Going back to the midfielders, today's position preview focuses on the holding midfielders.
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Brian Carroll enters the 2017 season as the oldest member of the team at 35 years old. Carroll has served as the captain for the past five seasons, and is only one of 11 active players to have started 300 or more games, sitting at 322. His 344 career appearances rank sixth all-time. In his seventh season with the Union, he looks to continue to be a stable piece of the defense, eating up major minutes every game. He commands the back half of the lineup and his leadership will continue to be key for the team.
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Much like Bedoya, Warren Creavalle adds versatility in the midfield, being able to switch between being a midfielder and fullback. Last season saw Creavalle set a career-high in games started with 21, which also equated a career-high in minutes (1807). He also was able to add an assist to his resume, the second time in his career he’s had an assist in back to back seasons.
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After missing all of 2016 with a leg injury, Maurice Edu returns to the Union for his fourth season with the team. In 2015, Edu started all 22 games he appeared in, registering a goal and an assist. Much like Ilson Jr., Edu brings a vast amount of experience, appearing in the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League and Europe League, along with being selected No. 1 overall in the MLS SuperDraft in 2007, winning Rookie of the Year his first year. Edu is a staple in the midfield, and after sitting out 2016, is itching to be playing competitive soccer once again.
Haris Medunjanin comes from Maccabi Tel Aviv FC of the Israeli Premier League. He signed with the Union in January using Targeted Allocation Money. His signing marks the first time Medunjanin has played soccer in North America. The 6-foot-1 midfielder is notorious for using his large frame to clear out air balls, while also being especially skilled in passing. Medunjanin has solid positioning skills, always being where he needs to. Medunjanin can also chip in offensively when needed, as he’s scored two or more goals in every professional season. Medunjanin adds stability to the back end of the midfield and plays smart, which the Union will heavily rely on.
The final midfielder on the roster is Derrick Jones, who at 19 years old, is one of the youngest on the Union roster. Desipite playing in international friendlies, Jones is still looking for his first MLS regular season appearance with the U, signing as a homegrown player in late July. Last season he spent his time with Bethlehem Steel FC, where he saw the pitch in 26 games, scoring five goals and adding three assists. Jones may not see the field very often this upcoming season, but his added scoring touch and youthful legs could help alleviate pressure from some of the older midfielders.