Daily news roundups

News roundup: MLS Salaries released, Union leaving for LA early, and more

Photo: Paul Rudderow

2017 MLS salaries

Yesterday, the MLS released all player salaries. Tannenwald has a great breakdown.

Here’s some more notes. Among them: “Jay Simpson’s listed guaranteed compensation is an astounding $508,333.33. That figure made me spit all over my phone upon my first reading of it. Before Simpson, no Union forward has ever received more than $400,000 in guaranteed compensation annually. For a league-wide comparison, here’s a brief list of MLS forwards making less money: Juan Agudelo, Will Bruin, Cristian Colman, Alberth Elis, Kenwyne Jones, Ola Kamara, Darren Mattocks, Jack McInerney, Jordan Morris, Dominic Oduro, Joao Plata, Romell Quioto, Luis Solignac, Maxi Urruti. Yikes.”

The best players under 200K. There are more former Union players (1) than current Union players (0) on this list.

I know I typically stick to just the links in here, but if you’ll allow me to take a paragraph for myself here…

Stop crying poor. Stop crying out that the Union don’t spend enough to win. We’re dead center of the pack in spending, and while yes, about 1M of that money is tied up in 2 players who aren’t healthy, every team has injured players and that doesn’t turn them into the worst team in the league. We should be competitive based on what we spend. But we’re paying over 1M on Carroll, Creavalle, Fafa, Davies, and Simpson, a group of guys who barely play. We’re spending another 1M+ on Gaddis, Alberg, and Simpson. That’s 2M on guys who range from “0 minutes played” to “60 minute men.” You can find another 2M tied up in Edu, Medunjanin, Pontius, Yaro, and Herbers, a group of guys who it could be argued are all making well more than they should. For a team playing Moneyball, there sure are a lack of good value players and a whole lotta guys getting paid 2-3x what they’re reasonably worth. The league is full of sub-1M high impact players. The Union have just failed to bring them in. It’s time to stop asking “why won’t the Union spend enough money to win” and start asking “why are the Union spending so much money on so little quality.”

And now back to your regularly scheduled links…

Philadelphia Union

Go inside the film room to see what happened on two goals from this weekend’s draw.

Jim Curtin, optimistic as always in his press conference.

Bedoya is trying to rally the Union.

Here’s Kinkead’s weekly notes. Apparently everything is pushed up this week because they’re flying out to LA early. If you missed it, check out Chris Sherman’s piece about playing on the road.

What it’s like to walk out with the Union.

What is a Union supporter to do?

Get to know the LA Galaxy.

MLS

MLSSoccer’s Power Rankings. At 22, the Union: “Remember that golden time last season when the Union topped the East? That feels very, very distant now. It’s time for everyone to reasonably enter panic mode.”

ESPN’s Power Rankings. At 22, the Union: “What’s left to say about the Union? Still the league’s only winless team, Philadelphia added to its ignominious start by drawing with Montreal after holding a 3-0 first-half lead. The point where the club’s inaction regarding making tough choices about its leadership starts to look like incompetence has already passed.”

SI’s Power Rankings. At 22, the Union.

SBI’s Power Rankings. At 22, the Union.

Around the globe

Ajax’s home ground is now “Johan Cruijiff Arena”, using the Dutch spelling of the Dutch legend.

Frank Yallop has resigned from Phoenix Rising for family reasons.

USL’s D3 League has an official website and is set to start play in 2019.

Landon Donovan is trying to help Swansea City become America’s team. Good luck with that, Landon.

The US goalkeeper pool is suddenly looking very shallow.

Highlight of the day

Southampton with some sub-Union level defending. Because sometimes it feels good to see supposedly better teams make the same errors!

100 Comments

  1. Joel Pterosaur says:

    We seem to be cursed, we’re often the worst as our fans are well versed, remember when we used to be first? Will nothing quench our thirst?

  2. That Jay Simpson salary is overwhelming. 500k for a 4th tier English player? E.S. is looking worse day by day. WSSM? WSSM!

