2014 Season Summary
In what may have been the final year of a solid MLS career, former Philadelphia Union captain Brian Carroll saw his minutes decline in 2014 to a career low 1467. Journeyman Fred returned from a third tour of duty with Australia's A-League to play in eleven matches and contribute a goal. Michael Lahoud had a decent season, getting an assist in eight games while playing a utility role for the club. Pedro Ribeiro had flashes of brilliance as well as some "rookie moments" in his nine matches, in which he scored two goals. Zach Pfeffer played in five matches for the Union and scored his first goal of his MLS career in the season finale against the Columbus Crew. And Corben Bone had one of the most memorable seasons of any Union player, seeing thirteen minutes in two games, picking up two fouls and a red card one minutes into the May 14 match against Sporting Kansas City.
What Did They Do Right?
Brian Carroll accepted his diminished role with all of the class and grace that you'd expect from a consummate professional. Throughout the tumultuous 2014 season, it would have been very easy to complain about lack of playing time or personnel changes, however Carroll went about doing his job. Fred, much like Carroll, didn't complain and just went about business. Mike Lahoud had a decent season on the pitch, but perhaps more importantly his work off the pitch with his charities Schools for Salone and Kick Ebola In The Butt helped raise money for his native Sierra Leone. Pedro Ribeiro seemed to learn and improve every time he took the pitch. Zach Pfeffer's game seemed to mature, and much like Ribeiro he seemed to get better every time we saw him play. As for Corben Bone, at least he didn't permanently injure anyone.
What Did They Do Wrong?
Both Brian Carroll (33) and Fred (35) started showing their age. Michael Lahoud was unfortunate enough to be behind Amobi Okugo and Maurice Edu on the depth chart. Pedro Ribeiro made correctable rookie mistakes, such as when against the New York Red Bulls he could have easily gone down to draw a free kick just outside of the box, but wound up being outmuscled into taking a bad shot. Zach Pfeffer was also a casualty of a crowded midfield, being behind Vincent Nogueira and Cristian Maidana on the depth chart. Corben Bone almost broke Jacob Peterson's leg less than two minutes after being subbed into the match.
Most Memorable Moment
For Brian Carroll, it must have been playing what could have been his final game in Columbus in front of the Crew fans who supported him for all of those years and continued to do so after he came to Philadelphia. Fred's goal in the 3-1 win against the Red Bulls must stand as one of the highlights of his 2014 season. For Lahoud, it was starting in three straight matches against the New England Revolution, FC Dallas, and Colorado Rapids. Ribeiro scored the first goal against New York Red Bulls and drew the penalty in the 93rd minute to allow Sebastien Le Toux to convert from the spot and salvage a tie. For Pfeffer, it has to be his first MLS goal:
For Bone, at least Peterson didn't file assault charges against him.
Brian Carroll may or may not be back playing soccer next season. There have been talks about the Union bringing him back, however he may decide to retire. If he chooses to do so, I hope he stays as a coach - I feel he has a lot to offer in terms of teaching the game to younger players. For Fred, his future probably lies elsewhere. Look for Lahoud and Pfeffer to both take increased roles with the club in 2015. Pedro Ribeiro will play for Orlando City SC in 2015 - look for him to develop into a quality MLS talent. And look for Corben Bone to be playing soccer somewhere other than Philadelphia