Daily news roundups

News roundup: “2016 is not 2017,” preferred positions, CCL letdown, more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union

Jim Curtin gave his weekly press conference yesterday. He thinks the Union should be doing better, but, also, it’s not that bad. Asked whether the team is in a slump that dates back to August 2016, Curtin responded, “2016 is not 2017.”

Also: Curtin was pleased with Jack Elliott’s debut and C. J. Sapong’s energy, and the coach addressed Bedoya’s place on the field.

Curtin confirmed Adam Cann’s (ICYMI) analysis that the Union inverted the midfield triangle at halftime by shifting Jones upfield to give Bedoya more time on the ball.

Matthew De George dives in further with a summary of the press conference.

De George also had a pretty frank talk with Bedoya about the midfielder’s own assessment of his performance and preferred position.

The Union are one of three teams in need of answers, and quickly.

Marcelo Sarvas has been suspended one game for his stupid, dirty stomp on Derrick Jones. Too little, too late, as they say.

Bethlehem Steel

The Steel signed midfielder Chris Wingate.

Major League Soccer

Tigres UANL extinguished the last hope of MLS winning CONCACAF Champions League this year. Already down 2-0 in the series, the Vancouver Whitecaps tried to  use the Canadian air to whip up a home field advantage. Brek Shea turned a header in just four minutes into the match, but the Caps could not add to the tally and Tigres scored twice in the second half. The tie finished with a 4-1 aggregate, setting up an all-Liga MX final with Pachuca.

Local

Philly soccer lost Jack Ruggero, a man who gave a lot to the sport.

Hershey Invitational, a tournament opportunity for young players who need touches (they all need touches) runs June 17 and 18.

Global

The Premier League was back in action yesterday. Amongst the results, Arsenal returned to winning too late and Chelsea surged toward the finish line.

 

 

32 Comments

  1. Atomic Spartan says:

    Hate to be negative, but…
    .
    You’re right Jim, 2016 is not 2017. No Nogs, no Barnetta and nobody filling their vacant boots as yet. Pontius and Rosenberry trending backwards and no indication yet that the Skipper has figured out how to make the pieces fit. Getting nostalgic for 2016.

    • Lazlo Hollyfeld says:

      Yep.

      Meanwhile Nogs has his RCSA team three points off the top of Ligue 2 and looking good for Ligue 1 promotion after three straight victories.

  2. Atomic Spartan says:

    Re DeGeorge/Bedoya article: I learned 25 years ago not to bash Square Peg players into round positions. The lack of flexibility and creativity will be JC’s and the U’s downfall

    • Or maybe it’s Earnie’s fault. Why were we looking for a “controlling midfielder” this offseason if that is what Bedoya is?

      • pragmatist says:

        ^This.
        .
        We had the guy on our roster already. What we needed was a #10, not a 6 or 8. At the moment, I’m leaning more towards looking at Earnie. But there is another window coming up, and there is still a DP slot (not that they are likely to use it ) to fill that #10 spot. Let’s hope they can right the ship until then.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    I appreciate Bedoya’s candor and I appreciate this article was even written.
    .
    In my opinion Jim curtin’s job is riding on this.
    .
    and am pretty much at a loss for words otherwise ~ which isn’t easy.

  4. Adam Schorr says:

    That SoccerAmerica article hits the nail on the head – this team is decidedly average, talent-wise. I don’t know that I agree with the names he singled out, but I agree with the conclusion. Take a team that is, at best, decidedly average talent-wise, and there is simply not a lot of room for error. So when two of your supposedly top players are struggling (Rosenberry and Pontius) and a third is stranded out of position (Bedoya), you get, well, the start to the Union season.
    .
    I know I am harsher on Curtin than most, but quite frankly, even if Curtin is a decent coach, the Union aren’t good enough to have a “decent” coach. A decent coach simply cannot consistently elevate a bunch of average players to something more.

    • I think the roster is generally better than that, though, it’s clear — and even the players agree — that the team has a big hole at #10. So they’re out there playing a system in which they’re missing a key piece.

      I’m not ready to make any excuses for Curtin when it comes to this run of form. This roster is capable of better. It’s not Toronto or Nyc, but it has players that should be getting wins when it’s drawn and draws when it lost. I think this team should be a 5th or 6th place team. Not bottom of the pack.

      • I think a true play making 10 makes this team very different and hides a lot of woes. You then put Bedoya out on the wing. Take your pick from Pontius, Ilson Jr., Herbers or even Picault (really would like to see) as the other and I think things roll a bit better. Maybe Simpson becomes more effective actually getting service in the positions he supposedly thrives in.

      • Adam Schorr says:

        Is the roster generally better than that? I think he was actually being too nice. Sapong is a good backup striker, but we don’t have a starter. Pontius has made no impact this year. We have two backups fighting over starting RM. Our CAM is not a CAM. Our #8 provides no defense. Our #6 provides no offense. Our LB is on a sun rocket. Our RB has completely lost the thread. Onyewu is creating chances for the other team by playing overly conservative. Marquez has been fine but is injured now. Blake can only do so much. We’re really not very good.

      • Well you are also mixing form and talent where it suits your argument. I’d argue we have a bunch of talented players and a very good MLS (talent wise) bench. The problem is we have a ton of money tied up in our midfield but none of them are take over the game offensively minded. We literally have no player that’s a true 10 on this roster (except maybe Ilsinho and I thought he looked kinda lost there last year but would like to see it again). I’m hopeful that this home stand will bring some different attitude to the team. I’d like to see Pontius on the bench with 2 of Alberg, Simpson, Sapong, and Picualt starting.

