When Brian Brown arrived in early July on loan from Jamaica's Red Stripe Premier League side Harbour View, his background dictated that we were expected to see goals and pace. What we got was flashes of both.
Brown joined the Philadelphia Union after winning the Jamaican league's Golden Boot, scoring 20 goals in 32 matches. The 20 year old was known for his nose for the goal and blinding pace. Brown had a bright start, scoring a goal in his second appearance that exemplified all of the things he could add to the attack.
Adequate one touch passing, adept runs into the box, and an excellent header finish. In that one play Brian Brown showed that despite his inexperience he had the skill set to prove that Jim Curtin made a good decision in signing him to a six month loan. Brown was the team's lone summer attacking signing, and the fans and media alike expected Brown to be a valuable contributor off the bench.
The critical goal against Sporting KC didn't turn out to be the positive sign the club hoped for. With his lack of size and strength Brown failed to make his presence felt on the field for much of the season. He also struggled to make smart runs into the box and put himself in favorable positions inside the eighteen. Despite managing a perfectly adequate two goals in 230 minutes this season, he was only able to take three shots on goal and just five shots overall. It wasn't like he wasn't getting adequate service from the midfield or fullbacks; much of these struggles occurred during the Union's summer attacking swoon when Conor Casey and Sebastian Le Toux were fronting much of the scoring load. However, Brown did end the season on a good note by scoring his second goal in a 2-1 victory at home against Sporting KC in his only start.
So should the Union sign Brown to a permanent deal? The Jamaican is only turning 22 next month and a full preseason and training camp with the Union might benefit him greatly and result in a successful 2015 season. Working in Brown's favor is that fact that he played out of position as a lone striker most of the time this season, and that the Union only had to pay him a mere $53,004 (before pro-ration) in guaranteed compensation for his services in 2014. Given his raw physical traits and low risk/high reward, it may be worth giving Brown another shot to join the ranks of other talented, young Jamaican attackers in MLS like Deshorn Brown and Darren Mattocks.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!