Welcome back to Silly Offseason Complaints, my new series of articles where I address the most popular complaints about the Philadelphia Union. If you haven't already, check out Part 1, where I discussed the idea that the Union don't spend enough cash. Today, it's onto a new complaint. Specifically, we're going to talk about the Union's pressing need for a shiny new left back.
The complaint goes a little something like this:
"The Union haven't had a good left back since they traded Jordan Harvey. They need someone on the left who's going to be able to provide quality service into the box. But the Union refuse to go out and sign someone. Then they passed on Brandon Vincent, the best left back to come out of American soccer in years, in the draft. Why do they refuse to address their need at this position?"
I've got three words for you: Fab in ho.
Okay... That's just one word that I spaced it out to make it look like three. Not even really a word so much as it is a name....
Fabinho is our answer at left back. At least for now. I know that you are straight up guffawing at the suggestion that we be satisfied with Fabinho as our starting left back, but I think many of you are forgetting just how good a season he had in 2015. It was so good he was actually ranked as the best left back in MLS by WhoScored.com. Was he the best left back in the league? Probably not, but he was still pretty good, and a pretty good left-footed left back is hard to come by. I mean, think about it. How many good left backs are there in MLS? Not that many. There are better options out there, certainly, but I don't think it's fair to Fabinho to say that he is a drastic drop off from the rest of the league.
Passing on Brandon Vincent in the draft stung a lot of people, and I understand why. He's an exciting young prospect in a position where, as I just addressed, it is really difficult to find quality. So why did the Union pass on him when we could have picked him up with the third pick? Plenty has been written about this already, so I'll be brief, but it seems that Earnie Stewart and Jim Curtin just didn't rate him as high as everyone else did. They obviously rated Keegan Rosenberry higher. Only time will tell if they are right. It's frustrating that the team's homegrown player claim on Rosenberry was denied, but they obviously are high on this kid. He was the one they wanted, so they went out and got him. Simple as that.
Moreover, the team needed a starting caliber right back more than they needed a starting caliber left back. That might sound crazy, but I think it's true. For as good a season as Fabinho had in 2015, Gaddis was the exact opposite. His drop off in form was pretty significant last year. Once we traded Sheanon Williams it seemed to me that Gaddis had no one behind him on the depth chart to challenge him for that starting spot. After that, we saw a significant dip in Gaddis's form. I think bringing in Rosenberry to push Gaddis for the starting RB spot is going to bring out the best in him, similar to how he was when he was competing with Williams. I could be wrong about that, but Stewart has said many times that he believes the best practice when building a roster is to have two good players at each position. I think Gaddis needed that push. We also brought in Anderson Conceição, who can play at both center back and left back, so we just didn't have as much need for depth on the left as we did on the right.
That's all for today. Stay tuned for part three where we talk about Maurice Edu in the midfield.