Joe Lister is a contributor for UnionFanTV and formerly part of the #CurtinOut contingent. Although Joe has been swayed, he still has his doubts, which he voices in his very first OP piece for the site.
If you asked me three weeks ago what I thought of the Philadelphia Union, I probably would have groaned. I also might have slammed my head against the nearest hard surface. But I definitely would have said I wanted Jim Curtin fired.
Now, I would say that while I still have my doubts, Curtin can stay, at least for now.
I used to be #CurtinOut. I disagreed with nearly everything he did. From not playing two strikers up top to not starting Herbers and Rosenberry, I generally disagreed with his tactics and decisions.
Now, with the Union on a historic six game point streak, while I still disagree with Curtin in most areas, I am ready to let him do his job.
The Union is playing like a team now. They have managed to put the ball past other defenses, while no one can put it past our own. With just a few lineup changes, Curtin has turned this team around, going from bottom of the league, to seemingly destined for the playoffs.
However, there is one thing that I still hold against Curtin: our “New Number 10” as many are now proclaiming Ilson Jr. to be. Personally, I consider him to be the weak link in our lineup.
Sure, his ball control and skill moves may be jaw dropping, but it is nearly everything else that makes me dislike the Brazilian’s play.
When I watch Ilson play, I cannot help but to notice one thing: he plays with his head down; he almost never looks up. Often he dismisses players like Sapong or Picault, who are open next to him, with a clear path to goal.
Outside of ball control, he has little else. Ilson cannot finish, overlooks passes, and he sure cannot run. Yes, he scored against the Dynamo. My response to that? That is one goal in 11 games. Also, the keeper was on the other side of the net on that play. All Ilson had to do was tap it in, which he did.
I hope that when Alberg has successfully recovered, Curtin will start him over Ilson, while trying to improve on the Brazilian’s game at the same time.
Currently, I am satisfied with the state of affairs in Chester. Whenever the Union win, I am happy. But as with every situation, there is room for improvement. Ilson is a player, who I believe needs improvement.
Curtin is no different. He still could make some other lineup changes. Right now, at least, I am content on continuing to watch us win and climb the table.