At the party for the 10th season inspired kit Marco Fabián was announced as the newest Philadelphia Union signing. Fabián is the Union’s newest Designated player to join Philadelphia. The Mexican international signs an officially undisclosed deal however, sources say the transfer sum approached $2 million. Fabián is also rumored to have inked a one-year with, with options for two additional years. It is unknown who holds those options, either the player or the team.
Biggest signing in Club history: Marco Fabián
So you may have heard this phrase one too many times already since Philadelphia announced the signing of their newest star: the biggest signing in franchise team history. But it’s true. Sure, the Union have collected some highly touted names like Alejandro Bedoya but known like Fabián. Fabián is world-renowned for his skill and charisma off the pitch. The Mexico native spoke from the heart multiple times throughout his interview with local media. He is truly satisfied with his decision to come to Philadelphia and to be an impact player.
Because that’s exactly what head coach Jim Curtin and Sporting Director Ernst Tanner are hoping to get from Fabián. Similar to Borek Dockal last year, Fabián will be the go-to player this season mainly because of his technical abilities on and off the ball. He’s gained that skill by working his way through a rather impressive career track to date. He appeared on two Mexico World Cup teams earning 42 career caps so far.
Fabián’s price-tag, if it is in fact accurately reported to be near $2 million, will be the highest paid transfer fee yet from Philadelphia. Which is perhaps the most important takeaway from the day’s news. Philadelphia have done away with their past habits of staying mediocre and uneventful in transfer windows. The 2019 Union splashed cash in a major way. In a way which positions them among the Eastern Conference top-tier as a pre-season playoff contender.
Change is inevitable. Growth is optional. The rest of MLS changed for years as Philadelphia remained the same when it came to spending money on big name players. However, Philadelphia may have finally found the winning formula: a solid core of youth talent + a steady midfield + a highly talented DP = chance at big improvement. Over the last decade, the franchise struggled to fulfill those last two pieces. The youth was always there, but now they have veteran star power with Fabián roaming the midfield. Expect his impact to be immediately felt once the season gets underway.
The impact on the field:
As far as what exactly Fabián can bring to a game? Well, plenty.
He is technically gifted, there is simply no arguing that. But one of Fabián’s most respected characteristics is his ability to settle into games in ways that allows his true leadership talent to take hold. In other words, he plays the game with a unique sense of comfort in the middle of the pitch. Picture Dockal last season on the ball. The Czech always seemed to be in good positions and displayed great touch but at times he displayed some hesitation on the ball. With Fabián those hitches aren’t always present. Which makes him a true upgrade at the number 10 spot.
Fabián sensed a career change opportunity that he could utilize in not only his own personal favor but also to support an MLS club eager to gain national respect. Perhaps Fabián envisions a fruitful MLS career here in Philadelphia. Perhaps the ‘youth movement’ has finally reach its peak. Perhaps Fabián can be that missing piece Union fans have ached for.
Quotes from Fabián:
When asked why he came to Philadelphia…
“I came here because I want to help take this club to the next level. This team is ready to win now.”
On what he can bring to Philadelphia considering his extensive professional and international career…
“I can definitely play the position. And offensively, the most important part for me is to find the strikers and to understand the striker and the way they play.”
On what he has to say to the Latino community as he embarks on an MLS journey…
“I am very excited to see them and for them to see me play. I wish for them to share in my happiness and my winnings.”
On what he thought of Union fans cheering and singing when he arrived…
“I feel so good. When I listen and they sing my name, and when I meet everybody here with the team… it feels like my house. And that’s the most important thing to feel. Now I need to come back and leave my everything on the pitch. I feel so happy.”
On playing a creative style of soccer…
“A lot of players forget the joy in the game and you have to be comfortable. For me I lose myself on the pitch and become a kid again almost.”
Photos/video from the event:
Fabián spoke with Philadelphia Union owner Jay Sugarman, and some of his new teammates.
Marco spoke with media members and gave thumbs up to the fans as he was unveiled.
Ernst Tanner’s 2019 Philadelphia Union
Tanner continues to pull the right strings at the helm of Philadelphia Union. He is very straightforward in his vision for the club and the addition of Fabian speaks volumes. Tanner senses an opportunity to win just like Fabian. As the season rapidly approaches, Philadelphia’s roster continues to fill out as well. Here’s a look at the current depth chart.
Goalkeeper : Andre Blake, Matthew Freese, Carlos Miguel Coronel
Right Back: Ray Gaddis, Olivier Mbaizo
Left Back: Kai Wagner, Matt Real, Fabinho
Center Back: Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Aurelien Collin, Jack Elliot
Midfield: Marco Fabian, Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin, Brendan Aaronson, Ilsinho, Derrick Jones, Anthony Fontana, Warren Creavalle
Forward: Sergio Santos, Cory Burke, Fafa Picault, CJ Sapong, Kacper Przybylko, David Accam
One major change in the style of play for Philadelphia in 2019 will be the absence of the usual winger positions. Which means a two-striker system will be the look for Curtin and his group. As of now, position battles are heated especially at the forward position with just two starting spots available for forwards this year as opposed to a top three in 2018. The midfield is expected to form a diamond of sorts while remaining narrow in an attempt to clog the central areas of the pitch. The center of the field is where Philadelphia could thrive with perhaps three elite MLS midfielders making up the major chunk of that midfield diamond.
The only potential weak spot for Philadelphia will be their ability to both create width and defend the wide areas. The left and right back positions are perhaps the most stretched position on the pitch if this new style of play is exacted. Not only will the outside backs be expected to perform as full backs defensively, they’ll be called upon to provide width in the attack as roaming wing backs. Which could easily open them up whenever turnovers arise.
But optimism rang true Friday night. Philly Union faithful came out in large numbers to welcome Fabian and other Union players as everyone preps for the club’s tenth MLS season.
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: Matt McClain – Philly Sports Network