Sporting director Ernst Tanner and the Union made their first big splash of the offseason on Friday by signing 24-year-old Brazilian forward Sergio Santos.
Santos was acquired for a $500,000 transfer fee from Chilean Primera Division club Audax Italiano and was signed using Targeted Allocation Money. The length of the deal was not disclosed.
“Sergio is a young forward with potential and we are pleased to complete his signing,” Tanner said in the team’s official release. “When we met with him in Chile, it became apparent that he is a good fit for our club both as a player and as a person.”
The move is intriguing for multiple reasons. The 6-foot center forward is the first impact addition from new sporting director Ernst Tanner, whose goal for the offseason was to make the Union a more offensive-oriented team with a potential two-forward setup.
Secondly, Santos, who had nine goals in 16 matches for Audex last season, joins a busy Union attack corps that features Cory Burke, C.J. Sapong, David Accam and Fafa Picault. If only two of those five can play at any given time in Tanner’s formation, the team could look to ship someone out.
Attacking pieces Jay Simpson, Fabian Herber and Marcus Epps were not retained for the 2019 season.
“We have observed rapid improvement and development at Audax,” Tanner said, “and believe he is ready for this next step. We next look forward to integrating him as quickly as possible with the team at the start of preseason.”
CHESTER, Pa. — Fabrice-Jean Picault scored and assisted on Marco Fabian's goal in extra time to help the Philadelphia Union beat New York 4-3 on Sunday and eliminate the Red Bulls from the playoffs.
Fabian came on in the 103rd minute and scored in the 105th when his shot from the left side deflected high off New York's Marc Rzatkowski into the net.
Third-seeded Philadelphia, which earned the first MLS playoff win in franchise history, will play at No. 2 seed Atlanta in the second round Thursday night.
Josh Sims blasted a right-footer from outside the top of the box to open the scoring in the sixth minute and Tim Parker's header in the 24th gave the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead. It was the 22-year-old Sims' first MLS goal.
Alejandro Bedoya side-netted a first-timer in the 30th minute to cut Philadelphia's deficit in half but Tom Barlow scored in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time to make it 3-1.
Sergio Santos' header deflected off the crossbar and Jack Elliott headed home the rebound for Philadelphia in the 52nd minute. Picault, who came on in the 72nd, scored in the 78th to make it 3-3.
Kacper Przybylko, whose 15 goals this season are more than twice as many as any other Union player, did not play (foot stress reaction). Philadelphia had 62 percent possession and outshot the Red Bulls 32-11.
CHESTER, Pa. — Ronald Matarrita and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi scored and New York City FC beat the Philadelphia Union 2-1 on Sunday in the regular-season finale.
New York City (18-6-10), the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, earned a first-round bye and will play No. 4 seed Toronto or fifth-seeded D.C. United in the conference semifinals.
Philadelphia (16-11-7) lost three of its last four regular-season games, falling from first to third in the Eastern standings. The Union will host the sixth-seeded New York Red Bulls in the knockout round.
Matarrita opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Valentin Castellanos, at the top of the area, first-timed a pass from Ben Sweat to Matarrita for the finish from near the spot. It was the first goal of the season for the 25-year-old defender.
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi chipped an entry from outside the area that deflected off the Union's Jamiro Monteiro into the goal to make it 2-0 in the 22nd and Philadelphia's Marco Fabian converted from the spot in the 87th minute.