Fans' View

Fans’ View: BC!

Photo: Paul Rudderow

I recall my first impression of the Brian Carroll acquisition being something along the lines of “I don’t know much about him, but it has to be a good thing for a relatively new organization to acquire a veteran midfielder who’s never missed the playoffs.”

While that streak came to an end as part of the Union, Carroll has been a great ambassador for the club, and a surprisingly valuable asset on the field. With the likely exception of Sebastien Le Toux, who’s more Union than Brian Carroll at this point in the team’s history?

I’ve always been a Carroll supporter and defender, including a couple of years ago when the cries of BC being too old, too slow, or too much of a MLS 1.0 midfielder reached the loudest crescendo. I’ve come to his rescue in Facebook comments, sung his praises here on PSP from time to time, and held him up as an example to my son of a leader and athlete who plays the right way. Maybe it’s his professionalism, or his high work rate and unselfishness. Perhaps it’s the way he sees things on the field a step ahead of younger, more athletic players, and breaks up plays through guile and a high soccer IQ.

I recall a few years back being at team events for season ticket holders, and getting a sense for the respect many of the younger players had for an aging (in MLS terms) midfielder who had become their team captain. I also remember one of my family’s earliest interactions with Carroll being at a local library during a program to help promote reading with young children. BC took time to talk to each of the kids in attendance, pose for pictures, and sent my son home with an autographed poster of Carroll and the book he read to the kids that day. In addition to shielding center backs, Carroll makes strong book recommendations – “Little Blue Truck” was apparently a favorite in his household, and is easily one my daughter’s favorites now. I’ve come across Carroll at other Union events, and have always been impressed by how unassuming he is, and how well he represents the club at all times.

I get that being a good guy only gets you so far as a professional athlete, and the more impressive part of watching Brian Carroll for me is that every time he’s collectively written off as being washed up, too slow, or too old, he steps up and proves that he still has plenty to offer. He’s not the biggest guy out there, nor the fastest, nor the most technically gifted player, but he has carved out a spot, excels at aspects of the game that still do matter (reading passing lanes, clogging up the middle of the pitch to force attackers out of channels, etc.), and makes the most out of his ability. He’s earned a spot with this team once again, and taken on a much bigger role than any of us anticipated when he re-signed as a player/coach this offseason.

The goal against Colorado, to salvage a tie in stoppage time, was a stunner. Obviously, Carroll has never been a prolific goal scorer, and to finish a left footed volley past a diving goalkeeper in the final minutes is not how we typically envision a BC moment.

But what’s not surprising to me at all is Carroll recognizing the situation, the arch and placement of the ball from Gaddis to the head of Herbers, and making the perfect near post run his team needed at that moment in time.

4 Comments

  1. Reminds me of the old saying (and its many variations):

    “Old age and treachery will overcome youth and enthusiasm”

  2. OneManWolfpack says:

    Said it before and I’ll say it again. Brian Carroll has earned legend status. I take back everything I ever said about him as a player. He is solid, and does his job, night in and night out. If Fabinho could learn to play with his discipline and smarts, he’d be a top 5 LB in this league.
    .
    First guy in the Union HOF – LeToux. Second – Brian Carroll

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