Player ratings

Player ratings & analysis: DC United 2-1 Union

Photo: Earl Gardner

If Philadelphia Union had opened the season with anything more than a total bellyflop, Saturday’s match would mean little. A fluky road loss against a good squad with an embarrassingly poor referee in the middle? Those games happen in MLS. You move on.

But a 1-7-3 start means dropped points, however fluky, are magnified the rest of the way.

Plenty of positives

Even in losing, Philadelphia Union looked a different side than the one that squeaked by DC at PPL Park three weeks ago. The defensive organization so prominent in the road win at New Jersey remained, and in a match that changed in complexion over time, the first 30 minutes belonged to the visitors.

A common theme in Philly’s losses to Columbus and Vancouver was a quick start undone by a lack of end product and a sudden strike from the opposition. Against DC, the Union finally got a reward for their early efforts. This put Jim Curtin’s men in an unfamiliar position: Defending a lead with 85 minutes of soccer still to play.

DC first half shooting

DC first half shooting

And they did very, very well… for half an hour. The Union defense was nothing short of stellar in open play for the majority of the opening half. The low pressure system employed was perfect for defending a lead against a team that has found few creative outlets in recent weeks. Chris Rolfe, DC’s primary playmaker, was peripheral, with one shot (off target) and two (incomplete) passes in the final third. Conor Doyle, purportedly a striker but playing and looking more like a poorly trained hair model, was effective in hold-up play but completely non-threatening.

In fact, prior to DC’s goal in first half extra time, they had not put a single shot on target, and two of their three shots had come off the head of defender Steve Birnbaum. That usually describes a pretty good half of defense on the road.

Two factors

Philly’s defensive solidity was borne of discipline and communication. Yes, discipline from players like Andrew Wenger and Sebastien Le Toux, who have spent much of the season doing Danny Cruz impressions and putting heavy pressure on anything that moves. This rogue defending has left Philly exposed over and over and left many shaking fists in frustration when Jim Curtin praises hard defensive work but overlooks the harm it can do to defensive shape.

The Union kept a tight defensive shape in the first half, cutting off passes to Rolfe in between the lines.

The Union kept a tight defensive shape in the first half, cutting off passes to Rolfe in between the lines.

On Saturday, though, Le Toux and Wenger not only held themselves back, they also moved laterally with the rest of the midfield and the defense. The Union looked like a team that finally understood they cannot cover all of the field all of the time. When the ball went out to a wing, the defense narrowed, pulling an extra man to the ball side and forcing DC to recycle or hit accurate cross-field long balls.

Simply working out positioning would not have been enough. The second and equally important ingredient added to the defensive efforts of the past three weeks is communication. DC rarely got runners behind the Union back four, and in the first half, Nogueira and Carroll worked extremely hard to track Rolfe when he checked into space in front of the defense. Even more impressive was the communication between the fullbacks and wingers. When DC managed to switch the point of attack, the Union’s narrow defense had to adjust on the fly.

Wenger presses too high, allowing DC to bypass him and pull Carroll from the center.

Wenger presses too high, allowing DC to bypass him and pull Carroll from the center (click to play).

Typically, a fullback will sprint out to meet the man on the ball, leaving a gap near the box. This gap has proven to be a sharp thorn in the team’s side all season, with midfielders and strikers alike using it to pull out the central defenders and create space up the middle for good looks at goal. Saturday, Wenger and Le Toux tracked back into the space left by the fullback, closing that avenue behind the midfield and forcing crosses or recycling by the attackers. In weeks past, the wingers would apply extra pressure to the ball, leaving the space in the channel for the central midfielder. This strategy has been ineffective since even Michael Lahoud had difficulty sprinting side-to-side to close space in the channels all match.

Behind this strong defense, the Union began to add sharp counterattacks. By the 30th minute, Philly seemed capable of adding a second goal as the DC fullbacks pushed up the pitch as the only reliable outlet in a crowded half. In fact, left back Taylor Kemp was the only real threat in the first half, serving in three laser-sharp crosses from deep positions (the third of which became DC’s opener). Given the team’s overall defensive effort, it seems harsh to pick on the Union for failing to recognize that a United goal was going to come from Kemp or from nobody, but… the Union really should have recognized that a United goal was going to come from Kemp or from nobody.

Aristeguieta was involved in dangerous areas early in the first half (L) but not at all in the second (R).

Aristeguieta was involved in dangerous areas early in the first half (L) but not at all in the second (R).

The big chance goes wanting

So what happened? After an opening period of possession and a goal followed by a half-hour of dominating defense, how did Philly lose their momentum?

Here we must return to a familiar theme: Missed opportunities. Between Le Toux’s goal and the 32nd minute, the Union had one shot — Aristeguieta’s header that Hamid smothered. But DC only created two shots, both off target (and Birnbaum’s header involved using Mo Edu as a stepladder). Once the Union counterattack began to click, a big chance arose. Philly missed it.

Unfortunately, the harsh spotlight turns once more to Andrew Wenger. After doing so well to create the opener, Wenger could not turn the good vibes into his first goal of the season. As Wenger’s shot slammed against the crossbar, the Union watched both the ball and momentum bounce United’s way.

After Wenger’s miss, the Union managed a single shot until the 61st minute. DC was hardly better at creating chances, but they did smother the Union counterattack more effectively by man-marking Vincent Nogueira. After dictating play for the opening half hour, Nogueira made only three passes in the final twelve minutes, and just one of those was in the offensive half.

Maidana's first half was spectacular. In the second half, he rarely left the center.

Maidana’s first half was spectacular. In the second half, he rarely left the center.

Fitness concerns?

It is difficult to summon the generalized anger so common to this Union season after a loss in which the winning penalty came from a blind handball off a poor cross. Instead of anger, an element of confusion reigns: Why do the Union’s attackers seem to wear out before ninety minutes so consistently? Specifically, why did Andrew Wenger, Sebastien Le Toux, and Cristian Maidana all seem to hit a runner’s wall around the 60th minute?

Maidana’s charts are deceptive in that they show him making significant and important contributions up until the final whistle. But absent from the Argentine’s passing chart are the short passing combos that helped the Union hold possession early in the match. Maidana rarely strayed from the center over the final half hour of the match, worn out by DC’s extended periods of possession.

Once Rolfe realized the Union's shape was disintegrating and Williams had to step too far forward to cover the wing, he returned to that gap consistently.

Once Rolfe (bottom-left) realized the Union’s shape was disintegrating and Williams had to step too far forward to cover the wing, he returned to that gap consistently.

Yet Maidana had to stay on, because by the 80th minute Andrew Wenger had been a bystander for at least twenty minutes. Thus, Zach Pfeffer was inserted on the wing and the Union ceded an additional ten yards of space in the midfield to accommodate Maidana’s lack of defensive effort.

This is all… a bit strange. Certainly it is no easy feat to play soccer at a high level for 90 minutes, but at the same time, that is what players know they will be doing each weekend. And without a midweek match, is it too much to expect hard-working wingers to be able to perform for the entire length of a contest? Intuition says no, but after watching the Union wide men continually struggle to complete a match, the question remains disturbingly open.

Upward trend continues

But in the end, even if you consider Pfeffer’s handball an individual error (which you shouldn’t), the Union’s just completed a three-game stretch against top teams in the Eastern Conference with six points and only two goals allowed. Those six points equal all the points the team had collected prior to welcoming DC three weeks ago, and there is no measure by which the current Union side is not far superior to the one that entered May all but demanding MLS introduce relegation to put them out of their misery.

A perfect transition out of the back into a period of possession (click to play).

A perfect transition out of the back into a period of possession (click to play).

Vincent Nogueira and Cristian Maidana have re-emerged as potent offensive threats. Brian Carroll has protected a back line in flux. Fabinho has been hit on the head by the apple of defensive positioning and miraculously discovered how to play fullback with balance. Brian Sylvestre has given the team much-needed continuity in net.

This is not yet a playoff team, but it is finally a competitive one, and the buds of self-confidence are finally piercing the soil.

Watching Aristeguieta spend the opening 30 minutes consistently connecting with the wingers, nodding as Richie Marquez and Maurice Edu passed off runners and kept the ball on the ground, silently, disbelievingly, chanting “Ole!” as the Union put together a two-minute, 24-pass move (spending 43 seconds of it in the opponent’s half!) in which every player but Sheanon Williams touched the ball. It all points to a team that has finally left the formless early months of the season in the past.

For the third straight game, nobody made a big mistake; there were no faceplants. This is what Jim Curtin said he wanted, and now he’s getting it.

Ladies and gentlemen, you may finally be getting your first look at the 2015 Philadelphia Union: Playoff bubble team.

Player ratings

Brian Sylvestre – 6

Some fumbles, but overall the consistency that a team in flux needed remains. Maybe you expect Bill Hamid to save DC’s opener, but Sylvestre is no Hamid (nobody in MLS is, at this point). Some distribution issues remain for Sylvestre, but overall he put in another solid outing to give his team a foundation of confidence.

Sheanon Williams – 5

Williams and Le Toux were — surprisingly – the weaker defensive combo. That said, dealing with Chris Pontius and Taylor Kemp is quite a bit harder than handling an out-of-form Nick DeLeon and Sean Franklin. Williams was quite strong in his individual battles, but he and Le Toux could not figure out how to close down Kemp in deep positions, allowing the fullback too many chances to threaten the box with good service.

Maurice Edu – 7

Edu was glorious in the first half and kept up his strong play in the second frame. Chris Rolfe began looking for space in front of Edu as the match wore on, giving the Union captain something extra to think about. Additionally, Jairo Arrieta was much more effective keeping Edu from stepping forward to close down Rolfe than the wandering Conor Doyle.

Richie Marquez – 7

That Marquez was beaten for the opener is so notable because he has done a wonderful job tracking runners in the box since joining the lineup. Marquez has been far better than any other Union center back picking up angled runs and challenging for aerial balls.

Fabinho first half passing.

Fabinho first half passing.

Fabinho – 5

Another fine defensive effort from the Brazilian, but his passing radar was trending into Ethan White territory. Still, it was yet another performance worthy of a MLS roster player, if not a starter. This is a far, far cry from the rest of Fabi’s Union career.

Brian Carroll – 8

Yes, Vincent Nogueira and Cristian Maidana deserve all the praise for reminding the Union how to counterattack… but the foundation of the whole thing is Carroll’s continued dominance of the zone in front of the center backs. The vertical passes that allowed skill players to run at defenders have become rarities as Carroll plays a simple positional game in front of the defense. I once called Carroll a dinosaur, and I stand by that. Philly’s counterattacking style is old school, without the movement that characterizes the modern version as (nearly) perfected by Jose Mourinho. And in an old school system, a dinosaur can still rule. Perfect passing in the second half doesn’t hurt either.

Sebastien Le Toux – 5

Finally on the board! Increasingly drifting into the center (again) as the match wore on, Le Toux’s strong first half devolved into wandering as he wore down and became less of a factor offensively. The Frenchman’s biggest sin was failing to recognize the threat posed by Kemp’s deep crosses.

Vincent Nogueira – 8

With Carroll in support and Maidana cutting off return passes, Nogueira was able to close down the DC midfield and bring the rest of the team into the game. Irreplaceable is the only word to describe him.

Andrew Wenger – 5

Both Wenger and Le Toux are a point higher than they otherwise might have been because hey, a goal and an assist from a pair of players that should have at least three each by now? That’s a start! And Wenger did put in the type of defensive effort (a smart one) that has eluded him for much of the season. Now to do it for more than 60 minutes…

Cristian Maidana – 7

Maidana deserves an 8 offensively because that first half was brilliant. As he faded from the match, DC was able to dominate the midfield and show just how frail the Union’s shape can be. In the second half, Maidana put in a pair of great crosses, but otherwise he merely wandered.

Fernando Aristeguieta – 6

Better with the ball than before he went away to train with Venezuela, Aristeguieta also found a temporary rhythm with the wingers that has been missing from his game (and that Casey discovered almost immediately). If not for Bill Hamid being Bill Hamid, the Venezuelan would have given the Union a two goal cushion.


CJ Sapong – 7

In 18 minutes of work, Sapong had two shots (both off target, but neither easy to take) and hounded the DC defense. The effort and energy since returning remain impressive.

Zach Pfeffer – 4

Even before the handball, Pfeffer struggled to get involved. He’s still not a winger.

Eric Ayuk – n/a

Geiger counter – 1

Ted Unkel doesn’t make sense to me. It is hard for me to evaluate him because I simply don’t understand how another professional referee can make Allen Chapman seem competent. Did he really not even caution Maurice Edu for hauling down Davy Arnaud when the DC captain was in alone on goal? And did he actually completely miss Chris Rolfe kicking out and striking Vincent Nogueira when the incident happened directly in front of him? And how did Chris Pontius avoid seeing red? Take nothing away from Chapman or Baldomero Toledo, who both make strong cases each week for Geiger Counter naming rights… but Unkel usually finds a way to outdo them.


