The Philadelphia Union has seen two key starters leave the club this offseason, but has retooled in both positions ahead of the new 2021 MLS season. Its newest signing on Wednesday could become the latest to have an early impact at the club following in the footsteps of some current starters.
Leon Flach made the move back to the United States, signing a two-year contract with the Union with options for two additional seasons. The Texas-born Flach was acquired by the Union for an undisclosed transfer fee, giving Jim Curtin a young and versatile player with recent European experience.
“It’s a really good fit, pressing high and putting the opponent under pressure fits really good with how I want to play,” Flach said in a conference call Wednesday. “That’s what I want and what I like about football.”
“I always wanted to come back [to America] one day and it was really attractive with the Philadelphia Union, especially for young players. It was always an idea but now the moment was great.”
Flach joins from German 2. Bundesliga side St. Pauli, after making nine senior appearances this season. The 20-year-old scored a wonder strike for his first domestic goal for the club, but also featured three times for St. Pauli II in the Regionallliga.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Flach has also seen time at left back, right back, and on both ends of the midfield, giving Curtin plenty of options for how he can impact the squad. With Brenden Aaronson’s exit to Red Bull Salzburg opening a hole in Curtin’s 4-4-2 diamond formation, Flach could jump right into the plans for minutes starting this spring.
“We see Leon as a really good addition,” Union sporting director Ernst Tanner said. “He can cover a lot of spots and he’s maybe not even a depth piece. We’re happy, we had been following him. St. Pauli had their own plans for him but the closer he got to the end of his contract, we were able to convince them.”