Previewing the Union’s starting 11 for 2017 season opener: Left Wing

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in the 2016 offseason, the Union took a chance at acquiring at acquiring Chris Pontius. That gamble payed off last season, his team leading 12 goals helped him become the MLS comeback player of the year. His strong play helped him earn an international call up for the USMNT, and saw him get his first caps with the team. He looks poised for an even stronger 2017. Pontius has the left-wing position on lock down, even with new additions.

The Union added some new pieces to help with winger depth. Fafa Picault, brings speed to a slow Philadelphia team. While, rookie Marcus Epps has shown promise during the preseason. Neither of these newcomers will dethronePontius on the left-wing, but it’s good that the Union now have depth at this spot. Pontius looks to mentor these young wingers; as well as, lead the Union on the field in 2017.

Pontius’ game greatly benefits the Union. He does a great job of moving up and down the left-wing in transition. He can help defensively, and knows when to push the play forward when on the ball. His cutting inside to create space to play a ball/take a shot is impeccable. He’s also an aerial threat on set pieces; Chris is great at winning headers/creating chances in the air. Pontius has the spot for the game at Vancouver, and if he’s at his best he will have an impact on the game.

Pontius will continue to be the workhorse on the offensive side for the Union. The team relied on his ability to create a chance  at times in 2016. They may need his creative ability again in Vancouver. If Pontius can’t find a way to create offense for the Union, they will likely struggle the same way they did late in the preseason.

The Union’s starting lineup is almost complete. Here’s what the starting 11 looks like so far! Come back to Philly Sports Network for more on the Union’s starting 11 for Sunday. Until then Peace Out Union fans!

 

Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

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