  1. Dr. Union says:

    I would give Wenger a lower rating for his performance. However your comment on the fact that he only did his work for 60 minutes clearly demonstrates that I’m not the only one seeing he needed to come off at the 60ish minute mark. Completely agree on Carroll he is playing very well and needs to stay in the midfield until there is a younger version of himself with more foot skills and passing ability that we can get. Fabinho may have not had the impact on offense however I thought he did very well positionally thus I’d give him a higher rating.

    • John Ling says:

      That player’s name is Mike Lahoud. At least, as an incremental step.
      That said, Brian Carroll simply can’t be counted on to go 90 Wednesday and Saturday. Somebody will need to step in and play some minutes there. I’d try to get 90 out of Carroll on Wednesday against Columbus and look to get Pfeffer or Fred in on Saturday, given that Manchester West won’t have Mix available.

      • Dr. Union says:

        Yeah while Lahoud is an intermediate step I think it could do great things for this team if they look at that position as one for a role of leadership and consistent play because as Carroll goes so do Nogs and Maidana. To this type of team those players are all very important. While we need wingers and a LB solidifying a future number 6 is key to this teams success. Ideally it would be great to bring in someone in the 22-28 age range with qualities to sheild a backline. And I agree for now Carroll should play Wendesday and I guess I’d choose Pfeffer vs Manchester West. However Pfeffer does not seem like the solution to this position long term either. Pfeffer is more the solution to Nogs position long term if you ask me.

      • John Ling says:

        I agree about Pfeffer. Probably the best choice against Man West, but not the long-term answer.

      • I think you have to move Edu into the midfield for one of this week’s games, and have Ethan White at CB (unless Vitoria returns). Pfeffer for Carroll is not going to work. We did it a little earlier this season out of desperation because of the unbelievable run of injuries, but that basically leaves us without a D-mid, which is not tenable.

      • Dr. Union says:

        Can’t play Edu in the middle not if you want Nogs and Chaco to keep doing what their doing and I’d much rather have that then someone sheilding the back 4.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Agree, Edu WILL disrupt the Vincent and Chaco show. That said, Carroll will need to rest at some point this week. Mo is our only option. Pfeffer would get double-yellowed by minute 14.

      • Dr. Union says:

        I see two other options although they are kinda out there. Why not play Fred positionally he could clearly do it for one match and he can see what nogs and chaco already like. The other option I see is drop Le toux there he clearly bust his ass on defense and you can start ayuk on the wing. Or I guess a third option could be to try pushing williams up to midfield although with his lack of speed this year that could be dangerous. I really just don’t like seeing Edu in the midfield he disrupts the whole flow of the game.

  2. You say, “Some distribution issues remain.”
    I say, “Stop kicking the ball out of bounds and feel the love that was once shown to Faryd Mondragon.”

  3. George H says:

    Ahh, totally forgot about that Pontius rake on Williams’s ankle which didn’t even produce a yellow. Unbelievable.

  4. Yes, yes, yes. Great analysis as always. Such a different looking team. My only criticism of the ratings would be a lower rating for Williams. I thought his loss of possession at important moments was really poor. We all know he’s better than his current form.
    BC7 (clap, clap, clap)

    • Is he though? He was always very athletic, but that covered for a lot of his short-comings. He doesn’t seem to be so athletic anymore and his short-comings are ever present.
      Not a terrible game from him though.
      Just not an impact really in anyway.

  5. Fat Uncle Phil from Urkel says:

    Sylvestre deserved much less than a 6. His distribution on goal kicks was junior high level. HE must have kicked 6 or so balls well out of play. It made MacMath’s worst game punting balls down pitch look world class in comparison.

    • pragmatist says:

      He keeps the ball out of the net, keeps his defense organized, and he instills confidence in players when he is back there. That is a MASSIVE improvement upon everyone else in net this year.
      His distribution is weak, but that can be improved. Everything else is a “have it or you don’t” type of situation.
      Give him time, and get him a coach to help with the distribution. Because I’m loving everything else he’s doing in net right now.

      • I think it is plausible that this team could be playing better as a whole BECAUSE of the keeper.

      • It could be that they are playing better as a whole because Curtin did surgery to remove the Raisoma, and we aren’t decimated by injuries and suspensions.

      • Likely- but I do think the goal keeper has helped in generating belief. Aside from the distribution, he has made some stellar saves. Read the game well. Organized efficiently.
        My comment above was a bit reaching, I acknowledge.

      • Silvestre is a huge step-up (not saying much), but the major difference has to be Marquez. Along w/ BC-on-Edu-to-CB dynamic. The Edu/Marquez pairing should be set for the remaining season.

