Fans' View

Fans’ View: The U-Goldberg Device

Photo: Paul Rudderow

“I love it when a plan comes together.”
Hannibal, the A-Team

Who doesn’t?! It was easy for the A-Team, it always seemed like things worked out for them. Like there was a plan in everything. This doesn’t seem to ring true for our beloved Union.

After a wallet-taxing, incredible offseason which infused the team with exciting new talent, fans braced themselves for a tour de force season unlike anything we had yet seen. Our eyes filled with goals and gaudy scorelines. Edu for MVP chants rang in our heads. Okugo for Defensive Player of the Year seemed all but locked up. And the shields and cups were the obvious byproducts of these resounding successes.

Then the season started and the Union gave the Timbers all they could handle in a tough opening match. Pundits were abuzz with the possibilities of this reinvigorated Union squad. And then the late goals came and continued, inconsistencies reared their ugly heads, and expectations started to crumble while questions about both sides of the team mounted. Why was this happening?

By my math (at which I am admittedly terrible), the Union have started the same 11 players only twice this season. And I’d argue that we’ve only had what I believe most would consider the Best XI once. The lineup of MacMath, Williams, Okugo, Berry, Gaddis, Carroll, Edu, Nogueira, Le Toux, Wenger (previously McInerney), Maidana has been on the field for 74 minutes total. We’ve had injuries to deal with and Leo Fernandes has been in excellent form, all of which contribute to the “Best XI” lacking playing time together, which has not allowed them to develop the ever-sought chemistry.

Soccer teams are like a Rube Goldberg device. Sometimes that device makes breakfast.

It’s a beautiful thing to see all of the interconnected pieces working together towards one unified end where every interaction informs the final action. But if all the pieces don’t connect properly, no one gets their toast.

In my opinion, the Union’s early season games featured players just playing, carefree of a system. Now they are trying to figure each other out a little more and with that comes inevitable growing pains. From last year’s first game to the first game of 2014 more than half of the starting eleven changed. That’s an incredible amount of turnover. And with a Rube Goldberg device, you don’t just put together any pieces you have, you have to figure out how they fit together.

I think that’s where we are now, the pieces have to figure out how to work together to make those eggs.

I just hope they do it fast because I’m getting hungry.


  1. Goldberg machines should be entertaining to watch at least even if the final result goes askew–I hope this weekend gets us back in that regard.

  2. For the most part, I think the “device” has been 100% more entertaining to watch even with the frustrating lack of a final link. Since preseason I’ve said I thought this would be more of a rebuilding year and that we shouldn’t expect too much too soon with so many changes. I’m still optimistic that we will make the playoffs and at that point certainly have the talent to make a surprise run. But I that doesn’t happen, I still won’t be calling for Hack to be fired.

  3. james lockerbie says:

    O.K. Since we’re talking breakfest. I have an idea, it comes to mind because I have two young kids the movie

    We need a Delaware river rat to hop on Hack’s head under a Union Cap. Doop da Rat can pull on his hair and lead him in player selections and help him drawl up a game plan taking into account all of the veribles that may occur, so Hack can make the proper adjustments and Subs



    O.k that was fun.

  4. I know there are differences, but isn’t that the point of practices and pre-season matches?

  5. Hmm so although I think they need to present a starting line up and stick with it, Carroll should not be part of it. Yea sure they played great during the Portland match but Carroll made the decision to try the impossible instead of being smart and just getting in front of the ball or maybe heading it away, there were many other options to choose from than trying to clear it like he did. Big BC is still making those mistakes thus far in the season. Taking him out is the first step to improving the team. I guess I’ll keep reinstating this until I lose my voice …..

    • The Black Hand says:

      BC has become this manager’s “blankie”. The fear moving on, without that source of comfort, keeps Hackworth reaching for Ol’ #7. Having two little kids; I know, first-hand, how disgusting these grimy, snot-soaked, germ-infested, tattered little pieces of fabric these beloved ‘blankies’ really are. They serve their purposes but, eventually, need to be moved on from. Brian Carroll is the same (maybe a little more hygienic). It is time for the club to grow up and play the game without Brian “Blankie” Carroll! Or…we can continue to play the same, limited, brand of mediocre football that we have grown accustomed to seeing from our club.

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