Welcome back to another edition of Three Takeaways, a segment in which I dive in after each Philadelphia Union match, revisit and take a closer look at what went well and what ultimately did not.
Oh, well, that happened.
At home, the Philadelphia Union gave away three points to visiting Orlando City SC. By the 70th minute, it was evident that no one wearing blue cared much for the game taking place at Talen Energy Stadium.
For those of you who opted to turn on the Flyers’ game after the second goal, and missed the rest of the Union’s 2-0 loss, here are my Three Takeaways, which are more or less part of my rant from the game.
A Shakeup to the Coaching Staff
So far this season I’ve been considerably kind to Jim Curtin. And, so far this season, I have yet to call for Curtin to get the axe. Until now.
It is time. It is time to make the change at the helm, in the hope of ending the mediocrity on the field. Currently, the Union sit in 8th place in the Eastern Conference, with just 5 points from 5 games.
Many may say “it’s too early,” but let’s consider the facts:
So far this season, the Philadelphia Union are 1-2-2. Their only win has come against a team who were playing down two men from two red cards.
So far this season, the Union have been virtually unrecognizable in attack. Defensively, they are inconsistent and collapse under pressure. In both instances, it is up to Curtin, the coach, to fix during training.
As Head Coach of the Philadelphia Union, Jim Curtin’s record is 44-60-30. And while his contract is set to expire at the end of this year, in my opinion, it would be in the best interest of the front office to terminate it before then.
Attack? What Attack?
Obviously, one of the main talking points recently has been the Union’s attack (or lack thereof).
Forward CJ Sapong has been the most disappointing to me, with zero goals to his name and countless missed opportunities.
In my opinion, he needs to reevaluate where he stands, and where he wants to be. Yes this is a soccer website, but I will say that Sapong needs to emulate a Nelson Agholor type of turn around.
Every day, after practice, Agholor made notes of what he did right and what he did wrong. While I don’t necessarily expect that of Sapong, he definitely needs to show a similar desire to improve.
I also believe Borek Dockal is slowing down the attack. In my opinion, he was overrated by the club’s sporting director, Earnie Stewart, and the Czech hasn’t made enough of an impact on the field.
While he does deserve some time, he isn’t the starter the Philadelphia Union need, even if he is the one they want.
I’m still curious about the removal of Fabian Herbers from both the starting lineup and the bench.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I do understand the decision to take the German out of the starting lineup for the highly anticipated Dockal, but removing him from the bench as well came as a huge surprise to me.
I happen to rate Herbers highly, and I think he has the potential to be a very good midfielder in MLS. I think he could still help this struggling Union team, even if it happens to be from off the bench.
Matt Real MUST Stay
Brazilian defender Fabinho will be returning from injury in the next few games, and that leads to the question: what will happen to the Union’s young Homegrown defender and Drexel Hill native, Matt Real?
When Fabinho left, after undergoing surgery on his knee, Real stepped up to the plate; I thought he played well beyond his years.
In my opinion, his play on the field has, at times, emulated that of his teammate on the other side of the backline: former Rookie of the Year candidate Keegan Rosenberry, who has been playing almost as an attacking midfielder, as of late.
Fabinho will probably get some minutes when he returns to full strength, but I am still worried about his stamina, which is clearly lagging.
It’s noticeable that, toward the end of the game, the Brazilian slows down. In my opinion, this is when Matt Real can contribute, coming in to close out the game with fresh legs and an offensive mindset, something the Union desperately need right now.
In order to win just one. more. game. this season, the Philadelphia Union need to make changes and make them soon. Or, the Union can otherwise choose to #TrustTheProcess. Your pick, Earnie Stewart.
Make sure to check back next week, when Lister analyzes the Philadelphia Union’s performance against D.C. United, a team that, according to Lister, “won’t be worse than the Union in a week.” Cheers.