Fans' View

Fan’s View: Potential isn’t enough

Last Saturday, Philadelphia was still basking in the afterglow of two championship parades and beating LeBron. Also that day, the Flyers got into the playoffs and the Phils hung 20 on the Marlins.

Meanwhile in Chester, the Union came from behind to tie a roughly equivalent opponent. Boos were clearly audible from the less-than-half-capacity crowd.

Wait. What?

That’s right. Despite having the youngest back line in the league; despite the lack of time for their no. 10 to familiarize himself with his new team; despite Picault’s first appearance of the season; despite being down at the half; and despite Jim Curtin – the Union did not completely blow this one. Yet there were boos.

The student-of-the-game in me recognizes the equanimity of the not-quite victory, if not the evident improvement. There was recognizable progress. Dockal looked far more comfortable and productive. Keegan was a definite plus factor, as was Fafa. Haris was Haris, and that’s almost always good. Ale was Ale, and that produced the first home goal against a full-strength opponent this season. And the defensive youth movement worked at least as well as could be expected. A bit nerve wracking at times, but generally okay.

But the full season ticket holder in me also understands the boos. We don’t make runs to get open. When we do we’re either ignored or the pass is off. We often seem a half-step late. Passes get intercepted because we don’t anticipate the pass. Failing to mount surprising attacks, we have to recycle the ball ad nauseum as the opposing defense parks the bus. We play around with the ball near the 18 until we lose it. We can’t even take tactical advantage of defenses overloading on Accam.

While chilling in my empty row in Section 101, I had a strong sense of deja vu. These all seem to be the hallmarks of Union teams past, especially those under Curtin’s headship. I read comments all the time asking whether this team has a signature style. Right now, that style is borderline fundamental ineptitude.

Thus, the guttural verbalizations of disapproval from sunshine compatriots: The leather-lunged “You suck,” from an ill-informed lout after an unlucky header missed its mark. The return of “YSA” and other off-color chants from a depleted and despondent River End. A hearty “You’re f’n TERRIBLE,” from a beer-bloated wannabe 30 rows away who probably couldn’t score a PK on an empty net.

At a game as cold as this past Saturday’s, Eagles fans would have gone bare-chested. Most of ours didn’t even show. Maybe the absentees paid too much heed to the alarmist weather prognistications. Maybe they were siphoned off by the Flyers, or even the Phils. Whatever the case, this must be said: the hard core support for this team is getting softer, but louder.

Booing a come-from-behind home tie? A bit harsh perhaps, but in the light of current Philly sports and the current state of the Union, it’s understandable.

This team obviously has potential. Unfortunately, potential won’t stop the boobirds or fill Talen. Philly fans have had their fill of potential. We demand dynamics. Hopefully the missing dynamics – and the missing fans – both turn out tomorrow.



  1. I’ll say I think I love the way we are getting and using HGs more than the normal fan I guess.

    Because soccer is the one sport where you really can control your own future in regards to developing and keeping talent. No need to worry about the draft order, no need to worry about tanking to get a coveted top 5 pick like the NBA. And you have a lot more control than a NHL or MLB team has over its farm system.

    While I want to win as much as anyone, I love seeing and knowing we have guys like Trusty producing now, and guys like Real and Fontana ready to produce soon.

    Because while a big name DP ensures we will be competitive during the course of his contract, or as long as he is in form, a well constructed and maintained pipeline means we will be competitive forever.

    …assuming it all works out in the end, of course.

    • I think most fans (or maybe just me, but don’t we all think we speak for everyone?) agree with what you’re saying about the youth movement. Personally, that and Bedoya’s hustle is what keeps me watching at the moment. There was nothing worse than trotting out the same tired lineup at the end of last year. At least the young kids are playing this year, and on merit.
      The other side of me just knows that the last game or two is who we are. I posed this question the other day, what can/will the team change to get a different result in any game going forward? The realist in me knows that they won’t change much. Short of an injury, this is the lineup we will see in pretty much every game this year. This is for sure the same formation we will see this year. Accam/Sapong/Bedoya/Medunjanin will NEVER not start except for injury. Maybe Fontana gets some time and Picault has some rotation, maybe. These are the main attacking pieces of the team. It’s depressing but it’s also a fact.
      We have two options for the remainder of the year. Hope that as Dockal plays more, the team gels and the individual players make more plays. Otherwise the only change would be the coach.

