One of the hottest strikers of the back half of the 2018-19 season in Germany was a 6’1” German-American plying his trade with Sandhausen in 2. Bundesliga. Thirteen goals in 18 games to finish the season cemented the American international — Jurgen Klinsmann called him up in 2015 and he made one appearance against Costa Rica — as someone who could make a big difference on a club when his deal with Sandhausen ran out in the summer.

Sandhausen admitted they wanted 17-goal scorer Andrew Wooten to stay, but the striker was ready for a move to America.

The only question was… where?

Chicago was bandied about, but Ernst Tanner had followed Wooten for a decade, watching the young attacker blossom after an injury-plagued 2017-18 season. The Philadelphia project was exactly what Wooten wanted, and the Union signed a striker that will look to help them solidify a place at the top of the Eastern Conference.

But why Wooten? What makes him such a good fit for Philadelphia?

The answer is complex; the Union have the best attack in the Eastern Conference, but after trading David Accam and losing Sergio Santos to bouts of injury, they are still looking for depth that can contribute immediately. Additionally, Philly needs that depth to come in the form of someone that has the capability of grabbing the starting striker role and running with it.

Wooten fits perfectly for this reason: He can acclimate and support this season while turning into a future starter. Or, if he’s hot from the outset, he can become the type of attacker that draws enough attention to free up Marco Fabián, Ilsinho, and Jamiro Monteiro to dominate the the final third. During his signing, Wooten spoke of the value of great service, and in Kai Wagner, Haris Medunjanin, Ale Bedoya, and Fabián, he will have it in Philadelphia.

The German-American describes himself as a “box” player, meaning he believes he can own the final fifth of the pitch. That crucial area that few players can consistently dominate? That’s where he makes his money.

At age 29, Wooten is peaking, and he wants to become the central figure on a contender. Furthermore, he wants to get back into the US National Team picture. That makes Philadelphia a perfect fit: If he hits the ground running, he’ll be the centerpiece of the attack. And if he needs time to adapt, the Union have enough depth to buy him that time.

Philly enters the second half of the season at the top of the Eastern Conference, but to stay there they need to finish off games like the one they drew against Colorado and the one they dominated against Seattle. Wooten is here to help them do that. And he can start on July 13 against Real Salt Lake.