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


For the last half of 2016, the Union had no consistency from their striker. CJ Sapong went on a tear from March to June, and was nowhere to be found after that. The club brought in Charlie Davies mid-season to push Sapong, but that didn’t work out too well. The Union went into the offseason knowing they needed someone who was a proven goal scorer to come into their side. Enter Jay Simpson.

Simpson was a surprising name to many, especially with the rumors of Kolbeinn Sigthorsson floating around. The little known striker was brought up in the Arsenal academy in England. After featuring for Arsenal a handful of times, he made the rounds in other English teams across different divisions. During his time in England, Simpson had a knack for scoring. He’s has talent, experience and needed a new start. He’ll find that new start in Philadelphia.

Simpson had a decent showing throughout preseason. He offers a different option from Sapong. Sapong plays the majority of his game with his back to goal. He is a great target forward, but rarely had the opportunity to turn and get a shot on goal. Simpson is a smaller more tactical player. He looks to run off of defenders to make space for himself to receive the ball. This then creates chances for the team. Both strikers possess qualities good for the team, but only one can play in the teams system.

Sapong had a good preseason, but his inconsistency will cost him the starting role. Simpsons fresh face, and his change of pace at the striker position. Simpson should be able to use his speed, and ability to create against a Vancouver back line without center back Kendal Watson.

Simpson will be the starter Sunday, and that wraps up the starting lineup! Come back to Philly Sports Network for who will fill out the rest of the 18, and what head coach Jim Curtin thinks of the first test of 2017 later. Until then, peace out Union fans.