CHESTER, PA - JULY 10: The fans cheer as the Philadelphia Union walk onto the field before the game against the San Jose Earthquakes at PPL Park on July 10, 2010 in Chester, Pennsylvania. San Jose beat Philadelphia 2 - 1.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Per Ives, word floats down to the masses that Union fans shouldn't expect a flashy signing any time in the near future. With their enthusiastic fan base filling their brand new stadium on the shores of the Delaware River, the club has no reason to spend millions of dollars on a mercenary player only likely to be around for a year or two.

The strategy makes sense for Philadelphia; they don't need a marquee name to sell tickets, as a first-year expansion team the need to win doesn't yet drive interest, and a big name would likely just be a distraction for a young team with a clear plan. I can't imagine Nowak would suffer a diva too kindly, so the incoming star would need to be properly suited for the role of elder statesman. It's debatable if the Union need one of those.

In a perfect world, MLS clubs wouldn't need DPs to garner interest or would have salary pools deep enough that one player of DP quality wouldn't stand out; since that hasn't yet happened and likely won't for years, clubs are working to find a balance between cost, marketing appeal, and quality. New York has a rich corporate owner desperate to make a splash the big city: the Red Bulls sign Thierry Henry. Chicago has shallower pockets, the need for a goalscorer, and a Mexican fan base crucial to the club's success: the Fire sign Nery Castillo.

Examples abound, with each situation different because of market and need. Simply put, the Union don't need a big name in their current situation. If, in a few years' time, the attendance begins to fall and the fans are screaming for something to be done, Philadelphia will be in the market just like anyone else. The club's cash reserves and need will dictate in which direction they go.

For the time being, it's good to see an MLS club taking a long view of things. The Union have an exciting core of young talent that, if they can hold on to them, should make Nowak's team into a winner shortly enough. With everything exciting and new, a big name or proven European talent would do little but add to their salary sheet.

For now, it's prudent to invest in their development programs, create bond with their fans through their emerging young stars, and build slowly while maturing as a new franchise.

Let's give them credit while keeping in mind that they might not always have the luxury of sitting out the DP game.
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