It feels just about the right time. Spring is here and the warmth of the upcoming summer is being beaten back as ferociously as possible by the lingering, greedy grasp of winter. Everything is in place: The morning air is still cold, yet the afternoons turn quite pleasant. The sun shines bright when it's not raining and plans are being made to start enjoying the outdoors again. There isn't necessarily something tangible about why it just feels right, but there is always a level of increased good mood (especially when you teach 8th graders it's almost as if the moment spring arrives so do their hormones which have lain dormant all winter).
The final ingredient to this magical feeling we all get around this time of year. The ultimate topping on any good mood sundae: The realization that the fresh new season for the Philadelphia Union will unfortunately last until October.
Ah crap, what? It's that long? Its only April! I can't take it anymore!!
Well my friends, as sad and bitter that realization may come we must all face it. For spring wouldn't be the same without the ultimate damnation of the Philadelphia Union season. We are in fact only 4 games into the 2015 season and it can be said the Union easily look like the worst team in the league. It's all gone wrong for the side and if we cannot reach this conclusion sooner rather than later, we as fans will spend the dog days of summer as sad as an toddler who has been told they aren't allowed to buy a candy bar in line at the supermarket.
Oh, so you say there's hope? Oh I'm sorry, no I don't have any rope, I misheard you.
The Philadelphia Union have been struck with not only the injury bug, but poor play in general, including poor decision making, poor tactical decisions, and poor substitutions. Misplaced praise of poor performing players and mistimed challenges resulting in purposeful elbows (or open palms) to the face. It's ugly and it's only gotten uglier. Teams are using the Union as a catapult to jump start their season and it would appear as if the Union would choose to be safe rather than take the season for their selves.
It would seem to me the only player that has come to play this season was Cristian Maidana. The wonderfully gifted Argentine single-handedly lifted the Union to a point in Salt Lake City and without him on the field for a half against Colorado we may have never gotten a look at goal. The team is inept without him. They are struggling offensively to move the ball forward and no one looks like they are on the same page. Horrid performances from key players and injuries to the other ones have stunted the Union's growth.
Manager Jim Curtin hasn't made the best impression to start the season either. Poor choice of praise in the most recent game irks me personally. There was nothing positive about the game and quite frankly we need to stop praising poor performances. The previous two games have resulted in backwards substitutions. Down 1-0 against FC Dallas, Curtin opted to bring on holding midfielder Michael Lahoud to spur on the attack. Yes, the Union were down a man, but were they protecting a 1-0 deficit? In the game against Chicago, dubbed a must-win by some, Curtin opted to take out Vincent Nogueira for the somehow still playing Fred. Fred in turn slapped a player in the face and was sent off. Curious decisions seem to be becoming the norm.
So to say there isn't a bright spot to this season is an understatement. Even the idea of having the time to turn this season around is a thought that makes me want to projectile vomit. The Union have 30 games left this season to show us what they are really made of. Unfortunately, in October it will ultimately be the same as it is now.