It has been quiet...too quiet. This week has certainly been a lull in the action. Unlike the jittery unrest Union fans have felt earlier in the preseason, Philadelphia fans have felt more along the lines of being satisfied full after a big meal in recent weeks. Certainly the main course of the Union's offseason is over, and now fans wait for the last course of the meal: dessert. The dessert for this meal is The Disney Pro Soccer Classic, which began play Wednesday and the Union will look to put forward a good tournament to finalize their tactics and strategy ahead of their big opening game March 8th, against Portland.
But who will shine down in Florida? With a second and third round of cuts looming, which players will prove themselves worthy of a contract? Which players on the team will look to further prove their worth just before the start of the season?
The Brotherly Game staff weighed in on the topic:
Nicholas Youngstein - Jack McInerney. I want more involvement from him this year. Build some consistency and maybe even get an assist.
Jared Young - Andre Blake will make dazzling saves and a goalie controversy will be born.
Heather Reppert - Jack Mac.
BLAKE (Which will put lots of pressure on Zac MacMath).
Who's the big guy that ran while a red bull was pulling his shirt? (Pedro Ribeiro)
Doop Cast - Ribby - I think he could be a breakout player. Has the size and tools to play in MLS.
Noggy - Looked promising after only three days with the team so he should improve with more time to get to know the system and his teammates.
Jack Mac - He should be hungry to prove that his half season heroics were no fluke and to show the league that he is 'the man'.
Dan Kenworthy - I think we will see Maurice Edu and Vincent Nogueira shine more than most everyone else. Andre Blake is probably in the yes column. I don't know how the other players will take to the experienced midfielders Edu and Nog. Honestly, whoever actually works with those two and benefits will likely shine.
Eugene Rupinski - I don't know who will shine, but I know that some of the guys on the bubble need to shine. Guys like Michael Lahoud, Fred, Richie Marquez, and Robbie Derschang are all fighting for jobs and others like Jimmy McLaughlin, Zach Pfeffer, and Corben Bone are all fighting to stay with the team (as opposed to being sent to Harrisburg). These are the guys who really need to show something.
There is no pressure for veterans to fight for their roster spots, although it would be nice to see our trio of big signings make an impact in Disney. There are 3 players that I can see shining in Orlando. One of which needs to shine in order to get a roster spot (as opposed to being loaned off to Harrisburg), one who needs to maintain a starting role, and one who I have a hunch will shine.
Leo Fernandes - With the additions of Nogueira, Ribeiro, and Bone, Leo needs to have a good tournament. A position once filled by no one, is now packed with players looking to claim it. If Fernandes has a bad tournament his spot could be taken by Ribeiro, or even Bone.
Sebastien Le Toux - Early on this preseason I've noticed the right wing position has been filled by Danny Cruz in the starting role (or what I would assume is the first squad). As blasphemous as this is to myself, it would seem judging from the first two preseason scrimmages that Le Toux is lower on the depth chart. Le Toux needs to remind Hackworth that his prized possession (Cruz) belongs on the bench and not starting over the player who lead the league in assists for a majority of the season in 2013.
Clesio Bauque - The Mozambican forward is currently trialing with Philadelphia and is rumored to be close to signing with the team. Only 19, Clesio already has international experience for Mozambique which is more than what a lot of players on the Union can boast. I'm not quite sure what it is about Clesio that has me feeling confident about him (maybe it's his name), but look for the young forward to turn some heads down in Disney.
So who do you think will shine in the Sunshine State? Let us know in the poll and in the comments below!