Polls

PSP preseason readers poll: Philadelphia Union

Philadelphia Union open their seventh season this Sunday on the road against Dallas, and they’ll do so with plenty of questions.

More than half their starting lineup will likely consist of new players, nearly half their roster has turned over since last season, and manager Jim Curtin is probably on the hot seat to prove he has what it takes to succeed as an MLS coach. This team has more variables than an algebra class. (Yes, mild overstatement, but I like it!)

Fortunately, the Union have been blessed with a vast collection of smart fans, as we see daily in the Comments section of The Philly Soccer Page.

So we want to hear what you think.

Check out the poll below. Hit these questions. Detail your thoughts in the Comments section below. There are no wrong answers. (Except, you know, the ones I didn’t think to include in the poll! But you can add them to the Comments section.) The poll will close on Sunday at 6 p.m.

How do you predict the Union will finish in the Eastern Conference table this season?

  • 6 (32%, 102 Votes)
  • 7 (26%, 84 Votes)
  • 5 (15%, 46 Votes)
  • 8 (10%, 32 Votes)
  • 4 (9%, 29 Votes)
  • 9 (3%, 10 Votes)
  • 3 (3%, 8 Votes)
  • Last place (1%, 4 Votes)
  • 2 (0%, 1 Votes)
  • First place (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 317

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Who will be the most valuable player for the Union this year?

  • Andre Blake (33%, 105 Votes)
  • Vincent Nogueira (19%, 62 Votes)
  • Tranquillo Barnetta (18%, 57 Votes)
  • C.J. Sapong (12%, 37 Votes)
  • Ilsinho (8%, 26 Votes)
  • Roland Alberg (6%, 20 Votes)
  • Maurice Edu (2%, 7 Votes)
  • Other -- Detail in the Comments section (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Richie Marquez (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 319

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Which Union player are you most excited to see play this year?

  • Ilsinho (31%, 99 Votes)
  • Roland Alberg (25%, 78 Votes)
  • Andre Blake (15%, 48 Votes)
  • C.J. Sapong (7%, 22 Votes)
  • Vincent Nogueira (7%, 21 Votes)
  • Keegan Rosenberry (6%, 19 Votes)
  • Chris Pontius (3%, 11 Votes)
  • Other -- Detail in Comments section below (3%, 9 Votes)
  • Richie Marquez (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Sebastien Le Toux (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Maurice Edu (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 317

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Who do you think will prove to be the best of the Union's new veteran acquisitions?

  • Ilsinho (51%, 164 Votes)
  • Roland Alberg (26%, 84 Votes)
  • Chris Pontius (15%, 48 Votes)
  • Anderson Conceicao (4%, 12 Votes)
  • Matt Jones (3%, 8 Votes)
  • Walter Restrepo (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 319

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Who will be the most significant pleasant surprise for the Union this season, as C.J. Sapong and Richie Marquez were last year?

  • Keegan Rosenberry (26%, 84 Votes)
  • Leo Fernandes (23%, 72 Votes)
  • Ken Tribbett (21%, 67 Votes)
  • Fabian Herbers (18%, 57 Votes)
  • Josh Yaro (4%, 14 Votes)
  • Fabinho (3%, 9 Votes)
  • Warren Creavalle (2%, 7 Votes)
  • Matt Jones (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Other -- Detail in Comments section below (1%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 318

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Which rookie will make the biggest impact with the Union first team this year?

  • Keegan Rosenberry (66%, 208 Votes)
  • Fabian Herbers (25%, 78 Votes)
  • Josh Yaro (8%, 26 Votes)
  • Cole Missimo (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Taylor Washington (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 315

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Is Maurice Edu the answer at center defensive midfield?

  • Yes (50%, 155 Votes)
  • No, he and the Union should part ways (32%, 99 Votes)
  • No, but he should start at center back (18%, 57 Votes)

Total Voters: 311

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Where do the Union have the biggest hole or need for an upgrade?

  • Starting center forward (51%, 158 Votes)
  • Starting, stay-at-home, true No. 6 defensive midfielder (18%, 55 Votes)
  • Backup center forward (15%, 47 Votes)
  • Starting left back (8%, 25 Votes)
  • Starting center back (6%, 20 Votes)
  • More goalkeepers please! (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Other -- Detail in Comments section below (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 311

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Do you think the firing of Nick Sakiewicz and hiring of Earnie Stewart have turned the club’s fortunes around?

  • Yes (77%, 242 Votes)
  • The jury remains out. (22%, 69 Votes)
  • No (1%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 313

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Do you think Jim Curtin can make the playoffs by the end of 2017?

  • Yes (79%, 245 Votes)
  • No (21%, 64 Votes)

Total Voters: 309

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If the Union are not above the red line (i.e. in sixth place or above) come mid-season, should Jim Curtin be replaced as manager?

  • Let's wait and see. There may be other factors. (52%, 163 Votes)
  • Yes (25%, 77 Votes)
  • No (23%, 73 Votes)

Total Voters: 313

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Which of these statements best characterizes your Union fandom?

  • Loyal fan who has been beaten down but is still sticking around, no matter what (54%, 167 Votes)
  • Huge fan (32%, 99 Votes)
  • Used to be a big fan, but I've dialed it back due to the last few years (7%, 23 Votes)
  • Casual fan (4%, 11 Votes)
  • So frustrated with this club kicking me in the groin like the Eagles and Sixers that I sometimes almost wish I had never been a Union fan (3%, 8 Votes)
  • Not a fan (0%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 309

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88 Comments

  1. Edu is the answer this season… but the most glaring need hands down, unless Edu’s style of play changes dramatically and he proves capable … is a true holding midfielder… like the one we used to have. Yup said it again… and its just as true today.
    .
    The player I’m ‘most excited to watch’ and the player/s I am ‘excited to watch the most’ are two different categories. I’m most excited to see whether Edu can be the leader of the team and solidify an atrocious defense from last season… but I am most excited to see if Leo gets minutes and what he is able to do with them…. so for me Leo Fernandes is the player I am most intrigued by – as I really believe he sees the game differently – and those types of players (Roger Torres as the only other notable Union player) always capture my imagination.
    .
    Keegan Rosenberry hands down if/when he proves to fit ES system of play better and rightly moves Raymond Gaddis to a back up role – which is where his skill set best fits in this emerging MLS. OB need to be two way players and I don’t see it from Ray. Love ya Ray… just don’t see the skill.
    .
    Been arguing for Barnetta as the lynchpin to this team’s success- as it fits what the SD is likely trying to implement.… so can’t change now. We saw against NYRB what happens when he is absent and I imagine that is what we will see… loss of continuity building play through the lines. The Calm has been rightly named.
    .
    You need to have ‘uncertain’ as choices for the manager… I am uncertain he can make the playoffs this season or next though I do see a top 6 finish….and I am damn certain he will be asked to step down if this team flounders.

    • SilverRey says:

      Edu plays the field a lot like Jermaine Jones. He ends up doing what he wants to do rather than actually playing a position. He wants to be the box to box creator, but ends up doing a lot of jobs decently but none of them well.
      .
      As good as he is, and I do think he is good, I think we could spend the money better. The only time he has a true positive affect is when he’s back at CB because he has a defined role which he does very well. But that’s not what he wants to be.

  2. Curtin’s fate can be simplified with one decision – starting RB. If he rolls out Gaddis over Rosenberry in Dallas I will end my support of him. The midfield is crowded and it’s going to take 5, 10, 15 games to figure it out. The RB situation is simple and if he messes that up on March 6th I’ll be disappointed (the rest of the backline is tricky too, don’t get me wrong). Unlike other roster decisions, this one is clear cut and objectively obvious. To pick Gaddis would be a step backwards after so much off season progress. To omit Rosenberry would be to ignore the direction we’ve chosen to follow. Gaddis cannot be the Union 2.0’s starting fullback.
    .
    Also, I’m expecting Sapong to blow us away with all the new support. He’s got a lot to prove to himself, the league, the U, past teams. Last season was a net loss he’d like to forget. It’s time for him to bang bodies and poach points.

    • I’m really hoping for a breakout year for CJ. Would make this team really fun to watch. I’m expecting more goals from midfield this year, too.

