Fans' View

Fans’ View: Fading into Blue

Photo: Nicolae Stoian

Well that wasn’t exactly how we planned it, now was it? If this WAS the way we planned it, we are some pretty crappy planners. The end of the season has made it hard to even remember those glory days of early Spring.

Seven games without a win and a whopping FIVE goals scored in those contests. It’s easy to think we have literally no chance in hell as we go up against a team that has arguably the best player in the league and not to mention two of the most talented American players in recent memory. So we’ve got that going for us, which is nice?

But it’s at these times, when it’s most important to remember why we became fans of this ramshackle crew to begin with. It’s not because they were the best team in the conference. We knew they couldn’t spend with some of those big boys, but this team would be ours. They would play their way, put the city on their shoulders and make us proud.

And they have. Did you think we’d be here at the end of this season before we started? No way. Did you think we’d add another stud like Alejandro Bedoya? I sure didn’t. And I think it may set us up for the next few years. A tandem like a healthy (a big if) Maurice Edu and Alejandro Bedoya in the center of the pitch could do serious damage. Then again, we might never see it.

It’s been a long time coming that this franchise returns to the playoffs. I remember that game and while I won’t be there to cheer them on Wednesday, you can bet I’ll be strapped in at home. This is the first time I’ve been excited about them in a few weeks and no matter the outcome I’ll be proud to support the blue and gold.

Let’s put all of that negativity behind us. All of the missed chances and set piece goals allowed and believe in what this team can do. I think we all believe they have the ABILITY to win. But I think what they’re lacking is that belief in themselves. It’s not hard to see why.

Early in the season, they were better than the sum of their parts. Recently, they’ve seemed to lose the spark and that unity that created the early season heroics. It’s almost as if they’ve forgotten. I implore you, send good vibes. This is not out of their hands, this is within their reach. Who cares that we’re the worst playoff team of all time? Who cares that we pulled off one of the all-time back-ins of all time? That doesn’t matter now. And those boys have 90 minutes to remind us that we should’ve known.


  1. Good for you Sparky.

  2. I agree. The hate here is crazy, especially since some people are already turning on ES. Which is just crazy to me.

    ES wasn’t brought here to win a playoff game this year. Hell, be honest, none of us really thought we would make the players this year. And those that did thought we would back in.

    Soccer more than any other sport is about building from the ground up and creating a coherent identity. Getting ES was part 1 of that. Part 2 was signing Jones and Trusty and announcing the arrival of the pro pipeline. Part 3 is this offseason.

    • Bout that word ‘hate’…phew.

    • Don’t confuse hate with passion. A lot of people who post on PSP really care about this club. Many are STH from Day 1 (like me) and have gone through a lot, yet continue to support the club.

      While we did arrive at a destination (the playoffs) that many felt were a long shot going into the season, the way that we got there was definitely not the preferred route. I would much rather have been playing better going into the most important part of our season. For me, the journey is more important than the destination.

      I was frustrated as anyone these last two months, but I’m genuinely excited for tonight’s match.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        Yeah well said. I too am a Day 1 season ticket holder. I never hate. I get nuts and vent and lose my shit once in a while, but I don’t hate. You’ll also never see me shit on ES. It’s been one season. It’s not even remotely appropriate to judge yet.

  3. My “goals” coming into 2016 were pretty simple, really.
    A) I wanted to see a +10 improvement on goal differential. In 2015, we were -13; in 2016, we were -3. Mission accomplished.
    B) I wanted a winning record at home. In 2015, we were 7-7-3, for a boring .500 record. In 2016, we were 8-5-4. Mission accomplished.
    C) I wanted to improve our road results by three points – effectively one win better, though I didn’t care if we got by “converting” a tie to a win, or three losses to ties. In 2015, we were 3-10-4 on the road, for a total of 13 points. In 2016, we were… 3-9-5 on the road, for a total of 14 points. Oops, missed out on this one.
    My supposition was that each of those improvements would net us somewhere between 5-10 points. And, that ended up also being accurate as 2016 was 5 points better than 2015. And that small improvement moves us from 19th in the table to 13th.
    So, viewing the season through my pre-season hopes and desires, 2016 was successful but not as successful as it could be. That’s what keeps me grounded right now as we suffer what seems to me to be a regression to the mean. We weren’t as good as our pre-COPA record looked, and I don’t think we’re quite as bad as our post-COPA, especially the last seven. My expectation for tonight is that we lose, and it probably won’t even be as close as the 3-1 score that comes to my mind. And for me, that’s OK. Coming in, this year was about growth and laying a foundation. Those have, in my opinion, happened to a far greater extent, overall, than even an optimist could have hoped for.
    Losing Nogs sucked. Losing ‘Quillo will suck. Losing Edu just as he was about to return sucks, and on a personal level I feel so sorry for Edu. In my opinion he’s not a great fit for the role we were supposedly going to use him in, but to be on the verge of finally coming back only to suffer a broken leg is a terrible setback for a man who has been nothing but professional since arriving here.
    Earnie and Chris – I assume at least – Jim have their work cut out for them again this offseason. They need to handle the expansion draft and navigate that mess without losing anybody significant; they need to deal with their expiring contracts – Pontius, Ilsinho, etc – and decide what to do in each case. They need to prepare for the draft. They need to prepare for MLS’s own special version of free agency. They need to build a roster for Bethlehem again. They need to explore the winter international window. 2017 will need to build on 2016, and at least as of now I’m going to hold the team to the same (or similar) three goals for measuring successful growth – improve goal differential by +10 or more; at home, more wins than losses plus ties; on the road, at least 3 points better.
    But first, lets try to enjoy tonight’s game for what it should be – our departure from the basement and arrival into the middle-tier teams. That means 2017 needs to build on 2016, the Union need to make the playoffs again – first time back-to-back in team history – and then 2018 can be geared toward moving from the middle-tier to the upper-tier in the east. One step at a time.

  4. Lucky Striker says:

    There are things about this club that I hate with fire of a thousand suns………of this you can be sure.

    I don’t hate my hometown, American professional soccer, or the very idea that one day this cluster of a franchise could morph into something WE COULD ALL be proud of…….

    That day isn’t here yet, and despite all the bleating to the contrary I totally accept the concept that it will never arrive.

    I haven’t as yet accepted as fact that it won’t either.
    Clock is ticking……but hasn’t struck midnight yet.

    That’s why I still watch. It’s the hope that kills.
    If we who disagree with you so much didn’t care we wouldn’t bother. The ‘net really is secondary to the goal………

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