Roster turnover. Throughout the Union’s brief two year life in MLS, it has been one of the unavoidable topics surrounding the team. Each season has seen a drastic overhaul of the lineup and this year is no different. With the opening kickoff in Portland only days away, PSP takes a moment to check in with all the former Union players to see where they’ve landed for the 2012 season.
Faryd Mondragon – Deportivo Cali (Colombia)
Mondragon’s abrupt departure is softened by the confident beginning to Zac MacMath’s career, but it remains to be seen who will replace Mondragon as the fiery, vocal leader in 2012.
Christian Arrieta – Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)
A stop-gap for the Union during the inaugural campaign, the 32-year-old defender was unable to keep up with the pace of MLS and has landed in the NASL after a career that began traveling around the lower divisions of Italy.
Michael Orozco Fiscal – San Luis (Mexico)
Despite his stated desire to stay in Philadelphia, Orozco Fiscal’s loan was never made permanent and after a strong close to 2010, he returned to San Luis to continue his career. In the end, this move worked out well for both parties, with Carlos Valdes having a tremendous 2011 season in Philadelphia, while Orozco Fiscal’s performances in Mexico’s Apertura were of such a high quality that he earned four appearances for the USMNT early in the Jurgen Klinsmann regime.
Shavar Thomas – Montreal Impact
It was one and done for Thomas in Philadelphia, as he was shipped off to Kansas City after only one, admittedly rickety, appearance for the Union. The 42-times-capped Jamaican international offered the aggressively attacking Sporting club a strong, veteran option at the back. Unfortunately for Thomas, despite appearing 19 times for the East’s best club in 2011, Kansas City declined his option for 2012 and he signed on with the Montreal Impact for their inaugural campaign.
Jordan Harvey – Vancouver Whitecaps
The first Union player to head to the Cascadian Mountains in exchange for allocation money, it is reported that Harvey’s departure helped facilitate the deal for Freddy Adu. A divisive figure in 2010, Harvey had come good in 2011 and was having a strong season for the Union prior to his departure for the Western Conference where he is now a fixture for the ‘Caps.
Justin Mapp – Montreal Impact
Montreal offers another opportunity for the mercurial Mapp to find a home and a new beginning. Having arrived in Philadelphia after his career stagnated in Chicago, Mapp blew hot and cold for the Union and despite playing 1861 minutes for the Union in 2011, he was left unexposed in the 2011 Expansion Draft, where he was selected by the Impact.
Andrew Jacobson – FC Dallas
Dallas manager Schellas Hyndman has lavished plenty of praise on the former Cal product, with the word “steal” a consistent theme in his comments. According to Hyndman, the former Union player was on the trade block and he was pleased to take such a quality player off the Union’s hands. Discarded for only a 2013 second round draft pick, Jacobson appeared 27 times in 2011, logging 1850 minutes for the Hoops.
Kyle Nakazawa – Los Angeles Galaxy
Things clearly did not work for Nakazawa in Philadelphia and he never could find a comfortable position with the Union. That did not stop the 2011 MLS Cup Champion Los Angeles Galaxy from seeing enough in him to bring the LA-native home for the 2012 season. Nakazawa’s dead ball delivery was regarded as one of his strengths during his tenure with the Union and under the tutelage of David Beckham, Nakazawa will work to become a more consistent MLS player.
Sebastien Le Toux – Vancouver Whitecaps
He’s scored a goal in each of his last three preseason matches for the ‘Caps and has earned rave reviews from teammates and coaches alike for his otherworldly workrate and drive. Not that this surprises anyone in Philly, though it still stings considerably.
Carlos Ruiz – Veracruz (Mexico – Second Division)
With 10 goals in 17 appearances for Veracruz, Ruiz has quickly re-adjusted to life south of the border. The details of his hasty departure are still murky, but this is another case where both the player and the club seem to have benefited from the transfer.
Alejandro Moreno – Chivas USA
While two goals were not enough of a return from Moreno in 2010, it is hard not to feel bad about the hard-working Venezuelan for having landed at Chivas USA. His goal production was up to five tallies in 2011, but with the club structure disintegrating around him, it will be hard for him to replicate any of his best soccer in 2012. Fun fact: It was the Whitecaps, again proving their love of former Union players, who acquired Moreno in the 2010 Expansion Draft, before trading him on to Chivas USA.
Brad Knighton – Vancouver Whitecaps
Another player to move to Union West, Knighton is still only 27 years old and, after earning 28 appearances for the Carolina RailHawks during the 2011 NASL season, he is ready to reignite his MLS career in 2012.
Brian Perk – Los Angeles Galaxy
The first former Union player to hoist the MLS Cup. When the hard-working, yet undersized Perk was let go by the Union, the Galaxy quickly snapped up the native Californian. And while he has only earned one appearance since joining the club, he made the most of his chance, shutting out the rival Seattle Sounders, including a penalty save on Freddy Montero.
