A View from Afar / Commentary

The Union’s collapse is not a regression to the mean

Photo: Earl Gardner

Nothing short of a conference championship game appearance would really make this season a success for Philadelphia Union.

People have been asking that question for a couple weeks now as the Union limp, stumble and collapse into the postseason. They haven’t won a game in nearly two months. Their starting center forward hasn’t scored since Aug. 13, and yet he continues to start and even go 90 minutes in most games.

Yes, the Union are going to the playoffs, unless there is some serious Italian or Salvadoran-style match-fixing in play this weekend. The only way they won’t is if they lose, New England wins, and the combined goal differential makes up their -12 goal differential behind the Union. Not likely.

But this is not the way you want to make the playoffs, going winless (0-4-2) down the stretch and only qualifying thanks to the league’s extraordinarily forgiving system that wrongly sends more than half the league’s teams to the postseason. It cheapens the regular season to reward a sub-.500 team playing as poorly as the Union are.

The problem is that the goalposts moved for the Union, and expectations are higher than they once were. At the Copa break in June, they sat in first place with a record of 6-3-5. Striker C.J. Sapong was in top form. The team was clicking.

Then Vincent Nogueira departed, and the goalposts went right back to where they were nearly every season leading up to this.

Since Nogueira left, the Union have gone 5-10-4. That winning percentage would tie for second worst in the league (draws excluded) if projected over a full season.

It’s clear that the unexpected departure of the team’s fulcrum was the trigger for the Union’s fall, regardless of how many games he missed due to injury.

The questions are how much of the collapse falls on the coaching staff and whether observers (including me) overrated this club after their first half success.

How much blame for the technical staff? 

People often cut head coach Jim Curtin and his staff a break because he’s a young, likable coach with local ties. Two U.S. Open Cup finals and this season’s fantastic start don’t hurt either.

But he and his staff are on the hook too. Here are two examples of why.

  • Keegan Rosenberry hits the wall, while Ray Gaddis hits the bench. 

Rosenberry was the league’s best rookie for the most of the season. Some overrated the local product’s defensive prowess, but in possession and attack, there may have been no better right back in MLS for much of the year.

Now Rosenberry looks ordinary at best.

Maybe it has something to do with him leading all MLS field players in minutes played. Rosenberry is the only MLS field player to play every minute of every regular season game this year. It’s hard for an experienced MLS player to put in that much time, let alone a rookie. This is why the concept of playing your reserves actually exists.

Meanwhile, Ray Gaddis hasn’t played a minute at right back this season despite being considered one of the league’s best right backs last year till a late season fade. Regardless of Rosenberry’s quality and his better fit for the Union’s philosophy of attacking fullbacks, this is a classic example of wasted resources and head coach Jim Curtin’s flawed lack of belief in rotating players unless injuries require it.

  • C.J. Sapong’s confidence gets destroyed. 

All players have different psyches and personalities, but a commonly successful tactic to break a slump is to give a player a rest to see the game from a new perspective and regain confidence and form by coming in as a sub to run with fresh legs against tired opponents.

Instead, Curtin has run Sapong into the ground, much like he sent Andrew Wenger out game after struggling game last season. Once again, we have another thoughtful attacking player whose confidence appears wrecked, likely exacerbated by a coach’s inability to deal with the issue.

Sapong played like an all-star for much of this season — and technically, he was one.

But the time for him to see the bench is so far overdue that it becomes an indictment on the coaching staff and makes the trade of Sebastien Le Toux to free room for Charlie Davies look that much worse. The Union are compensating for Sapong’s lack of form by throwing their fullbacks forward so much that it could make you wonder whether there was a third fullback out there. (There’s not. See above.)

The Union may say they lack depth at striker, and maybe Davies has not yet recovered from the latest obstacle (cancer) that life has put in his path. Still, everyone knew Philadelphia’s lack of forward depth was a problem in March, and overpaying for Davies as Alejandro Bedoya’s house-warming gift is what they did about it. Maybe Earnie Stewart isn’t so perfect after all.

