Philadelphia Union: Time to Move on from CJ Sapong?

During the transfer window, CJ Sapong was linked with a possible move away from the Philadelphia Union. Is it time to move on from him?

When Earnie Stewart took over as sporting director for the Philadelphia Union, they were linked to a “million dollar striker”. Rumors floated around with who that may fit the bill with the Union even getting linked to Mario Balotelli but when the season started, Sapong was the target man up front.

Sapong started the season off with a bang scoring five of his seven total goals by the end of the month of May causing the Philadelphia Union to forget that they needed a new striker. But the scoring touch dried up quickly for Sapong as he has only managed two goals since May. While it’s not entirely his fault due to missing time with injury as well as the struggles that the team has faced as a whole seven goals and two assists isn’t enough production from a starting forward.

While Sapong’s hold up play has been great at allowing space for Tranquillo Barnetta and Chris Pontious to get into space and score it causes his numbers to suffer. His defensive work rate is great as well but not great enough to offset his below average production. As a striker, your first priority is to score and Sapong just isn’t cutting it right now.

The Philadelphia Union are in the midst of a playoff push and the players should be judged in that light. Looking at the team there are two glaring weaknesses in the starting XI that aren’t up to par for a playoff caliber team, the second center back and starting striker. This may sound harsh but if the Philadelphia Union had the starting striker of most the playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference they may be leading the league.

Just take a second to listen to this list of names Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco, Bradly Wright-Phillips, David Villa, Didier Drogba, Kei Kamara, Juan Agudelo. Having Sapong as the starter was okay when the Philadelphia Union were floundering around the bottom of the conference but now Earnie Stewart will need to bring in someone who’s more clinical.

The answer to this isn’t on the roster yet with Charlie Davies and Fabian Herbers as the only true strikers in the first team roster but it could be on the way in the future in the form of Sebastian Elney. The academy member has been lighting it up at the University of Maryland, a school known for producing legitimate MLS talent, but he could be a few years off from actually contributing to the first team. Because of that, during the offseason Earnie Stewart will have to look at striking options during the offseason.

Someone who can come in for 1-2 years to bridge the gap would be a good option for the Philadelphia Union so that they aren’t committing too many resources. Surely with his scouting prowess Stewart will be able to pull this off. CJ Sapong is a good striker, but with higher aspirations it may be time for the Union to move on.