Welcome to Union Update! The weekly column that discusses everything Philadelphia Union from the past seven days! We’ll have these articles up every Tuesday! In this edition, we will look at the Union’s roster needs, the uncertainty surrounding the MLS’s collective bargaining agreement and the new 2021 fan-created jersey. Union Update 2/2/21.
Union Update 2/1/21
As we move into the second month of 2021, there is a lot of news swirling around. It can be a lot to keep up with, here are some storylines to follow as we start the first week of February.
Union sure up current roster but need to bring talent in to push for silverware
As far as a roster-build for the 2021 season, the Union has focused on the current roster before bringing in new players.
It has been great to see the players that brought the first trophy to Philadelphia rewarded with new contracts. It gives them the motivation to continue to play at a high level for the Union; and gives them confidence in the possibility to raise their stock. Tanner most definitely is going for a win-win-win situation here. If players like Kai Wagner or Jose “El Brujo” Martinez are able to play at a high level, then other higher-profile teams will inquire about their services. This in turn means the club could get a better return than what they paid to bring these players to Philly and allows for the player’s careers to flourish. This is a great business plan, but on the flip side, there are no new players added to the Union’s roster.
This is unusual for Ernst Tanner, who has signed at least one new player before the start of preseason over his tenure. Preseason is still scheduled to begin at the end of February, but a possible lockout looms over MLS due to rehashing the CBA. Could Ernst Tanner not be signing players because MLS is heading closer to a lockout?
Lockout looms over MLS due to uncertain CBA negotiations
As of right now, we are seeing many MLS players secure short term loans to other clubs, many in Europe. There have been at least five of these loans over the last few weeks. The loans came on the heels of the League extending deadlines to negotiate with the MLS Players Association (MLSPA).
The MLSPA put out a statement that they were willing to work with the League and that they wanted to play the 2021 season and avoid a lockout. However, the League did not budge in their stance pushing the deadline for negotiation to this coming Thursday, Feb. 4 at midnight. If a deal can not be reached then the league will lock out its players.
This is obviously, an extreme measure, and the League looks to want to undo the CBA that was put into place pre-pandemic. It seems that the loss of the revenue is too much of a sticking point for the owners who contemplate another Covid-19 afflicted season. We’ll see the outcome early Friday morning, and will have more clarification then on what next steps are going to be taken.
While this is definitely somber news, the clubs are still preparing for a 2021 season. With that comes new jersey’s, and the Union have announced when theirs will be released.
Fan-designed jersey to be released tomorrow, Feb. 3!
The new 2021 kit, which is rumored to be quite something will be unveiled on Wednesday, Feb. 3. With that comes the playful kit teases. Like the one above using kittens with different Gold and Blue collars, and eyes. You can also see some Philadelphia symbols in the cat photo, which makes me think of Ben Franklin. Could that be a clue for what the kit might look like?
We do know that this jersey is the one that a fan panel helped the club create with Adidas templates. Could this mean that this one will move away from the very generic kits we’ve seen in the past few years? We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to know for sure!
I wouldn’t be surprised if this kit is unique. It may not be as crazy or different as many would want, but there’s no denying that since fans were involved in its creation that it will be the talk of Union Twitter after its unveiled.
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Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire