Heading into the 2021 season, there was a major question mark at midfield as to who would complete the diamond on a consistent basis. With the departure of Brenden Aaronson this offseason, the Union needed to rearrange their midfield and bring in a player who would assist them both defensively and offensively. Midfielder Leon Flach immediately filled that role once Philadelphia signed him in March and inserted himself into the lineup on day one and has not looked back since.
Flach has started in 11 of the team’s 12 matches this season including the Concacaf Champions League games. He has made an impact in all of those games and has been a key part of the Union’s Champions League run. Although he has not scored or assisted in MLS play, his defensive role has been immense and he has shut down opposing attacks on several occasions. He does have one assist in Champions League play and he seems to be more involved on offense in the tournament.
Flach has been a great addition to the team proven to be a viable replacement for Aaronson. Despite the fact that he has not been scoring at a high rate, his work rate on defense has been phenomenal and he has had an important role in the team’s eight shutouts across all competitions including three in the last three games. Aside from a few games, the defense has been a strong suit for the squad and Flach has made a big impact in that category.
There is also a possibility that Flach could be named to the USMNT roster for the CONCACAF Gold Cup later in the summer. This would be a major milestone for him and a big recognition for not only him but also the Philadelphia Union. The Union has had many players represent their country internationally over the years and Flach would only add to that distinguished list. It would be very exciting to see him take the pitch for the U.S. in a major tournament consisting of countries from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Here’s hoping that Flach can continue his good form and keep putting in the dirty work defensively for the Boys in Blue. His presence and success will be crucial in terms of how well the Union will play this season and the number of games they win. Manager Jim Curtin must be ecstatic with how well the 20-year-old has been performing this season, and as a result, he will continue to put him in the starting lineup week in and week out.
"Photo: Kim Ahrens/The Philadelphia Inquirer"