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The Union go defensive with second round picks

Posted on 12 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

Greg Jordan (at left, taken at #32), a 6’2″ defensive midfielder out of Creighton, and Raymon Gaddis (at right, taken at #35), a right back from West Virginia, joined the Union as the 2012 MLS SuperDraft came to a relatively underwhelming close. There were no big trades aside from the Kenny Cooper dealing announced thirty minutes before the drafting began.

Regardless, Jordan – a 2nd team All-American this year – offers some size in the middle and could potentially be shifted to the back line if Nowak and Hackworth both see that fit. Raymond Gaddis, a Reading United AC player in 2010, will most likely serve as Sheanon Williams’ back-up and could potentially see some quality time if Williams makes the Olympic squad (which we fully expect). According to Joe Mauceri, noted college soccer guru, you can equate Gaddis to a “thinner Marvell Wynne”. Speedy, attack minded, but “erratic on the ball”. As for Jordan, Mauceri says he possesses impressive vision and superb tackling abilities but it’s still tough to see him fitting into an already crowded midfield with Okugo, Carroll, and the newly signed Gomez. Okugo should be making the Olympic team as well though so it may not be as crazy as we initially thought.

The two will join the #13 draft pick, UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman as preseason training opens up in a little over two weeks.

You can follow Jordan and Gaddis on Twitter at @gnike11 and @raygaddis.

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Union draft UCLA striker Hoffman into the ranks

Posted on 12 January 2012 by Breton Bonnette

They’re Mock Drafts of course but they still represent the view of relatively knowledgeable individuals, those that took the MLS Combine in first hand. With that said, the Union drafted UCLA forward Chandler Hoffman (leading goalscorer in the PAC-12) at #13 and were probably surprised to do so. There was no known reason (as of yet) to see Hoffman fall there as he was seen overall, especially after the MLS Combine, as a top 5 pick.

Hoffman was a freshman with Amobi Okugo at UCLA when Kyle Nakazawa was a senior so the Bruin influence is strong with the Union and should only get stronger. The 6’0′ striker left the Bruins as the first player since American international Joe Max-Moore to score 18 goals in a season.  As a Generations Adidas pick, the Union will not have to count his salary against the salary cap. The UCLA junior joins an impressive forward crop that consists of Le Toux, Mwanga, new signing Josue Martinez, and Jack McInerney. With the versatility of both Le Toux and McInerney, it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is on their way out as rumors about a Mwanga trade inside Major League Soccer have since been beaten back.

More to come…

You can follow Hoffman on Twitter at @chandala.

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Union add another Tico, left back Porfirio Lopez

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Porfirio Lopez

The signings are happening fast and furiously as the Union wrapped up an early Christmas present, 26-year old Costa Rican left back Porfirio Lopez.

Lopez arrives after finishing up a whirlwind year that saw Alajuelense crowned the Verano and Invierno Champions of Costa Rica. Before his success with Alajuelense, however, he had a quick stint abroad with Chinese club Dalian Haichang – scoring two goals in ten matches before returning on loan to Los Rojinegros. Very little is known about the player, considering he wasn’t on anybody’s radar but one can bet he’s that attacking left back Nowak has been looking for.

Piotr Nowak has called for press conference at 4:00pm today to discuss the recent flurry of signings. One thing is for sure – this signing just adds to the whole “too many internationals” problem.

Anyone dizzy yet?



Name:                  Porfirio Lopez
Position:               Left back
Height:                 5-11
Weight:                 172
Born:                    September 10, 1985
Birthplace:            San Jose, Costa Rica
Hometown:           San Jose, Costa Rica
Citizenship:           Costa Rica
Last Club:             La Liga Alajuelense, on loan from Dalian Haichang
Pronunciation:      LO-pehz

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Union sign Gabriel ‘Gavilan’ Gomez

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Breton Bonnette

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

The Union front office continues to impress in the offseason as they retool the roster heading into the 2012 Major League Soccer season.

Though Gomez looks to be a journeyman with his impressive travel log (stints in Cyprus, Mexico), he has put in some good time at pretty decent-sized clubs like Belenenses in Portugal (over 70 appearances) and Colombian stalwart Independiente Santa Fe. A central midfielder, Gomez should be a major upgrade over Miglioranzi (though he may still re-sign) and fit in nicely with Brian Carroll and Amobi Okugo.

