Philadelphia Union shopping list: Veteran center back targets


Earnie Stewart has stated that the Union are not done with this transfer window.The Left back position has been addressed (Giliano Wijnaldum). Striker depth has also been upgraded (Jay Simpson). The Union are still looking to gain another box-to-box midfielder, and also a veteran center back. The Union will need to address these positions with American born players, since their international slots are all filled. However, if the Ilsinho gets his green card soon, or if the Union trade for an international slot then this scenario will change a bit. That being said, there are potential veteran center back targets the Union could/should be pursuing!

There are plenty of American center backs that are seasoned vets. Most of them are very affordable, and can help provide leadership that the current back line lacks. Lets look at some seasoned MLS vets, who are now free agents, the Union could use to stiffen up their back line!

There are a few names that stick out from the free agent list, but center back is one position that is well represented. Three, American, center back vets on the list stick out. They are, Nat Borchers, David Horst, and Marvell Wynne. Lets look at the upside and downside of signing these three veterans.


Nat Borchers:

Borchers is currently a free agent in MLS. According to Borchers is worth $450,000. A modest price for a two-time MLS cup winner. Borchers would bring his experience and grit to a young back line that desperately needs that! His upsides include: being a strong/physical ball winner, having played in over 360 MLS games, and being able to be the teacher to the young Union defense. His down side include: being 35 and in the last few years of his career, and the fact that he’s coming off an Achilles injury that kept him out for the last three and a half months of the season.

Borchers will still be a good player this coming season, and perhaps next season. If he came to the Union, then Philly’s back line would be improved. However, coming off an Achilles injury and possibly only having two years of playing time left could scare the Union away from this two-time champion.


David Horst: 

Horst is out of contract at Houston. The 6′ 3″ Brooding center back would make a great addition to Philadelphia. His worth on is $500,000. If signed, the 31-year-old would bring eight years of experience to the Union back line.  Upsides for Horst are: he is a tall and physical center back, his defensive positioning and talent  is very high, and he needs a fresh start after being on a poor Houston Dynamo side last season. Downsides for Horst are: he hasn’t had any playoff experience, he has been a bit of journeyman who hasn’t had consistent center back partnerships.

Horst could be the veteran Philly needs. The journeyman needs a fresh start, and consistency in a center back partner. The Union can offer both of these! For Horst, his upsides out way his downsides. He is a tall physical veteran who still has plenty of years to play. Philadelphia could be a place for him to stay put for years to come, if the Union want to spend half a million dollars to get him.


Marvell Wynne:

A lovely writer over at Brotherly Game wants the Union to sign veteran center back Marvell Wynne. His value on is $450,000.  He would be a good option at center back and can also cover right back as well. Wynne Upside is that he is physical defender that has blazing speed, and can play multiple positions. His downside is his size; he’s only 5′ 9″.

Wynne’s size could scare the Union away , but his physicality and speed could out-weigh the concerns. If the Union choose this route they will get a thirty year old duel-positioned defender who has played in MLS since 2006! Him at center back might not make the best option, but he should be considered based on his pace, physicality and veteran prowess.

These three players could come to the Union and make a difference. All three are looking for new places to play in 2017. For reasonable prices, the Union can acquire three seasoned vets. One who won MLS cup twice (Nat Borchers). Another who is tall and physical (David Horst). Or one who is physical and pacey (Marvell Wynne). These options are good, but if the Union are looking for a veteran center back who can also be a holding midfielder, then they should consider Jonathan Spector.


Jonathan Spector:

Spector is an American center back who has played most of his years abroad in England. A product of the Chicago Fire Academy, Spector never actually made it to MLS. He transferred to Manchester United’s U 18’s and then stayed in England, playing for Man U., Charlton, West Ham, and Birmingham. His value on is $1 million dollars. Which would be a steep price, but if the Union want an experienced player they’ll get one in Spector. His upsides include: Being a well-rounded defender, being able to play right back, and being able to play as a holding midfielder. His downside is only his price tag.

If the Union want to spend money and get a player who could sure up the back line, help foster young players, and be depth for right back and holding midfield, then they should get Spector. He is a player who could come in totally solidify the back line. He has some pace, he’s decently physical, he’s a good dribbler and has great positioning. Spector’s experience abroad and internationally is an excellent addition. Playing with Man U., and having 32 caps for USMNT, would give Union young defenders a lot to learn from.

These are just a few targets that are out there. The Union need an experienced center back to push and mold their young guys. These players can do that! The Union will, no doubt, look for a player that fits the teams mold. I think these four experienced fit the Union’s mold quite nicely. We will see if Earnie Stewart thinks the same way down the road!

Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network later in the week; more Union transfer targets will be discussed and looked into! The next area to address is a box-to-box midfielder! Until next time, peace out Union fans!


Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports