Thanks to several key offseason moves, the disappointment of 2012 should be short-lived for Union fans as the 2013 season approaches. Finishing the previous year 8th in the Eastern Conference at 10-18-6, goal scoring was the most challenging obstacle throughout the season. Former manager Peter Nowak had caused too much damage to the team. The Union had few players who were able to put the ball in the back of the net. Going into this offseason Union coach John Hackworth knew it was his job to acquire new players, specifically an excellent forward.
The need for a quality scorer was answered with the signing of former Union favorite forward Sebastien Le Toux . A member of the Union’s original 2010 roster, Le Toux was acquired in a trade with the New York Red Bulls which saw the Union part with striker Josué Martínez along with allocation money. “I hope to stay here forever because it’s the club I love to play for. I’m very, very happy. There’s no other way to describe it” Le Toux said at a press conference on December 7th. Le Toux brought hope back to Philadelphia which is exactly what the city needed due to the long, unsatisfactory 2012 season. LeToux’s record speaks for itself; he is the team’s all time leading goal scorer. Union fans look forward to the Frenchmen adding to his tally of goals. I hope Le Toux provides the much needed offensive lift that I feel Adu, a good player in his own right, did not provide.
Union coach John Hackworth knows Le Toux can’t guarantee victory alone. Hackworth also acquired a six year veteran in forward Conor Casey from the Colorado Rapids. Casey is the Rapids all time leading goal scorer. He will hopefully complement Le Toux up front. Hackworth says picking up Conor Casey was a “no brainer.” He knows how to score and that is exactly what this team needs. The Union hava also picked up Jeff Parke, a valued defender from the Seattle Sounders; a player who I personally think will be a good addition to the team. The Union defense had definitely been weakened after all the trades that occurred in the 2011 offseason. The height and size of the players was a problem. Parke who is 6’1” fixed the situation seamlessly, making the defense stronger.
It has also been reported that Union captain Carlos Valdes will spend his preseason training with Independiente Santa Fe of Colombia. The Union and MLS have a right to restrict Valdes to go on loan with Santa Fe for six months. This could be a problematic situation for the Union if he gets the okay to go, Valdes could potentially miss three months of the MLS season. Valdes is a huge asset to the team, and his absence of three months could cause tribulations. However, MLS and the Union have not decided on anything as of now.
Overall the moves made in offseason have been well made, but Hackworth needs to do more if he wants to lead his team to the playoffs this year. Hopefully 2013 is our year. Doop!
(image courtesy of philadelphiaunion.com)