      • I agree with A. above. You’re mixing form and talent. Now you’re only as good as your form, in some regards, but I think I’ve seen these players — almost all of them — perform better than they have recently. When I think about whether the team is “good” I’m comparing them to the rest of the league. I think the roster here, on a game day 18 basis, should be better or on par with New England, DC, Orlando, Columbus and Montreal. Montreal is a good example of team that over performs their talent. They have a great coach and play for results. I really expect Philly to be competing for a top half place. Lower top half, but top half. This run of form is not something I’m prepared to explain away as “what do you expect from this roster?” I expect better from these players.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      We have a true ten who is judged not yet ready for MLS games. Too soon to evaluate the judgment, not enough evidence. They have seemed accurate in judging the readiness of Derrick Jones, so some confidence in their judgment is called for.

  5. Inverting the midfield triangle could be signaling a move to a shape that is more like a 4-3-3 then 4-2-3-1, which is how many people were thinking the team would play when Earnie was first hired.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Expect HM can’t be the 6…that inversion only worked because United were not on the front foot.

      • I think it could, but Bedoya and Jones and the CBs would need to be very aware.

      • Like A., I think he can if the two other midfielders keep alert to their defensive duties.
        .
        Bedoya is that type of player to me. Jones is young but seems like he is playing within the game plan.
        .
        Against teams that control most of the possession I would expect it to look more like a 4-5-1 with the wings coming back to help the fullbacks which allow both Bedoya and Jones to cover Medunjanin in the center.

    • Totally. And thinking about it we basically have to play that way. Jones(Edu) and Bedoya can handle clog the middle fine to give cover to Medunjanin at the 6 and Ilsinho on the wing. Could probably even get away with Alberg out on the wing in this setup too.

      • Agreed, Alberg has played as the LW at ADO Den Haag before.
        .
        …………….Blake……………
        Rosenberry..Gooch…Marquez..Fabinho
        …………..Medunjanin………….
        ……….Bedoya……Jones……….
        Ilsinho(Herbers)…….Alberg(Pontius)
        …………Simpson(Sapong)……….

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        This would never work. Only for the simple reason that Alberg would be playing. So since that never happens… forget about it

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Adam Cann’s comments about Onyewu, his conservatism in following opponents deep into the midfield, also affect the inverted triangle.
      .
      El P is dead right about D.C. Being off their front foot.
      .
      I would prefer Yaro’s speed behind that inverted triangle were it available, given Medunjanin.

  6. pragmatist says:

    I have a suggestion that I’m sure will bring out some disagreements, but what if we put HM on the bench? Start a midfield of Jones (6), Bedoya (8), and Alberg (10…could also be “Player to be named later”).
    .
    If HM is that much of a defensive liability, why are we relying on him to play a defensive position, of sorts? Wouldn’t the Jones/Bedoya pairing work better for shuttling the ball out of the back to start the attack? And Harris is the kind of difference-making player that can come on for the last 30 minutes to carve apart a tired defense with his passing.
    .
    Just a thought. We have too many players slated for the 6-8 spots. Put salaries/reputations aside and find the best combination.

    • I agree in general, but I think that Pontius should be the one to go to the bench. Form can’t be ignored and I think Medunjanin has been decent this year and better defensively than people are acting.

    • I find it odd their search for “depth” has created such a mess in the middle. Who is convincing who in player acquisition?
      .
      Would it be so far fetched to have HM be the 10? If he’s that immobile, use him as a point to play off of. That way Bedoya/Jones can alternate sheilding the back and make runs off HM. Then HM can drop in “defense” or continue “the pressure”.

      • pragmatist says:

        I thought people had talked about HM’s lack of ability in close quarters. He’s a better passer than he is a one-on-one player, and that is the critical skill of a true #10. You need to be able to take on defenders, as well as making the passes.
        .
        I’m working off of a flawed memory thinking back to what people had said about him up there, but I think he would be just as out of place.
        .
        I think we should expect a trade at some point. We have too many starter-quality players at the same position. The question becomes, who moves?

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Pragmatist, too many central channel mids??
      .
      Pray tell, what do we do if either Jones or Medunjanin become unavailable, as Jones probably will in May for that youth World Cup?
      .
      Part of the reason BC succeeded
      Last year was he had speed behind him as well as on all other sides. If Carroll were in front of Onyewu I would attack that weakness relentlessly and mercilessly, especially with Marquez absent.

      • pragmatist says:

        I’m not sure I follow what you’re asking.
        .
        I’m saying that we have Jones and Bedoya at the 6/8, with Medunjanin on the bench. If Jones is unavailable for a stretch of 2-4 games, that can become Bedoya at the 6 and Medunjanin at the 8. That is still a more comfortable position for Bedoya and we have HM in his natural spot.
        .
        The issue is that we are still missing a 10. But if we are missing either Jones or HM, it’s not a problem, since I’m proposing that those 2 positions (6/8) are occupied by 2 of 3 players. If we are missing one, it’s no biggie. If we’re missing two, well, then that’s just bad luck and you adjust accordingly.
        .
        Keep in mind that Yaro is back to training. Whoever plays the 6/8 will soon have plenty of speed behind them, especially if it is a Yaro/Marquez pairing.

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