Union returning from training session in Greece

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Peter Nowak and the Union are returning from training in Greece. (Kriston J. Bethel/Staff file photo)

The Union, preparing for their Major League Soccer season that begins March 19 in Houston, have wrapped up two weeks of training in Greece.

Before leaving Heraklion, Crete, Union manager Peter Nowak said the trip went well.

"It's been very good," he said.

The team practiced for a final time Wednesday at Ergotelis F.C.'s Pancretan Stadium.

"Everything around here was really first-class," Nowak said. "You can see how the players came together during meals and practices. And that's important with as many new guys that we have on the team."

Since the close of the 2010 campaign, the Union have made more than 20 transactions. Before leaving for Greece, the squad spent three weeks in Orlando.

"It was a long preseason, but it was very helpful," Nowak said. "Everyone is a little tired mentally, even the coaching staff. We'll take a few days off before getting back to work Monday."

Last month, the Union won a weighted lottery to gain the rights to quick-footed forward Chris Agorsor, who played at Virginia and trained with Manchester United and CD Nacional in Portugal.

"He still needs to catch up on his tactical work," Nowak said. "His fitness is getting better."

The Union, who last season went 8-15-7 and placed seventh in the eight-team Eastern Conference, recently picked up goalkeeper Thorne Holder and forward Ryan Richter, who played at Adelphi and La Salle University, respectively.

Last week, with two goals from both Agorsor and Jack McInerney, the squad blanked Hersonissos F.C., 5-0, in Heraklion. Danny Mwanga closed the scoring in the 84th minute.

"We saw during this preseason a lot of guys who want more playing time," Nowak said. "The competition, it's been very good. It's the kind of stuff you want to see. Now, if we can get them to sustain that and be competitive the whole seven months."

On March 26, at 4 p.m. at PPL Park in Chester, the Union will play their home opener against Vancouver.

 


Contact staff writer Rick O'Brien at 610-313-8019 or robrien@phillynews.com.