      As for Curtin, I have no evidence for this, but I have a feeling that he’s going to manage games the way Stewart wants him to. Just a feeling I have. Curtin strikes me more as a good soldier type than an I’ll do it my way sort. Just my guess.

    • Ray’s paid his dues enough and Curtin is the kind of coach that I’ll be surprised if Gaddis isn’t starting early in the season. Plus you’d like to ease the kid into things. I agree Keegan is the superior player, but while you’re still trying to bed the midfield and figure out your CB’s, let the vet play. Keegan still has some things he needs to improve on.

      Now if Ray’s in bad form or has stagnated a month into the season and Jim still refuses to play Keegan then I’ll fully support CurtinOUT.

    • Too early to call it. Rosenberry has looked good but it was only the preseason. I would not be surprised to see Gaddis start out the season but Rosenberry get more and more time as the season goes on. Of course, right now Gaddis has been dealing with a slight knock anyway so Rosenberry might get the start by default.

    • Lets also remember that Rosenberry is a Curtin guy. He’s someone the Union have been after long before Earnie was even a thought in our minds.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Exactly! Wrote something similar to this further down and just scrolled up to see this now.

  3. The Union player I’m most excited to see play this year is Herbers. He wasn’t included in the choices, so I chose other. I’ve said since he was drafted, and probably will continue to say it, I think he’s going to be them gem of the draft. He makes runs that C.J. doesn’t. His touch is better. Overall I think he’s a more technical and tactical player. I want to see more of, and from him. Second in this category is Rosenberry. Already, I feel he is an upgrade to Gaddis.

    • pragmatist says:

      I agree with you that Herbers will be looked at as the steal of this draft. As far as the comparisons between him and CJ, I think they are different players, but could potentially be perfect complements in a 4-4-2, if we ever run that out.
      .
      Rosenberry has the offensive instincts that Gaddis never will. I think Ray is coming off a nightmare season and will be better this year. But he’s going to have a hard time getting minutes, simply because KR plays the style that Stewart wants to play.

      • Prag, I wasn’t really trying to compare Herbers to C.J. persay. I do understand that they are different types of players. I just like the creativity that Herbers offers. During the second preseason match (maybe third, don’t remember) he and Ilsinho had some nice connections. And there was a play where Herbers made an intelligent run off the shoulder of the defender to get open for a shot. Maybe I should have said his runs are more varied. I just really like the way the kid thinks.

      • pragmatist says:

        We’re in agreement. Just a communication error there with my interpretation of your comment.
        .
        I still like the idea of the 2 forwards, so you have both of them wreaking havoc on defenders. CJ’s hold-up play was impressive in the preseason. If you can mix that big body with a player who knows how to make those runs, you’re going to unlock a lot of defenses.

      • I would not mind seeing the 4-4-2 at all. C.J. with his hold up play with Herbers underneath. Again, we agree. I would also like to see different formations this year. Someone mentioned below they wanted to see three different formations in the first three games. I assume they meant starting in three different formations. I’m not for it to that extent (I.E. it having to be the first 3 games or starting that way). More, I’d like to see a switch in-game or “designing” a game plan to counter a certain team. I really would like to see IF Curtain is flexible, because I believe he has the players to be so.

    • I agree Herbers will be our most exciting rookie EVER acquired, I see him taking Sapong’s place if he fails or gets injured, just give him the chance, I’m “ALL IN” on Herbie…

    • Dan Walsh says:

      I clearly should have included him in the list, based on the responses here. Thanks for weighing in to name him here.

      • Pssh, no worries Dan. You do a great job. Thanks for this fun distraction from the anticipation of starting the season.

  4. As long as Le Toux is starting on the wing, that’s the position most in need of an upgrade. I like him as a 70th minute sub at forward when we have a lead, but in a possession offense, he’s a liability.

  5. Bryan Healy says:

    Eh, ah, First time, long time…
    Its fun to guess what they will do, but do we have any idea what kind of lineup Curtin will actually put out there this weekend?
    I wish there was option for “who cares about individual performance, just make the F’in playoffs!!!”

