Buzz On Broad

Union acquire DF Austin Berry from Chicago



The Philadelphia Union had a few question-marks going into the 2014 MLS season. Will it be Jack McInerney or Conor Casey who will start up-front for the Union? Will John Hackworth play 4-3-3 or 4-4-2? Will Brian Carroll continue to start with the additions of Nogueira and Edu? Who will start between the sticks, Blake or MacMath? And most notably: how will the Union fill the void Jeff Parke’s move away from PPL Park has left in the heart of their defense.

Well, the Union has put rumours to bed of Sheanon Williams playing center back this season by acquiring defender Austin Berry from the Chicago Fire for allocation money. While there are no official numbers released as of right now, the number is thought to be around $100,000.

Even though the Union has given up $100,000 in allocation money, Berry’s age, ability, and future potential mean that the Union has won this deal in a big way. He’s a bargain.

Berry was named MLS rookie of the year in 2012 after starting 28 games, logging 2,500 minutes and scoring three goals. In 2013 Berry started all 34 of the Fire’s regular season games and helped them to achieve the 5th best goals against per game average in MLS (1.15).

Chicago had deemed Berry expendable as they are trying to sign last season’s most valuable player, Mike Magee, to a new deal and as a result have already cut Uruguayan forward Federico Puppo so that they can create some cap space.

The Union now has a core of four young, talented, central defenders in Amobi Okugo, Austin Berry, Ethan White, and Richie Marquez. Prior to the trade with Chicago there had been talk of “Hack” being interested in bringing in former England international Zat Knight from Bolton in England’s second tier, and while he would bring experience to the back line, he doesn’t represent anything long term and Berry, while only 25, is as good and has room to grow as a player.

Berry’s signing means that the Union will most probably line-up as follow on March 8th vs the Timbers:

(GK) MacMath, (DR) Sheanon Williams, (DC) Austin Berry, (DC) Amobi Okugo, (DL) Fabinho/Raymond Gaddis, (MC) Maurice Edu, (MC) Brian Carroll, (AML) “Chaco” Maidana, (AMR) Sebastien LeToux, (AMC) Vincent Nogueira, (ST) Jack McInerney.

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