Who is Vincent Nogueira, again?
The Philadelphia Union organization, top to bottom, was up and shook by the French midfielder's sudden departure in June due to health issues. While not exactly rudderless thanks to a series of breakout performances from Dutch magus Roland Alberg, something just felt off in Chester. Out-of-sorts. Their rhythm looked to be one or two clicks off the proper clip.
But thanks to a couple of blockbuster moves right up against the MLS trade deadline, we can forget about all of that.
Enter U.S. international and versatile attacking man Alejandro Bedoya, who will have every opportunity to make a major splash as an orchestrator and goal-scorer in MLS (remember, this is a guy who ripped one against Paris Saint Germain). Enter Charlie Davies, a former U.S. striker who bagged a combined 17 goals in 2014 and '15 for New England.
Let's face it, the Union are beefing up for a serious playoff run. This is no joke: in a blink, winger Sebastian Le Toux's services were no longer required. Center forward CJ Sapong may be on his way out the door as well. Such is the burden of the cash splash.
In essence, this is all of a piece: Philly ain't f---ing around.
Another way of looking at it? New York City FC's dreams of an Eastern Conference title just got a lot tougher. Forget about the Dax-less Red Bulls and the Canadians and the other Canadians-- the Union may have just become, in barely a day's time, the single biggest threat to Patrick Vieira's Blues here on the right coast.
In Bedoya, who turned 29 in April, Jim Curtin and Earnie Stewart have added a truly dangerous piece. In three seasons at Nantes (French Ligue 1), he played any and all positions up the middle and on the right. In MLS, the guy can play anywhere. Need a false nine? Need a bulldogging center forward in a pinch? Wanna toss him out on the left and see what happens? Ale checks all those boxes. To boot, he adds an attractive defensive work rate.
Davies, 30, has plenty to offer in his own right. He doesn't match CJ Sapong's physicality in the air, but when he can manage get his head on the ball, he's a hound for the goal. Giving due deference to the emergence of Alberg and rookie Fabian Herbers, Davies joins an attacking group that already looked the part.
Alongside Bedoya, well, that's just gravy.