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Did he really get a chance though? Far few opportunities than CJ who by rights has seized a measure of control.
      .
      Would it be worth the contract to Simpson if CJ scores 20?
      .
      A proper burner under the arse that is. Depth creates competition which burns in the belly but not otherwise. Interesting.

      • Adam Schorr says:

        Whether or not he “really got a chance”, it’s all about the process. Davies provides depth to create competition, and if he can’t do that, he should not have been brought back. You don’t pay 500K to “create competition”. You don’t pay 500K for a guy who has proven at every level that he’s not good enough. Even if Simpson proved to be elite, the absolute best he could do would be to justify the contract. The worst he could do is play at the level he’s played at literally his entire career, which is “MLS backup striker, maybe”, which is worth ~80-120K. They overpaid him by a factor of 4 or 5, regardless of how well he actually plays or doesn’t play.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Fair.

      • Simpson really hasn’t had a chance due to injury and lack of service, but $500k is still a ton for a guy they’re more or less taking a flyer on.

      • Ilsinho making the same is a ton too.

      • If Simpson turns out to be Bradley Wright Phillips then the contract is justified. But he hasn’t come close. “Would it be worth the contract to Simpson if CJ scores 20?” Unless Simpson has 20 assists, then absolutely not. No. Spending 500k so another player plays better? No thanks. I agree with competition, but sorry, that’s just throwing money out the window.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Fair.

  3. Adam, I agree with your salary rant to a degree. Considering the money spent, we should have a much, much better product this season. The thing that frightens me is that we’ve overpaid for numerous players (Illson, Alberg, Simpson) that honestly shouldn’t even be starters. I’m really starting to worry that Stewart doesn’t have the eye for talent that we all hoped for. The question now becomes do we trust him to make the right signings when Edu, Pontius, Illson, etc. come off the books at the end of the year. At this point, I really don’t.
    .
    That being said, with Edu out suddenly our salary puts us down to 17th. Looking at it that way, we really aren’t failing THAT bad, and finishing 6th looks amazing. What you are actually arguing is that we’re doing fine considering the Edu injury.
    .
    I’m not expecting Toronto like salaries, but should Salt Lake, Vancouver, and Colorado be outspending us? We should be spending the same as teams in similarly sized metros like Atlanta and Chicago.
    .
    I’m not nearly as mad at Sugarman as I was a week or two ago, but he’s still not holding up his end of the bargain.

    • How much blame can you really place on Sugarman besides maybe he’s too hands off. Would you really want him more hands on? He’s basically said he just wants good reasoning to spend money. E.S., Curtin, Albright gave him a good argument for Bedoya, and he shelled out the cash. Was that actually a good idea? Well at this point it’s arguable. But Sugar spent the cash. He’s not the one spending his cash badly. That has been and continues to be, the FO. So maybe you can blame him for not bringing in the right people.

      • When you look at the total dollars spent, he’s spending money like Philly is a metro area of 2 million people. Somehow Chicago can spend almost 2x what we do and Atlanta can spend 15% more than us? The Red Bulls spend low like we do but it wasn’t long ago that they were spending big dollars. I’m not asking to be Toronto, but we shouldn’t be in the middle of the pack spending wise EVERY SINGLE YEAR year for 8 years.

      • Adam Schorr says:

        You’re looking at spending, but you’re not looking at profit. A team like Atlanta can spend at a loss because they have rich ownership. What you’re basically asking for is ownership willing to lose money for sports gain. While it would be nice, I don’t think it’s a fair criticism of Sugarman and Co.

      • Is Atlanta losing money? They have a crapload of season ticketholders. You have to spend money to make money. The Union is going to start losing money regardless soon if attendance drops. I’m asking them to spend big money for a year or two to keep the fans engaged. I can handle a crap season if I have some good seasons to think back on. You can’t suck year after year and expect the fans to keep showing up.
        .
        Chicago gets it, Colorado gets it. You can only be terrible for so long until people stop caring. You have to make a investment for future returns every once in a while.

