With 2020 coming to a close comes inevitable roster changes entering the 2021 season. The Philadelphia Union announced on Wednesday that they have declined contract options for Warren Creavalle, Andrew Wooten, and Michee Ngalina. Coach Curtin spoke on each player’s departure.
Creavalle joined the Union on August 7, 2015 via a trade with Toronto FC. During his six seasons in Philly he appeared in 86 games totaling nearly 4,000 minutes. Creavalle’s contribution off the field and in the community have been significant over the years. Most recently, he used his passion for design to create the League’s ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirt that players, coaches, and staff wore as warmup shirts in Orlando and throughout the rest of the season. For his work, Creavalle was the club’s representative for the 2020 MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year.
“Selfishly I loved working with [Warren] every day,” Curtin said of the midfielder. “He is a winner on and off the field. His work with the Black Players For Change group and how much of a role he took in our locker room in the off-season was incredibly valuable. He is at the stage where he needs to be playing minutes at the age he is and those minutes may not have been able to come here. We had a hard and honest discussion and I think one he’ll respect. No one will respects Warren Creavalle like I do so it’s a hard one, but it’s time to move on.”
Wooten was acquired on June 20, 2019 from SV Sandhausen. Philly had higher expectations from the German striker than what he produced over his two seasons here. He appeared in 23 games and racked up five assists. While he didn’t find the back of the net in 2020, Wooten’s most memorable moment came on the defensive side of the pitch with his extra time goal line clearance against Chicago on October 28.
“He gave everything to the club. I can reference the goal line clearance that he had that contributed a small way to us winning the Shield,” Curtin said of Wooten. “He is a great kid, a great player. He just didn’t get the opportunities he would have liked and when he did get the opportunities he would tell you they he could’ve done a little bit better with. Sometimes the fit has to be just right and in this case things just didn’t work out. Both sides understand the situation and were in agreement at the end of the year. Winning a trophy together takes everyone and is forever. He is a still a big part of this season and lifting the trophy for the club.”
The 20-year-old spent most of his time within the Union organization with Bethlehem Steel (now Union II) in the USL Championship. During that time he netted 13 goals, the fourth most in club history but he only made a single MLS appearance for the Union with that coming in 2019.
“I think his level is right in between, just above the USL level and at the fringe of a MLS roster,” Curtin said. “I think he can play in MLS, but positionally, system, and philosophy wise it’s best to give him the opportunity to move on rather than be the fifth option with our group. It was best for both sides that he has the opportunity to move on.”