Transfer Tracker

Philadelphia Union re-sign homegrown defender Matt Real

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The Philadelphia Union have re-signed homegrown defender Matt Real to a new contract through 2024 with an option for 2025, the club announced Thursday.

A veteran of five Major League Soccer seasons, the 23-year-old has 2g/3a in 38 appearances (12 starts). During Philly's historic 2022 campaign that included a club-record 67 points and an MLS Cup trip, Real contributed a goal in 174 minutes of action between the regular season and Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

"Matt’s development both at left back and in the center of defense will be extremely valuable for us as we compete in multiple tournaments this season," Philadelphia sporting director Ernst Tanner said in a press release.

"We are confident Matt’s growth means he can be a contributor in the different formations we deploy this year. His hard work improving his game is proof that he has a lot to offer."

Real projects as a depth piece for a formidable Union backline that allowed a league-low 26 goals last season. Kai Wagner, a two-time MLS All-Star and 2022 MLS Best XI presented by Continental Tire selection, is the unquestioned starter at left back. In central defense, the first-choice pairing of Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes – the latter the reigning MLS Defender of the Year – was recently strengthened with the acquisition of Damion Lowe from Inter Miami CF.

The Union also have rising US youth international Brandan Craig among their ranks.

Still, the club's participation in four different competitions (MLS, Concacaf Champions League, Leagues Cup, US Open Cup) this year theoretically gives Real the opportunity to earn minutes – fatigue could become an issue.

Philadelphia get their 2023 MLS season underway on Feb. 25 when hosting Eastern Conference foes Columbus Crew at Subaru Park (7:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass).