Philadelphia Union: What Will 2019 Bring?
The 2018 season was filled with many memorable moments. While the Philadelphia Union crashed out of the playoffs, it was still a season that reached historic heights for the MLS side. Jim Curtin is back as head coach for the 2019 season on a one-year contract as announced by the club earlier this season. The continuity makes sense as most of the Union’s issues were above Curtin’s pay grade and mostly due to the club’s cheapness from the ownership group.
Ernst Tanner enters his first offseason as the team’s sporting director and has promised to bring changes this offseason and on the field. One of the on-field changes is a more aggressive style of play that what Union fans have seen in previous seasons.
Whatever does happen in the offseason, Union fans want the team to be aggressive in the transfer window and bring in some new pieces. The Union showed flashes off brilliance in 2018 but it was clear at times that the Union were missing a few pieces especially when the team played multiple games in a short stretch.
Philadelphia picks 13th overall in the 2019 MLS SuperDraft, which will take place in Chicago on January 11, 2019. This is a good opportunity to pick up a quality young prospect to groom with the team’s USL side before gaining time with the first team.
Depending on if Borek Dockal stays with the Union or not in 2019 will dictate one of the team’s needs in 2019. Dockal wants to head back to Europe but the Union still have a chance to keep the quality player. He was key to setting up scoring chances for his teammates and helped be the team’s general in the midfield.
If Dockal doesn’t return to the team, then Tanner’s first move needs to find his replacement. Likewise, Tanner should do his best to find some reinforcements at the forward position. Likewise, the Union may need a backup keeper should John McCarthy not return. It wouldn’t be surprising if he leaves the Union as he’d like to play more regularly on an MLS team and is currently behind Andre Blake on the depth chart.
There will be changes for the Philadelphia Union in 2019. It will be interesting to see what actually happens from Tanner and the Union when it comes to who they sign or acquire in the offseason. Hopefully, the ownership lets Tanner spend often this offseason without having to be cheap.