Greg Carroccio

Set Pieces: Offseason Looming

With Sunday's season finale against the Columbus Crew marking the end of the Union’s inaugural campaign, offseason talk is beginning to heat up.

Coach John Hackworth reveals that the technical staff has already simulated mock expansion drafts, while also noting that the club is open to a Designated Player under the right circumstances.

SI.com praises the culture being built in Philadelphia, while offering opinions on how the Union can improve on the field.

Soccer America provides their take on the Union's first season, offering that Manager Peter Nowak has instilled a work ethic and spirit that align well with the club’s fan base.

For two Union podcasts, check out Alejandro Moreno on KYW’s Philly Soccer Show and Chris Seitz, Nick Zimmerman and Jordan Harvey on 94 WYSP’s Union Sound podcast.

For one final look at the Union’s 2-1 win against the New York Red Bulls in the home finale, The Goalkeeper has fan generated player ratings.

For their efforts in the match, Harvey was named to Goal.com’s Week 29 Best XI, while Fred earned a spot on the Best XI bench for his goal and NAPA Save of the Week honors.

Philly Soccer News examines the mutual respect between the top two Rookie of the Year candidates, Danny Mwanga and Tim Ream, who lined up against one another on Saturday.

After Mwanga told MLSsoccer.com last week that he was contacted by representatives from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mwanga reiterated in a live chat on philadelphiaunion.com Thursday that his national team future is still undecided. He did reveal that he's never met USMNT boss Bob Bradley, but the Union's second leading scorer appears more likely to wind up with the U.S. than fellow countryman Steve Zakuani.

One ESPN writer considers Sebastien Le Toux the Most Outstanding Player in 2010, but not the MVP due to the non-playoff team factor. It seems as though most voters will simply face a philosophical decision, as there appear to be very few who think Le Toux hasn't been the best player in the league this year.

Philly Soccer Page continues their Raves series, adding Jack McInerney, Justin Mapp, Roger Torres and Mwanga to the growing list.

To conclude Union-related news, a Wall Street Journal study reveals that Philadelphia can be counted among five MLS clubs that outperform NBA teams in the same market.

Moving away from the Union, one prominent soccer writer argues that Juan Pablo Ángel deserves better treatment from the Red Bulls, even if their decision to not retain the soon-to-be 35-year-old is a prudent one. Philadelphia is mentioned as one potential destination that could make sense, while another Eastern Conference superstar is hoping his club acquires the league’s top striker over the past four years.

Speaking of top strikers expected to leave their clubs, Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney had a sudden change of heart, ending an international saga by re-signing for five years. The angry mob that gathered outside his home should settle down now.

While the English Premier League still reigns supreme, one ESPN.com writer wonders if the Bundesliga may soon overtake the EPL as the top league in the world.

Arguing over the best ever in any category is always entertaining, but when it comes to soccer players there still seems to be one name that rises to the top.

DC United’s ongoing search for a new stadium continues, with Baltimore remaining a less-than-ideal option.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber addresses some other league issues, including a potential shift to a single table format.

Another change that would affect the entire soccer world is being examined after a controversy-filled World Cup.

The USMNT were in the midst of the controversy at times, but it’s their less than stellar performances in two recent friendlies that caused Bradley’s side to drop seven slots to number 25 in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings.

One reason for the national team’s uninspiring form was the play of their striker corps, prompting Bob Bradley to admit that the search for the right pieces is ongoing.

Finally, the protected lists for the WPS Expansion Draft are out, with Heather Mitts of the Philadelphia Independence jumping out as the biggest available name when the Buffalo/Rochester expansion franchise begin to fill out their squad.

Must-See philadelphiaunion.com Content:

WATCH: Columbus Preview

Free MLS iPhone App Available Now

Hackworth: Slow Start Made Us Better

Chat Transcript: Sebastien Le Toux

Jacobson Relishing Time with Union