2016 Summary: The second overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, Josh Yaro battled injuries for a good portion of the season and only made 17 appearances. He had a shoulder injury in late May that sidelined him for the better portion of a month and suffered a season-ending concussion at the beginning of October. When healthy, Yaro was a decent center back for the Philadelphia Union. He was prone to making some rookie mistakes, however more often than not his speed was able to bail him out of trouble. Hopefully his injury issues will be behind him in 2017, and with a tough year under his belt he should be the favorite to start alongside Richie Marquez at central defender.
What did he do right?: Yaro was able to play at a consistent level for the first part of the season after Anderson was relegated to Bethlehem Steel FC. The Union’s record of 5 wins, 5 draws, and 7 losses with Yaro in the lineup is decent, although certainly not great. That said, he was part of teams that won 20 points and when healthy he seemed to fit well into the Union’s defensive scheme.
What did he do wrong?: It’s hard to overlook the fact that the Union with Yaro in the lineup lost more than they won, and a patch of 4 straight losses with Yaro in the lineup between June 25 and August 20 is downright ugly. It’s also worrying that he missed so many games due to injuries. He was also shown a red card twice in the 17 games he played in - not a comforting statistic whatsoever. Hopefully he can put that part of 2016 behind him going into next season.
Most memorable moment of 2016: Not the best moment, but this phantom foul got Yaro sent off and set ex-Union midfielder Cristian Maidana up for a game winning free kick.
It’s Yaro’s season in a microcosm - a rookie mistake and an unlucky streak do him in. If he can get healthy and minimize the mistakes, he’ll have a great 2017.