US Men’s Soccer fans will probably not recognize Gomez for anything other than his 2011 Gold Cup run, namely his penalty kick conversion that wound up being the eventual gamewinner in the biggest upset of that tournament. In fact, Gomez’s international appearances have been much more impressive than his club career so far. The Panama City native has racked up over 70 appearances for Los Canaleros and scored 8 goals – 5 of which came in 2011. He has size, durability, and the natural fitness to run a game for 90 plus minutes.

The signing of Gomez, however, leaves the Union with some moves to make in the coming months with 10 international players on the books (the team is allowed 8). Gomez joins after the recent signings of Costa Rican striker Josue Martinez and the Union’s 2nd Homegrown Player Jimmy McLaughlin.

Challenge to our readers – can anyone find proof that Freddy Adu (with Belenenses on loan in 2009) and Gabriel Gomez played together at some point? We have no doubt they trained together but in the three games Adu played, we don’t know if Gomez played as well.

Name:                         Gabriel Gomez
Position:                     Midfielder
Height:                        6-0
Born:                           May 29, 1984
Birthplace:                 Panama City, Panama
Hometown:               Panama City, Panama
Citizenship:               Panama
Last Club:                  La Equidad
Pronunciation:          GO-mehz

IN: Nizar Khalfan (11/23: waiver draft/Vancouver); F Josué Martínez (12/7: transfer, Deportivo Saprissa); M Jimmy McLaughlin (12/12: Home Grown) M Gabriel Gómez (12/21: Indios); OUT: D Juan Diego Gonzalez (11/23: waived); G Thorne Holder (11/23: waived); M Justin Mapp (11/23: expansion draft); G Chase Harrison (12/12: option declined); M Stefani Miglioranzi (12/12: option declined) 

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Adu set to reunite with Nowak, Union get their playmaker

Posted on 11 August 2011 by Breton Bonnette

With four days until the end of Major League Soccer’s summer transfer window, it seems Piotr Nowak has found his man. Or two. And now, Freddy Adu not dressing for yesterday’s USA vs. Mexico match-up at Lincoln Financial Field makes a little bit of sense. It appears the one-time Benfica man will link back up with former head coach Piotr Nowak for another go at things and sign with the Union according to Ives Galarcep at Soccer by Ives. His introduction will be tomorrow and the word is, he will not be signing as a Designated Player.

There is also word another signing or two is on the way – apparently a striker.

Adu showed well at the Gold Cup, despite the surprise call-up,  and though his club situation never really panned out overseas, it’s clear the youngest player ever to sign with Major League Soccer still has a long career left in front of him. It should be interesting to see how Nowak deploys him.

UPDATE: Steve Goff of Soccer Insider is reporting that Adu will join on a long-term contract. Chivas USA was very close to signing him as a DP but at the last moment, owner Jorge Vergara decided against the move.

Adu will be introduced at noon tomorrow as the newest Union member. Ives Galarcep reports that in no way are the Union done in the transfer market.

What do you think of the signing? Surprised? Like it? Hate it?

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Union Ready to Face Everton, MLS Season On Hold (UPDATED)

Posted on 19 July 2011 by stoma

Last year around this time, when the Union lined up Celtic FC and Manchester United a week apart, the break from the MLS regular season seemed a welcome one.  Philadelphia was sputtering in the middle of its inaugural campaign, the baby steps they had been making beginning to take their physical and emotional toll. Now, however, as Philadelphia prepares to take a week off and host world-renowned opponents Everton FC and Real Madrid in a span of just 4 days, they put on the back burner a highly successful first half of the season.

With their convincing road win against New England on Sunday, the Union find themselves 3 points clear at the top of the table in the Eastern Conference, ahead of the Columbus Crew as well as the Red Bulls, who have played 2 more games than Philadelphia.

The task at hand, however, is upon Philadelphia.  Over the last few years, the MLS has risen to the challenge of taking on the world’s best and taken representing the league in these friendlies as a matter of pride.  No less than Sir Alex Ferguson told ESPN the Magazine: “MLS is developing into a far more competitive league.  The games are more difficult.”  Ferguson should know, as his Manchester United squad was on the receiving end of a 2-1 Kansas City win last year after squeaking by the Union 1-0.

In Everton, the Union will get a fair test of how far they’ve come. In a midweek match at PPL Park, the team will be able to ease into the pomp and circumstance, not to mention the away-match feel, that will accompany the galácticos of Real Madrid at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday.