      • This team feels so much better to me than the past few years. We haven’t had to rely on Blake constantly playing Superman just to prevent goals. The team generally has stayed way more compact. We seem to be controlling possession and generating a lot more chances. Our finishing has been bad, really bad. Even though the results have been the same it feels more like we are getting unlucky with those results rather than them being deserved like before. Still a really small sample this year.

      • “The other side of me just knows that the last game or two is who we are. ”

        Well the SJ we played much better than them, and the COL game we did the same for the first half. Overall this season we have looked good. But youre right, the results still aren’t there.

        But we have evolved to playing well with no results, when in the past we were playing poorly with no results!

      • I absolutely think we’re much better than last year, and more fun, especially the kids as I said. It’s just tough to think what will change to bring results other than just hoping the players play differently.

      • I understand that. I just feel like we look so much more dangerous that’s is been more just kinda bad luck/gowing pains than anything else that’s holding us back. We did add 2 DP level players to our offense so it’s not unrealistic to think they should get better with more playing time.

  2. Yeesh. When all else fails blame the fans.

  3. A tie at home versus a mediocre team is a loss. The soccer attitude of some the above comments is a losers state of mind. Participation trophies and Unicorn praises and commentary are for kids not adults professionals…… Demolishing Orlando at home or A come from behind win AT Toronto is what this team should be striding for. Not a tie versus San Jose. Bedoya is one of the few players with this attitude. The coach is a sham and the owner is just waiting for the value of the team to go up so he can sell it for a profit. I had season tickets for years 1 through 3 . Still follow the team closely mostly on tape now. At least Califf and Machinerney had some juice. This team needs to have a little Broad street Bullies attitude. I know its not 70s NHL but show something. TOO PC.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Best Dressed Front Office, Joe.
      League Wide Fair Play Awards.
      eMLS Champions.
      Suncoast Invitational Champion. Don’t you remember seeing the trophy on front page of MLS Website?
      “Things are gonna change, I can feel it.”

      • Please stop guys, you’re being mean and don’t understand. If we just wait a little bit more, everyone will finish better and Curtin will figure it out. We’re almost there. Just give it a little more time. You can look at the new mascot while you wait.

      • Wait. There’s a mascot? It’s Charlie Brown right? Or Wile E. Coyote?! Seriously, there’s a mascot? They’ve truly jumped the shark if that’s true.
        I’ve been an SOB since 07 and a season ticket holder since day one. Wrote letters to the governor to get the team etc. But I’ve been trying to motivate myself lately.
        I do think the kids are fun and they do look better as a whole.
        I love how Bedoya is slowly getting more visibly pissed too, and if he really loses his shit in a game at a teammate, maybe things will change. Maybe bring Califf back for a cameo or two?
        But the current pickup game feel to their strategy, and the apparent “popular kids play every game” approach is wearing me out. I don’t even watch whole games on TV every game.
        Still have my empty season tickets though…my wife says I’m a dysfunctional fan and should start a support group for others like me…

    • No one is saying this was a good tie. The results so far have not been good enough. But the team is looking better so hopefully fortune changes soon.

  4. Results matter.

  5. This team does, so far, look significantly better than last year’s team.

    I still don’t care. Get results or I tune out. I have been a die-hard Union fan since the first-ever home game, when I saw Seba score a hat trick in person. I’m too busy for season tickets, but I take my kids to a bunch of matches every season. I’m not coming back until the team shows me something. I’ve waited long enough.

  6. Great post, Matt – just seeing it now. You will always upset some readers by saying anything remotely positive or optimistic about the team, but I felt exactly the same way as your article.
    I particularly loved these lines: “Thus, the guttural verbalizations of disapproval from sunshine compatriots: The leather-lunged “You suck,” from an ill-informed lout after an unlucky header missed its mark.” — that’s just great writing.

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