Philadelphia Union's goal this offseason has been to get more aggressive, adding players that can create attacking chances through their defensive work and will to win. The club's latest signing fits that bill.
Jamiro Monteiro arrives from Ligue 2s Metz, which he joined after spending the 2017-18 season with Heracles of the Eredivisie. The Dutch-born Cape Verdean international is 25-years old and a dynamic two-way midfielder with the ability to dominate a midfield from numerous positions. With Monteiro on board, Philly now has a broad range of options for how they can roll out a midfield. When the Union want to spread the opponent out, they can do so, but when they want to disrupt play on the road, Monteiro can contribute with a unique combination of attacking and defensive skills.
The key attributes both Ernst Tanner and Jim Curtin point to in Monteiro are his defensive tenacity and his ability to quickly transition to attack after winning the ball back. They see him as an ideal fit for a system that has placed an emphasis on controlling space by maintaining tight lines and outworking opponents.
The addition of Monteiro points to more clarity in how Philadelphia wants to build its defensive structure. Monteiro can flexibly move between roles, with Curtin seeing him as a potential fit in any of the four spots the club currently has available as part of its midfield diamond.
The Union are not, however, wedded to that shape. And as the season progresses they could utilize something closer to the 4-2-2-2 shape that Bethlehem Steel has favored this preseason. Again, Monteiro's ability with the ball -- the player has said he takes pride in both his passing and his shot -- means he can play in the deeper role or in a more advanced position pressing the opponent's backline.
The biggest question remaining for Monteiro at this point is fitness. Having been in full training with Metz until this move, he is close to game shape. Still, the Union will ready him for league play at a reasonable pace, keeping a long-term focus. The array of midfield options already healthy and available to Jim Curtin mean Monteiro doesn't need to be thrown into the side, and instead can integrate with his teammates before hitting the pitch for the first time in club colors.
Check out the rest of PhiladelphiaUnion.com for Monteiro's highlights.