With the organization of the Herbalife World Football Challenge, the European teams have been incentivized to bring their A teams as well as their A games to the United States. All of the stars of Everton, including Tim Howard, Tim Cahill, Phil Neville & Mikel Arteta, are expected to see significant action tomorrow night at PPL Park. (EDIT: Howard is not with the club and will not be playing tomorrow; see below for update.)

Everton will have an open practice today at PPL Park from 4-5 pm.  Season ticket holders are invited to attend.  Park in Lot B at no cost and enter the stadium through the PPL EnergyPlus Gate, which opens at 3:00 p.m.  Check back for updates later today & feel free to post your match predictions in the comments!


Following a press conference with Manager David Moyes, defender and Captain Phil Neville, and midfielder Mikel Arteta, it was divulged that Tim Howard was not with the team presently. He was given a “rest & recuperation period” following the Gold Cup and prior to the start of the English Premier League season in 3 weeks. It is not likely that Howard will be in attendance tomorrow night and it does not sound as though he will play in DC, either.  He is scheduled to join the club and accompany them back to England at the end of the week.

Other notes from the press conference:

  • David Moyes, expanding on the European opinion of the MLS’ improvement when asked whether the average European fan would give the MLS credit that the managers and players do:  “No, I don’t think they would.  But we’re [the players and managers] are the people in the know, aren’t we? Your national team has been doing well these past few years.  We see your stadiums full, your fanbase growing.  Thousands of American children play soccer.  Because all of the other sports you’ve got over here, they’re for freaks: you’ve got to be 6’5, 6’7 to play basketball, you’ve got to weigh 18 stone [which converts to 252 pounds] and solid as a rock to play American football.  Soccer is something which everybody can play.  If you’re talented and gifted, you can play soccer.”
  • David Moyes on playing in the United States and in Philadelphia, in particular:  “We’ve been in the States several years and we’ve really enjoyed it.  It gives us the freedom to train.  We’ve actually been training at the Eagles’ facility and it’s fantastic.  They’ve been very accommodating to have us in at this time.   So, we look forward to it; we’ve played in several cities in the U.S., but never before in Philadelphia.  I haven’t had the chance yet to have a look at [PPL Park], but I’m told that it’s one of the really good new stadiums.”
  • Phil Neville, on the benefits of playing a team that is in the middle of their season: “The last couple of years we’ve come here, playing Real Salt Lake, playing the MLS All-Stars, they have been a bit ahead of us in terms of their fitness.  It’s a good test for us.  We played a League One team [English 3rd Division, Bury F.C.] and it was quite an easy game for us.  We know this week, with the MLS in the middle of its season, are going to be real tough games.  I’ve seen a lot of Washington and a lot of Philadelphia and I know that both teams are very fit.  It’s a test that we need at this stage.  We’ve done a lot of fitness work, and it’s time to get tested in match situations.”
  • David Moyes, on how the MLS teams might see these friendlies during their midseason:  “It’s different for the Union, they’re in the middle of their season.  Maybe they’re thinking ‘hey, maybe we don’t want all these games just now’, I don’t know how they see it.  But I’m sure their players will be keen to do well against the well-known European teams.”

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Union sign twin brother of draft pick, Houapeu, and Daniel

Posted on 18 March 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union filled out their roster today with the finalization of several contracts offered to draft pick Levi Houapeu, taken in the third round of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft, Keon Daniel, a former Puerto Rico Islander, and twin brother of DraftPick Michael Farfan, Gabriel.

Levi Houapeu is a pacy, outside midfielder from the  University of Maryland-Baltimore County, that should provide depth in both the outside midfield and forward department. Keon Daniel, a veteran of the Soca Warriors (Trinidad and Tobago), could prove to be an impressive acquisition based on an international career in which he has amassed 8 goals in over 45 caps for the Trinidad and Tobago National Team. Gabriel Farfan joins the Union after a year with Club America and has impressed .

All three provide a degree of versatility and youth to the roster as the midfield predominates the roster in the start of year two.

Player profiles to be posted in the next several days.

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Union fans, welcome Chooch Numero Dos to the family

Posted on 22 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

Is the City of Brotherly Love ready for a second Chooch? If not, you better get ready fast as El Pescadito has signed for the Union and will be joining the Union as they head off on their second leg of preseason in Greece.  

