There comes a time in every person's life when he or she must do something that he or she truly detests doing. This was one of those times.
The Brotherly Game had another fireside chat, this time with Once A Metro. With the rivalry already in full bloom and the Red Bulls coming down to visit PPL Park and the Union the discussion focused mostly on tomorrow night's match up. That isn't to say that we simply focused on it. Ryan Giggs mentions galore! To read Part 2, after you're done reading the fantastic Part 1, head to the story at Once A Metro by clicking here.
Thisredengine: This game not only being a rivalry also is a matchup between two potential Rookie of the Year candidates going head to head in Tim Ream and Danny Mwanga...who do you think has the advantage?
Scott K.: It really depends on how healthy Eduardo Coudet is.
I know it seems presumptuous to say that someone not named Danny Mwanga or Sebastian Le Toux will be the most important person on the pitch but Coudet will change how the game is player, both from a tactical point of view and a game play point of view.
Thisredengine: Whys that? He definitely brings experience to a young Philly team.
Scott K.: It isn't even the experience that changes the Union. With him in the game the Union have a central midfielder that they can rely upon. The only thing that has been good about his absence is that Kyle Nakazawa seems to have emerged as a potential starter next season in central midfield. When Coudet was signed off of a trial with the Union, I was upset. I saw him play in the Manchester United - Philadelphia Union friendly and was way less than impressed with him. But over his time with the Union he has gotten better and better for the Union, solidifying a rather bland and uncreative center of the midfield.
After the jump, playoffs?
Thisredengine: Are you surprised with how well the team has played this year? You can't be disappointed with the season so far, even if the playoffs aren't going to happen.
Scott K.: I'm slightly disappointed with some of the play recently. The Rapids loss was incredibly deflating and the second half of the Galaxy game should have given the Union at least a point. Playoffs, playoffs? We're talking playoffs? In all seriousness though, I don't think anyone expected the Union to compete for the playoffs but they were in the hunt until that Rapids loss. That's more than anyone following them could have asked for.
At one point they were 3-1-1 over 5 games. No one watching from day one would have thought that such a streak (10 points out of a possible 15) would occur.
Scott K.: What about the Red Bulls? Even though they're sitting pretty in the standings, could they have been better this season?
Thisredengine: Honestly, the month of May was embarrassing. They went 1-4 for the month in league play. It made me think this was gonna be like last year. The loss to the revolution hurt the most though.
Since they are one of our massive rivals that a lot of us travel to. That 3-2 game could have been a tie if not for the own goal by Tim Ream
Scott K.: Rivals. Great time to ask this: Do you think that there is already a Red Bulls - Union rivalry?
Thisredengine: I think there is a bit of one...it may have been artificially manufactured by the MLS just by the sheer location of a Philly team in relation to NY...but I think with the Union playing well this season, there is a real rivalry at this point...just needs more history. There are a lot of proud Union fans in Sons of Ben that have been trash talking this meeting since July...that's a long time to get excited.
Scott K.: I feel like the history of the city rivalries from the other sports has seeped in enough to make up for the lack of MLS history.
Thisredengine: That's my feeling as well.
Scott K.: The Sons of Ben have been trash talking? Last I saw on Twitter, Pink Cow supporters were going at it as well.
Thisredengine: I think between NY/Philly there will always be that rivalry. Sons of Ben members I'm friends with have been talking about this game since July...and with my own support group getting excited for this game and getting the supporters section next to the SOB, you'll see a lot of hopefully in good fun back and forth on Saturday. I hope it doesn't end in anything physical just because of where they are seating us
Scott K.: There shouldn't be anything physical from the Sons of Ben. There have been problems in the past with The Illegitimates and opposing support groups. They sit in section 133 and "defend" against the opposing groups.
Thisredengine: It's one thing I don't like about soccer culture...the having to defend your home
People watch "Green Street Hooligans" or "The Firm" and think this is like soccer in London
meanwhile the reality is that most of the people that go to these games just want an enjoyable afternoon
Scott K.: I was in the River End for my first Union game (versus the Houston Dynamo two weeks ago) and it was absolutely amazing.
