Philadelphia Union: Elias Aguilar is on the verge of joining the team

Jun 18, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Ilsinho (25) in action against the New York Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 18, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Ilsinho (25) in action against the New York Red Bulls at Talen Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia Union have been looking for a replacement at the 10 since Tranquillo Barnetta departed the team to return home at the end of last season.

The team first tried Alejandro Bedoya at the position and it showed that he was out of his comfort zone as the team creator. Once he regained fitness, Jim Curtin inserted Roland Alberg into the 10 role. At first, it looked like Alberg would be able to solve the Philadelphia Union’s issues but besides one game, he has proved to be ineffective. Ilsinho has proven to be a serviceable 10 but he still leaves much to be desired at the position.

For a Philadelphia Union team lacking in creators, especially with Fabian Herbers injured, they need more service from the number 10 in the lineup. C.J. Sapong is producing at the best rate of his career and doing it largely without service. Fafa Picault is coming into his own as a goal scorer but no one on the team can play him into space.

Something needs to change and that’s what makes the Philadelphia Union trial with Elias Aguilar so interesting. Usually, trialist’s don’t make more than a small blip on the radar but Aguilar isn’t just any trialist. He has caps with the Costa Rican national team, is only 25 years old, is one of the better players on his team, and fits a position of need for the Philadelphia Union.

The Union haven’t been shy about testing out trialists this year with both Fafa Picault and Oguchi Onyewu both having trials with the team before their eventual signings. Picault was even under contract while trialing with the Union which is a slightly similar situation to Aguilar.

it could be a low price acquisition that could turn the Philadelphia Union season around and it also looks likely to happen.

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According to reports (warning in Spanish), while Aguilar was in Philadelphia, he underwent a medical with the team and also received a formal offer. The same report also states that he will return to Philadelphia on Friday to sign that offer becoming a member of the Philadelphia Union. While there are no reports out of Chester confirming this, that shouldn’t be a surprise because Earnie Stewart has a lock on communications.

The Alejandro Bedoya news was broken out of France. The Fafa Picault news was broken out of Germany so it should be no surprise that whispers about Aguilar are coming from Costa Rica. According to Jafet Soto, there were offers from Mexico and South America but MLS presented the best opportunity.

It’s interesting for Aguilar to possibly be on the move before the Gold Cup, but it would be both in his best interest and the best interests of the National team to get the move done sooner rather than later.

"“Elias is a great player and would represent (Costa Rica) well.” Soto said, “by our accounts, we don’t take anything away from a player going abroad. He had a great year and has the most possibility of leaving for another team.”"

So, what would Elias Aguilar bring to the Philadelphia Union?

He’s capable of playing the 10 or on the left wing which would add to Earnie Stewart’s goal of adding versatile players to the lineup. He doesn’t shy away from putting in defensive work but also needs the freedom to perform. He has a little speed to his game but don’t expect to see him burning people, footwork wise Aguilar could be fun to watch though.

He’s built in the mold of Ilsinho with fewer tricks and a better eye in the final third of the field. Aguilar could be a good addition to the team especially since the cost would likely be low. If the Philadelphia Union are lucky CS Herediano may mutually terminate his contract so that he can pursue opportunities abroad allowing the team to sign him on the free. Regardless, this shows that Earnie Stewart isn’t happy with how the team is performing and is looking everywhere possible for people who can improve the team.

Next: Ronaldo Damus close to deal for MLS move

It isn’t flashy but guys within CONCACAF know how MLS operates which shortens the learning curve allowing them to contribute quickly. The Secondary Transfer window is about trying to win now and by adding Aguilar, the Philadelphia Union would be doing just that.