    Forward – Downgrade
    Midfield – Upgrade
    Defense – Downgrade
    Goalkeeper – slight upgrade
    Front Office – Upgrade

  6. I wish Edu was playing somewhere else.

  7. Great One says:

    I’m most excited AND nervous to see how Curtin handles things. Lots of choices in the midfield and defense are great and a luxury, but how does Curtin handle it? Do we still wait to sub until minute 75? Do we still have 1-2 subs left every game? Do we revert to the kick and counter at the first sign of struggle? Will Curtin go away from Le Toux/Gaddis if need be? Assuming the starters in MID/FWD are Edu, Nogs, Barnetta, Pontius, Alberg and Sapong… Leo and Ilsinho should see significant playing time, which I’m not sure Curtin will do at Le Toux’s expense. Get it done Jim, we will love you for it.

    • What worries me the most is Jim’s tendency to go back to the stalwarts. I fully expect him to start Le Toux. I wish he wouldn’t. I think this might end up being his downfall. The substitutions need to be better. Much better.

      • I am hoping with proper support/guidance from ES and the FO, Curtain won’t feel on an island and can be pushed into the right direction.

        The Gaddis situation should be a huge picture of this. Mentioned above: if Gaddis starts it’s clear JC is moving back into his shell. Clearly ES wants Rosenberry out there: his hand picked draft.

        I feel like since Curtin has higher quality people above and behind him he can be “bold” in moving forward.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        I would think that the Gaddis/Rosenberry decision is a little more nuanced than that for both Curtin and Stewart. It’s not like Stewart “discovered” Rosenberry. The Union were high on him well before Stewart even came to town.

      • I think he runs the same lineup he did against Toronto with LeToux off the bench in mute 70 or 75. That would be Pontius on the left and Fernandes on the right.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        All4U – I feel like if you gave Curtin truth serum, he would probably admit that he only had confidence in maybe 11-14 guys on last year’s team. So he relied on a few players a lot just purely because he had no better options to choose from. That’s not the case this year (Tribbett for one).

      • Zizou, I totally agree. Where my trepidation comes from, is an interview clip where Curtain talked about sticking with the guys that got him there. I.E. got him the job.(I think it may have been early to mid-season, could be wrong and it was later) He was basically talking about B.C., LeToux and Casey. Obviously Casey is gone and not a factor. But, if things go wrong early, I don’t want his response to be playing Edu back at C.B., starting B.C. in the middle. Nor starting LeToux every match. Though relatively small, these are my worries. He has SO MANY options that I don’t want him to go back to what got him there.

  8. John Ling says:

    Weird – I don’t seem to have the option to vote. Instead, it looks like I already voted. For example, I see all the percentages of who picked what answer and some of them are bolded – presumably the one somebody else picked…
    .
    I wonder if another co-worker voted, and my IP address looks like that person’s… Hmmm…

  9. andymuenz says:

    Let’s see, currently 1 vote for More Goalkeepers Please and 1 vote for a flat out No on the club’s fortunes changing with the regime change. Any chance Nick Sakiewicz voted in this poll?

  10. New Year, New Management, New Players… What more can we ask for?!? I am so ready to cheer our club on I’m busting @ the seams… UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION… Give all newbys some time to gel, Expect the world from them, hold them ALL accountable, and watch them succeed beyond our wildest dreams. UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION-UNION UNION-UNION !!!!!!! Founding Member Section #127

    • I’m still trying to hold back my excitement and stay objective. That being said, this week before the first kickoff is KILLING ME.

  11. I think Leo has a really good year. I think he’s got a shot to be a guy that could get mentioned in the “does he get a January camp callup” discussion by the end of the season. I think the only way he doesn’t is if he gets crowded out by the pletheora of other options.

  12. old soccer coach says:

    Thank you, Dan. An enjoyable way to pass some time until we learn things on Sunday.

  13. One more VERY, VERY important bit… THANK YOU DAN FOR THE “EXCELLENT” JOB YOU DO. WELL-WELL DONE !!!!!!!!!

  14. Dr. Union says:

    I hear what people are saying about rosenberry and I agree he has got skills, but honestly I start Gaddis week one. Why you say? Cause Rosenberry will get torched by Dallas’s wing play sorry, but he isn’t ready to handle that. He had a good preseason lets let him start on a high note continue to build the confidence and Dallas is hell for fullbacks. Gaddis has the speed to keep up with the wingers and has in years past been able to lock them down. I know it interrupts the style of play to a degree, but I also assume Edu is not playing week one being injured so I think you can get the added offense from the middle of the park.