      • Consider the owner of the Falcons’ and United’s recent infrastructure capital expenditures. Two stadia, isn’t it, and a practice facility.
        .
        He is also 8 years after Sugarman. The wealth level of investors now being attracted to MLS has shifted upward an order of magnitude since Sugarman & Co. bought in.

      • You are arguing for spending more money when they can’t even spend well, the money they have. I argue it’s more about what they’re spending the money on, then actually how much they spend.

      • I think it’s both honestly.

      • I believe if they spent well, we’d be less apt to complain about the how much. Don’t get me wrong btw, I would love to have a high-end DP who may set up or actually score goals. I just think the bigger problem is how they spend the money.

      • I don’t disagree with you. Just pointing out it’s not a either/or.

    • Adam Schorr says:

      We can’t just “wipe Edu’s contract off the books” though. And if you’re a major league team, going 15 games is “failing THAT bad”. Period. A team spending 2M in MLS should still be able to win a game every now and then. Absolutely no excuse.

      • You have to ignore Edu’s salary for your expectations. Based on our low salary (since Edu has been out) we should be near the bottom of the standings and we are. Add to that to the fact that most of our big signings have been overpaid and you’ll find a team where ours is. At the bottom. But with Edu hurt, it was unrealistic to even expect to threaten for a playoff spot. We’re not spending the money.

      • Adam Schorr says:

        There’s a difference between “near the bottom of the standings” and “we have 5 points from our last 15 MLS games”. Even with Edu (and Yaro) out, we’re still spending ~6M. If we can’t win 1 game in 15 tries spending 6M, the problem isn’t “we’re not spending enough”. The problem is “we’re spending far too much money on far too little production”. I didn’t expect us to threaten for a playoff spot, but I also didn’t expect us to threaten for worst team ever, Edu or no. We’re not even the lowest spending team sans Edu and Yaro’s salary, so it’s simply not reasonable to say they’re the reason we’re on pace to be the worst team ever.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I have a question for arguments sake and to be humored.
        .
        If Tata Martino is coaching this team with everything the same- explain to me what you think things look like.
        .
        Because my picture is ENTIRELY different then the current iteration of the picture.
        .
        A savy and sophisticated coach absolutely has this team tacking in a different direction. I am repeating the question in a new thread below.

      • A. Edu’s salary HAS to be ignored for competitive expectations. The only time Ernie would have wanted to cut him HE WASN’T ALLOWED TO VIA CBA (sorry for the caps, no underlining in comments).

        B. Stop using last season’s end results in your argument for THIS YEAR’s salaries. Especially when You, Yourself wrote that those matches were Regressing to the Mean (although I disagree): https://phillysoccerpage.net/2017/04/07/on-advanced-stats-in-soccer-part-2-luckluster-and-an-end-to-all-regressive-means/

      • It does have to be said, however, that Simpson’s salary is baffling

    • Well Sugarman only spends “his” money on the DP players. Yes we spend enough in terms of total salary, but all that means is we are maximizing our cap and TAM/GAM money. Edu is a cheap player as far a DPs go and honestly Bedoya is breaking the bank either. There’s no reason we shouldn’t have all 3 DP spots filled, probably with Bedoya level players.

      • To be fair, he’s also spending his money (I think?) on the Home Grown Salaries and the USL team salaries.

      • The USL team is not drawing Fans well. I counted the house from the press box ten minutes before tap off Sunday and was under 200. It needs to be said immediately that fans were still trickling in.
        .
        But Butts-in-seats had to be no more than 500 and I am bending over backwards to be generous.
        .
        Tickets sold will be different, and higher.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        there is no question in my mind- at all- Lehigh’s version of Bethlehem Steel is going to be a financial albatross.
        .
        there’s that word again.
        .
        The only way, IMO it is worthwhile is the selling of academy players for good money….and that ain’t happening- for awhile yet.

