Player of the Week

Player of the Week: Brian Carroll

Photo: Paul Rudderow

During Philadelphia Union’s remarkable run of three wins in four games, many players have been worthy of PSP’s Player of the Week title.

CJ Sapong has returned from a series of personal and physical challenges like a man possessed. Sebastien Le Toux is finding his scoring groove again and he’s doing so from open play. Vincent Nogueira not only seems to be everywhere on the field, he’s found himself on the score sheet —  twice. Cristian Maidana is resuming the maestro role that is so instrumental to the team’s success. Richie Marquez has stepped into a central defender spot that has been in flux for much of the season and is looking like he owns it. Fabinho is simply looking like a player reborn.

Each of these players has produced the kind of moments in recent games that makes every Union fan stand up and cheer.

But there is another oft-overlooked player fully deserving of praise. And if you listen closely to Jim Curtin’s comments in press conferences, you realize that the Union head coach has not looked past this veteran’s contributions.

Speaking about the play of Brian Carroll, Curtin has used phrases like “a quiet, strong performance,” “a calming presence,” and “quietly had a great game.”

Over four straight starts in which he has played every minute, those quiet performances have contributed to the Union allowing only one goal from open play and three clean sheets. As Curtin said after Wednesday night’s win over Columbus, Carroll has “put out a ton of fires” lately, recording 7 tackles, 14 interceptions, 32 recoveries, and 6 clearances over the last four games.

Carroll’s defensive work has also paid dividends for the Union attack, with the team outscoring opponents 7 goals to 2 during their current run. Curtin said after the unlucky loss in DC that Carroll has “quietly done a very good job stabilizing midfield.” After Wednesday’s win over Columbus, Curtin explained, “He knows to stay home when Vincent and Chaco start to do their thing. It makes everyone’s role a little simpler because you know Brian will be there to protect the back four.”

Calmness and stability are premium items for a team that is fighting back from a season start that saw them — and all of us — suffer through a 1-7-3 record. During those first 11 matches, the Union midfield was often a disorganized mess.

Columbus — Wednesday’s victims to a reborn Union side — defeated and demoralized Jim Curtin’s men by cutting through the middle of the park with contemptuous ease in April. Since Carroll stepped in next to Nogueira, the Union have smothered three very good midfields, including a trio in New York that has a strong claim to being the best in the East.

“He’s a guy that does so many little things that won’t show up in the stat sheet,” Curtin said on Wednesday night. “He’s not going to get the accolades. All the guys who score will get the credit but BC does his job quietly and it’s the same every game with Brian even when I used to play against him. He’s consistent and that makes you sleep easier at night as a coach.”

When Carroll arrived in Philadelphia (from Columbus, as it happens), it was to play this exact role: A one-man support staff for the technical players who needed to feel secure enough to join attacks. Over the past few seasons, Carroll’s mobility — and minutes — have waned, and many expected him to be much more coach than player in 2015.

But just when the sinking ship looked ready to roll over, Jim Curtin called on Brian Carroll to do what he has done his whole career: Bail his team out. And BC has delivered, even on short rest.

Right now, Union fans everywhere are sleeping a little easier, in no small part because of the play of Brian Carroll. And that’s why he’s PSP’s Player of the Week.

So, who’s your player of the week? The poll below will be open until 6 pm on Saturday, an hour before the Union host NYCFC.

[poll id=”7″]

11 Comments

  1. DarthLos117 says:

    Never heard of him.

  2. Well deserved.

  3. I’ve always been a Carroll fan, but Saturday I was really blown away after that cleared corner kick when he sprinted from the 18 all the way to the midfield sideline to dispossess the Columbus player streaking up the wing. He really busted his ass to get to that one. You can tell how badly he wants to be on the field by the effort he’s showing right now.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I have never…ever…been a Carroll fan, but I must give him credit. He has kept my mouth shut for four games…well, three and a half…ok, two matches…

  4. Carroll reminds me of The Silence from Doctor Who. As soon as you stop looking at him, you forget he even exists.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    One other player who could be added to the list is Sylvestre. One goal from the run of play in 4 games and he should be getting his second nomination for save of the week.

    • That was a great save for sure! Loved the way the rebound was dead…it trickled softly right to his defender…he could have got to it himself long before any Crew player got there…good for him!!

  6. Jimmy Trojan says:

    The sun shines on the dog’s ass some days. Do not get fooled, we are still in dire need of an upgrade!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

%d bloggers like this: