The Philadelphia Union are desperately in need of someone to deputize at striker behind CJ Sapong.
Without C.J. Sapong on the roster list of eligible players going into tomorrow’s game against Houston Dynamo Saturday night, and with both used backup players out for the game in Fabian Herbers and Sebastian Le Toux, the one glorious roster problem for the Philadelphia Union going into this season and for much of the season has come forward. The fact is they have a lot of strong attacking options and a lot of strong players in the midfield, but behind C.J. Sapong, and really Herbers there is no real depth in the forward position.
Getting a result in the game tomorrow will be interesting. What will happen in the game? Will Leo Fernandes deploy up top like he did in much of the Open Cup Round of Sixteen game against New York Red Bulls, especially after the concussion injury to Le Toux late in the second half, where Fernandes looked rather well up top? Or will Christ Pontius move to the forward position? Without the top three options at forward what really do the Philadelphia Union have as options going into the game. They could potentially move someone up from Bethlehem Steel for the game, but the ins and outs of that are beyond the comprehension of many.
The most important thing moving forward for the Union will be looking for options to provide backup for C.J. Sapong. For the last year or so there has been many a cry for a Designated Player Type Striker for the Union. With the continued consistent play of Sapong, that need may have passed its expiration date. The Philadelphia Union’s only Designated player as of right now has yet to see the field all season with Maurice Edu continuing to be sidelined through injury.
Since the beginning of the Copa America break, there were many rumors that the Union were looking at many players during the tournament, as basically every club in the world was probably doing. Perhaps most interesting was they were likely looking at clubs that specifically played and practiced in Philadelphia during the tournament. Sadly, the USA players are likely out of this list as most of them are beyond the believed threshold of Philadelphia Union spending, except perhaps Alejandro Bedoya, but he would likely clog up the midfield even more.
The most likely teams to get players from would be Panama and Paraguay. Rumors were that Roderick Miller was a possible target, but that has since dried up due to MLS discovery rules, and with many of the players on the Union’s own possible leaked discovery list being nabbed by other teams this leads you to believe that is not one of their current targets. Panama does have an intriguing young player in Abdiel Arroyo playing in Croatia who could be an interesting option, having not seen him play however how he would fit as a bench option is up in the air. Paraguay has two interesting options in Jorge and Edgar Benitez who may or may not be related.
Now if we continue with the idea that the Philadelphia Union are not looking for a starter, but a backup and sub type than all of those are young options. Beyond that they could look around the league for somebody of almost starter quality, or someone who can only play thirty minutes or so as a sub like a Conor Casey type, getting spot starts and subbing in for Sapong or Herbers if he gets the rare start.
Beyond this it might be an interesting note to look where new leader Earnie Stewart has gotten many of his players that have led the revival of the Philadelphia Union. Such places as the Dutch Eredivisie, the lower leagues in the United States, and honestly it would not be beyond him to look at other leagues that are at the level of the Eredivisie in Europe. It also could likely be a loan deal of some sort, to get a player in. It wouldn’t be out of character for a late season acquisition between the closing and opening of the European season like Tranquillo Barnetta and others before him.