      • Steel have what, like 12 players under salary, a coach, and some support staff? None of them get paid a ton. I don’t see how it’s going to be an albatross, even if it loses money.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        They keep getting 200 people at a game those games are going to be in Chester soon.

      • That would actually be great if they were in Chester. If I’m going to watch a junk product regardless I’d rather pay USL prices.

  4. el Pachyderm says:

    Can’t argue the Simpson contract for sitting the bench. The Edu Albatross as it shall henceforth be named by me is killing this team too.
    .
    Amazing how much cash is tied to the plastic seats in the first row.

  5. pragmatist says:

    MLS is the only league that makes it so damn tough to find out the length of contracts, and that would be a huge help.
    .
    The Phillies have $16M committed to the 2018 season. They have $5.35M committed to the 2019 season. That’s it. Everyone else is out of contract before then.
    .
    We have NO idea about the length of MLS contracts, so we don’t know if all of these guys can be cut loose after this year, or if we are on the hook for the next 5 years. It would be a great help to have a forward view of roster totals.

    • Pontius is a free agent after this season. This is the last year on Edu’s contract as well. IF those guys come back it will be for lower salaries. I’m almost certain we can choose not to extend Illson after this season.

    • I tried to look at that during preseason. The data is not easy to find, and what I found was incomplete. And I do not remember its details clearly.
      .
      I do remember the qualitative generalization that lots of the current roster are on option years. 6-9 as a ballpark prayer.

  6. It’s too early to call Simpson a failure. Agree the salary seems high, but the player really hasn’t had the chance to live up to his price tag or fall short.

    One narrative I see is a team that was expected to be performing a lot better than it is. I’m sure there are people in the front office looking at the money spent and wondering where the results are.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Funny too we said no depth no depth… well depth has a cost. Especially quality depth. Simpson got 1.5 games I believe? Scored a gol. Decent number for the sample size.
      .
      I reasoned above it could be the Simpson contract that has CJ suddenly a ‘bell awakened’ to quote one of my favorite poets Denise Levertov.

      • Agree with your rationale– How much is pushing CJ to a career year worth? I don’t know why people get caught up over a few hundred thousand dollars. AS long as the team brings in players that perform, I don’t care what the cost is. Identify players you want and buy them. This isn’t fantasy football. It’s not like the price of a beer and crab fries is going to go down if the union get Simpson for $300,000 vs $500,000.

        One might argue excessive money on Simpson would be better spent elsewhere. Simpson is at least a guy who can play. Money drains on this club are elsewhere. Mo is a huge liability, but hard to blame a guy for being injured. Davies may be the bigger head scratcher. Then there’s your bench. The 5 year plan, I think, sees the Creavalles, Gaddises and Carrolls on this team replaced by academy products. Those products aren’t ready just yet.

        TL;DR= We’re not talking about who makes what if this team is actually winning games.

      • Adam Schorr says:

        Can he play? We only play with one striker, and he’s second best right now. So he in our system, he can’t play as anything more than a backup. So it’s 500K for a backup.

      • Again, we don’t know if he can play. As for being a backup, that’s a Curtin decision. It’s made independent of player salary. And to be honest, I support playing the player who is playing better regardless of how much he makes.

        Remember, too that a all these European players Earnie bought came on free transfers. He could see them at profit. They need some playing time, though.

        I don’t understand people wanting to jump allover players for what they’re making. You pay guys what the market says they’re worth. I don’t begrudge anyone making money. And again, this team clearly has money to spend on gambles. The problem is that when those gambles don’t pay off, who do we hold responsible? The last guy that should be held responsible for his salary if he doesn’t work out is Simpson.

      • I’m more concerned about spending 500k on a 4th tier English player. And is he performing? It’s not the 500k salary that bothers me, it’s WHO they spent that salary on that does. I can understand having to over-pay some players because they may not want to come here (a last place team playing in the hood). But you over-pay for quality, not we hope he competes for a starting job quality. Ugh, this burns me.