Chris Seitz – FC Dallas
In Seitz’s 23 appearances for the Union, he posted 1.80 GAA, worst in the league for keepers with more than one start. Perhaps a rookie goalkeeper starting for an expansion team wasn’t the best idea after all. Seitz reemerged with FC Dallas in 2011, appearing only once in a match where he conceded 4 goals against the lowly San Jose Earthquakes. It’s safe to say that little has gone right for Seitz over the past two seasons, but he is still young (he turns 25 on Monday) and will eye 2012 as another opportunity to mature in goal.
Fred – Melbourne Heart (Australia)
Did you know Fred’s full name is Helbert Frederico Carreiro da Silva? Nice. Following the 2010 season in which he scored 4 goals for the first-year Union, Fred was made available to other MLS team in the Re-Entry Draft. New England Revolution selected him, but he declined in an effort to find foreign suitors. When none emerged he returned to former club DC United. Featuring 17 times early in 2011 under Ben Olsen, but failing to score a goal, Fred finally secured a mid-season move to Australia where he now plays for the Heart, across town from another of his former employers, Melbourne Victory.
Shea Salinas – San Jose Earthquakes
Yet another player to swap Philadelphia for Vancouver, Salinas appeared 26 times for Vancouver in their first season in MLS. More injury concerns and a lack of consistency saw Salinas again moved out of town, as he returns to San Jose for 2012 where he began his MLS career in 2008. Still only 25 years old, Salinas will be looking for a clean bill of health as he tries to turn around his fortunes of late.
Eduardo Coudet – Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)
At 37 years old, the bleach-blond Argentine is still getting after it with 6 goals scored in 11 appearances for Fort Lauderdale in 2011. Having appeared more than 100 times for famous Argentine club River Plate, Chacho also has Spanish club Celta Vigo, and Mexican sides San Luis and Necaxa, on his CV.
Nick Zimmerman – Carolina RailHawks (NASL)
Another of the original Union players acquired in the 2009 MLS Expansion Draft, Zimmerman could not make the cut following a full season in Philadelphia in which he featured eight times for the Union, including one start. He rediscovered his shooting boots in 2011, scoring 5 for the RailHawks and will look for an even more productive 2012 as he auditions for another shot at MLS.
Morgan Langley – Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Following a collegiate career at Swarthmore College and a strong start to his pro career in Harrisburg, Langley earned a call up to the Union in 2011. While he did appear once for the club, it was not enough to secure a permanent spot and the 22-year-old speedster will begin 2012 back with the Harrisburg City Islanders.
Toni Stahl – Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL)
A folk icon in Philadelphia, Stahl was played out of position in the first match of his, and the club’s, professional lives. His red card in Seattle after 41 minutes will forever live in the minds of the Union faithful and he never again featured in MLS. Since his departure from the Union, he has found a home in Fort Lauderdale where he plays alongside other Union alum.
David Myrie – Limon (Costa Rica)
MLS was not the place for Myrie and it only took one appearance to see how overmatched he was. Following his release by the Union, Myrie returned to Costa Rican side Limon in 2011 and even took a brief European holiday with Norwegian side Fredrikstad. He appeared twice in Norway’s top division, even grabbing himself a goal, before returning to Limon for the 2012 season.
Ryan Richter – Out of Contract
An attacking talent at La Salle, Richter found himself used as a utility defender with the Union. Richter was released after the 2011 season before he could make an appearance and is currently trying to earn a roster spot with DC United.
Levi Houapeu – Out of Contract
MIA after injuries prevented him from earning any minutes for the Union in 2011.
Stefani Miglioranzi – Out of Contract
After an early career in England with Portsmouth and Swindon Town, Miglioranzi featured prominently for the LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew before his acquisition by the Union in the 2009 Expansion Draft. He appeared 43 times for Philadelphia in his two years at PPL Park, logging over 3000 minutes.
Joe Tait – Out of Contract
After 17 appearances for the Dayton Dutch Lions in the PDL, Tait joined the Union following a successful trial. Injuries hampered his early days with the club and, with international spots in high demand, Tait was released on January 29, 2012.
Juan Diego Gonzalez – Out of Contract
Despite receiving significant compensation in 2011, Diego Gonzalez failed to make a single appearance for the Union after arriving as a stop-gap measure for a leaky defense in 2010. Since being cut by the Union, no clubs have come in for his services.
Chris Agorsor – Out of Contract
After recovering from a serious knee injury while in college at the University of Virginia, Agorsor could not carve out a place for himself with the Union. After being waived by Philadelphia, a trial with Real Salt Lake bore fruit for Agorsor and he made his professional debut on October 6, 2011 against the Whitecaps. On February 10, RSL waived Agorsor and he is currently in search of a new club.
Veljko Paunovic – Retired
Paunovic came out of retirement to join the Union and offered a gritty, physical style of play that made him a fan favorite. Being run into the ground and missing vital matches at the end of 2011 was an unfair way for the classy Paunovic to round off an excellent career that included stops at Spanish clubs Atletico Madrid, Getafe, Tenerife and Almeria.
Have questions that you’d like the PSP’s Eli Pearlman-Storch to answer in a post? Send them to [email protected] along with your full name and where you live, both in PPL Park and in the world, and he will get to them in an upcoming post on the Philly Soccer Page.