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Brotherly Bag #8: It’s Open Cup Time

Mid-June means one thing: a Wednesday night match versus the Harrisburg City Islanders.

MLS: U.S. Open Cup-Harrisburg City Islanders at Philadelphia Union Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Are we winning the Open Cup this year?

Jordan Wohl: No doubt. In years where the Union have been terrible in MLS, they've somehow been great in the Open Cup. Is this going to be the case this year? HELL YEAH. Unless Aaron Wheeler knocks the Union out of the Open Cup with a hat trick, which is all but certain in my opinion.

The fans deserve a trophy for watching this team for eight years. As it's unlikely to be the Supporters' Shield or MLS Cup, perhaps the Open Cup could suffice.

John Rossi: I’ve long ago sworn off the U.S. Open Cup, as all it does is hurt me. Thankfully, the Union haven’t taken this approach, and I expect Curtin to throw out some first-teamers tomorrow night. This is a tournament the Union have long focused on, and given the team’s mediocre MLS record and Curtin’s penchant not to rest players, I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a run. We can say that about nearly every MLS team, though, which is the beauty of the Open Cup.

I’m not predicting an Open Cup triumph this year, but I do expect the Union to devote considerable effort toward the tournament.

What is the Union's greatest position of need right now?

Jordan: I don't think the needs have changed since the beginning of the season, though I also don't believe any big signings will be made this summer. A bonafide No. 10 is clearly the Union’s greatest need.

With a good amount of money already tied up in other players, I don't see much happening transfer-wise midseason. Ilsinho may not be a long-term solution at the ten, but he’s had a fairly good run of games at the position.

John: I agree with Jordan for the most part, in that we all figured Bedoya wouldn’t be a great No. 10 before the season even started. Roland Alberg isn’t great there either. Ilsinho’s been great in that spot though, which is great to see after he spent more than a season alternately languishing on the wing and the physio’s table. But considering that he’s 31 and being paid more than half-a-million dollars, he’s not the long-term answer in the middle of the park.

With some obscene contracts currently bloating the Union’s payroll, I don’t see them making a move for a No. 10 in the middle of the season. There’s really no other glaring need aside from that position. The back line is genuinely deep, the midfield is packed, and CJ Sapong has allayed fears about goal production from the center forward position. The Union’s goalkeeping depth is a little weak, with the inconsistent John McCarthy and inexperienced Jake McGuire backing up Andre Blake. They could bring in a better No. 2, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Here’s a question submitted by Union Hulk. The only reason I’m calling it a question is because there’s a question mark at the end: ZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATANZLATAN?

Jordan: Zlatan in Philly? Hell yea baby. But unfortunately not likely. Zlatan isn't coming to MLS I think. Even if he did, considering how MLS makes up rules to get a well known player into a major market like New York, LA, or Seattle, somehow Philly would get screwed even if they did manage to have the top allocation spot.

As a player, no question about it: do what you have to do to possibly bring him in. (He's not coming though, sorry, Hulk). Marketing wise, he will sell shirts instantly and become the face of a team with now elevated prestige. (But he isn't coming to the Union, sorry y'all)

John: I wish!