      • Thank you, Pete. The following sentence above crystalized a point missing from this conversation.
        .
        “Identify players you want and buy them.”
        .
        The missing point is that you can only buy what’s being offered for sale.
        .
        No one is offering Marcus Rashford for $5.

    • Adam Schorr says:

      As I said above, the salary is far too high for a player with his track record. There is no reason to pay a guy who has a track record of failure the salary of a guy who has a track record of success. You buy low and hope he exceeds his price tag. You don’t buy high and hope he meets his price tag.

  7. Its pretty easy to see why the Union are struggling. Look at those player salaries. The list of overpaid / underperforming players is shockingly long: Gaddis ($167k); Alberg ($394k); Carroll ($140k); Creavalle ($138k); Edu ($818k); Ilsinho !! ($518k); Medunjanin ($505k); Picault ($128k); Pontius ($431k); Simpson ($508k). Ilsinho at $518k is especially mind-boggling. He offers zero defensive help. Slows the offense down every time he touches the ball and, yes he wows the crowd with his step-overs, but rarely does he ever create anything out of it. This screams to me one of two things, either: (1) our coach isn’t getting the most out of the players in which he needs to go; or (2) the technical director is grossly overpaying average players in which he needs to go.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      How do we know what is over or under paid? MLS is growing. Contracts rightly should be getting bigger. There is some economics thing here I’m surely unable to explain.
      .
      I’m reading lots of arguments by people who want one thing then seem to be arguing the other side once this happens. What exactly is overpriced? How can we tell? Ray Gaddis has been in the league practicing day after day for years…
      .
      For now the only truly overpriced players are Pontius and Ilsinho for lack of production in stats IMO and Edu who hasn’t played since who the hell knows when.

      • Adam Schorr says:

        We know what is over or under paid by looking at other contracts. Look at other contracts. It’s depressing.

      • But this league is littered with nonsensical player salaries — from draft deals to Gen. Adidas to GAM, TAM and DP allowances — There’s all sorts of financing options and other things that depress the salaries of real talent like Cyle Larin that only exist in the wacky world of MLS. You can criticize Earnie for making some odd choices. I think he made some gambles thinking half of them might pan out. Didn’t work out that way.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        We all know when, el P., you most of all in your appreciation for heart, guts, and sacrifice for the greater good.
        .
        The USOC final against KC that they lost on PKs.

    • I’d argue Gaddis is actually good value at $167k. Given Pontius’ form last season, $431k was a steal. Hard to say about Medunjanin. I really think he could be a good player if we have speed up front to threaten with his long passes, but of course why sign a guy like that when you have no speed on the wings or forward positions. I’m really worried he’s a square peg for a round hole.

  8. el Pachyderm says:

    So now we see contract numbers and are all armchair analysts and Sporting Directors. Something to discuss I guess.
    .
    Surely we are not the only fanbase or team in MLS looking at this thinking welp our director sure fucked this up.
    .
    Philly….yea of little faith.

    • One thing is for sure, no other MLS fanbase is saying that their front office fucked up THIS BAD. We had lighting in a bottle last season by having Tranquillo at 500 or 600k and Nogs and 400k. Ironically, you could thank Sak for last year’s success.
      .
      You know it’s bad when it’s possible we downgraded our FO. God, I hope that’s not the case.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        We did not downgrade our front office. Look at the total picture.

      • I don’t think we did either, but the lack of quality of our signings the past two seasons is been very, very concerning.

  9. Nah, actually keep crying poor. Better yet, scream it at Sugarman. Don’t let him off the hook that easy.

    .

    Union may fall in the middle of the pack in terms of salary, but how much of that money is above and beyond the salary floor? How many DPs has this team had in its history?

    .

    Beyond salary, what about infrastructure investment? How many years did Sugarman allow this team to practice in a public park? U’s current practice fields is built on top of former parking lots. And yeah, their training facility is great but it took 6 years to get one!