    • If this is the direction we are going, why not put the player in we are banking on for the future? I say it would be great for him to get a game in against arguably a top 5 wing play. Also the reason RG has been out has been injury, if he isn’t 100% would/should he start?
      .
      If anything give Rosenberry a shot against a quality opponent before they pick up any steam from regular play.
      .
      What benefit do you see for RG over Rosenberry?

      • Dr. Union says:

        If RG hurt you play rosenberry yes I just think he lacks the experience and has yet to prove anything and think its a bad position to put rosenberry in. You know if he is there dallas is going to attack him and I’d rather he build a rapport with the RCB and RW before they start falling into arguments over who should’ve covered what and what happened. Gaddis has the experience and the knowledge to adjust on the fly if needs be to whoever he starts next to and he’ll take it upon himself that mistakes are his fault. I just feel it is currently the better option if he is healthy.

      • I see what you are saying with that rapport for sure. I guess I am assuming there is no way RG will be 100% considering how limited he was in the pre-season. But maybe it is just the opposite: since he rested, he is 100%

        Interesting decision to be made either way!

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Doc – There’s a lot of ways to defend better as a team (e.g. – maintain team shape, control possession, keep the tempo low, making the attackers on the other team defend more, etc.). It’s not just an individual battle all of the time.

      Having speed is a good attribute, but using it means that you failed defending in all of the other manners above and you’re now using a means of last resort. I’d rather rely on the right back who can do most, if not all, of those things above and right now, it’s Rosenberry.

      So play him and move forward with that approach because honestly, we’ve never beaten Dallas in MLS play any way so why not try something different?

      • Dr. Union says:

        I agree there are lots of ways to defend better as a team and that its not an individual battle. But this will be an individual battle that will stand out during this game. If they had a health number 6 athletic enough to cover mistakes and an experienced RCB who has played in MLS for longer then a year I say yes give rosenberry a shot. But otherwise to me it looks like your throwing him on an island by himself. I understand he is going to need to be thrown into things sometime I just don’t think this is the game to do it.

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Understood and all valid points. It’ll be interesting to see how Rosenberry deals with this as well as how his teammates respond.

  15. Lucky Striker says:

    Herbers may end up with more pressure on him than any other kid on the team.

    Leo is growing…..just trying to imagine how good he could be if they kept him where he belongs-even if he had to wait his turn a bit…..

    Tribbett is going to surprise some folks.

    How long will we have to wait for Ilsinho to get into MLS game shape? Holds position with a stronger shot but otherwise reminds me a bit of the guy they just rocketed to Houston.

    Blake is the best player for me, but if the Union do anything Alberg will be MVP. Guy will wear many hats for this club.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Ilsinho stays centrally more than did Chaco, and seems to have better range defensively, partly because he is more likely to begin from the central channel

  16. old soccer coach says:

    Blake in goal. Rosenberry right back. Tribett right center back. Conceicao left center back. Fabinho left back. Carroll defensive center mid. Nogueira center mid. Barnetta attacking center mid. Pontius left wing. Sapong striker. Fernandes right wing. Bench: Jones, Gaddis, Marquez, Alberg, Le Toux, Herbers, Ilsinho.

    • Mickey Goldmill says:

      So you like the inverted winger with Leo on right? I like that a lot too. Gives Rosenberry/Gaddis lots of space. If the HDM is Edu and properly defensive minded he can slide over to shut down right channel.
      .
      I am quite interested to see Raymond perform with the OB expectation of getting up touch line . Course if he keeps it simple and finds Leo centrally or Sapong or Barnetta he will do alright I imagine I do not believe he offers anything else in build up or run of play in offensive third.
      .

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Write it in ink, OSC!

      Well, maybe not in ink just yet with Barnetta being injured.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I’m betting the knee tendinitis doesn’t interfere with starting the season opener. As someone else pointed out earlier, he went a presumed 60 last Saturday morning.