  6. John Ling says:

    I think overall the ratings are too high across the board. But… I think in every case, just on a quick look at the numbers, I’d only drop the scores 1 point. So given Adam’s previous comments, that’s pretty darn good.
    I think it’ll be interesting to see if the disciplinary board opts to suspend Rolfe for his kick out. Too bad they also won’t suspend Unkel…
    I thought Mo Edu got away with one. It wasn’t a PK; the foul happened outside the box when Edu tried to hold hands with Arnound. I can only assume he wanted to take a moment and sing Kumbaya… That should’ve been a free kick to DC and a yellow to Mo.
    Sylvestre’s punts are infuriating – in large part because it’s such a basic skill for a keeper, and it’s what keeps me from really embracing Brian and lauding him as our savior. He has so much else really going for him so far – even if the Union can’t arrange to purchase him, he’s shown he can play in MLS and somebody will pick him up. But he really needs to work on that punting thing. And if that means for the short term he just punts down the middle, then that’s what it’s gotta be.
    I felt bad for Andrew Wenger when that ball clanked off the crossbar. He was having his coming out party up until that moment, but it seemed to me after that miss his energy level really dropped. But up until that moment, he really had his shit together and looked like the Andrew Wenger from last year.
    On Fernando’s acrobatic volley… it looked to me his balance was off; he seemed to be leaning backward, whether because he expected the ball somewhere else or because a defender did a good job on him I don’t know. But I wonder what could’ve been on that hit if he firmly had his feet under him before striking the ball.
    I’d really like to see Sapong get more playing time. Maybe the short week gives Curtin the excuse he needs to start C.J. up top for one of those games.
    Lastly… Holy shit, those moments of possession and passing were freaking beautiful! I hope it’s a sign of things to come rather than an anomaly…

    • Re: point no. 2. Actually, I would be surprised if Unkel is on the field next week. That was as disinterested a performance as we’ve seen from a center since Petrescu got suspended Week 1. That AR practically had to run on the field and smack Unkel with the flag to get him to call Pfeffer’s handball.

      • Darth Harvey says:

        And Unkel swallowing the whistle was the right call on the Pfeffer play. I think the AR got so tired of watching Unkel be too much of a wimp to make the actual game changing calls he thought to himself “Well I guess it’s up to me to really screw up this game.”

        Compete amateur hour by Unkel

    • Re: point No. 4. Horrible time for the kid to get a case of the yips. Can we bring Cheech Marin in to give him advice?

    • I think it is highly likely that we’ll see Sapong start a match this week, as it’s a perfect opportunity.

      • I like Nando’s game and hustle, but he’s just not dynamic enough for this team.
        Sapong offers much more of a threat at this point. Maybe both on together, but then Sapong is out of position… but it’s not like LeToux or Wenger play the wing in proper position.

      • i’d gladly take sapong playing out of position over le toux or wenger playing out of position

  7. Dr. Union says:

    On Sylvestre yeah his distribution was bad, but what I think was worse was his terrified look when the penalty got called. I knew there was no chance he saved it. The kid looks scared right off the bat. Hence not even making a move he was frozen and just leaned to early. You got to be more confident and just go with a choice this is what MacMath learned and why he was beginning to grow before this organization screwed things up once again.

    • pragmatist says:

      I didn’t see terror, I saw indignation. “You’ve got to be frickin’ kidding me” was what I saw.
      I won’t judge a guy on a PK. Especially when he’s been playing so well, and suddenly gets screwed because he’s supposed to save someone else’s mistake.
      Let’s see how he rebounds from that. But remember, he’s 22. He’s just a kid, as far as keepers are concerned, and he’s on the big stage for the first time. I’m sure he’ll learn from that and react better in that situation in the future. Although, if we’re lucky, he won’t have to be in that situation in the future…

      • Dr. Union says:

        True that you can judge him on saving a PK, but the reaction was wrong in my opinion. I still think he is a good keeper its more I think his level is slightly below MacMath at this point and there is only a year age difference and had the Union not screwed things up keepers would not even be a discussion for this club. However yes Sylvestre with the right coaching could be a good keeper for now. But, keepers are put in that position often enough and sometimes you got to just forget the situation and come up with something amazing. He can learn, but clearly is not there yet on PK situations.

      • Dr. Union says:


  8. Andy Muenz says:

    Ted “I’m a monkey’s” Unkel was a bad ref when he did Philadelphia Independence games in the WPS and is now a bad ref in MLS. Hopefully, when the league suspends Rolfe, PRO will give Unkel a rest as well.