    .

    We rightfully complain about U’s poor allocation of resources, but does this team have a full time scout? Compare the size of the FO to others around the league and U are under-staffed.

    .

    So yeah, I’ll keep complaining. This ownership group sucks and Philadelphia deserves better.

    • +1. Salary cap leagues can’t have extremely cheap or rich teams. This is slightly different with DPs, but the point still holds.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      When Columbus and Real and San Jose are the teams nearest you in salary— with a population combined (a sheer guess) less than Philly — mid of the table to me is a bit of hogwash.
      .
      It’s selling the narrative LCBLine has been arguing for three years.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Rounding off to the nearest Million, and using economic boundary definitions not political ones, Greater Philly out numbers Columbus, Salt Lake and San Jose by 800K.

  10. It’s not Moneyball when you start by paying guys ABOVE their market value.

  11. el Pachyderm says:

    I have a question ~~~~
    .
    ~~~ for arguments sake and to be humored.
    .
    If Tata Martino is coaching this team with everything the same- explain to me what ‘you’ (AdamS mostly as the question was posed to him) think things look like.
    .
    My picture is ENTIRELY different then the current iteration of the picture. Matter of fact I’d argue vehemently for an almost parallel universe of experience.
    .
    A savy and sophisticated coach absolutely has this team tacking in a different direction.
    .
    I see compact and threatening. I see wins and draws.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Oh and The Long Ball isn’t a solution. The Hopeless Cross isn’t a solution…. less its on the ground like ManCity.

      • The long ball can be a solution if you have speedy players at forward and the wings… unfortunately we don’t.

    • If I may…As far as Tata goes, I have virtually no experience with his coaching, so I will go from the standpoint of what I would expect a “top flight” manager (whether that means top of MLS or other you can decide). I agree I’d expect compact defensive structure. I’d expect he’d see a bunch of mismatched parts. He’d see he has no real #10 and he would find a way to work around it. I’d also expect lineup changes when players disappear for 45 mins or more. I’d expect struggling players to sit. I’d expect better communication from the manager on what he expects from a player and what a player’s role and responsibilities are. And for these things to actually show themselves on the field. I’d expect growing pains. Lastly I wouldn’t expect this team to be top four (cause I don’t think they have the players as currently constructed), but this team certainly wouldn’t be dead last and without a win since last August.
      .
      Maybe I’d expect too much. But I don’t think anything I’d expect would be asking too much.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        This is my point almost wholly. Tata was the example. A high end one but maybe a high end one worth the risk… that maybe makes some of the Sporting Director’s decisions not look so perplexing.
        .
        Sugarman is cheap.
        Is he? Maybe. One can argue a 12th of 22 salary is just bollox for a city the size of Philadelphia but we all know the albatross of entering the fray in 2008.
        .
        Earnie is doing poorly bringing in players?
        Is he? Maybe. Dan argues yes.
        .
        The only thing we are certain of is the coach who simply cannot get his team to win… ONE game.
        .
        This is irrefutable proof. He beat a few teams from another league and got us to the finals of two US Open Cups… which by the way, he sat the defensive stalwart of his team in one of them.
        .

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      AS you yourself have said over the many months, el P., given what the organization has stated about its version of V, Ph & PL, the following will not happen and what follows is solely theoretical.
      .
      The offensive tactical concept that best fits the current personnel is the empty bucket, is it not? There is no attacking center midfielder, so play without one.
      .
      But that requires a much sterner defensive # 6 than we are currently starting, and Bedoya at the # 8. much sterner.
      .
      While it may be early to actually do this, I am beginning to want to see Jack Elliott as the Union’s # 6 even though the move puts half a million dollars on the bench.

      • Which half million, Medunjanin, Ilsinho, or Pontius. Because Ilsinho is a sub to me at this point.

