The Philadelphia Union has extended Jack Elliot’s contract! He now has a contract with the club, like his counterpart Jakob Glesnes does, until 2024, with a club option for 2025. This is huge news for a Union side that is just getting their 2022 preseason started. Now they know that Jack Elliot will be fully focused on the action on the pitch as Philly looks to push for their first-ever MLS Cup in 2022.
Union extend Jack Elliot
The Union having Elliot’s contract locked up for 2022, 2023, and 2024 means that they will now have three full seasons of consistency and strength from the central defense. It’s no secret that the Union’s main strength in the past few seasons has come from a solid backline. Elliot and Glesnes are the centerpieces of that success. Now Elliot will look to keep that success moving forward for the Union in 2022.
Elliot played in 33 of the Union’s 34 regular season matches in 2021. In that time, he played as the left-centerback, meaning he was always playing with his weaker foot. You’d hardly notice that though, as the Union secured 13 clean sheets on the season. This was tied for the most in the league and helped the Union make a deep playoff run. Add onto that, two goals and two assists on the season; as well as, a converted penalty kick in the eastern conference semifinals, and you have about as complete of a player as you can get. Ernst Tanner thought the same, which led to this contract extension.
Tanner’s thoughts on Elliot
Ernst Tanner has seen what this Union team can accomplish when their defense is solid. It’s no doubt that he saw what the Union has in Jack Elliot, as he did with Jakob Glesnes back in December. It was the best thing for the club to sure up the team’s great centrebacks. Here’s what Tanner had to say about Elliot and the contract extension:
“Over his five seasons with the Union, Jack has developed and proven himself to be one of the best defenders in Major League Soccer. His combination of size and skill has been a key component to the team’s continued growth and success, consistently leading the Union to be one of the top teams with the fewest goals allowed in the league. Recently, Jack showed his positional versatility and helped us overcome unprecedented challenges to make the deepest playoff run in our club’s history.”– Philadelphia Union Sporting Director, Ernst Tanner
Now the Union has a true core to build on with their defensive structure. Whether or not the outside backs are consistent or not, Philly knows they’ll have Elliot and Glesnes in the middle and Blake in net for the foreseeable future. Could this signing be a major piece to solving the ultimate puzzle; could this be the move that helps the Union win their first MLS Cup?
Union secure three years of elite centerback play
With Elliot signing an extension to at least 2024, and Glesnes having signed a similar deal back in December, the Union now knows that it will be hard for teams to score on them. Elliot and Glesnes paired together helped the Union get to their first-ever eastern conference final, the next logical step is for the two to help this team win some more hardware. It’s looking like the Union’s keeper and backline will be unchanged from their great 2021 run. This will allow for them to do what they do best, shut down the opposition.
The Union was top-five in MLS last year in goals conceded per match. On average they only allowed one goal per match. If this team’s backline is intact and has more time to grow chemistry heading into 2022, then there’s no reason they can’t be even better than that. The Union as a team were second in the league in successful tackles, averaging 11.5 tackles per match. This is due to how the team likes to play a pressing style of soccer. With the backline now sured-up, and the midfield raring to pick up here they left off in 2021, it’ll be up to the Union’s revamped attack (still a work in progress) to truly make this team an MLS Cup contender in 2022.
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Mandatory Credit: PHILADELPHIA UNION, ANDREW ZWARYCH