  9. Maybe this is just me, but I’ve been noticing a trend that Edu gets beaten for headers on set pieces more often than not. Has anybody else noticed this? I find it a bit concerning that one of our center backs regularly gets beaten in the air. Maybe I’m just looking for reasons to harp on Edu…

    • Dr. Union says:

      No, this is correct. However he is still clearly better in the air then Vitoria who I believe is like 5 to 6 inch taller then Edu and was nowhere to be seen on set pieces when he was playing. Plus Edu is clearly better in the CB position then the midfield position.

    • pragmatist says:

      And, at the risk of jinxing things, this team is worlds better at defending balls in the air than any team from the last 3 years. No may be average at that skill, but he’s still learning CB. I have faith he’ll figure it out.
      And yes, he’s somehow better than the much taller Vittoria.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I liked Parke’s work.
        I really don’t even know what to make of Steven Vitoria. His time coincided with very porous goalkeeping and complete pandemonium elsewhere on the pitch. I remember him to be quite slow, but couldn’t tell you much else.

      • Eye Test: Vitoria = Nick Foles.
        Marquez = Mariota.

      • The first image that always comes to mind of Edu is him tackling Gio Dos Santos at the Azteca and almost ruining history…Mo is another who always relied on his athleticism and gets beat from time to time b/c of lack of anticipation. Nando and Marquez should be matched up with the biggest threats on corners.

  10. The Black Hand says:

    Decent ratings. Edu and Williams are both too high. Too low on Wenger.
    Edu was nothing special. In fact, he might have been the poorer of our CB’s. $750,000+ (Edu), $50,000 (Marquez)…just sayin’.
    Williams was invisible, offensively.
    Wenger put in a better performance than he is credited for…again.

  11. Dr. Union says:

    Wenger better performance maybe, but thats not saying much. He still needs to be on the bench IMO and come in as a sub as he is not helping the team. There was much more flow on the right side and through the middle then down Wengers side. Only when Fabinho got up and down the left did the ball get pushed into that area from what I saw.

    • The Black Hand says:

      We have no better option. Sapong is better suited centrally and Ayuk hasn’t really been better than Wenger. Wenger has been strong defensively. His hold-up play has been solid. He was inches away from scoring, yet again. His confidence is suffering, as is his form, but Wenger is a key to this club’s success. I think that we need to let him play his way out of this…he’s getting there…maybe.
      If there was a better option, I would sit him but…

      • Give it up. Wenger sucks. He jogs around aimlessly. His defense sucks only a little less than his offense. Anyone could do better starting on the left. I’d start Ayuk. You and Curtin insist that we need Wenger to be successful. That’s ridiculous. We sucked at the end of last year when Wenger was supposedly playing great. I mean shit, my 10 year old daughter could have made the pass to LeToux that got Wenger his 1st assist. And she definitely wouldn’t have committed the idiotic turnover that luckily resulted in Nogueira’s goal last week.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Watch closer…

      • Wenger did a really good job defensively cutting down the passing lanes. It definitely surprised me.
        But he’s the type of player I loved to defend – predictable.
        But start him, sit him… it’s all the same there, unless you had a coach to adjust the system/style or a legitimate LB. We have neither.

      • Dr. Union says:

        I personally see Ayuk as a better option or switching to a 4-4-2 with maidana nogs letoux and ayuk or pfeffer on the field with Nando and Sapong up top. This team does not need Wenger to be successful the only season they even made the playoffs Wenger wasn’t even on the team. While I think people want him to be successful I say he can start his success coming off the bench and try to be a super sub. Only then does he get a chance to start in my book.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I don’t hate the 4-4-2 but I think we need a true CDM, to shield.
        In Ayuk and Wenger, I see two guys that should be coming off the bench…LeToux, as well. Our wing-play is garbage.

      • Dr. Union says:

        So this is why you get rid of the wings you don’t have to play with wingers. You could even do a diamond with Carroll sheilding Maidana up top nogs and someone else prob le toux for defensive purposes.

  12. UnionGoal says:

    Good job, Adam. I agree with el pachyderm about Sylvestre boosting morale of the team. Competence and confidence can do that. Is he perfect? Of course not, most goalies aren’t, nature of business, but he is only 22 and will definitely improve.

    Union are going to bounce back. Lot can happen in next few months and just as George Michael sings–“‘Cause I gotta have faith…”

    Go UNION!

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