      • Agreed. Push Bedoya out right. He’ll cut inside to help in possession anyway and he and Rosenberry will be hard to stop.
        .
        Throw the two strikers up top and let Harris lob it up to them. Have Carrol or Jones sit in front of the back 4 the entire game. We can’t play possession with a 5 man midfield, why bother trying?

      • Seems like the only way forward to me.

      • I have some concerns about the 4-4-2, but at a certain point you have to decide who you are going to build around. You can’t build around Bedoya because he’s not elite at anything, he’s just really good at everything.
        .
        It seems to be that Haris is the only player with an elite level skill, we need to build around that just like we built our current system around Nogs (who’s gone, in case Jim hasn’t noticed). Haris can drop in long passes, let’s get some speed on the wings and an extra body up front. It’s going to be ugly, route 1 football but watching us trying to play the current system with the players we have is like watching an slightly overweight cougar in a tight, short miniskirt. She may be halfway decent looking otherwise, but she sure as hell isn’t wearing that.
        .
        I’d prefer to give Simpson a try rather than keep running Ilson out there. Dude isn’t producing goals or creating shots or even space for other players.

      • Medunjanin is so good at those diagonal long balls that I don’t think it has to be ugly route 1 soccer. He hits them most of the time. We could turn into a deadly counter-attack team, which isn’t boring. Or even keep possession a little more. It doesn’t even have to be a 4-4-2, it could be a 4-3-3 also. All I know is we need a legit defensive #6 and we need much better play from our wings.

    • Adam Schorr says:

      First, the personnel we have would be a hilariously bad fit in Martino’s system, but let’s try to figure out who would play where. The back 4 + goalie would basically stay the same. Then you need a destroyer who can slot into the back line but who can also move the ball, so…nobody on this team. Let’s slot Jones there for now. Two other center mids, Medunjanin and Bedoya fit this well. Now the attacking wings. Uhhhhhhhh. Let’s say Epps and Fafa? We really don’t have any quality players who fit that role in his system. Pontius, Herbers, Ilsinho, and Alberg are all too slow (and unfit).
      .
      And make no mistake about it, Martino, much like Earnie, has a system he does not deviate from. Our lack of speedy attacking options and fit pressers up top basically hamstrings his system from the outset. Would he do better than Jim has done with this roster? Without a doubt. Would he have them in a playoff position? I’d say probably not. Even the greatest coach cannot turn shit into gold.

    • I see the same thing, El P. A better coach wouldn’t necessarily threaten for a supporters shield, but would be somewhere between 4 and 6 on the ladder. I imagine a Sam Alerdyce coming here and making Talen a place where goals are hard to come by for opponents. Curtin is smart enough time lecture on the tactics, but he doesn’t have a career of wrestling with and conquering adversity (though he’s getting a healthy dose right now). I almost finished it hard to blame Curtin for being green, but he is. If he had come to the job with 10 years of first team head coach get experience, it would be different.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Sam would be so pragmatic as to want me to wretch almost weekly but you are dead to right spot on.
        .
        Across the board this issue is a coaching issue as it relates to the team’s inability to garner points and play well. That, and as I have argued before, the sporting director not expecting to have to replace his two best players after only one season… which not incidentally were part of the spine of the team.
        .

      • Don’t blame it on losing Nogueria and Barnetta. He chose to bring in a bunch of #8. It’s poor roster construction.

    • I agree. Let’s see whether another coach can make these players get better results. Maybe Yallop resigned to come here…

  12. “We’re spending another 1M+ on Gaddis, Alberg, and Simpson.”
    When you say that, it makes it sound like Gaddis is getting $300k+ a year…but he’s only getting like $160k.

    Sort of like how I could say that the combined net worth of myself and Bill Gates is 10s of billions of dollars, too.

    Seems sort of dishonest to write it like that.