Ruiz, a one-time MLS MVP and MLS Champion, joins the Philadelphia Union after brief stays over the last several seasons in Paraguay, Mexico, and Greece. At 31, it appears he could have several years left in his tank but we’ll only know  for sure once the season begins in earnest. He certainly hasn’t stopped scoring goals for the Guatemalan national team so let’s hope that it translates back to Major League Soccer.

Ruiz sits as the 10th highest scorer all-time in Major League Soccer with an impressive 82 goals. He possesses a reputation as a player (a la Ale Moreno) that will do anything to get a call in his direction – a flop, an embellishment, a “whiner” (just ask Ricardo Clark) – but nothing changes the fact that Ruiz scores goals. As one of the best poachers to ever come through Major League Soccer, he’s one of those guys you would rather have playing for you than against you. For those that hate the simulation part of his game (and believe me I’m still wrapping my head around all of this), expect Nowak to have him limit that as he did with Alejandro Moreno for the most part.

With that, the line-up come opening day in Houston could now look like this:


Williams——–Valdes—————Califf———–Orozco F.


Le Toux——————————————————Mapp


Thoughts on the above projected Starting XI? Is this the true goalscoring threat the Union has been looking for? Were there better options out there? 

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Andrew Jacobson to join Seitz in Dallas, Union get draft pick

Posted on 18 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Hoops are quickly snapping up Union players and this is one, as a Union fan, that’s tough to swallow. Jacobson featured in 25 games for the Union after being picked up in the 2009 Expansion Draft and is yet another victim of a crowded midfield. From time to time, he also appeared occasionally on the wings but with Okugo apparently having a great preseason, the acquisition of Brian Carroll, and a possible signing or two in the wings, it looks like Jacobson wasn’t in Nowak’s cards. The former Cal midfielder will join Chris Seitz and a Dallas squad that made its’ first MLS Cup appearance last season, losing to the Colorado Rapids in extra time.  In the trade, the Union have received Dallas’ 2nd round pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.

Quite the roster turnover as Jacobson becomes the Union’s ninth player to be offloaded this offseason. He was also an original Union member (those taken in the 2009 Expansion Draft) as that list dwindles to four remaining – Zimmerman, Miglioranzi, Harvey, and Seb Le Toux.

Our verdict on the move? He fit the bill or at least was making progress in meeting Nowak’s expectations. A second round pick for 2013 isn’t enough for Jacobson unless you have someone waiting in the wings to be signed or are absolutely confident in those you have that the depth of the squad won’t be compromised. Jacobson seemed to be getting better as the year went on last season so, in ASN Philly’s eyes, Dallas got the best end of the deal in this one. Only time will tell however if we’re right.

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Trialist Agorsor acquired by Union via lottery

Posted on 15 February 2011 by Breton Bonnette


The Union beat both expansion squads, Portland and Vancouver, to former Gatorade High School Player of the Year (2007-2008) Chris Agorsor. The one time Virginia Cavalier just recently turned 21 and as a belated birthday present, signed with the Union as he looks to put back on track a career that was briefly derailed by injuries. First, a horrific tackle vs. Central Connecticut State left him with damaged cruciate ligaments and an extended stay on the sideline.

A quote from the Potomoc Soccer Wire gives us brief insight into what he went through his freshman year at Virginia:

“That was the first serious, serious injury I had, which almost took me out of the game completely,” explained Agorsor in an exclusive interview with Potomac Soccer Wire on Friday. “Just to be playing now after that injury, for me it’s a real blessing because I know I was this close to not being able to play ever again. The first words that came out of the doctor’s mouth about my condition was, ‘Do we amputate at the knee? So for me to be here running and playing, let alone getting ready to sign with MLS – everything else is a plus.”

He came back, ahead of schedule, for his sophomore season only to be oft-injured yet again and sidelined as the Cavs worked their way to an impressive College Cup victory. When healthy, he’s immensely talented – pacy, skilled – as was praised during training stints abroad after leaving Virginia to pursue a professional contract. Regardless, Agorsor has a limited body of work to pull from. That small sample is impressive, however, but will he be able to take the physical nature of Major League Soccer? The forward is fully healthy again and had been showing well in the Union’s camp at the YSC so he’s taking the first step. A quote from a recent interview with his hometown Baltimore Sun:

“I’m a big believer that if I take care of what I need to take care of — which first and foremost is playing and doing well — that National Team and my future goals, which are distant ones that I don’t think about all the time. But if I play well and showcase my game, then who knows what can happen.”

So will he take the opportunity handed to him by Nowak and Hackworth and run with it?

Something tells us he will…

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