It's officially the week that Philadelphia Union fans have been waiting to hear since late October, match week is here as the Boys in Blue start the 2020 season on the road at FC Dallas on Saturday, February 29th. We're just five days away from the matches counting for real and that's exactly how many new players will be looking to make their Union debuts in the 2020 season.
Glesnes was the latest addition to the Boys in Blue and made huge opening statement in Head Coach Jim Curtin's eyes when he took to the training field for the first time in Clearwater. "The first ball that he played in training was about a 60-yard diagonal ball that never left the height of my head. And I'm 6-foot-4," Curtin said during a conference call with media during preseason. "It was a rope. From that point on, he's left a great impression every day in training."
While Glesnes made strong impressions, he still needs time to gain chemistry with the defense and missed key matches due to getting his P-1 visa situated but expect the former captain of his previous club to adjust quickly as he will have to fill the shoes of homegrown Mark McKenzie when he departs for the U.S. U-23s as they look to secure a berth in the 2020 Olympics.
Jose "El Brujo" Martinez
One of the main areas of need according to Union Sporting Director Ernst Tanner was sharpening up the defense so it wouldn't allow 50 goals like they did in 2019 and the answer was Glesnes, El Brujo and fellow No. 6 Matej Oravec. El Brujo has come along each match of the preseason and had an assist in the second half against FC Dallas.
Curtin said last week that he's looking for more consistency from the Venezuelan but he also gives the technical staff multiple options in the midfield as both the No. 6 and No. 8 in the diamond of the 4-4-2.
If you haven't seen the goal of the preseason, just click here. At just 21-years-old, Oravec has shown the ability to score goals like that but he main role on the squad will be the defensive cushion and ability to spark counter attacks.
The battle for the No. 6 role in the opening starting XI will be an interesting one as both Oravec and Brujo split time also veteran Warren Creavalle injected himself into the discussion with a start in the preseason finale against D.C. United on Saturday.
The homegrown midfielder that bring professional experience after a season with Philadelphia Union II was tossed into the fire early in preseason with the Boys in Blue short of defenders early in camp. Turner was tested countless times against Atlanta United but responded smartly that caught the technical staff eye, calling Turner one of the standouts of the squad.
Jack de Vries
The latest homegrown addition to the Boys in Blue from the Union Academy, de Vries was too forced to play early in the preseason and get experience against MLS talent. From playing in the midfield to left back, the 17-year-old is willing to do whatever it takes to help the squad.