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Union closing in on transfer targets, says Nowak

CHESTER, Pa. — Philadelphia Union fans have been waiting patiently for a big roster move.

It appears as if that splash is just around the corner. A player introduction is scheduled to take place Friday at PPL Park.

Nowak met with the media on Thursday afternoon and was immediately asked about the international transfer window closing on Sunday and what the Union might be doing to bolster their roster.

“We’re working on it,” Nowak said. “We’re working very hard to make it happen.” 

When asked if the club was adding just one player, Nowak responded, “Maybe not only one.”

It has been a rocky stretch for the Union, who lost 2-1 to the Colorado Rapids on July 29 and followed that with 1-1 draws at Chicago and at home against the Houston Dynamo.

The club has also seen defender Jordan Harvey traded to Vancouver Whitecaps FC, goalkeeper Thorne Holder released and forward Carlos Ruiz transferred to Veracruz of Mexico.

While these changes have happened off the field, Nowak hasn’t been too pleased with the effort in recent matches.

“We need to find our energy back and play the game we love to play,” Nowak said. “As soon as you lack that in Major League Soccer, it’s tough. It’s all about commitment, running, fighting and you can’t not do that from the beginning or we’re going to be in trouble.

“We need to improve our energy. That’s how we’ve been built since Day One, not backing off, not pushing through. We have to keep pushing through until the end.”

The Union are 8-5-9, good for 33 points, one behind the Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew for first place.

“It’s important for us to stay together and do like we’ve done for the last 18 months,” said Nowak, who added that he will be on the bench after sitting in a suite for the last two matches with a back issue.

Veljko Paunovic is one of the newest members of the Union, but at 33, he’s seen just about everything in his career.

Still, watching teammates come and go can’t be easy.

“Maybe we were surprised,” Paunovic said of the Ruiz news. “It happened so quickly. It’s part of the game and part of this profession.”

But with departures come new arrivals as well.

“We will always welcome a player who can come in and contribute,” Paunovic said.