David Accam hopeful Philadelphia can replicate Chicago's 2017 turnaround

David Accam - Chicago Fire - goal celebration

The 2017 season was a special one for David Accam, who not only set career highs with 14 goals and eight assists but also helped the Chicago Fire go from the bottom of MLS into the playoffs.

Now with Philadelphia after the Union acquired him in a trade with Chicago on Friday, the Ghanaian winger believes that kind of success can be duplicated in 2018 – on both fronts.

“I think I have experience both in losing and winning,” Accam said during his introductory press conference Tuesday from Talen Energy Stadium. “My first two years in Chicago, we didn’t do well. But for me, I still managed to do good things on that team. Last year was one of my best seasons in MLS. So for me, I have enough experience to bring something to this team. We have enough quality on this team already. I just need to do my part, so hopefully we all click and get the best results.”

Whether or not Philly can make a Fire-like turnaround remains to be seen. What is clear is that the Union are putting a lot of eggs in the Accam basket as they attempt to make the playoffs for just the third time in the franchise’s nine-year history.

Flanking Accam at the press conference, Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said the 27-year-old was at the “top of our list” of offseason priorities, adding that the speedy winger is under contract with the club through 2020. And head coach Jim Curtin called it “an incredibly exciting day in the Union’s brief history,” calling Accam the kind of "difference-maker" the club craves.

“David brings an element to our team that is new,” Curtin said. “When you put him on the ball, he has the ability to go 1v1, that’s part of his game. But what people don’t recognize is the composure he has in possession. He’s comfortable coming inside, he can change things up, pop up on either side of the field, his movement is very clever. It makes everyone’s job easier. When you play with top-class players, everyone’s game rises.”

For his part, Accam – who has been linked to a move to Europe over the years – expressed excitement about coming to Philly and playing in a 4-2-3-1 system he thinks is catered “perfectly” to his speed on the wing.

He admitted he was “in shock” when he first heard about the trade from Chicago, which was executed during Friday’s MLS SuperDraft, but felt good about the warm reception he received from Philly fans upon his arrival at the airport Sunday.

“I just love it,” he said. “The culture, the philosophy, everything. I love it.

“It helps a lot to already be familiar with some of the players,” added Accam, who played with fellow Designated PlayerAlejandro Bedoya at Swedish side Helsingborgs and is friends with fellow Right to Dream Academy product Josh Yaro. “I’m really familiar with this environment. That will help me settle in quickly.”

And once he does settle in, Accam excepts to do what he does best: isolate defenders 1v1 on the outside. And he thinks he’ll have a “lot of space” to be able to do so, pointing to the qualities Fafa Picault and CJ Sapong can also bring to the attack to complement him.

Curtin, meanwhile, believes Accam will not only help bring out the best of his fellow attacking players and midfielders, but will “guide and help” all of the young players in the Union orbit, including those in the youth academy.

“I know he’s a quiet guy, I can already tell that,” Curtin said. “But I know he has a wealth of knowledge in that brain. He’s a player that is exceptional on the field and humble off the field. Those are good qualities – and qualities we want in all our academy kids coming up.”