The Philadelphia Union received allocation money from the Vancouver Whitecaps in exchange for former starting left back Jordan Harvey, which led many Union fans to believe the team was set to make a splash during the transfer window. Based on roster information from a league source, the Union have managed to put themselves into a tight spot on that front.
Currently the Union are using all eight of their international roster spots, which precludes the team from adding another non-United States citizen, or green card holder, to the team. In the past seven months the Union have signed six international players to the roster, while removing two during the 2010 MLS offseason.
Onto the team have come MLS SuperDraft pick Levi Houapeu, Colombians Faryd Mondragon and Carlos Valdes, Trinidadians Keon Daniel and Thorne Holder and Serbian Veljko Paunovic.
Of that lot, Mondragon and Valdes have helped the Union to become one of MLS' best defensive teams, Daniel has played well after joining the team from the USL Puerto Rico Islanders and Paunovic was improving with the team as a central attacking midfielder before being injured (hip). But all of these additions, including Houapeu and Holder, have hurt the Union's ability to make moves during the July-August international transfer window.
Due to an inability to get rid of Juan Diego Gonzalez, be it because of his guaranteed contract or a lack of interest in teams wanting to acquire his rights, re-upping Roger Torres' loan and bringing in the other international players, the Union are left with barely enough room to wiggle around in the transfer window. And it's not because of salary cap space or lack of allocation money (or allocation order spot).
Even with the allocation money gained from transferring Harvey to the Whitecaps, the Union still have to figure out a way to bring in a foreign star by jettisoning one of their current international players. Either that or the team will have to go for an American star, with the rumors putting Jonathan Spector as a possible target.
The foreign star seems unlikely, beyond just the roster spot situation, because of the three trialists that the Union have in camp. A source told the Brotherly Game last week that two of the trialists have played internationally for their countries, showing that the Union are leaning toward a cheaper alternative to a designated player salary. Even the trialist situation is in an awkward spot, as the Union only have one discovery claim (out of six) left for the season.
Look for the Union to stay inside of MLS, or an American star, if the team is going to make any moves at all in the coming month.