How much of this is the Union regressing to the mean? 

The Union weren’t overrated early this season when they were playing so well. They were appropriately rated. They were that good. Chris Pontius had found his 2012 form, Barnetta was one of the league’s best No. 10s, Sapong and Rosenberry were revelations, and Andre Blake was the new human highlight reel. Further, the illusion still remained back at the Copa break that Maurice Edu might actually play for Philadelphia this season, so it seemed they might even get better.

What’s happened since then is a combination of injuries, loss of form, poor minutes management for key players, and difficulty compensating for Nogueira’s departure.

Alejandro Bedoya briefly teased that he might sufficiently replace Nogueira in the short term, but he has instead fared as well as most mid-season Europe-based acquisitions do. Unless he can spectacularly recover from a rib injury that likely contributed to Sunday’s horror showing versus Orlando, you’ll have to accept that he too is human, as Tranquillo Barnetta, Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and so many other top foreign imports have been when arriving in the summer transfer window, without a full training camp. Bedoya still looks like a great acquisition for the Union, but it’s probably as next year’s No. 10 and a team leader for the next four to five years, not Nogueira’s replacement.

The Union aren’t regressing to the mean. They were and should still be a good team, but they are playing poorly. They could still theoretically get hot and shock everyone come playoff time, but this time, we won’t foolishly get your hopes up again.

56 Comments

  1. el Pachyderm says:

    This article is spot on. It bores me when you get it dead to rights…. can’t debate. Well done.

  2. Great deal of insight into why the Union are slumping during crucial end of season games. Appears to be an accurate assessment of Rosenberry and Sapong struggles and some easy solutions (get them off the field and allow reserves to set up!)

    Maybe this is a reflection of Curtin’s lack of faith in the players on his team?

  3. phillyhotspur says:

    Very good article and for the most part spot on. I dont think Sapong is good enough to lead the line. He works hard but Goals are really the only measure for this position. Sapong seems to be a better option for depth purposes plus the occasional start here and there. He can still add value but I don’t see him as a player who should be leading any MLS line where goals come at a premium.

    • I definitely thought he was starting quality, and I think under the right circumstances, he still can be. I wonder how different this might be had the Union acquired someone they could legitimately rotate with him, keep him fresh, and let him have those games where he comes in after 60 minutes to score against a tired defense and boost his confidence. He should have been a 23-game starter.

  4. Good sentence: “What’s happened since then is a combination of injuries, loss of form, poor minutes management for key players, and difficulty compensating for Nogueira’s departure.”
    .
    Would add: Curtin’s inability to change strategy came to light again (as it did last year). Also, the fact that no fast forward was retained (i.e. Ayuk and/or Letoux) was a major fault.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Ayuk is retained, but has played entirely for the Steel, when in North America.
      .
      derFussballzuschauer did all the digging for this paragraph. From hindsight we fans now know that Cameroon’s football decision makers decided to make a major effort to qualify their U-20 team for the pan African U-20 tournament they will host in 2017. They held two camps that meant Eric Ayuk – eligible not only for qualifying but also for the tournament itself next year because he turns 20 next February – was basically no in the hemisphere from May 15th through The end of July.
      .
      We have no idea whether the organization knew in advance that that was what Cameroon was going to do.
      .
      Ayuk upon return, and return to North American style conditioning, combined in very interesting ways with his younger flank midfield colleague Justin McMaster to torment a few USL back lines in the last few games of the Steel’s season. No goals, but some promise.

  5. Right on point about Sapong and LeToux. The day Bedoya was signed was great, until the club took the air out of everyone shipping LeToux out. He has been more productive on Colorado these past few months than Bedoya, Davies and Sapong combined. That is no exagerration. As far as Curtin refusing, that’s right, refusing to sit Sapong, I equate it to that scene from Bronx Tale. Sonny asks the bikers politely several times to be respectful. Time after time they ignore him. Then Sonny locks the door and says ,”Now you can’t leave”. That is the corner Curtin has painted himself into with Sapong. He had chance after chance to try someone else up top or do something remotely different. Curtin did nothing of the sort. And now with a playoff game coming up, he has to play CJ up top. Why? Because he never gave anyone else the opportunity and he has made CJ his only option. We go to Toronto and only lose by 3 and we’ll be lucky.

  6. Great article, spot on.

  7. It occurred to me a month or two ago that maybe the Union’s early success was going to push Curtin to play more conservatively, in that the emphasis would shift somewhat for developing the team into playing to win every point. Not to say the team wouldn’t try to win every game, but that there would be a freedom to experiment and to try new things. I don’t know.

    But it is hard to argue any of these points. As if to demonstrate their validity, I had forgotten Ray Gaddis even existed until reading this. He definitely should have rested Rosenberry.

    I tend to like Curtin, but have always had a hard time understanding his rigidity. Perhaps his job is too safe. Hard to imagine a PL manager sticking with the same losing lineup for a similar stretch.

  8. If in the preseason someone said these things will happen this season:

    1) Edu plays 0 minutes
    2) Vincent bails mid season
    3) Keegan plays every minute of the season
    4) Brian Carroll starts 23 games

    It would have been pretty unanimous that the Union were going to be terrible and not make the playoffs.

    The only problem I have with the team this year is that for a team that wants competition at every spot the lineup has been very static. It’s not much of a competition if the same players play week in and week out

    • Absolutely agree. We went into the season expecting mediocrity and hoping for growth for next year. By that yardstick, I’d say expectations were met, maybe exceeded.

      • James Lockerbie says:

        + 1,000 Sunday was really rough and the prospects for success in the playoffs are dim. Having said, that surely this season was a step in the right direction.

  9. Lucky Striker says:

    mmmmm…..what is this “bench” that you speak of…….

    Being Nexian is cool now. Seems the media is finally on board. It’s been lonely here, but even loneliness eventually rewards the perseverant.

    So many converts, so little time………..

  10. While I agree with the article the thing that pisses me off the most is running Sapong out there week after week. I just don’t get it you have a proven goal scorer in Alberg just sitting on the bench. He has more goals than Sapong more assists and overall has more movement and better technical skill. Would he win balls in the air no, but then change the tactics move the ball. Week after week I expect the same thing hoof it up to Sapong for him to hold up. He will pretend to get fouled fall down and give up the ball and back it goes in the other direction. I never will understand Curtin lack of rotation or lack of ability to change. Teams are different tactics should change whether you keep the same formation you can still play differently within the same formation. I wish when teams had come sniffing for Sapong we had sold him to the highest bidder over the summer transfer window. I mean it was easy to see that Sapong is not a striker as he has yet to score double digit goals in a season. He is at best a backup striker, possibly a decent starting winger with his strength.

    • Sapong easily has the ability to be a consistent double digit scorer in this league. I would bring up management of minutes as the reason he has slowed down these last few months.

      Curtin runs him ragged as the hold up man AND 1st line of defense. His work off the ball is easily among the best in MLS. But instead of resting him occasionally or subbing him out, Curtin has always moved him to half back in the 70th min where he is asked to do even more running.

      When you are shallow at forward to begin with you have to treat they players you do have a lot better. I’m just thankful he hasn’t picked up a major injury. We’d really be screwed if CJ went down.

      • SilverRey I tend to disagree tell me the last time Sapong consistently scored in the double digits?

      • Great point, re: first line of defense and hold-up.

      • Dan, don’t see it he can play defense and hold the ball up all he wants if he is not scoring in this league his role is not striker. The only team in the east conference above the Union that doesn’t have a double digits from a striker is DC United. To me this is a glaring problem on the team and one that should have been adjusted long ago during his first scoring drought back before Aug. 13. Sometimes things just need to be changed up. I just don’t see Sapong as being that 10-20 goal scoring player nothing about him makes me worry as an opposing team. I put my best strongest CB on him play him physical and take him out of the game and there check one player I don’t have to worry about. And its not that hard when he is in a lone striker set.