  17. I have been sneaking looks at the site over the off season. Last season was tough, and I was not going to get pulled in again for months of agonized hoping and praying, but I am getting would up again despite myself. Frankly, I have been a soccer fan for so long that I would likely watch almost anybody that called themselves Philadelphia’s team, but I didn’t realize until Dan’s poll how much I missed it. Looking forward, yet again, to the season. Nogs, Le2 and now Earnie watching over things…what’s not to like? C’mon the U!

  18. Section 114 (Formerly) says:

    I had a really hard time saying I was excited about seeing anyone on this team. And that is the problem.

    • I went with youth. I want to see the kids. My expectations are low so I’m gonna start with them. If the team can string together points I’ll be happy.

  19. I am most excited to watch the first few minutes of each game on the beer deck. We should have a vote on what beer we would like to have there!

  20. Here is what I want to see in the first three games:
    1. Three different formation attempts, rotating through new talent with significant play time for each. New blood is really good. Let’s figure out where everyone fits.
    2. Emphasis on technical play: mind those first touches, the passing game, the possession.
    3. Cheerleaders. Wait, that a different sport.

  21. James Lockerbie says:

    I seem to have voted with the majority of the readers in this poll. I voted myself a huge Fan. I must qualify that with the following statement. I was a huge fan about to check out completely, then the announcement I had been waiting for almost a year to the day, came out making it official Nick had been terminated.

    I immediately turned my eyes on the future of the club and I could not wait to see who would replace Nick. Jay and company did the unbelievable they made the best decision in club history since the very first decision to make a club in Philly, they hired Earnie Stewart as the director of Soccer operations. I have returned to Huge fan status, wow that 2010 feeling is back and I love it!

    Good times are here and they will slowly improve moving forward we finally have the club, we have been waiting for all this time. Nick was keeping the seat warm till Earnie and now Tim were ready to jump on the ” U” Train as it pulled into the station. Here is to 2016 and beyond GO UNION!

  22. “most excited to see…” OTHER = Barnetta – expecting more of him this year.

  23. Here’s what I’d like to see–a team that recognizes the urgency of now. Let’s play each game like our playoff berth depends on it from the start. I really don’t want to be counting wins and losses in September and letting some other team control our fate. Lets not let those wins turns into ties and ties turn into losses because we can’t close teams out. I voted Andre Blake as a potential MVP for that reason.

  24. Quick question I want to pose to everyone. We all seem to think the U are heading for the playoffs or that first spot on the outside. With that in mind, how long into the season do you play a “win now” type lineup before you make the switch to one more geared to developing our young players. (Ideally you can do this simultaneously, but realistically that rarely happens)
    .
    Personally I’m giving it about 10 games then checking in with the standings. Any veteran type “known quantities” would start riding the pine in favor of youth if we’re slipping out of the race.

    • Let me first say that I don’t think your question is bad. In a way, I think it may be slightly off. Curtain has stated in the past (and for me has proved) that he picks players based on training performance. So, weekly, he tries to put the best team out there. I don’t think that precludes him from playing the youngsters. If say, Rosenbery is consistently showing better than Gaddis, Rosenberry’s gonna start. As for the “win now” vs. playing for the future, Curtain’s future is now. His job is on the line. He knows it. We know it. E.S. sure as hell believes it. Beyond that, if the kids aren’t getting playing time with the big club, they will see time at BSFC. Believe it. E.S. will not let their development stagnate because of lack of playing time. From this I would expect to see Yaro starting at BSFC.
      .
      With this coach and G.M., a player’s development will not be hindered by playing time. If a player falters it will be because of themselves. (I’m sticking to G.M. because Director of Football operations or whatever the hell his title is, is too long. And yes I realize this is way longer than just saying his title, but I’m laying the groundwork for the rest of the season. Thank you.)

      • Fair enough. Until we know more about the mechanism by which players can move between the U and BSFC, it cant really be answered well. I’m mentally preparing myself for some bizarre MLS rule that prevents Yaro from getting his playing time there. Or that if we send him there, he has to stay the full season and we dont have the depth to cover that.
        .
        I can live with GM (although SD for sporting director works too)

      • I honestly thought the title was longer…can I blame the late hour for my ignorance and not using Google? You are most likely correct with some hidden MLS rule. Though they were able to move Nogs up and down to jigger with the international slots. So I imagine it can’t be too hard to move players between the Union and BSFC.

