This isn't an emotional response to the inexcusable performance on Sunday. This isn't about being anti-Curtin. This isn't about the downward direction of this season's club. I'm not ignoring the loss of Maurice Edu and Vincent Nogueira as bona fide reasons for mediocrity. This isn't about style or tactics or the inability to change them, ever (well, ok, that last one is a fib).
This is about America. This is about Ellis Island. This is about ships coming in. This is about motherhood and apple pie, the American Dream and free markets. This is about living in the land of opportunity. And that there sums it up.
It's about opportunity.
Pure and simple, this is about opportunity and how any right minded person takes advantage of opportunities when their ship comes in. If you are given a job offer that pays you more and otherwise improves your station in life, you take that opportunity. You probably don't even think about it. When that man or woman of your dreams walks into the room, you go and talk to them. You might be nervous. But you can't pass it up. Opportunities don't come that often. The Union are staring at one such opportunity.
What the Union are staring at, as are many other clubs, is the opportunity to hire Sigi Schmid, former head coach of the Seattle Sounders. Schmid is a clear upgrade at head coach for the Union and that's not really debatable. Further he understands all too well the idiosyncrasies of coaching in MLS. He's the winningest coach in the league's history with 228 and 26 playoff wins. He brought the expansion Seattle Sounders to prominence and has won five U.S. Open Cups, two MLS Cups and a CONCACAF Champions Cup. He took a pretty terrible 2006 Columbus Crew team and two years later won the Supporter's Shield and MLS Cup. Outside of MLS he has coached the U20s for the National Team and was an assistant for the senior team during the 1994 World Cup. He even coaches more than one formation. He is an American soccer coaching legend and one the Union can not afford to get hired somewhere else.
What's become clear this season is that Earnie Stewart is looking to build a team that plays a proactive style. As we've seen in Seattle Sigi can manage that goal quite well, but he also has a track record of building solid defenses. He also morphs his style to fit the type of players he has which as the Union continue to be improve the talent pool and be opportunistic in the transfer market Earnie has to have.
What's often discussed as far as Jim Curtin goes is that he is a young coach with potential, but let me assure you the ceiling doesn't reach the level of knowledge of Sigi Schmid has right now. I personally think Curtin is pretty close to his ceiling. The Union have allowed 1.55 goals per game under Curtin, a career defender. And there's been no improvement in the defense since he started, as this year the Union have allowed 1.61 goals per game. Fans might point to the improvement in results this year and a playoff appearance when expectations were low, and there is some validity to that. But if the fans knew the goal scoring the Union would get out of Chris Pontius and Roland Alberg, and the exciting play from Andre Blake and Keegan Rosenberry, the expectations would have been considerably higher. In 2014 the Union earned 1.5 points per game under Curtin. This year they are averaging 1.27. The ceiling is looking more like a crawl space. But this isn't supposed to be an anti-Curtin argument. This is pro-Sigi.
Imagine Sigi Schmid is riding on a ship down the Delaware River right now, topped with American flags symbolizing opportunity swinging in the crisp fall wind. The Union need to ensure that the ships docks underneath the Commodore Barry Bridge and Sigi gets off. This is a big opportunity for the Union to upgrade their club and build a winning culture. Earnie, extend your hand to the man and make this happen.