Earlier this month, Jay Sugarman vowed to spend more money this off-season to buy talented players. As the Philadelphia Union’s majority owner Sugarman ultimately has the final say on what or who the team sends his checks to. When backed into a corner by Union fans and reporters alike, Sugarman declared he would indeed open that check book of his to improve his team heading into the 2018 season.
Sugarman must keep his word
I want to see it happen. That’s my ‘Holiday Wish’ if you will. It has become much too obvious that Philadelphia lags behind the rest of the league when it comes to splashing the cash during transfer windows. Partly due to an owner, who despite his name, lacks the sugar to compete with fellow MLS owners like Arthur Blank (Atlanta United), the LA money machine who’s ownership group includes 29 people made up of celebrities and business people alike (LAFC), or the megacompany Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment which maintains the star-studded budget of Toronto FC. But Sugarman and the Union organization have to at least try to contend.
If they do spend, the player must have some notoriety. In order to generate not only more wins but more interest in the Union throughout the Philadelphia region, it’s important whatever new player arrives, he has to be well-known enough to put more butts in the seats. The numbers show that attendance has decreased slowly year-over-year until this most recent season which saw the lowest attendance levels in franchise history.
Considering the drop in attendance is directly related with continued losing seasons and chances at the playoffs consistently slipping through the Union’s grasp, the money spent will hopefully kill two birds with one stone. Increase team’s performances and overall win-loss record while generating more ticket revenue and interest in soccer around the city.
The four most recent signings brought in by the Union are all fine and well but they simply make sense on paper and don’t really scream, “Look at us!” Cory Burke received a very deserving pay raise and league promotion after performing above expectations for both club and country the past two years. Fabinho and Ilsinho are brought back as well as Fabian Herbers as mere roster maintenance acquisitions. They all will have specific roles whether it be temporary starter at LB for Fabinho, a sporadic rotational midfielder in Ilsinho, or a speedy winger who spot starts from time to time in Herbers. All four moves are smart money moves and can help create a solid foundation for the roster and team to build from heading deeper into the 2018 MLS offseason.
Sugarman needs to be generous this Holiday season and drop some change both in dollars and cents worth and in terms of roster moves to uplift an organization with a solid young-core on their roster in preparation for what will hopefully, dare I say it, a winning season.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports