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Union trade Kacper Przybylko to Chicago Fire – The Philly Soccer Page

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Photo: Howie Pollard

Philadelphia Union continued their offseason overhaul at striker on Saturday morning, trading stalwart striker Kacper Przybylko to Chicago Fire.

In exchange, the club received a massive haul of allocation money from Chicago: $1.15 million, split between $575,000 in 2022 GAM and $575,000 in 2023 GAM.

Przybylko, 28, led the club in scoring each of the past three seasons, with his 35 regular-season goals the third-most in club history (behind Sebastien Le Toux and C.J. Sapong).

“We want to thank Kacper for his efforts on and off the field with the Philadelphia Union,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a press release. “He has played a major role in some of the Union’s most memorable moments over the last few years and we wish him all the best as we continue to look to strengthen and add depth to our roster in the coming weeks.”

Przybylko was one of Tanner’s first signings, coming to the club as a trialist in 2018 after a series of foot injuries derailed his career in Europe. He entered the lineup in April 2019 and basically never left, starting 77 games and making six substitute appearances from 2019-21. Przybylko also finished as the highest scorer in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

(And, it should be noted, he earned the absurd nickname “Striker Muffin” from the writers of this website.)

But rumblings increased in recent weeks that Przybylko was on his way out in Philadelphia. From the player’s side, Przybylko wanted more stability than the Union were willing to give him. Rather than a long-term guaranteed contract, the Union held team options on him for both 2022 and 2023. Przybylko, who turns 29 in March, told a Polish outlet recently that he was looking for more guaranteed stability at this point in his career.

Meanwhile, the club is looking to remake the striking position, which might require a club-record outlay. Trading Przybylko adds to a war chest of allocation money already bulging after the sales of Mark McKenzie and Brenden Aaronson last offseason. In his press conference Thursday, Union manager Jim Curtin explained that “there are things that can happen which would benefit both sides” and that the club would remain active in the transfer market.

For now, though, the striker corps consists of Sergio Santos, Cory Burke, and offseason acquisition Julian Carranza, as preseason training shifts to Clearwater, Fla. next week.

With the start of the regular season five weeks away, Union fans will eagerly await news of Przybylko’s replacement.

Author: Peter Andrews
Peter Andrews is PSP’s managing editor. Since joining the site in 2014, he has reported on the Union and U.S. national teams from fifteen different venues in the U.S. and Canada. Follow him on Twitter @pfandrews.



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Jordy Delem joins USL’s San Antonio FC

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Jordy Delem has signed with San Antonio FC of the USL Championship, the team announced on Thursday. Delem has been training with the Seattle Sounders for most of the year while recovering from a torn ACL he suffered early in 2021.

There had been some hope that he might rejoin the Sounders once he regained full fitness, but even after João Paulo’s injury the indications from the team were that they were satisfied with their existing depth. Beyond that, there was a distinct sense that the Sounders did not view the 29-year-old Delem as enough of an upgrade to justify giving him minutes over developing players like Josh Atencio, Danny Leyva and AB Cissoko.

While the USL Championship is a step down in terms of competition, San Antonio seems like a good spot for Delem. The club is currently tied for the lead in the Western Conference and is much more focused on winning than on developing young players. There’s also at least one familiar face in San Antonio in former Sounders forward Justin Dhillon. The Sounders have also sent several players to San Antonio on loan over the years.



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Grindy win was just what Sounders needed

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Aside from one particularly attractive attacking sequence, there weren’t a whole lot of memorable or even particularly notable moments from the Seattle Sounders’ 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday. Well, aside from the fact that the Sounders won a midweek road game on short rest and got their first shutout of the MLS campaign, anyway.

But let’s focus on those big-picture takeaways first.

More than anything, this win was a bit of a stress test for the Sounders and it sure looks like they passed. It’s been well established by now that the Sounders spent most of the first two months of the season setting themselves up for what turned out to be a successful run at becoming the first MLS team to win Concacaf Champions League.

One of the main ways that manifested itself is in how Brian Schmetzer chose to rotate his lineups. This was the Sounders’ 11th match to be played on less than five days’ rest this season. In most of those, especially those that came on the road, Schmetzer has chosen to rotate at least part of his lineup. Against the Dynamo, however, he effectively ran back the same group that had beaten Minnesota United on the weekend.

“That group of players actually earned the right to play,” Schmetzer explained. “For that group to kick the rust off, they needed to go back out there again and show what they can do. That was the reason for keeping basically the same starting lineup.”

Perhaps the most notable player in that group was Jordan Morris, who the Sounders have been especially careful with due to his “sprinter” characteristics. But after looking at Morris’ physical metrics, Schmetzer opted to give him a shot.

Morris, like several of his teammates, definitely looked to be feeling the strain at points. There were a couple runs later in that match where it looked like he simply ran out of gas, and he was ultimately pulled in the 77th minute. But he also rewarded Schmetzer’s faith, playing the penultimate pass that led to Raúl Ruidíaz’s goal.

The whole goal sequence as a whole was easily the match’s highlight. It started with Xavier Arreaga jumping a passing lane in Houston’s end to create the turnover and featured 22 consecutive connected passes — nine of which were nominally attacking in nature and all but two of which were in the attacking half — with every outfield player getting at least one touch. The final part of the play saw Nicolas Lodeiro clip a ball to Morris, who then whipped a cross through the box to Alex Roldan on the opposite wing. Roldan then one-touched his pass back to Ruidíaz in front of goal, where he blasted it through a defender.

Although the Sounders never put together a sequence nearly that aesthetically pleasing in the match, it was a good reminder of just how good this team can be when they have something like their ideal XI on the pitch together.

More broadly, the performance was exactly what the Sounders needed to show they were capable of, grindy and sloppy as it seemed at times. Not only did the Sounders generate slightly better chances by Expected Goals (1.3-1.2), they also won all the effort metrics like tackles, duels, blocks and interceptions.

After a slow start to league play, the Sounders now find themselves just two points out of a playoff spot with at least two games in hand on virtually the entire league. The Sounders can potentially jump into a playoff spot if they beat the Colorado Rapids on Sunday.

“We sang Jingle Bells and we had a clean sheet,” Schmetzer said in the postgame press conference, striking a slightly different tune than he had in his on-field interview at halftime. “No one is going to care in September or October how or why we won the game.

“That is a happy locker room. I’m a happy coach. There are happy assistant coaches and I think the whole club should be pleased with the result. It’s a six-point swing against someone who was ahead of us, it puts us in great shape to end the week on a high. I’m not frustrated at all.”



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Team of the Week presented by Audi: Austin FC dominate lineup in Week 12

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Team of the Week (3-4-3, left to right): Brad Stuver (ATX) – Alexander Callens (NYC), Damion Lowe (MIA), Ruben Gabrielsen (ATX) – Xherdan Shaqiri (CHI), Jamiro Monteiro (SJ), Hany Mukhtar (NSH), Sebastian Driussi (ATX) – Lucas Cavallini (VAN), Raul Ruidiaz (SEA), Daniel Salloi (SKC)

Bench: Drake Callender (MIA), Yeimar Gomez Andrade (SEA), Alex Muyl (NSH), Alfredo Morales (NYC), Jackson Yueill (SJ), Emanuel Reynoso (MIN), Omir Fernandez (RBNY)





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