This off-season team manager John Hackworth and the front office have been busy. With the off-season moves, the Philadelphia Union looks to be strong contenders in 2013.
Also with the moves, there are two key battles worth watching as the Union heads into the preseason in about two weeks.
Key Battle No. 1: The front line strikers
With the acquisitions of Sebastien Le Toux and Connor Casey, Hackworth now has a problem on his hands. It’s definitely not a bad problem, but it needs careful thought and consideration throughout the season. He has five players who can contribute to scoring goals and developing plays.
Le Toux will most likely start. Casey will also see a majority of the playing time. The question is how will Jack McInerney, Antoine Hoppenot, and Generation adidas rising star Chandler Hoffman get into the mix.
It will be interesting to see how Hackworth finds time to incorporate McInerney, Hoppenot, and Hoffman into the offensive scheme. If history tells us anything, look for McInerney and Hoppenot to contribute to the Union’s success in 2013 like they did last years. It seems like Hoppenot can fall back into the “Supersub” role again, and look for McInerney to still be an offensive threat this season.
No matter what Hackworth does, he will have to make sure that none of the players become disgruntled. Also the best plan might be to have a set rotation, but soon enough, time will tell what Hackworth decides.
Key Battle No. 2: The center back position and where Okugo fits in
With the acquisition of Jeff Parke, the center back position now has some depth. At this moment, it still seems that Carlos Valdes won’t be going anywhere on loan and will be on the Union’s lineup come March. Also with a healthy Bakary Soumare, there will definitely be some competition during preseason.
Furthermore, it seems Amobi Okugo will return back to more natural midfielder position. He did a great job filling in last year for a depleted defense.
These battles are just two things to watch as preseason and March roll around for the Sons of Ben and other Union Fans.