Yesterday was a whirlwind of a day for Philadelphia Union fans, with three picks in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. But the good news doesn't stop there as Earnie Stewart, the team's shiny new Sporting Director, confirmed to the press yesterday that the team has come to terms with Brazilian left back Fabinho. The details of the contract have yet to be disclosed.
This news comes only a day after the announcement of Brazilian center back Anderson Conceição joining the team on loan, and mere hours after the team drafted three young defenders in Joshua Yaro, Keegan Rosenberry, and Taylor Washington. In less than 24 hours, it would seem that the Union have managed to acquire defensive depth.
Fabinho has had mixed support from fans during his tenure in Philadelphia. First brought to the team in the summer of 2013, Fabinho was believed to be an option at left back and left midfielder. Most fans thought the signing a good one, hoping to see someone with a natural left foot take over that side of the pitch. Fabinho later proved to be a vexing player to watch, often exciting with his frequent forays forward and his aggressive tackling style, but just as frequently caught out of position, or beat because of his over-aggressive tendencies. Soon, many fans dreaded seeing his name on the team sheet, and where bashing their heads against the wall when they saw that Fabinho was protected in last year's expansion draft.
But in 2015 Fabinho stepped up and proved many of his doubters wrong. He played well enough to rank as WhoScored's best left back in all of MLS, which is no small feat. Perhaps most memorably, he managed to score an incredible winning goal in the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup.
Overall, I am pleased that the Union retained Fabinho, especially after the Union passed on Brandon Vincent in the SuperDraft. Fabinho has proved that he has the discipline to be a quality left back in a league mostly bereft of talent in that position.