Home > Philadelphia Union > Is Cristian Arrieta the Union’s answer at right back?

Is Cristian Arrieta the Union’s answer at right back?

Cristian Arrieta.

Cristian Arrieta. Is he ready to make the leap to MLS?

When David Myrie limped off the field Thursday against Seattle, few expected to see him start a game again soon. Not due to injury (we still don’t know what it was, or it’s extent), but because Myrie had an absolutely awful game. The sky may be the limit for the 21-year-old right back, but, like many of Nowak’s other signings this year, his ability has yet to catch up to his potential. He’s just not MLS ready.

Enter Cristian Arrieta, The 30-year-old Puerto Rico Islanders right back is on trial with the Philadelphia Union, according to reports from American Soccer News and Soccer Insider.

In January, American Soccer News listed Arteta as the #1 “USL Buy to Ponder,” saying this about him:

At 30, Arrieta is not getting any younger but the fullback sure can play. An offensive threat as well as a defensive stalwart, the Florida-born defender who grew up in Italy and playing his way up the Italian league chain has scored 17 goals in a little over 50 appearances for the Puerto Rico Islanders. He started with “home-town” teams in Italy, all Serie C1 and C2 before latching on with Serie B’s Lecce (a former Danny Dichio club). After playing only 7 games with Lecce, a new challenge awaited in Puerto Rico where Arrieta has since been a part of two All-USL-1 Teams of the Year. He was also named USL-1 Defender of the Year in 2008.

What’s my take? I’ve been harping about the fullbacks for a while now. Myrie is not the answer, and will not be for at least another year or two. Nor is Jordan Harvey, who made some very questionable decisions on Thursday (especially his rec-league mistake on the Sounders’ second goal).

At 30, Arrieta is not a player for the future. But he would bring an important level of experience and (hopefully) leadership to the back line. His 17 goals in just two years for the Islanders speak to his potent scoring ability– something that Nowak certainly must be thinking about, considering the team’s recent goal drought (zero goals in the past three games).

Signing Arrieta would also force Myrie and Harvey to the bench. The back line would then most likely be:


I like the look of that.

  1. Ducky
    March 30, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Looks like Myrie isn’t heading to the bench:


    That was a fast fall.

  2. K.M. Morris
    March 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Thanks for the link, Ducky. I feel bad for the guy, to be honest.

    Releasing Myrie does indicate pretty strongly that they plan to sign Arrieta and need to clear up space on the roster.

  3. JohnC
    March 30, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    I like the possibility of the Arrieta signing, I wish more guys from USL were given a chance, especially ones who have really stood out, not only has this guy been the top defender two years in a row but his goal total is absurd. I first assumed it was a typo on Wiki. I also don’t think Arrieta being 30 means he is not a player for the future, at 30 he could still have 2-4 good years left which is a pretty good future to me considering it is quite rare for a player in the MLS to play with his same team for longer than 4-5 years.

    • K.M. Morris
      March 30, 2010 at 11:22 pm

      I totally agree, John. Expansion sides, in particular, should shop around the USL and (now) the NASL a little more. Just look at Osvaldo Alonso at Seattle. Shintaro Harada for CP Baltimore was a trialist for the Union as well, but the team cut him shortly into the preseason.

  4. March 30, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    For those pretty much oblivious of Myrie until his performance this week, I was wondering if you could comment on what had been said of him during preseason. Is there reason to believe that he may have had an attitude problem or some other reason besides for his nightmare in Seattle for getting cut?

    • K.M. Morris
      March 30, 2010 at 11:14 pm

      There was very little coverage of any of the Union’s pre-season games (Nowak didn’t even release the roster for the FC Dallas match) so we have little idea about how he performed. I wrote a fair amount about him early on. This is from my first roster needs post back in December:

      Myrie is the biggest question mark on the back line. The former Costa Rican youth international did not make any appearances for the Fire last season. In a recent interview with Goal.com, Nowak gave some indication of how sees Myrie fitting in to the Union’s plans:

      Myrie, however, didn’t represent an unknown quantity to the Union. Hackworth had seen Myrie play during his days with the Costa Rica youth national teams – Myrie went to the 2005 U-17 World Championship and the 2007 U-20 World Cup with the Ticos – while he coached the U.S. U-17s and reported favorably on him. Add in Myrie’s lineage – his brother, Roy, is a defensive stalwart in the Costa Rican side who has made two appearances for KAA Gent in Belgium this season – and the Union believed picking Myrie over more proven quantities was worth the risk.

      “That was good because nobody really knows about him,” Nowak said. “John was looking at him and he knows how he plays from his old days with the national team. We have a lot of good reports. His brother’s a high profile guy, so his background is important too. He wants to be better than his brother. His brother is a valuable member of a European team, so now he has all of the motivation to be the same. That’s one positive sign.”

      That’s all well and good, but expect another defensive signing soon–don’t expect to see Myrie as a regular starter next season.

      Most people saw him as a long-term and slightly risky prospect. It’s a surprise to see him go so quickly, but I guess it makes sense. The team has too many prospects as is.

  5. March 31, 2010 at 3:58 am

    Got ya. I’m still surprised that they let him go considering his cheapness and Philadelphia’s roster room. Why not wait a few weeks and see if he improves? Maybe it means that there are more signings on the way besides for Arrieta. In a way, it could be legitimizing Steve Goff’s report.

    • K.M. Morris
      March 31, 2010 at 4:36 pm

      I think you’ve got it right. I think Nowak is clearing room for Arrieta, Szetela, Emilio, and possibly a summer DP signing. I also think more players from the draft and expansion draft will be dropped before the end of the year.

  6. OrionPax
    March 31, 2010 at 5:56 am

    I think this is a classic case where Nowak listened to Hackworth, who obviously didn’t know what he was doing (that will be a common theme, watch for it).

    I hope Arrieta pans out, for his sake and for the future of the RB position of Union.

  1. March 30, 2010 at 7:30 pm
  2. March 31, 2010 at 12:38 am

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