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Union Fans Must be Patient But Results are Already Showing on the Pitch

Earnie Stewart reshuffled and restacked this 2016 Union squad when he was named sporting director this past offseason photo from:

Earnie Stewart reshuffled and re-stacked this 2016 Union squad when he was named sporting director this past off-season
photo from:

When former U.S. international Earnie Stewart took over the reigns as Sporting Director for the Philadelphia Union, he inherited a squad of little talent and in need of a major overhaul.

Overhaul however, doesn’t even begin to describe the work Stewart did in reshaping and restructuring this team.

Building from the backline, Stewart had to know that the only certainty was Andre Blake in goal.

From there, Stewart reshaped the squad this offseason to create a blend of veterans and youngsters and more importantly, stylistically, a squad that could possess the ball.

It will take a while for chemistry to develop, but results are already showing as the Union have garnered 3 points from the season’s first two matches; a trip to MLS playoff teams Dallas and Columbus.

The latter resulted in an improbable victory over the MLS Cup finalist Columbus Crew.   One of Earnie Stewart’s prized offseason acquisitions, Chris Pontius formerly of DC United, struck twice including the tiebreaking goal in the 71st minute.

The opener against Dallas, despite a 2-0 defeat, was a hard-fought contest that showed the Union playing toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in MLS.

From the outfield squad that finished 2015 with a season only Fabinho, Richie Marques, CJ Sapong, Barnetta (who did not feature yesterday against Columbus), Edu (who is currently injured), and LeToux figure to feature prominently this season.

It is always tough to integrate even one new player into the  squad, and for the Union, it will be integrating several.

MLS draftees Keegan Roseberry and Josh Yaro will be slowly integrated at the backline with Roseberry featuring against the Crew.  As well as talented attacking midfielder Fabian Hebers who was available for selection but did not enter the game.

Along with the youngsters, Stewart added some veterans such as Pontius and Alberg who can impact the squad and help bring along a player like Herbers who plays the same position.

Stewart also brought in veteran defender Anderson, a Brazilian with experience in South America, and brought back MLS experienced Warren Creavalle to help bring along Roseberry and Yaro.

In this way, youngsters aren’t forced into action right away, and the Union can help build a style that is more possession and less chasing the ball.

It will take a while, but with results like yesterday’s win over the Crew already in the bag, glimpses of a bright future are evident.

However, Union fans must be ready for bumps in the road this season, but it is obvious Stewart has this squad headed in the right direction.

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