The Union has done it! They signed a DP striker Mikael Uhre! His 67 goals across the last three-and-a-half seasons are coming to Philly! Now the signing is complete, the Union’s roster is almost complete with four weeks until the start of the 2022 season. Could the addition of Uhre be the final piece to the puzzle that sees the Union an MLS Cup?
Mikael Uhre was brought in from Danish club Brøndby IF for a transfer fee that breaks the Union’s all-time record. The Union reportedly paid Brøndby $2.8 million for their new DP striker, and reports also state they going to pay Uhre $1.5 million for his salary (which would be the second-highest salary in team history behind Marco Fabian’s $1.83 million.) Uhre’s addition makes the Union’s striker core better, as there has not yet been a player like Uhre with Philly. Ernst Tanner said as much speaking about the Union’s new striker.
“We have been following Mikael for some time as he has developed and risen through the Danish Superliga, and we are excited to complete this deal to bring him to the Union. We are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our roster and we believe Mikael, having become a top player in Denmark, is a good fit for our system and will be an integral piece in our continued growth as a club. We are looking forward to welcoming him as we build on the success of last year and turn our attention to the 2022 season.”Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner
Uhre will be with the Union once they get the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 Visa. Obviously, he will occupy an international roster slot, but his addition will be a welcome one! Could he be the one to help the Union get over that hump and make it to and win an MLS Cup?
Pace, smart runs, and GOALS
Now that we know that Uhre is officially a Union player, it’s time to look deeper at how he will play/fit it with Philly. The first thing Union fans should look at when it comes to Uhre is obviously his goal scoring. The 67 goals in four seasons speak to his quality, but what might be missed is his pace and the smart runs he makes. One translation from danish to English listed Uhre as a “Target Fox,” I’d have to assume this means he’s a good target forward and a fox in the box, but let’s look even deeper at his attributes.
Part of what makes Uhre the perfect Union signing is that he’s a dynamic forward. He’s tall, can be a target forward, pounces on chances in the box, and scores. While these are all great qualities, the things that aren’t being talked about enough are his pace and his ability to make smart runs to make the attack better. Uhre is a fast striker, he’s not just a tall target man who has to have the ball played to him, he can run onto a ball and make the right choice when in space. This adds to his ability to make smart runs. Uhre can take a player on in a 1v1 situation and get the better of them. Justin pointed out in his article his ability to get to the ball first no matter what, especially in the box. That is something this Union team has never really had; add to that Uhre’s goalscoring and you have a star in the making.
Mikael Uhre can and will score goals for any team he’s on. He can score with his head, and with both feet. His pace can create chances for himself and others. Uhre will be able to tear apart a backline to make them scramble and then he can slot a chance home, or get other players involved. Much of his chances will come from inside the box. His speed, agility, and ability to get to the ball first should help the Union put the chances they would’ve missed in 2021 in the net in 2022. He’s the guy. The Union has spent big money on him, so he needs to be the team leading scorer, and help them to achieve the goal that is now set.
Is this the missing piece to an MLS Cup run?
The Union has been a team that is in the “win now” stage for the last two seasons. In that time we’ve seen the Union win the Supporters Shield, make the CCL Semi-Finals, and the Eastern Conference Final. Entering 2022 it is the club’s intent to compete for and win MLS Cup. The addition of Uhre seems to help this thought process. Could we see that this new signing is the final piece to the Union’s MLS Cup hopes?
Uhre adds to the Union what they so desperately needed in 2021; consistent goal scoring. While Kacper Przybylko had a good season for a strong team in 2021, if he scored at the rate Urhe did, then we would have most likely seen the Union in Portland for MLS Cup. The pedigree of this striker is one the Union has never had before. They have never spent this type of money on the number nine, which in turn, puts the pressure on Uhre and the rest of the 2022 team to win. The question will be can they do it?
The Union is going to have the majority of their starters return. The only new face to the starting XI is a striker the team paid a club-record transfer fee for. This means that the 2022 Union should be in contention for the top spot in the east, and maybe even the top spot in all of MLS. The 34 game season is one thing, but the MLS Cup Playoffs are another entirely. Philly is now built for making a cup run, they have elite goalkeeping and defense, a midfield that runs their asses off, and now a striker who bags goals. Only time will tell if this is enough to propel the Union to the top of MLS. On paper it’s looking like this could very much be the team to win the whole damn thing.
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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union