Philadelphia Union shopping list: Box-to-box midfielders


Earnie Stewart has shown certain tendencies as Union sporting director. One of those tendencies, is to sure up every position of the field. Having at least two quality players at each position, creates healthy competition within the team. Earnie has said this offseason that left back, striker, center back, and a box-to-box midfielder were spots that needed another quality player. Left back (Giliano Wijnaldum), and Striker (Jay Simpson), have already been addressed by Philadelphia. We took a look at possible center back targets, the only area left to explore is that central midfield spot. Remember that the Union are out of international player slots; these targets will reflect that! Here are who the Union Box-to-box midfield targets could/should be!

Cristian Higuita:

Christian Higuita has been an important part of Orlando City SC squad since the teams inception. Over the two years of being with OCSC, Higuita has been the ultimate role-player. He’s been able to play the both defensive midfield spots; holding or box-to-box. He also can play the 10 role if needed. In the two seasons at Orlando City Higuita played 47 games, and every time he was in he gave 100%

Orlando City fans praise his high intensity style of play. He will run like hell for his team. Put him in the box-to-box role, and he can harrow attackers and start a transition going forward. He’s good in tight spaces; creating and connecting short passes to teammates. He’s physical and tenacious, especially on the defensive side. This has produced 20 yellow cards and one red over two seasons.

All of these qualities could make Higuita a great Philadelphia Union player. Higuita is Columbian, but has a green card, so the Union don’t have to worry about him being an international player. His transfer value is set at $750,000, but that could drop if Orlando are trying to make salary space. Higuita could come in and push Bedoya for the number eight role, or could take that role if Bedoya is moved to fill the 10 spot!

Dillon Powers:

Dillon Powers is a player who can fill any spot in center midfield, and can also play the wing! He’s a player who has been gaining international interest over the past few years because of his talents. If the Union were to go out and get Powers they’d be gaining a player with great attacking abilities.

Powers is a great passer, short or long, especially when going forward. He the vision to pick out the right pass when in the attacking third; composure is another element Powers has when moving forward. Powers is also very strong on, and off, the ball, and has great shot power. He is also a long shot specialist. Over four seasons of play with Colorado, Powers has 14 goals and 23 assists.

It is obvious that Powers has the making of a great attacking box-to-box midfielder, who can also cover the 10 role and play the wing. Powers’ is clearly an offense first kind of midfielder; therefore, he is much like Alejandro Bedoya. Powers Transfer value is high; $950,000. The Union may be less willing to go for a player who has similar qualities as Bedoya, and a rising price tag, but his addition would help the club cover depth at three different positions.


Mix Diskerud:

Mix Diskerud has had been on the down swing for the past season at NYCFC.  When Diskerud was brought into the mix of NYCFC’s expansion season he was playing in the center of the field as a box to-box player. Then when NYCFC brought in Pirlo, Mix’s playing time diminished. He’s had trouble finding the field, and now the US International seems to need a new home to revitalize his career. Philly would be a great place for him to compete for playing time, and get back into the USMNT mix.

Diskerud has quality across the board. He’s a great passer, can keep possession of the ball, and is a fine dribbler. He’s got decent speed, agility, and is a player who can play a full 90 minutes when called upon. His positioning in the middle of the park is good, which leads to him breaking up the oppositions play  when he’s in the box-to-box role. He is a little weaker on the defensive side when it comes to sticking himself into tackle’s, but his defensive composure is high. He won’t go into a tackle he doesn’t think he can win. All in all he is a decently rounded player.

Mix is similar to Powers and Bedoya, in that he has the offense first mentality; however, he is a great fit for the Union. He is a falling star, who is looking for redemption. He’s an underdog, who wants a new place to call home. You can’t get more Philly than that! His transfer value is low for a player of his caliber; only 700,000. This figure can go even lower if NYCFC really want to find Mix a new club. The Union would be smart to play hardball with NYCFC to try to get Mix’s price even lower.

The Union can sure up their central midfield with any of these three players. Higuita and Diskerud are the two most affordable right now, and are both on the way out of their current clubs. Powers is more expensive, but can cover three different positions for Philly. All of these players would help bolster the box-to-box midfield spot. They could also take the spot outright, and allow the Union to use Bedoya as their number 10. Only time will tell if the Union are looking at these players. However, we can be sure that Earnie is working magic behind the scenes to bring in more talent to the Union.

Be on the look out for more from Philly Sports Network. Upcoming pieces include the unveiling of the MLS Schedule, and the Union’s second round super draft picks. Preseason is only one week away Union fans!


Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports