With Justin Mapp Doubtful, Who Should Fill His Hole On The Left Side?

Roger Torres dribbles against Toronto FC. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

As the Philadelphia Union approach their home opener against the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps, the team is faced with a tough decision: who will, potentially, replace left midfielder Justin Mapp?

Mapp is the only Union player that remains on the injury list for the team heading into Saturday's game. The lefty is named on the list because of a left hamstring strain. Though the team began 2011's preseason with a congested midfield that carried over from 2010, there aren't many options remaining in that midfield today that could properly replace Mapp's presence on the field.

The aforementioned list of replacement players is long but at the same time short. Long because there are a lot of names in the outside of the midfield - Roger Torres, Gabriel Farfan, Michael Farfan, Levi Houapeu, Chris Agorsor, Keon Daniel, Kyle Nakazawa, Ryan Richter and Sebastien Le Toux - but short because only a few of them have the ability to play on the left side with any success.

Of that list, Torres is the only left footed player and Sebastien Le Toux is the only one who has the ability to change sides with respectable results. Houapeu was shifted to the left side, for the first time ever, during the MLS Combine in 2011 and it may have hurt his draft status (though it helped the Union land him in the third round of the SuperDraft). Gabriel Farfan is very much a right sided player, having spent time throughout his career at all three positions available on the right side (forward, midfield and defense). Michael Farfan is similarly a right sided player but has stated multiple times - including to this writer, at the SuperDraft - that he is willing and able to play on the left side of the midfield (and the center) as well.

Agorsor is more of a winger or striker than a midfielder, as he isn't the most defensive of players, nor is he known for his crossing. Daniel only recently signed with the team and only made it as a trial player. His ability to play on the outside in MLS is up in the air at this point as only his record with the Puerto Rico Islanders can be referenced (need I remind anyone of Cristian Arrieta, another former Islander). Nakazawa is competing for the right side slot and wasn't particularly impressive in Houston. Richter appears to be head coach Piotr Nowak's faux cover at right back and Le Toux is strongest on the right side of the attack.

That really leaves Torres as the only feasible option for Nowak. The young Colombian's creativity brings something that the team sorely lacked in Houston. Philly Soccer Page detailed this theory through the writing of Ryan Pine. Pine discusses his "fantasy ability" and why the young Torres adds flair to the Union that reminds Pine of what Xavi and Paul Scholes bring to FC Barcelona and Manchester United, respectively.

It can be pretty much expected that Nowak would turn to the one true option at left midfield... but then again, what can one every expect something out of Nowak?

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Brotherly Game

You must be a member of Brotherly Game to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Brotherly Game. You should read them.

Join Brotherly Game

You must be a member of Brotherly Game to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Brotherly Game. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9353_tracker