If I was Piotr Nowak and was selecting from the list of unprotected players available for the Union, I would select as many players with a connection to Philadelphia as possible. Wait, no I wouldn't, because I don't care about that, and neither should Nowak.
Instead, I would be selecting players who have a proven track record in MLS. Many fans are more prone to recommend selecting younger players with lower salaries. But I think the team would have the best chance of winning by selecting more experienced players who are at or near their prime.
DC - Luciano Emilio - No need to elaborate any further than I already have.
Looking at the full list of available players now, I'm leaning even more towards Emilio, because I really don't see any other players on the list that are likely to contribute more than a couple goals. I jotted down Pat Noonan and Calen Carr as other potential targets, but I think PU is more apt to look for help abroad at this position.
SJ - Bobby Convey - Still hasn't settled in since returning to MLS, and there seem to be rumors floating that this move was already in the plans. Convey only played for Nowak for a brief time in DC before heading to Britain, maybe he'll make up for it now.
DAL - Dave van den Bergh - Third in MLS in 2009 with 11 assists, and one of the most consistent wingers in the league.
SEA - Stephen King - I'd be remiss if I didn't select at least one Terp. King never really had a chance to establish himself with the Sounders, or with the Fire before that. He could get that shot in Philly.
CHV - Mariano Trujillo - Vital part of one of the best defense's in the leauge, and can play either right back or right wing. Can't argue with selecting a player that's been capped by Mexico's national team.
Ok so I actually have two Philadelphia natives on that list apparently. But this group would give the Union a solid set of wingers to choose from, and they would be wise to add a CAM from outside the league. I struggled not to select Amado Guevara, but I don't seem him as being enough of a team-oriented type player to build around.
CHI - Gonzalo Segares - Consistent defender for the Fire over the last four years, and with 13 caps for the Costa Rican national team. I'm actually surprised by the number of quality left backs exposed.
RSL - Robbie Russell - Such is the cruelty of MLS that a player can score the winning goal in MLS Cup one night and find himself on a new team the same week.
CLM - Andy Iro - This young big defender did well when filling in for Chad Marshall when necessary. Could turn out to be great as a regular starter.
KC - Aaron Hohlbein - Looks like Peter Vermes made the strategic decision to sabotage his team by protecting two guys I've barely heard of (Kevin Souter and Jonathan Leathers) over two young emerging American defenders in Hohlbein and Besler.
Philadelphia really has a chance to build a good defensive unit from the group of players left exposed. The four guys I named would all be good additions, but the Union could also do well by selected Matt Besler, Gino Padula, Eddie Robinson, or Wade Barrett.
LA - Josh Saunders - I don't think any player helped himself more in MLS Cup than Saunders. He shut out RSL when playing in regulation, and was just an uncharacteristic Donovan miss away from winning the Final.
Philadelphia could do a lot worse than this list of players. And with some additional personnel from abroad, PU could make for a good rival.