CHESTER, Pa. — At different points throughout the season, Philadelphia Union manager Peter Nowak had said that it was his hope to get rookie Chris Agorsor on the field to make his Union debut.
That time will never come.
The Union announced on Thursday that Agorsor had been waived, ending the club’s brief relationship with a once-promising prospect on the mend from a serious injury.
Agorsor, the 2007-08 Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year, was one of the country’s great young talents before suffering a brutal knee injury in 2008 while playing with the University of Virginia. After a lengthy recovery period, Agorsor tried to catch on in Europe before eventually signing with Major League Soccer earlier this year.
The Union were one of only three teams to put in for his rights, winning the young striker through the league’s weighted lottery system in February.
At the time, Union assistant coach John Hackworth called Agorsor “one of the most agile athletes I’ve ever seen on a soccer field,” and noted, “We wouldn’t have gone through this process if we didn’t believe he had a legitimate chance to contribute to the first team right away.”
While he didn’t contribute with the first team in a league match, Agorsor did made his mark in the preseason when he scored twice against the Greek third-division side Hersonissos FC.
Later, in the club’s first Reserve League game, he scored the game-winning goal in a 2-1 win over the Red Bulls, causing Union reserve-team coach Brendan Burke to gush, “He’s got a rocket tied to the back of him.”
But in that very game, the 21-year-old speedster was also called offside a whopping nine times, and he had similar problems timing his runs in other friendlies and Reserve League contests.
Agorsor’s last game in a Union uniform came Tuesday against minor league affiliate Reading United AC. He played the entire second half at striker but didn’t create much in the way of scoring chances.
The Union are fortunate to have some depth at the striker position, between veterans Sébastien Le Toux and Carlos Ruiz, 2010 Rookie of the Year finalist Danny Mwanga and teenager Jack McInerney, who’s only seen 107 minutes of action this season. Rookie Levi Houapeu is also an option up top.
On Thursday, Union coaches were unavailable for comment, but the Agorsor move could be a sign of others to come. Serbian striker Veljko Paunović should be joining the club shortly, and Agorsor’s release may very well create space for other signings.
When asked during his weekly press conference Wednesday if he’d be looking to add more pieces during the summer transfer window, Union manager Peter Nowak said, “Of course.”
“As a team, we need to do better,” Nowak added. “I still believe we need to open some doors just to explore in case someone might be somewhere.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveZeitlin.