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Open International Slots could benefit the Union

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By the time it’s all said and done, the Philadelphia Union could have three or four open international slots.

Philadelphia Union vs Chicago Fire Photo Gallery Trey Madara / Brotherly Game

One of the obstacles any MLS club faces is the international player limitations. Every club has eight slots when they start out. Some use them wisely, and in the case of Real Salt Lake trading a slot permanently to the Colorado Rapids for Adolfo Gregario (a player so utterly unremarkable that you probably didn’t realize his name was actually Adolfo Gregorio), they use them unwisely.

The Union seem to be using their slots wisely. At current count, they have seven international slots filled our of their eight, as the one that was sent to Houston in 2015 as part of the Sheanon Williams deal came back to Philadelphia on January 1. The seven players currently occupying slots could be changing however, as Union manager Jim Curtin hinted that two players might be getting green cards. Who could those players be? Let’s take a look at the seven international players and see who the most likely candidates are.

  1. Jay Simpson - The Union’s newest signing, the English striker doesn’t even have his initial work visa yet. He’s still far removed from getting a green card.
  2. Giliano Wijnaldum - The Dutch left back is in the same boat as Simpson. Not it.
  3. Ilsinho - The Brazilian right winger has only been with the team for a year, so it’s very unlikely he’s accumulated the necessary time in the US to get a green card.
  4. Roland Alberg - The Dutch midfielder is much in the same boat as Ilsinho. While it’s not impossible like Simpson and Wijnaldum, it’s highly unlikely.
  5. Eric Ayuk - The Cameroonian right winger has been in the US for two years now, so he could be coming close to the requirements - although it remains to be seen how close he actually is.
  6. Josh Yaro - Only with the Union for one season, the Ghanian center back spent three seasons with the Georgetown Hoyas playing college ball as well as attending high school in California. One would have to think he’s among the closest.
  7. Fabian Herbers - The German forward’s trajectory is much like Yaro’s - a full season with Philadelphia preceded by three years with Creighton.

The Union’s one open spot will provide them real flexibility in the transfer market, not limiting them to American players. With multiple open spots, the flexibility is increased. Not only can they look toward a greater player pool to choose from, but these slots can be turned into draft picks, allocation money, or players - as long as it’s not Adolfo Gregorio.