  25. If Edu isn’t one of the starting CBs then I think it’s time to move on. He plays far too undisciplined to be a reliable CDM. With the players that have been brought in our possession should look much better and to me that means there’s less focus needed for such a defensive minded player at that role. I’d rather see someone that will help start and sustain possession going forward than a bruiser cleaning up messes as they come by. There’s too much money wrapped up in a player that doesn’t want to play a position he’s best suited for and in my opinion isn’t the best player on the team to fill the role he wants to play.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Mike, in mid January, quietly, I would have feared you might be right. And then in preseason this staff appears to have transformed Warren Creavalle. I will be the first to admit that my observational data base on him last season was quite small. Still, he feels as though he has been transformed by the technical staff.
      .
      Perhaps a similar change may be engineered in others. After all, the solar system is no longer being bombarded by sun rockets carrying Fabinho as their payloads. Let us wait and see, perhaps? [and we must remember that Edu at the moment is five or six weeks behind his teammates in all aspects of physical preparation.

      • +1 OSC
        .
        We’ve had so many holes in the team up till this point that Mo hasn’t really ever had a chance to dig in at the number 6 role and stay while playing as part of a consistent vision and style. Instead we’ve been bouncing our best athlete around the park to put out whatever dumpster fire Nick Sak had lit for us.
        .
        I believe now its time to let that midfield gel and see where the pieces fall. Let Curtin tinker till we find out what combinations work. Then we can revisit the “Mo in the midfield” dilemma

  26. Wait a minute…The polls seem to suggest there are somewhere around 240+ voters…Why aren’t ALL you people commenting? Is someone stuffing the ballots? Should we call for a voter fraud investigation? C’mon people, join in! I’m sure you’ve got something to say. This is ALL inclusive.
    .
    Thank you for your support.

  27. A few opinions/thoughts:
    .
    1. I really haven’t seen much from Barnetta (other than giving up a PK in a sloppy uncoordinated play in his first minutes on the pitch), and not sure why the excitement about him. Clearly not capable of filling Maidana’s cleats.
    .
    2. Hopefully Ilsinho or Alberg will be the attacking midfielder to replace Maidana.
    .
    3. There seems to be pretty universal underestimation of LeToux’s abilities and contribution to this club on this page. Who else has EVER been able to consistently provide offense for the Union? (McInerney for a while? Maidana? Oh, they were both traded!) Sure, his first touch sucks. But last time I checked we don’t have Drogba or Ronaldo.
    .
    4. I agree with the comment above: the new tactical approach and Curtin’s coaching ability will be sorely tested when we go down 3-0 against Dallas. Will we revert to booting it up the field?
    .
    5. I think this team will require a lot of patience, and this year may be kind of a waste until we get rid of Edu and Pontius’s contracts. (Pontius?!?! Are you kidding me?)

    • 1. I think last year barnetta was not in full fitness when he got here and was played in a system that didn’t match his strengths. That will change this year. Also I think people tend to overvalue the assists from maidana in context to actual team shape and style of play. He was used as their only source of intelligent play and while he is certainly capable of the sublime his lack of work rate and willingness to slide into and out of games hurt the team more than helped it. He is quite simply a “luxury player” in the truest form.

      2. I think Ilsinho and Alberg will eventually be part of an interchangeable attacking 3 in the midfield capable of swapping roles at their own discretion.

      3. I love Le Toux as much as the next guy but he is part of the past guard of MLS style of play. He is a great energy guy off the bench and great for the locker room but if you are depending on him as a number one option your team is not going to win much.

      4. I think if curtin resorts to kick and pray we will see a coaching change sooner rather than later. He has the players to set up a possession and high press game…..he better use those players and make it happen.

      5. While I agree that Edu is a waste of space and money that could be better spent on a true #6 I think your judgement of Pontius speaks to having not seen him play. His combination with Fabi even early on in preseason is light years ahead of anyone else that we have had in that left midfield role. He seems to have a positional understanding of when to attack with Fabi and also when to cover him when Fabi goes on a galavanting run with no care or concern for doing his first job of defending.

