Carlos Valdes has been loaned out to Nacional. Now the Philadelphia Union can start making moves with additional player signings to the team. This morning Jonathan Tannenwald retweeted Valdes signing his contract with Nacional. This hasn’t been confirmed yet by the Union but as always MLS is slow in announcing news. But you would think with this photo retweeted by Jonathan Tannenwald, it will be official soon.
With Valdes now off the budget, the Union has targeted Steven Vitória of Benfica. He is a 28 and listed at 6’5″ and is said to be good moving the ball forward with his feet and excels in heading, marking and scoring ability, especially from the penalty spot. This is the type of player you would want in the Eastern Conference as it is now loaded with Designated Player strikers and attacking midfielders. Now the question is how much of the budget will Vitória take to sign? Will he be a DP and take the last spot the Union have or will they still have that available to them?
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Looking at the move, it is easy to see this player would fit right into what Jim Curtin has been looking for going into the 2015 season. One of the points Curtin made was the Union were a little small and needed to add some size. Vitória would check the boxes in many different categories. He could be the link for playing out of the back; something Ethan White doesn’t excel at.
With this move it gives the Union an option to move Maurice Edu back into the midfield. This would also strength the spine of the Union as Edu is still the best defensive mid on the team. Last year Curtin was very high on White and Edu would more than likely prefer to play as a defensive midfielder. If the Union can secure Vitória, their attention would then focus on a speedy striker. Curtin has mentioned he would like to add a forward with a different dynamic, to go along with forwards C.J. Sapong, Conor Casey and draft pick Dzenan Catic.
With the uproar of Union fans not adding any new signings of significance to the team, this could be a good one. Curtin and Chris Albright look like they have a plan based around stopping other teams from scoring and a quick counter attack. They had moments last year were the Union looked quite good playing this style; but lacked the consistency of a true scorer. They also suffered from giving up late goals that cost them wins or ties in the last 15 minutes of a game.
Is Vitória the answer and can they find the speedy striker to finish the off the vision of the team that Jim Curtin thinks can get them to the playoffs? Stay tuned.