Fans' View

Fans’ View: The 33% 2014 Power Rankings

Photo: Earl Gardner

Every week we see power rankings for each team in Major League Soccer. Teams rise, fall, hold fast and we watch what pundits have to say regarding the form of our team in comparison with others. We even have the Castrol Index, which rates players against each other from all across the league. I think it’s time that we had our very own rankings for all things Union; maybe the rankings below can help make some sense of this season’s roller coaster of varying disappointments and tiny triumphs.

11. PPL Concessions: Other Philly ballparks: Federal Donuts, Tony Luke’s, Vetri, Garces. PPL: Hot Dog Nation, Fresh Classics. Seems to be a discrepancy there. Minor credit for having a couple of craft beer options. But when taken as sum total against the city’s other concession offerings, PPL Park fades hard. Pink Lemonade donuts and ice cold Sons of Ben Rowdy Ales please.

10. Retooling the back line: Shipping Jeff Parke away has left a serious glaring hole in our roster longhair-wise, but we’ve also been unable to replace his steady presence. We can all agree he’s been missed. Ethan White appears to have made his way into Hack’s doghouse, Wheeler has probably as many fouls as saving plays, Berry has been a mixed bag, and Okugo is still playing out of position. If your keeper is getting as much attention as MacMath, there’s a problem with your back line.

9. Possession: No not by a demon, though sometimes it looks like we do have a hex on us. I mean that stat, the one I stare at and can’t make heads or tails how we have less shots on goal than a team with 10-15% less of the possession than us. Ya know what, I take it back, there must be a demon involved. Anyone know a good priest?

8. New Home Kit: I think this was a missed opportunity. The recent jerseys they’ve trotted out have been pretty great. The black third jersey is one of the best in the league, but I feel they missed an opportunity here. Just hire M. Willis to consult.

7. Pre-season Team Meet & Greet: Woof. I’ve never ACCIDENTALLY groped that many people in my life. More room next year please!

6. Pappas/Dellacamera: They sound more like a law firm than an announcing duo. They do a fine job, but after the highlights of Moreno last year, something is missing. Also pretty much no one can win with me here because I always think I would be awesome at this job. Which is probably untrue.

5. John Hackworth: That Ring-Around-John Hackworth? That’s good enough for me.

4. Adding Nogueira/Edu/Maidana: Nogueira has been incredible, better than advertised, and a joy to watch (despite the fact that there hasn’t been much opportunity to make the “French Connection” between he and Le Toux happen). Mo Edu has mostly been a strong presence, though not the box-to-box presence I was expecting. Maidana has shown some incredible flashes of brilliance as he continues to adjust. This group would be higher, but I think they got a collection of very good players, maybe not the right ones.

3. Ray Gaddis: What else to say about this young fella that hasn’t already been said. If you were going to sit here and tell me that Ray Gaddis would be one of the three best players on our team through 13 games, I’d have called you an idiot. If you were going to sit here and tell me Ray Gaddis would be one of the best right or left backs in the league through 13 games, I’d have called you a lunatic. So there ya go you genius idiot lunatic.

2. Zac MacMath: “OOOOOOOooooooo!!!” — everyone in a middle school cafeteria/everyone on draft day. Since the moment Andre Blake was picked at No. 1, there has been a target on MacMath’s back. All he’s done is stand up taller (which is saying something) and stronger than we’ve ever seen. Credit to Hack on making this move. But triple credit to MacMath who has the rock many of us hoped he’d be.

1. The Fans/Sons of Ben/Bearfight Brigade: The official supporter groups and the fans at large have had a tough year. Not only on the field, but off. Through it all, they’ve maintained the strength, class, and guts that make me proud to be one of their ilk. It’s a credit to the Union and the city itself that these fans remain the class of the league.


  1. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    # 8: Those Columbus designs are sick! I would buy any of those 3 jerseys if they were not a conference rival!

    # 9: Easy, we are being killed on the coounter. Teams are playing Bradleyesque bunker ball on us. They allow us possesion because they know we are not dangerous or succesful with it. Earlier today a link was provided detailing Athletico Madrid’s stunning run this year and the stats behind it.

    The link brings up a good point about shots from the “danger zone” (please stop humming the Kenny Loggins song…). I would be curious to run the same stat for the U regarding where they are taking and giving up shots.

  2. Great Stuff, this, especially your take on this years Meet-and-Greet. It was awful unless you like slow-motion mosh pits. And thanks for the link to the M. Willis website. His re-branding of the Crew, alone, is a much-needed distraction for a long day at work 🙂

  3. On #11, isn’t it somewhat harsh to compare our concessions to CBP and the Linc? I’m sure if we had a capacity of 45k or 70k, we would have the same variety that they do. I think our concessions for 18k are pretty good. I’m especially fond of the Surf’n’Turf burger at the Black Angus Grill.

    • I’ve stopped buying anything but the occasional pretzel if I’m really hungry (and several beers). The quality is one thing, but the prices on the food made me feel like an idiot for *needing* to eat during a 2-hour event, and the burgers and dogs are average at best. If it’s not Dollar Dog night, the cheapest dog I can find is $6.25, and only at Hot Dog Nation. At Angus, you need to buy one of those huge ones, with fries, for 9-something.

      • Completely agree. I always try to eat pre or post game just to avoid the expense and only average quality.

      • Food is expensive at every stadium. The difference is that soccer matches are shorter and have less downtime than baseball or football games. For soccer, you get done watching the first half and think, “Well, there’s less than an hour until we’re on the road again. I’ll save my $10 for Wawa on the way home.” At a Phillies game, you sit there for three hours or more watching guys stand around, tossing a ball every so often, warming up between innings. You end up paying out the ass for food because you just don’t know what to do with yourself after sitting still for that long. Football is the same way with their quarters, timeouts, 2 minute warnings, commercial breaks after scores, etc. Soccer matches are a completely different animal.

        This isn’t meant to bash other sports for boredom. I’m a partial Phillies season ticket holder. I go to as many Phillies games as Union matches. I’m just used to tailgating in the parking lot and strolling in around the 3rd or 4th inning so I don’t waste my money inside the stadium.

    • -nickt.- says:

      i’m sure most people don’t give a crap but ppl’s veg options are godawful to non-existent. every other option in the city is better and that includes the similarly seating wells fargo center.

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