In case you weren't aware, scoring goals in soccer is really difficult. This is undeniably true across all levels of soccer. The most common scores in the four major European leagues (EPL, La Liga, Serie A, and Bundesliga) are either 1-0 or 1-1. Remember that the world's best scorers play in those leagues. Guys like Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney, Suárez, Tevez, and so on. Even at amateur level the skills required to actually score a quality goal are very rare and more often than not goals are scored as a result of mistakes by defenders and keepers. With an average yearly salary of about $150,000 in MLS it is no surprise to see the strikers top the salary chart. Names like Keane, Henry, and Dempsey make the millions because they are box office. They score goals. Plain and simple.
Goals are easy to understand even for the most casual fan. What is harder to pick out is a defensive midfielder tracking a runner or cutting out a passing lane. That doesn't sell tickets or replica shirts. No, goals do that and as of now the Union are a long way from any box office gold (good job those season tickets have been renewed by now) with the trade of Jack McInerney for Andrew Wenger. Goals are very rare and the Union have just sent away their only true striker. Lest we forget let's take a look at last season's goal scorers for the Union with their number of games started.
Jack McInerney - 12 from 25
Conor Casey - 10 from 25
Sebastien LeToux - 3 from 25
Amobi Okugo - 3 from 32
Do I really need to carry on making the case for why I hate this trade? We have barely seen Casey this year and there is little to suggest that he will be able to improve on the number of minutes he managed in 2013. It was nothing short of miraculous that he was able to play so much at all in his comeback season. It is hard to imagine that Big 6 will get close to those numbers this year, and he is off to an ignominious start.
So that leaves us with Sebastien Le Toux and Antoine Hoppenot. For a striker / winger a return of three goals for a season is nothing short of pathetic and in this young season Seba has looked out-of-sorts at best with the ball at his feet. Hoppenot is Hoppenot. Both you and I (as well as the league) know what to expect from him and it is unfair to place him in the same category given he only started two games in 2013. If he chips in a goal or two from his substitute minutes (he scored three last year) we can not complain. So again I ask, "Who is going to score the goals?"
With the new Union lineup of a (supposed) 4-3-3 there is extra pressure on the striker. As the point of the spear he needs to get quality service, and in theory the other two of the attacking three (up to this point LeToux and Vincent Noguiera) are there to support him. Without attacking runners to provide coverage problems for opposing defenders it is easy to isolate a lone forward and frustrate the opposition. So far this season we have seen just that situation as time and again the Union look moribund in attack with no runners moving off the ball to provide options for the ball-carrier. How many times have you yelled "shoot" either at the TV or at PPL Park as the Union seem intent on walking the ball in to the net? Believe me they are not - they would rather have a hungry striker streaking on to through-balls provided by the new all-singing-and-dancing tikka-takka midfield.
Unless there is another component to this trade and unbeknownst to us there is a true striker heading to the Union some time soon, there is nothing to like about this trade. Cap space, ability to sign a new deal, attitude, personality clashes, whatever. I don't care about any of those things and neither should you. All you should care about from a striker is that he can score goals. I don't care if Jack was kicking LeToux's dog, throwing his arms up in the air and sulking on the pitch (I don't see folk screaming for Luís Suárez to be traded over that supposed sin), or crapping in Edu's sneakers. All I care about is getting to sing that Doop song because the Union scored a goal. So who's going to do it now? Andrew Wenger? Hardly.