward this season due to the large plethora of wingers on the Union squad right now.