The name Ray Gaddis doesn’t quite carry the weight that former Philadelphia Union legends Sebastien Le Toux and Brian Carroll do, but the club’s all-time leader in minutes has a chance on Wednesday to do something neither was able to accomplish while wearing blue and gold: win a trophy.
All three players had two cracks at lifting the Open Cup trophy with the Union, but now only Gaddis, Andre Blake, Fabinho, and Richie Marquez can say they were with the team for both agonizing defeats. Out of the 29 players on the active roster, only seven players — C.J. Sapong, Warren Creavalle and John McCarthy included — were with the team in 2015.
“Every team is different; this team is just together, it’s a great group of guys — not that the other teams weren’t — but this team is just solid all the way around,” Gaddis said after training in Chester on Monday.
Unlike the first two finals, the Union are on the road, where they’ve proven they can win this year under difficult circumstances. In the past week, the Union recorded a 1-0 win over the 2014 Open Cup champions Seattle Sounders and defeated the 2015 Open Cup champions Sporting Kansas City at home with a reserve-heavy roster.
“It shows a lot about our coach, Jim Curtin, who’s been here for a long while to build this team the way he’s wanted to build it but at the same time it shows the quality in our team,” Gaddis said. “We played two different rosters; it shows the depth of our team and something I’m very excited about and very proud of the group for.”
Gaddis left the Seattle match in the 59th minute with an injury — one of a series of adversities the Union had to overcome in that match, which included a second yellow to Jack Elliott — but is expected to be ready to go tomorrow night after getting a rest Sunday.
Curtin said Monday that selecting an 18 would be a tough task given the form so many of his players are in, but should the team get to show Houston fans what it’s like to have another team celebrate on your home field, they’ll do so with their full roster.
“It would be exciting and a great accomplishment to bring the first trophy to this organization,” Gaddis said.
Though he won’t say it, the win would also further cement his name in the Philadelphia Union history books, where in addition to owning the most all-time minutes played he’s now second only to Le Toux in career games played.