      Overall I believe this team is headed in the right direction and while they will need time to gel, they will also be much more entertaining from a style of play perspective then ever before.

      • Edu, Edu, what to do with Edu. As a #6 we’ve seen him take apart 95% of the opposition. He’s faster, stronger, got better positional sense one-on-one than most of the players he’s up against. He’s a man among boys. He takes the ball away like taking candy from a baby. He makes it look so easy. And that is the problem with him. It’s all so easy that he thinks he can start roaming. And that 5% kills him. If ES or JC do anything this year, getting Edu to stay home should be at the top of the list. If they do that, our defense instantly gets light-years better. Maurice, stay home.

      • If Maurice stays home and allows the skilled players to do their thing… if MO is Destroyer… IMO, after a shaky start to the season…there is the possibility this could be a dangerous team capable of making a push to the playoffs and advancing…
        .
        I’m dead serious I think this whole season comes down to the CDM.

      • Mick I agree CDM will be important, especially with the way they want to spread the CB’s in the back and push the OB’s up the field. What I feel is equally important is spreading out the goal scoring. I’m hoping C.J. will be good for 15. That means a big contribution needs to come from the mids (I include LeToux here) and Herbers. I think they are capable. But this team hasn’t ever had that.

      • Lazlo Hollyfeld says:

        I voted the Union finishing third in the East. I think it’s possible.

    • Regarding 4 – Being down 3-0 isn’t that the time for Route 1 football. Or do you mean in the next game?

      Will we go to a 4-4-2 when down late in a game to try to add more offense?

      • The days of, “Union play the long ball” better be dead.
        .
        You want to park the bus against superior teams…fine… park the bus.
        .
        IMO the ball stays on the carpet unless you are switching fields or you have an intelligent runner.
        .
        Lumping over the midfield up to the forward to hold up play or WORSE flick it on with his head in hopes of catching the defense on its heels is exactly not the type of votebol I imagine the SD is expecting to see…down 3-0 or not…. from my POV there is never a time to play Route 1… I’d rather finish DEAD last in the league this year and stick to a philosophy of play that is continually improving and routed in the application of intelligence of the whole system of players …. than resort to Route 1…but hey that’s me.

    • Dr. Union says:

      1. You clearly did not see Barnetta play enough. His skill does not lie in the fancy footwork let me make things happen. It lies in the professionalism, technical ability, and keeping the structure of the team. He is by far probably the best player on this team when fully healthy and he not only knows his job and where to distribute the ball, but knows the job of everyone else on the field.

      2. Ilsinho and Alberg are untested in MLS they will take time to prove their worth. I would not want them in Maidana’s role as that role no longer exist and I want any midfielder to score more. Alberg I think will help this I believe. I’m not yet decided about Ilsinho yes he has talent, but will have problems with being put under pressure a lot I feel.

      3. Le Toux cannot carry this team and should not have to. His energy is what this team will need along with his veteran leadership not his streaky scoring.

      4.The tactical approach should change in the game which I don’t think Curtin will be good at, but we should never revert to booting it up field cause that is awful.

      5. Agree we need to get rid of Edu and his contract. Pontius is still young and if healthy which he seems he so far has looked like a great asset. I think he could lock down the role on the left side for the 2 to 3 years if he plays like he has this preseason.

      • 100% on board with the Barnetta comments. If you were underwhelmed with him last year, that’s understandable. He arrived mid year to a terrible team and wasn’t fully fit. Most proven foreign talents that arrive mid year take the rest of that year to adjust. If you watched Gerrard in LA you saw that. If you watched Lampard at NYCFC you saw that. Drogba is the exception, not the rule. Now that Barnetta has had his chance to get acclimated and get some weapons around him, let’s give him the keys to the offense and see how he drives it. Then we can go ahead and judge away.
        .
        As for the Edu contract, we’re pretty much stuck with it until at the very least the summer, more likely the next offseason. We can revisit how overpaid he is then. Until that moment, he’s a part of the theoretical best starting 11 IMO.

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