Naughty or Nice? I think we can all agree that the Philadelphia Union were mighty nice to us fans this year. So lets take a look at what I think the Union should be asking for from Belsnickel, or Santa.
Value for Kai Wagner
The Union have been spoiled for two years with an MLS top notch leftback. A position that they have had some patchwork success with in the past but Kai clearly was a stable name penciled in the starting lineup. Providing strong 1 on 1 defense and an attacking threat down the wing. He even found himself taking free kicks from the left on occasion. All good things must come to an end and so the Union should hope to get as much value from his sale as possible. That may also entice other budding European talent that the Union are, in fact, a good spot to land, even if just for a year or two before being sold to a big European league.
Hands off Austin!
The Union have a good thing going, so lets wish that Austin keeps their hands off any players that may have to be left unprotected. If no players need to be left unprotected, wish granted. Boom.
A Fresh Free kick taker
When have the Union had a free kick taker who was lethal from the top of the box. A guy who goalkeepers had to truly take notice of. A guy who the behind-the-goal ball boys could ignore because they knew his shot was hitting the target. We have had a few players hit a “banger” once in a while, but more often than not the better option was lofting one into the crowded box to see if a teammate could score. So please Santa, pull a sniper out of your sack.
A Shiny New Striker
Goals win games. We need the guys closest to the opponent’s goal to put them in. To get to that next level of success and win an MLS Cup we need a striker who can be a star. A guy who, when fancy tactical moves just are not working, this guy will find a way to put the ball in the net. Can the money be spent on a DP striker to compete with the likes of Sporting KC, Seattle, Columbus, Portland, LAFC etc. If that is the category of team that we want to belong in, we should wish for the same caliber of goal scorers as those teams. Please Santa, can good ol’ SC bring us a DP.
A Good home for McKenzie
This is the most important wish for the Union. Mark is our guy. Delaware native. Academy product. We only want the best for our own. Please Santa, pull Mark up onto your sled and bring Mark to a good place. One where he will be happy, be comfortable yet challenged and grow into the best version of himself.
Do you have any ideas for what you want the Union to receive this year? Please let me know in the comments and I will see if I can convince the big man to leave it under the tree.