Okay dear readers of The Brotherly Game, I like you all a lot so I'm going to level with you. I've got a bunch of thoughts rolling around in my head after yesterday's preseason match against Chicago, but it's also Friday, and I really don't feel like organizing those thoughts into a cohesive, well-written analysis piece. So I'm going to do what any good internet writer would do and give you those thoughts in rapid-fire list format. Why? Because it's much, much easier. Also because the internet loves lists almost as much as it loves cats. If I made this article a list of cats it would probably get 10 times as many hits, but we're a soccer blog, so I'm not allowed to do that.
Anyway, here is my list of takeaways from the preseason game, in no particular order:
- Everyone stop freaking out. It's just the preseason. This is no reason to panic.
- We haven't seen much from Anderson Conceição, but I'm reasonably certain Richie Marquez is still the team's best center back. The Philadelphia Union really lucked out with him. I think we should nickname him Aladdin, because he's a real diamond in the rough.
- Ken Tribbett looked pretty good for a fourth spot on the depth chart CB. Bethlehem Steel FC fans should be excited to have him.
- The team really needs Maurice Edu back in the midfield. Vincent Nogueira is wonderful, but a central defensive midfielder he is not.
- I know that the purpose of preseason is to do a little bit of experimentation, but with this many new faces I'd much rather give players more time in their natural positions playing together to develop chemistry. Eric Ayuk at center forward? Vincent Nogueira at CDM? I'm pretty sure either Brian Carroll or Warren Creavalle were playing the central attacking midfield role at one point. I don't understand what Jim Curtin was doing there.
- I'm really bummed that we didn't see any more of Ilsinho. I wonder if his salary demands are unrealistic for the team, and that's why they didn't play him. I hope not. I want to see more of him this preseason if there's any chance of signing him.
- After things settled down, the team really showed they can maintain possession. Keegan Rosenberry impressed me the most here. Leo Fernandes, Tranquillo Barnetta and Vincent Nogueira helped a lot, but Rosenberry made smart passes from his position. He should really push Ray Gaddis for a starting role.
- Fabian Herbers looked good. I'm still not pleased with our striker depth, but I'm encouraged about his future with the team. I might even be okay with him being the back up until the summer transfer window.
- It seems like a real focus this preseason has been to play low/on the ground crosses. I like this. I'm tired of seeing the team aimlessly hoof the ball into the box hoping for something magic to happen. I like the idea of playing more to players feet in the box, giving them a chance to finish.
- Man, some of those defensive lapses were brutal. I know it's preseason, but damn, guys. Joshua Yaro particularly concerned me. Ken Tribbett actually looked more comfortable back there than Yaro, which is bad because Yaro is supposed to be able to contribute right away. I know it's early and the kid needs time to adjust to MLS competition, but still.
- I really like the more compressed shape the team was playing. It opens them up on the counter attack (see David Accam's second goal) but it compresses the midfield and makes it really difficult for teams to get into the final third. Hopefully having fast defenders will help cut out counter attacks, but I wouldn't be surprised to see more than a few goals given up like that this season.
- Chris Pontius didn't look half bad. Hopefully he can stay healthy, because I think he can contribute to this team.
- I wonder why CJ Sapong and Gaddis were held out. Minor knocks and just being cautious? Possibly. If that's true, its understandable, but I would have liked to see the "starting" lineup in there. I suppose I just need to be patient.
- Walter Restrepo looks good, I'm excited for him to make an impact off the bench this year.
- Speaking of Restrepo, the announcer bringing up his trade for "travel accommodations" really got under my skin. I get that it's an intriguing story, but you're a sports announcer. Talk about the game. Who cares what the player was traded for years ago between to lower division teams?
- Disappointed we didn't get to see more Yosef Samuel. I liked the cut of his jib, and I hope he gets a BSFC contract.
- I wonder if Chicago is going to be able to turn things around this year. They looked really dangerous on the counter attack. I wonder if Veljko Paunović can run the kind of counter attacking system that Curtin tried to implement over the last year and a half. Leicester is certainly seeing a lot of success with it in the EPL. Could be something to watch for this year.
- Thanks for sticking around to the end. As a reward, here's a picture of my cat wearing a scarf: