Player of the Week / Union

Players of the week: Austin Trusty and Mark McKenzie

Over an average 90 minutes of action, two New York Red Bulls lead Major League Soccer in 2018 with their offensive contributions. Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips and Black Mage Kaku add nearly 3 full goals or assists every time they take the field for their side. Impressive numbers to say the least, and a large reason why Red Bulls are the force they are.

Only twice this season have the duo (or the team as a whole) been shut out in league play: on March 17th on the road in Rio Tinto, a mere four days after NYRB’s second-leg CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal victory over Club Tijuana, and last Saturday by the Philadelphia Union.

Rio Tinto Stadium might be at altitude, but that short list is truly rarefied air.

The center back centerpieces of the Union’s impressive defensive goose egg are none other than Union homegrown rookies, Austin Trusty and Mark McKenzie. 19 years old each and stepping up to and through every challenge they face, their work in Harrison, NJ over Memorial Day Weekend has earned them Philly Soccer Page’s co-Players of the week.

Whether the reader prefers PSP’s initial take on their performance, the more individual Player ratings version, Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle’s praise, or Major League Soccer’s own pat on the lads’ proverbial backs, there are plenty of accolades to go around. The sample size is small to declare anything beyond a job well done, but Union fans will certainly be pleased to see regular contributions from Academy players on the first team.

Points against an arch rival is simply icing on an already delectable cake.

 

11 Comments

  1. Earnie had a lot to do with this, you know.

    • WeAreSteel2K18 says:

      Calling them up and letting them play? Perhaps. Developing those players and the Academy > Steel > Union pipeline? Not really. My understanding is that those plans were in place before Earnie.

      As a Steel fan, I’m not sad to see Earnie go. I fully understand what we are to the Union organization but the club has still been mismanaged. That’s not to say the next guy will do better with Steel, but it can’t be much worse. I’m thrilled, however, that these young guys and Burke are making an impact for the Union.

    • Earnie, is this your burner account?

  2. “Developing those players and the Academy > Steel > Union pipeline?”

    I still don’t understand this. These kids were 15/16 when EArnie joined. Are you saying they had nowhere left to grow in the 3 years since then? It’s a joke.

    Under Earnie, all these kids got their first pro deal, played dozens of games in USL, where integrated int othe first team through practices, and finally debuted and mostly played well.

    The leader of the ENTIRE organization during that time was Earnie.

    And he gets 0 credit?

    • Also installed a formational system (whether you like that formation or not) throughout the entire organization from the big team to the youngest kids so when guys like McKenzie, Trusty, et al, come up, they know their role.
      .
      If you speak with these young players who have played in it and are achieving success on the field now, they praise that system and the changes that have been made since ES came on board.
      .
      But…What do they know? Right?

    • He doesn’t get 0 credit but I’m not sure he had “a lot” to do with it. Curtin was coaching these kids since they were 7 and he was a youth coach. They would have been signed to the first team no matter what. It’s hard to tell how much Earnie had to do with their growth, but since they were already in the system, and getting accolades, before he was here it’s hard to say he was a driving force behind them. Personally I give most of the credit to the players themselves more than anything else.
      .
      Pretty sure we had the whole setup playing he 4-2-3-1 before Earnie got here too, although that’s usually been used as a negative more than a positive.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      correct. it is a bit disappointing. as a point of scale- Keaton Parks went from high school soccer to Benefica in Academy. In footy terms, an enormous amount of development happens in 2 to 3 years.
      .
      I really struggle when people are unable to be intellectually honest.
      .
      People want to argue these whites and blacks…. its very rare the truth ever resides in those colors.

  3. Tim Jones says:

    Dear James, I have been watching the Bethlehem Steel since that first game away to Montreal’s farm team, now defunct, most of the home games in person. Anybody in the press box at Goodman knows that my sympathies are with the home side, even if my analysis is sometimes acerbic.
    .
    While I fully agree with your point about the importance of the sporting director, my sympathy here is with “WeAreSteel2K18”.
    .
    It is very hard to be an emotionally committed fan of the Steel because the Steel as a conventional team is totally subordinated to the short-term needs of the Union at all times and at all points.
    .
    I think I can safely say that every time I have wondered to coach burger about whether in a specific circumstance the Steel’s need might have gotten a hint of consideration from the decision-makers, he has gently and politely corrected me.
    .
    The only time I can state with certainty that a Steel need prevailed was the opening game of the 2017 season when Brian Carroll replaced James Chambers at the number 6 because Chambers’ father had died unexpectedly and he was on emergency leave taking care of family in Ireland.
    .
    Otherwise, the moves favorable to the Steel are best described as symbiotic, both teams benefit.
    .
    It’s tough to go all in as a fan when ownership overtly is not all in for the same goals, so tough that there are conventional owner who would like to get rid of the player development sides like the Steel entirely because their different priorities mean the competition against them is different. E. G., Louisville buses to the Lehigh Valley. Bethlehem flies to Louisville.

    • “It is very hard to be an emotionally committed fan of the Steel because the Steel as a conventional team is totally subordinated to the short-term needs of the Union at all times and at all points.”
      .
      Um, that’s why the Steel are there. Period.
      .
      The fans who support the Reading Phillies are in the same boat, they understand that relationship when they buy a ticket. They understand their “reward” isn’t years of winning baseball, it’s seeing their players develop and playing on the big team someday.

    • el pachyderm says:

      I’m on record as arguing MLS II Union should be playing at Talen Energy Stadium and the Lehigh Valley (Steel) brand could make a push for a USL team if professional soccer in that area is of importance.
      .
      For the life of me, I do not understand why this doesn’t happen. Seems to me the amount of money spent by the parent club with travel and and and and is excess to need.

  4. “It is very hard to be an emotionally committed fan of the Steel because the Steel as a conventional team is totally subordinated to the short-term needs of the Union at all times and at all points.”
    .
    Um, that’s why the Steel are there. Period.
    .
    The fans who support the Reading Phillies are in the same boat, they understand that relationship when they buy a ticket. They understand their “reward” isn’t years of winning baseball, it’s seeing their players develop and playing on the big team someday.

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