  11. Think of Curtin as a manager of a mutual fund. He has chosen or was given items to work with. They are his portfolio and it seems to be working O.K. He is a true believer in his picks and will keep the present portfolio thru ups and downs. The non performers will come around and right themselves he believes. They are his picks, and he is invested in them and he feels he knows what is best.Change signifies a type of defeat, which is not his style. He is a hold for the long term type guy. Problem is you can not win if you are afraid to lose. Taking a risk, making a change exposes you to possible failure. Success always caries with it the possibility of randomness. Maybe circumstances allowed you to be fortunate. Was he just lucky for a while? The hard part comes when you have to reshuffle your portfolio. How will you re weight this to make it productive again? that is the true test, and so far this fund is underperforming. The Red Bulls were also 1-5 or so and reset. I am pretty sure the UNION will play well against the RB but that may not be enough to set things right.

  12. I think some of it comes from the schedule as well. In the pre Copa run, 3 of their 6 wins came against Columbus and New England, the only two teams the Union have beaten on the road this year. Another came against Orlando on a late free kick rather than a dominating win. The other two wins were against DC and NYCFC, before either one found their form.
    .
    They lost to Chicago and an out of form Seattle team and looked completely out of form against Dallas.
    .
    They blew leads at home against San Jose and LA, the former while up a man. We’ll chalk the Orlando draw up to questionable calls on the goals and give them credit for the draws in Colorado and Montreal.
    .
    So if the Union had been say 8-1-5 (winning against San Jose and Chicago and not losing to Seattle), then I would consider this more of a collapse rather than the schedule catching up with them.

    • Yes, good point, part of it was the schedule catching up with them in the recent stretch, but this is also a team that lost twice to Chicago, which has the league’s worst record.

    • The schedule may have had some impact on the Union’s late-season collapse, but it doesn’t explain the team’s losses to playoff outsiders Chicago and Orlando down the stretch.
      .
      If the U had simply managed to win those two matches, the discussions on this board would probably be much different today.

  13. I very much believe in the Vision for this club.
    I very much believe there is a Plan.
    .
    What I am not sold on is the Philosophy.
    .
    Or the players capable of playing at an international level…which if you aim to be exceptional in your league earns you the right to play in Champions League…take Tribett from Drexel and Marquez from ROSEBUD Juco (kidding) (but not too far off) as a prime example of what I’m talking about.
    .
    I’m cautiously optimistic but have had multiple wake up in the middle of the night moments remembering the Sporting Director talking about building a team that resembles the city – which it seems has been given to a Villanova fullback with little coaching experience and I’m fairly certain zero international worldview…. which like it or not IS important.
    .
    I have terrific concerns about this. Have all along.
    .
    We saw flashes of what was possible early in the season. Hope to find THE player capable of no glitz, capable of linking play, doesn’t need to score, doesn’t need to make the last pass….but absolutely is the outlet for everyone all the time and knows when and how t change the point of attack. Absolutely is the fulcrum and lever upon which the entire team clicks away.
    .
    THIS player is gone. THIS player needs to be found again… in order I hope to reinstill a philosophy of play that I feel was trying to emerge. The loss of Noguiera made any reasonable thinking that JC can truly manage and institute a philosophy of play nearly impossible to ascertain.
    .
    I have reservations about the philosophy.
    .
    VDS called some of us out this past weekend regarding the manager and while I respect the right to do so… many of us questioning the manager have been doing so for longer than just this year and are well within the boundaries to do so… particularly as this steaming locomotive has completely derailed.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Responding to genuine angst, which I share, realistically and seriously.
      .
      Wait to see how many of the current roster are retained once they have lost to Toronto in Toronto. Then, look at whom they protect in the expansion draft. That will reveal a lot.
      .
      I helped a friend through Chemo in the last year. Davies for LeToux is no a move to help this season, it is an investment in next year. One does not recover from deliberate, sustained, intentionally harsh poisoning easily or quickly.
      .
      Final suggestion. Pull all the teenagers from the three line-up sources, Union, Steel and Academy U-18s and create a starting line-up. You can fill every slot except For Josh Yaro, 21, at RCB and a goal keeper. How well you can fill them only time will tell, of course.
      .

  14. I agree with almost all comments above and believe the article is dead on. One additional point I wanted to raise (and I’m a fan of Curtin for the reasons Dan highlights in his article) is the fact that Curtin does not seem to alter the formation in any way. I understand he’s committed to the 4-2-3-1, but when it’s clearly not working, he can’t just throw out different players in the same formation and playing style and expect a different result. That has been one of the most frustrating things to watch from my perspective. It’s too inflexible at too many moments. I want him to “try sh*t” as they say. I’d be much more willing to forgive a loss if he made clear adjustments that just didn’t work out than if the union just keep banging their head against the wall in the same way with just different players.

    • I would counter argue that you can play the same formation in a different style with different players by alternating the tactics. I don’t think Curtin or the Union know how to do this, but it can be done. I’d also be okay with a change in formation anything to change things up. Just think change the players put Ilsinho on the wing Herbers up top. Barnetta on the left Alberg in the Center and what do you have a much more technical movement oriented offense that will interchange and have a higher technical level and thus you have just changed the tactics and style of play. It just needs to be integrated with the backline as well.

    • There’s a good interview on the latest Alexi Lalas podcast (even though it’s Lalas asking the questions) with Sigi Schmidt. Schmidt had a lot of interesting things to say about matching a formation and tactics to available players — essentially the opposite of what both our sporting director and coach have said they want to do. Schmidt bad mouthed relying on plug and play systems, but I think he did so more in regards to the reality that in MLS, you don’t have the luxury of just going out and buying players to fit. You do have to accommodate to your players. One could argue that Schmidt’s views are archaic (and that this view likely had a lot to do with him not seeing eye to eye with Garth Lagerway) Or one could argue that we are seeing the wisdom of that view on display in Philly, where it looks like Sapong is a 4-4-2 forward peg in a 4-2-3-1 formation. But yes, it’s tough watching the same tactic fail over and over again.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Excellent point about one of the limitations of a 28 man roster.
        .
        That is something that is new for Earnie Stewart to learn.
        .
        Hopefully Jay Sugarman is learning, too.

  15. I’m confused why the Union linked to Bethlehem Steel. Wasn’t the purpose to allow player development and a pasture for struggling players to work through issues?

    What is the purpose of a “System” when the coach says “The term “squad-rotation,” I think that’s the new buzz word” (May 25th Press Conference).

    I like Jim and hope he can develop, but he has some tendencies that are not conducive to being a successful MLS coach. I can’t tell if it is him or Ernie’s System that is lacking right now.

    Maybe this year’s goal was to catch up on facilities and next year will be linking USL-MLS franchises.

    • Do not believe it is Earnie’s system (philosophy)… that’s the whole point of my post above.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      See my suggestion about teenagers to El P a few comments above. That’s the longer term purpose of linking to the Steel.
      .
      Check out some of the stuff Tim Jones has been writing on the Steel in the archives, as he has been trying to understand the relationship and help explain it since the beginning of the summer. Dylan Gerstley and Dan Walsh have, too.

  16. Dan, you make excellent points, and I agree wholeheartedly that Curtin has been inadequate in the use of his bench overall, and in particular at striker and fullback.

    HOWEVER… I do not agree with your bottom-line conclusion. I think this team IS, in fact, regressing to their mean. I remember actually thinking this to myself when they were in first place: “The Union are a solid, competitive team, but they aren’t THIS good.” And that was BEFORE Nogueira left. They had good chemistry, some pieces were clicking, and, frankly, they had some good fortune. My hypothesis is that they were playing a little above themselves in the beginning. (And then, of course, they lost one of the team’s linchpins out of the blue.)

