It’s January 5, the countdown to the first game of the 2022 MLS season is 52 and there’s a lot of Philadelphia Union business still to be completed.
Sporting Director Ernst Tanner has already delivered one new player acquisition — unexpected as it was — with the loan for Julián Carranza for the 2022 season. He’s also confirmed that left back Anton Sorenson will officially be joining the first team roster as a homegrown player but the only other piece of official business has been to announce roster decisions and a new contract with defender Jakob Glesnes.
Out are Aurélien Collin, Ilsinho, Alvas Powell (already signed to FC Cincinnati) and Matheus Davo. Matt Real and Anthony Fontana both appear to be on their way out too despite receiving “bonafide” offers. Fontana is reportedly signing with a Serie B club in Italy.
Rumors have been swirling in the British press about interest in Stuart Findlay, but they appear flimsy at best right now and Kai Wagner has gone public again with his desire to move back to Europe but little else has officially transpired in the weeks since the 2021 season came to a close.
While this might make some Union fans feel antsy — with the season schedule to start February 26 and training camp opening in two weeks — this isn’t exactly out of the ordinary.
In fact, the Union has already done more business than they had by this time a year ago when only a contract extension for Cory Burke had been announced. The announcement of Danny Higginbotham being added to the broadcast team counted as the big pre-Christmas announcement in 2020.
By comparison to the last non-Covid-19 offseason, the Union are a little behind the pace, however.
The 2019-2020 offseason was already cooking by now with the signings of José Andrés Martínez and Aurélien Collin and the trades of Fafa Picault and Auston Trusty for a healthy supply of allocation money.
The 2018-2019 offseason saw goalkeeper Matt Freese signed, Keegan Rosenberry traded, new deals signed for Kacper Przybylko, Fabinho and Warren Creavalle, Sergio Santos signed and Fabian Herbers traded. There was also an announcement of the acquisition of Saed Diaz on loan with Union 2.
At the risk of re-traumatizing Union fans we’ll just say the previous two off-seasons to 2018 during this same time period involved names like Eric Ayuk, Kevin Kratz and Giliano Wijnaldum.
The first team roster is currently at 25 (not counting loaned out players Jack de Vries and Matej Oravec) so there are still several moves to be made there to fill out the roster but there is also an MLS Next Pro roster for Union II to fill out. As of right now there aren’t any players known to be on MLS Next Pro contracts for the team. Previous second team signings Selmir Miscic and Shanyder Borgelin are both out of contract and not much is known about the status of 20-year-old Italian center back Gino Portella.
There’s plenty still to come and as we return to normalcy post-holiday season the transfer market is likely to heat up.
Just last year the following preseason moves were announced after January 5: Mark McKenzie sale to Genk, Kalil ElMedkhar homegrown rights dealt to FC Dallas, Kai Wagner new contract, draft picks dealt to Nashville SC, Tomas Romero homegrown rights dealt to LAFC, Jose Martinez signed to a new contract, Stuart Findlay signed, Joe Bendik re-signed and Ray Gaddis retirement announced.