Here’s a player-by-player look at the Union’s roster heading into the 2020 season.

Players are listed by position, then by order of where they stand on the depth chart.


Andre Blake

Last year wasn’t his best, but the players in front of him were a factor. He’s still a great shot-stopper, and has grown into a true leader for the Union and Jamaica’s national team. If he thrives this year, there’s still time for a big-money move abroad.

» READ MORE: Andre Blake should be better this year, because the team's defense will be better

Joe Bendik

A reliable backup who will stand in when Blake is on national team duty. That won’t happen as much this summer since there’s no Gold Cup, but Blake is still entitled to a day off every now and then.

Matt Freese

It’s fair to wonder what the Wayne native’s role will be this year. He’s likely to spend more time in the USL than MLS, but he has big-league potential — and by next year he should get a shot to show it. The 21-year-old also has a shot at the U.S. Olympic qualifying team.

Left backs

Kai Wagner

One of the first names written in any Union starting lineup, and one of the best left backs in all of MLS. Unfortunately, a calf injury has sidelined him for much of the preseason. He’ll miss the season opener, and likely the second game too.

Matt Real

You won’t hear this said aloud, but it’s definitely being whispered: the Drexel Hill native hasn’t lived up to his potential. Wagner’s brilliance last year was certainly a factor, and Real is still just 20, but the signs are there. Real’s club and country need good left backs. If he wants to reach the big stage, he needs to step up.


Mark McKenzie

This is the biggest season of the 21-year-old’s life. It’s the first time he enters a season as a rock-solid starter, and he’s going to be a key part of the U.S. Olympic qualifying team. If the Americans make it to Tokyo, expect McKenzie to go. And if he plays well there, the Union will get major offers for him.

» READ MORE: Mark McKenzie begins huge year for his future with the Union and U.S. national team

Jack Elliott

Okay, so he isn’t the fastest defender you’ll find. But his overall positioning smarts and terrific passing skills make up for that in the total package. He’s also a scoring threat on set pieces.

Jakob Glesnes

He’ll play when McKenzie is gone, which could be a lot. We haven’t seen the 25-year-old much, but Union coaches and scouts speak highly of him.

Aurélien Collin

A reliable veteran on the practice field and in the locker room who can step into a game when needed.

Right backs

Ray Gaddis

The Union’s all-time minutes leader has seen off every challenger to his place in the starting lineup. Will he do it again this year? And will he finally score his first career goal in his ninth season as a pro?

Olivier Mbaizo

He has most of the tools as a player, and the right kind of savvy from his time with Cameroon’s youth national teams. But he doesn’t quite have all the pieces yet. He’ll be a very good player when he does.

» READ MORE: Olivier Mbaizo faces big year to prove he should play more at right back

Defensive midfielders

Matej Oravec

He’s the most likely opening day starter at the base of the midfield diamond, and he was signed for that purpose. But will the 21-year-old Slovakian be enough at one of the team’s most crucial positions? We won’t know for sure until the games count for real.

José Martínez

The 25-year-old Venezuelan was the Union’s first offseason signing, back in December. You might have noticed that he hasn’t gotten a ton of hype since then. That is intentional. He can play at the base or in the middle of the diamond, but he isn’t quite starting-caliber.

Warren Creavalle

A seasoned veteran who’s this team’s equivalent of a late-inning relief pitcher. When Jim Curtin needs an 85th-minute substitute to close out a win, Creavalle fits the bill.

Cole Turner

Curtin likes the potential of the 18-year-old academy product, who backed out of a Naval Academy commitment to play pro soccer. There’s a ways to go, though, before Turner is a MLS regular.

Central midfielders

Alejandro Bedoya

You couldn’t script a better captain for this team, on and off the field. He earned all the praise he got last year, and the contract extension he got this week.

He also earned the right to a day off. Bedoya played every minute of every game in 2019, and suffered the first muscle injury of his career because of it. He shouldn’t have to endure that again.

Anthony Fontana

This might be the year when we finally see the Newark, Del., native blossom. As Curtin has alluded to, Fontana is Bedoya’s natural backup. That should get him more playing time than he’s had before. He can plug in at Bedoya’s position in the center of the park, or in a more attacking role.

» READ MORE: Anthony Fontana has his best chance yet to get regular playing time for the Union

Attacking midfielders

Jamiro Monteiro

Yes, he goes on here in the attacking column, and not just because he’s wearing the No. 10 jersey this season. His skills as a high-pressing tackler, quick-thinking passer and long-range shooter make him a crucial part of everything the Union will do.

Monteiro showed so much talent in his time here last year that sporting director Ernst Tanner made signing him permanently a top offseason priority. wanted him back badly, and majority owner Jay Sugarman broke his transfer fee record to get the deal done.

» READ MORE: Jamiro Monteiro wanted to return to the Union, and now is one of their key players

Brenden Aaronson

The 19-year-old Medford native is a gem of a player who has only just started to scratch the surface of his potential. He’s already great to watch, and when he fully acquires the shooting instinct he needs, he’ll be even greater. For now, don’t be surprised to see him on the left side of the diamond, charging with the ball into space created by Monteiro’s runs ahead of him.


A fan favorite for good reason: his one-on-one skills are exceptional. He’ll remain a super-sub, and this year, fans will be okay with that.

» READ MORE: Union re-sign fan favorite Ilsinho to one-year contract


Kacper Przybylko

Can he repeat last year’s 15-goal performance now that opponents know about him? He has the tool set, and keep this in mind: last year, he missed the first seven games and the last three games — including all of the playoffs — because of injuries. If he keeps scoring, he’ll fully deserve the contract extension through 2023 he got Friday.

Sergio Santos

From what we’ve seen in the preseason, he’s likely to start the season as Przybylko’s strike partner. The 25-year-old Brazilian’s pace wreaks havoc on opponents, but his finishing touch last season wasn’t what it needed to be.

Andrew Wooten

The bet here remains what it has been all winter: that he’ll be much better this year than his goalless four months last year. He’s too good a player to not be. It won’t be a surprise if he’s starting over Santos after a while.

» READ MORE: Andrew Wooten ready to show how good he really is after disappointing first MLS season

Jack de Vries

Beginning his pro career at just 17, the Union academy product is intriguing. He has U.S. youth national team experience, and a nose for creating and finishing chances. We might not see him much this year, but remember his name.

» READ MORE: Why Jack de Vries chose the Union over PSV Eindhoven and a college offer from Virginia

Michee Ngalina

Union coaches rave about his skill, but haven’t been as sure about where to play him. He’s naturally a winger, but the Union will only play with wingers this year as a backup system. So we might not see him much.

Cory Burke

He’s at the bottom of the list only because’s he’s loaned out to Austrian club St. Polten until the end of June. He went to Europe to get in better game shape after being forced to play in the Jamaican league due to U.S. visa issues. It will have been 14 months since his last Union game when he returns.