    You bring up 2 players to make your case, so I will bring up 2 players to make my case: Ken Tribbett and Josh Yaro. My own prediction before the season started was that the Union would be a potent offensive team, but that a backline composed of 2 rookies, a second-year man, and Fabinho would probably leak goals like a sieve. I even said in a comment here on PSP that for us to squeak into the playoffs, Andre Blake would have to live up to his amazing potential. Lo and behold, everything I said has proven correct. And to be specific, the players who were playing above their level, and have now regressed, are our centerbacks. People forget that Ken Tribbett started the season extremely strong — way stronger, in fact, than any undrafted rookie coming out of nowhere had any right to play. Josh Yaro has considerable potential, but has made his share of rookie mistakes. Richie Marquez is still a fine player, but hasn’t been as good in the second half of this season is he was last year.

    I think the Union’s decline can mainly be attributed to the growing pains of a young back line — and these were predictable, not only in preseason, but even in midseason when they were doing well. Obviously the Union need to beef up the striker position for next season, but I think an important way to lock down the club is to acquire a veteran CB to pair with Marquez in the middle, and give Yaro and Tribbett some more chance to mature.

    • Good points, good nuance added, but I would still say they have regressed well past the mean. I don’t necessarily they should definitely be better than NYRB or Toronto (w/ Giovinco healthy) right now, although if they still had Nogueira, I’d make that argument. This team should be sitting in at least third or fourth place with a winning record.

      • I mean, at the moment they are clearly performing below their level, I think most of us agree on that. But I think their proper level is right about where they are, honestly. I guess that’s where you and I disagree. What kind of defensive moxie did you think they would have this season with the backline they’ve been running out? Frankly, we could’ve been even worse defensively, if it weren’t for a) Blake blossoming into a legit star; b) Rosenberry being even better than anyone, including the Union coaches, anticipated; and c) Fabinho — yes, Fabinho — having an overall solid and consistent season at LB.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      You’ve forgotten a coaching detail in explaining the strong start, two a days in preseason and on select days through the training week. That gave a conditioning advantage early, which has now disappeared completely, of course.
      .
      A second general point that I keep making that keeps being forgotten is that the pace of play accelerates all season. That’s why Alberg can look okay in May, and be a non-entity as anything but a shooter by October, why Tribbett is a February world beater and an August question-mark. (Who played very well last Sunday, I thought. Note that Larin was seeking out Marquez to get away from him.)
      .

  17. MikeRSoccer says:

    Unless this team shows some real improvement against NYRB and in the playoffs, I think you’ve got to consider calling Robin Fraser.

  18. OneManWolfpack says:

    Noguiera was really that good, and held this team together that much… that his departure alone is the catalyst for our failures the past 2-3 months? I don’t buy that. It’s more than that. It’s Curtin and his lack of imagination or flexibility, or whatever adjective you want to use. It’s the trading of LeToux, only to see Ilsinho be routinely injured and unable to contribute – something the FO should have realized. It’s Mo Edu’s, let’s call it – inability – to play… at all. It’s CJ’s, again let’s call it – inability – to score… at all.
    .
    I would still argue that if we had a striker who bagged a few over the past 2-3 months, we’d be sitting in 4th at worst, ready to host a game.
    .
    I think this team did not regress. I am not saying they are a #1 team, but they aren’t a back into the playoffs 6th seed. They have been bad for months, and someone – player or manager – has to take the bull by the horns to get this right. They have one more game to do it. Win or lose Sunday, they MUST come out and play like their life depends on it.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Single causation is rarely complete, I agree, but Nogueira is a major factor, major, the largest and most important.
      .
      For the entire organization, the “new way of doing things” is in the first year. They say of American football that the greatest improvement comes between the first and the second game. Conventional wisdom about improvement in teaching a course is similar, it seemed so in my own experience. It may apply to remaking a soccer team’s technical, on-field process.
      .
      A comment on the strength of opponent issue, losing to the Union helped make those bad teams bad. Columbus was not “bad” at the time of the second game of the season, for example.
      .
      Another thought, for whatever it may be worth.
      .
      Consider a rookie pitcher in Major League Baseball, both the first time through a lineup in a game, and the first time around the league. There is an unfamiliarity factor to put it poorly and without elegance. The Union had something similar in March, April and May. And what were other teams able to do during the Copa America break, perhaps? Spend extra time breaking down tape on other teams, maybe? Finding weaknesses takes time.
      .
      I agree that readjusting by the Union to the league’s initial adjustments has not gone as well as it might. That’s why a deeper bigger bench of better MLS quality is useful. Ben Olson is nobody’s dummie relying mostly on players already proven in MLS for his new reinforcements. I would hazard the Union should look at the Bundestag, the Premier League, and MLS if they want instant impact mid-season reinforcements.

