Opinion Three Takeaways Union

Three Takeaways: Pre-SuperDraft 2018

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Welcome to Joe Lister’s Three Takeaways, a segment in which the Philly Football Daily writer breaks down and offers his thoughts on many aspects of the Philadelphia Union. 

Lister is back with a special pre-SuperDraft edition of Three Takeaways.

In this post, Lister explains why this year’s draft will not be as important as year’s prior, what excites him about the Union’s recent re-signings, and what worries him about the club’s lack of transfer activity.

Enjoy and be sure to chat Lister in the comments below with your own thoughts.

This year’s SuperDraft will not be as important as year’s past. Here’s why:

The Philadelphia Union may have three selections in the 2018 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, however, all three picks show up in the latter two rounds of the SuperDraft, due to questionable decisions by the Union front office.

In April 2016, the Union traded away their 2018 first round pick to the New England Revolution for forward Charlie Davies and a 2018 third round draft pick. Obviously, that move has, in time, come to haunt the organization, as Davies recorded just 106 minutes in 11 games with zero goals. Now, Davies is no longer part of the club.

This is a move that will definitely affect the Union’s strategy in this year’s SuperDraft. 

The second round pick that the Union gave away was to rival New York Red Bulls for the rights to Adam Najem, a young player from Akron University who came up through the Red Bulls Academy system. Najem is a rookie who has recorded just 153 minutes and scored zero goals. Najem, unlike Davies, remains on the Union’s roster.

Currently, there are no projections for who the Union might pick, however, two third round picks and a fourth round pick doesn’t seem too promising. But, then again, the Union mined a 2017 Rookie Of The Year candidate in Jack Elliott. The Englishman was passed over until the Union selected him 77th overall in the fourth round.

I’m excited about the Union’s re-signees. Here’s why:

The Union front office has done something I’m pretty excited about.

In resigning midfielder Ilsinho, defender Fabinho, and midfielder Fabian Herbers, the Union is bringing back the knowledge of an MLS veteran, the crafty footwork of Ilsinho, and the youth and potential of Herbers.

While I was deeply concerned with the organization’s decision to keep head coach Jim Curtin on, these signings almost make up for that.

Unfortunately, these players should have been resigned earlier and possibly protected, in my opinion, especially given the fact the Union kept third-string keeper Jake McGuire and rookie Adam Najem on board.

Earlier in the offseason, the Union declined the contract option of defender Oguchi Onyewu, or “Gooch,” along with Fabinho, Ilsinho, and Herbers. Hopefully, the Union will decide to re-sign Onyewu for another year, as he was a “big” part of a strong backfield last season.

I’m worried about the Union not signing new players early in the window. Here’s why:

The Union has a history of bringing on new players to the squad just before the season begins, and this procrastination, in my opinion, often leads to a low amount of chemistry within the team.

Hopefully, the Union will bring in new stars sooner than two weeks before the season begins, so the team can build a brotherhood together. Ultimately, this togetherness is crucial for the Union to stay consistent throughout the whole season and hopefully it’ll stop them from dropping five games in a row, like every other year.

But, in the end, we can only wait and see what the organization decides to do.

Check back soon for our on-site coverage of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia, and look out for Lister’s post-Draft Three Takeaways, which will evaluate the Union’s selections and the picks of teams who will be contending for a playoff spot along with the Union next season.  

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