Philadelphia signed winger Fabrice “Fafa” Picault thursday evening. While you might not know his name now, you’ll know it soon. The 23-year-old winger has blazing speed, and is an incredible athlete. Earnie has praised the Young winger attacking abilities; saying, “He provides depth for us and brings a lot of excitement with his speed and ability to move up and down the pitch.” This speedy winger will likely start as a backup, but he is fighting for a starting spot on one of the wings in camp. Could Fafa beat out one of the Union’s veteran wingers? or do they have another spot on the field in mind for Fafa?
With this signing the Union have really solidified a spot that was thin in 2016. the wingers on the Union roster at the start of last season were: Ilson Jr. (Ilsinho changed his name to Ilson Jr. last week) Pontius, Restrepo, Ayuk and Fernandes. Herbers was moved to the wing because he was valued higher than any other backup winger. This coming season, not only is the entire roster better, there is loads of quality at the winger position.
Here’s my crack at a Union depth chart as things currently stand: pic.twitter.com/iomkNo6wvj
— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) February 1, 2017
As you can see, each position now has two-three players that are quality players. there can be movement at these spots, anyone can play their way into a starting role, including Fafa.
Fafa brings a crucial quality that some on this list do not, that quality is speed. His speed is something that has impressed both Stewart and Curtin in the short amount of time he’s been training with the team. If Fafa can show his deadly pace off in the preseason matches against MLS sides, then I think he could speed his way up the depth chart. here’s some highlights of what Fafa can do:
One thing that is notable, other than his speed of course, is Fafa’s ability to control the ball on the wing. He can receive the ball, with his back to goal in his own half. After he possess the ball he picks his head up to find other players. After he find’s another player, he uses his speed to catch up with the play or move forward down the wing to give his team an option. Another aspect Fafa has is his crossing ability. When in the final third he has his head up looking to pick someone out in the box. This type of play, combined with, lightning pace creates a huge upside for the Union.
Fafa can also score goals from the wing or from playing striker. He has a good strike that can catch defenders off guard. This coupled with his pace, and possession skills , make him a dangerous attacking option for the Union attack.
If Philadelphia chooses to use Fafa as a sub, he will make his presence felt late in games. When opposing outside back start to ware down in the last 15-20 minutes, bring on Fafa and have him wreak havoc. This seems to be the ideal role for Fafa at the moment, and is something Union fans should be very excited about!
Fafa got his start in USL soccer with Tampa Bay Rowdies (2012) and Fort Lauderdale Strikers (2014). He then made it over to Europe playing for AC Sparta Prague (2015) and FC St. Pauli (2015-2017). Picault has one US Mens National team cap. His addition to the Union gives Philadelphia another USMNT capped player. Other USMNT capped players are Bedoya, Onyewu, Davies, Edu, Carroll, Pontius, Derick Jones (U-20) and Austin Trusty (U-20).
The Union now have depth at every position. They have filled all of their spots with players that “fit the Union mold” Only time will tell how much of an impact Fafa will have on this team!
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Union news this weekend! Until then Union fans, peace out!