Philadelphia Union Options on the Free Agency Market

Nov 6, 2016; Commerce City, CO, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy defender Jeff Larentowicz (21) controls the ball in overtime against the Colorado Rapids at Dick
Nov 6, 2016; Commerce City, CO, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy defender Jeff Larentowicz (21) controls the ball in overtime against the Colorado Rapids at Dick /

For the Philadelphia Union, it’s time to let the free agency frenzy begin (kind of).

The Major League Soccer season has reached its end but Seattle Sounders hardly had any time to lift the cup before player moves began being made around the league Sunday morning. Many teams had already announced players out of contract and re-signings with the rest of the league announcing theirs in the past few days.

Of course with this comes the offseason with the Re-Entry draft, and trade windows open for the next few weeks, and of course the Expansion Draft league rosters are soon likely to drastically change. One of the more interesting upcoming periods is the Free Agency period, which for the second time will happen in the upcoming weeks.

Free Agency was a brand new thing to MLS last season as players who had been in the league for eight years and were over the age of 28 were eligible. Due to MLS being a single entity league, previous seasons just had re-entry drafts, and players had little say in what team they went to once contracts were finished.

More from Philadelphia Union

Much like other American sports leagues, MLS decided recently to give more veteran players that very option. Last season various players were available with the Philadelphia Union only choosing to sign Brian Carroll who was eligible for the process given his service. This signing was done before the actual period.

With the list of players eligible for Free Agency recently produced by MLS and US soccer analyst Ives Galarcep the shape of the second year of Free Agency emerges.

The most notable players on this list are defenders Corey Ashe, Sean Franklin, David Horst, DaMarcus Beasley, and Clarence Goodson. You also have midfielders Jeff Larentowicz, Will Johnson, Justin Mapp, Marco Pappa and former Union star Sebastian Le Toux. Finally, the striker group includes Alan Gordon, Mike Magee, and Herculez Gomez.

This isn’t a group of impact players and honestly, if the Philadelphia Union are not able to entice any of them to Chester for next season it would not be the greatest loss, especially with Earnie Stewart’s ability to acquire talent from overseas. A few of these players could really help the team. With most of the players getting up there in age, they are all likely short-term options to help the team now and to give veteran leadership but to also push the team in the upcoming season. Often it is that group of older players who help push the team and get the younger players playing fully to their potential.

The most interesting options for the Union are Left Back Corey Ashe who could be a nice option for the team. Although Fabinho is protected in the Expansion draft, Ray Gaddis is not and he provides depth at both fullback positions. Corey Ashe would be a strong option to push Fabinho and if Gaddis is taken by Atlanta or Minnesota he could likely fill as well for right back Keegan Rosenberry.

There are two midfield options that could also fit nicely. Jeff Larentowicz is a defensive midfielder who many had seen as an option last season for the Philadelphia Union because Chester is minutes away from where he grew up, but he ended up signing for Los Angeles Galaxy last year. He is an adept passer, and possession oriented which fits right in the Union’s game plan. He may not be exactly what the team misses in Vincent Nogueira but he could be an apt replacement.

Philadelphia Union
Nov 22, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto FC midfielder Will Johnson (7) controls the ball beside Montreal Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier (8) in the first leg of the MLS Eastern Conference Championship at Olympic Stadium. Montreal won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

Also of note is Will Johnson who has notable MLS cup experience and is another strong central midfielder. The Canadian has long played internationally and was a key part in Toronto FC’s move to the MLS Cup finals.

Both of these players are interesting and offer slightly younger versions of Brian Carroll as a steady defensive midfield or pivot in the midfield and could very well be better options for the team than Carroll currently is.

These three players are the most interesting options for helping the team grow and move forward, but a few other players are also good shouts. Specifically, the team could take back Sebastian Le Toux at a cheaper price, or look for forward depth that they have sorely missed by bringing in a veteran like Mike Magee or Herculez Gomez. They could also be used if Charlie Davies is picked up in the expansion draft.

Next: Union Officially send Kevin Kratz to Atlanta

Free Agency begins at the end of the Expansion draft on December 13th, 2016 and the Philadelphia Union will likely begin testing the waters then. In the offseason, the Philadelphia Union are likely in the hunt for depth in the midfield, depth in the back four and at forward. Free agents should be looked at as an option to help the team, and surely the Union will keep an eye out for anyone who can help them going forward.