  13. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Earnie Stewart has been looking in Europe for what he needs.
    .
    He is constrained by salary cap rules, although the constraints are not spread-eagled manacles anchored on a dungeon wall.
    .
    I am beginning to wonder whether what he needs, and most fundamentally that is two-way players, is available in Europe for the price his is able to offer. So far he has not found European two-way players.
    .
    While El Pachyderm has not said this in so many words that I recall, a difference that Tata Martino offers to Atlanta is that he knows a specific market where the players are excellent but the economic stability of the soccer clubs is insecure.
    .
    North American soccer paychecks, save Chivas USA, arrive on time and do not bounce.
    .
    Should, perhaps, Mr. Sugarman head hunt and pay for a chief scout who complements the Sporting Director’s knowledge of Europe with his own knowledge of Argentina and its immediately adjacent neighbors?

    • Sugarman has said, more than once I believe, that Stewart now needs to work on a scouting department. I’d love it, if he was concentrated on South America.

    • This, OSC, is what I think is Stewart’s only shortcoming so far. I expected us to look more to South America to flesh out the talent, and instead, he’s gone to his well of Dutch contacts and connections. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but players there are going ot be more expensive than SA counterparts. But as you point out, if ou don’t have the scouting in SA, you’re not going to find those players.

  14. Incidentally, with regard to organizational willingness to spend money, I asked Steel head coach Brendan Burke earlier this morning whether patterns of away travel established last year could be assumed to apply this year.
    .
    His answer indicated that the Steel will fly more this season, not necessarily a lot more, but where there was clear evidence of need based on past experience.
    .
    Specifically he said they will fly to Charleston when it is time to visit the Battery. Last year the bus ride was 12-13 hours with meals and an exercise break, and he said they could see it in the players legs during the game.
    .
    He then commented that the schedule this year does not give any combined travel opportunities this season, my phrase not his. I mean where staying over away from home between games makes sense.
    .
    He then mentioned that at the end of the season if they were in the playoff picture, which he hopes and expects, it might make sense to stay over in the Great North between the season-ending Toronto FC II and Rochester games.
    .
    So, they are willing to spend more money when it achieves a clear objective.

  15. pragmatist says:

    Who’s up for some Video Replay at the World Cup?
    .
    http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/39726260
    .
    “The video assistant referee (VAR) technology can only review incidents relating to goals, red cards, mistaken identities and penalties.”
    .
    I love it. There is absolutely no reason not to take 20 seconds and get these calls right. Already liking Infantino…

    • Video review will only be a positive innovation if the time for review is kept to a minimum (1 min or less).
      .
      Given the experience of other sports, in which video reviews are often lengthy events, I’m not very enthusiastic about having this technology brought to the World Cup.

      • the difference is that in other sports there is no mandate to try to resolve these things quickly.

  16. The Chopper says:

    Bottom line, we’ve seen what Curtin can do and it’s not good enough. What we have seen of Earnie Stewart is not good enough. The only difference is Curtin has had a longer body of work to show us if he is learning, growing and evolving. I haven’t seen that, although I do give him some slack for having such an insufficient roster to work with.

    Earnie hasn’t had enough time yet to show us he is not capable, but in what I have seen so far, he is not ready to lead a successul club in this league. Let’s see if he learns and evolves. But if next year isn’t markedly better, it may be back to the drawing board again.

  17. This don’t complain about Sugarman graph is so wide of the mark Scott Norwood would salute it.
    .
    “We” are only paying above the water line salary wise for a handful of players. And “we” pay that down with MLS’ subsidies of TAM an GAM.
    .
    Sugarman is cheap. Any other verdict is false. He does not spend beyond the budget cap. Wait til next year when Edu et al roll off and then ALL of that Al O’Cation is directed at Bedoyas salary. He meets the MLS capital call and not a nickel more.
    .
    With LA next year, there’ll be a few more $M in welfare doled out and salaries will increase. And someone else will mistakenly point to it as Exhibit A Jay broke out the checkbook. It isn’t. Mr Alligator Arms isn’t spending nickel 1 beyond his required kick in. Call me when they’ve hired some scouts, BOUGHT players not scooped up those on a free, hired a real coach,etc.

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