Thisredengine: The supporters sections always are the best and on the opposite end of the spectrum of "defending your home" I wish the rest of the stadium would get into the songs...It's something that's beginning to happen at Red Bull Arena, is it like that at PPL?
Scott K.: I believe that the SoBs are trying to get the more casual fans into it. Honestly though, it isn't that hard to get down 80% of the chants. I was able to pick them up on the first go. The problem is getting everybody to know what is going on. I'm pretty sure that the SoB does not want to have the scoreboard to direct chants.
Thisredengine: This will be the last time you guys face Angel/Henry/Marquez...any thoughts on the matchup they present?
Scott K.: I feel like Angel and Henry are a terrible combination. And Marquez is out of position. Marquez really needs to go back into defense.
Thisredengine: I think him at the defensive midfield position is a pretty good fit in the midfield right now
Dane Richards/Joel Lindpere/Mehdi Balouchy/Rafa Marquez seem to be a really tough midfield for teams to match up with. I'm interested with what the team does to fill in the hole that will be left by Angel in the off season though. There are rumors of Luke Rogers joining the team
Scott K.: What do you think of him?
Thisredengine: Honestly, he's a decent tallent and will be a better fit with Henry...you are right in saying that combination isn't a good one since they both play the same role on the team. Luke will have the proverbial big shoes to fill as Angel's replacement in front
Scott K.: Angel has been averaging something like 15 goals a season for the Red Bulls, right?
Thisredengine: Yeah...he's been one of the biggest scoring threats in the league
And this season he's in the running for the golden boot
Scott K.: I think Edson Buddle takes it.
Thisredengine: He was at least until the addition of Henry. It's unfortunately that he's desire to play hard seems to have dropped off. He had a reputation to be the hardest worker at practice...he seems to have slowed down his pace in games
Scott K.: It could also be the result of a long season and his age.
Thisredengine: Meanwhile, Thierry has become the face of the organization for the tristate area and Marquez is doing a ton of press to bring in the Mexican crowd who still have a hard time getting into MLS play
It could be his age, but I think knowing you won't be playing for the team next year has something to do with it as well. The reported offer for next year was something like 60k...that's an embarrassing offer for your captain to receive.
Scott K.: His play this season dictates his salary for next season, though.
Thisredengine: His play this year was dominant for most of the season...He's still feared as a legitimate threat and thankfully hasn't taken the Freddy Ljungberg route to find another squad. It is nice to know that we'll have a DP spot to use in the off season or 2011 summer transfer window
Scott K.: He's not Freddy. He has gas left in his tank and doesn't dive to get successful plays.
Who is rumored to be coming in for the new DP slot?
Thisredengine: No rumors at this point but the team would be wise to try and sign a Brazilian star since there is a massive untapped fanbase just waiting to get on board with this team
Scott K.: Ronaldinho?
Thisredengine: There is no reason to use the spot on Rogers though. He's not a big money player. Ronaldinho would be a dream but I believe his agent is more set on LA Galaxy
Scott K.: I don't think the LA Galaxy are going to want to pay for him
Thisredengine: They hopefully learned from the Beckham deal. Though his intensity in the loss to NY was commendable. He could dog it for the rest of his contract and walk away but he really doesn't like to lose. It's a good quality that isn't taught.
Scott K.: You're talking about Beckham, correct?
Thisredengine: Yeah. He is a guy who has everything and still wants to play. He has the money, the looks, the international fame...he is set...he can walk away and people will still love him. But he cares too much about his legacy to do that.
Scott K.: He does have everything at this point but he had everything once he moved to Real Madrid.
That made him his money. Before that he had success in England and in Europe.
Thisredengine: Exactly, he doesn't need to keep playing. Sure there would have been disappointed fans if he didn't play at all this year but the fact he is playing says a lot. He still is respected on the field and younger players can learn a lot from him. Hell, he was brought to South Africa for World Cup as an advisor that tells me a lot.