    • Thank you, Steve. Really appreciate it. We have contacted the author, who apparently is one of the site managers. He clearly plagiarized this column word for word.

      • No problem, as i read over “his” story this morning I thought i was gaining superpowers..Turns out i had read the same thing the day before.

        Cheers

    • WOW.
      .
      In this new world, one would tend to think another would tend to know, inside and out, that everyone is watching all the time.
      .
      wow.

    • I contacted the writer. The site has taken the post down. They have not responded in any other way. If any of you see this again, please let us know. (None of us read that site.) Thanks again for pointing this out to us.

  19. “…we won’t foolishly get your hopes up again.”
    .
    What hopes?

  20. Jim Reid / Andy Curtin… No difference after watching our coach repeat his same process over & over again expecting different results… makes me hope that ES does not have the longevity that Jeffrey Lurie had keeping their coach as looooong as he did!!! It amounts to “PURE INSANITY” TO BELIEVE IN THAT PHILOSOPHY!!! Jim Curtin was ‘beside himself’ early in the season acknowledging we have a strong bench… then he proceeds to use 3 players only, ALL season, at the same time and positions, ignoring any other depth and or change of starting line up?!?!? Pure Insanity… IN ES WE TRUST!!!

  21. The following is a transcript I made from Wikileaks-obtained July 31st recording accidentally included with the Podesta emails & Clinton big bank speeches from Russia & Assange)

    ES: Jim, I have great news – mostly! We’re signing Bedoya, but have to ship Seba to Colorado. And we’re also getting Charlie Davies – he fits the style I want to play and he will benefit from a fresh start.

    JC: You know we tried to sign Ale last year – I think you made the difference!

    ES: Thank you, Jim.

    JC: But I gotta tell ya: Seba will be a big loss in the stretch run.

    ES: I understand & Charlie may not be match fit this year, you know, after what he’s been through.

    JC: [unintelligible]

    ES: Listen, we should make the playoffs anyway. Charlie is an in.vestment – and a bargain if he can approach anything like his former self. That’s how we’re doing business: we’re playing the long game. We’re growing talent in the Academy. We have prospects who got good minutes at the Steel. You get us to the playoffs and we’ll talk in the offseason about how I see our style of play next year and who best fits.

    JC: I love Sapong and his dirty running. Plus he came back from his, you know, personal thing a better person.

    ES: He won’t be back, Jim.

    JC: Oh . . . OK.

    ES: Shit, it’s Jay. I gotta take this.

    * * * *

  22. The Insurmountable Hill says:

    I have full confidence that C.J. can be an everyday starter in a 4-4-2. But the man just is not fit for the system Curtin insists on implementing.

    His hold-up play is phenomenal, but his natural nose for goal is not there.

    • The Insurmountable Hill says:

      Hilariously, Sapong may have been the target forward JackMac very desperately needed, and vice versa.

      In another world, in another time.

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