The Philadelphia Union's midfield is facing a problem that they've never faced before: a wealth of starting-caliber players. By my count, the Union have at least eight midfielders that are what I'd consider starting-caliber, and there's only five slots in the Union's setup. That may be a great problem to have, but it's a problem nonetheless. So I asked the staff here at Brotherly Game who they'd put in the Union midfield provided everyone was healthy. Here's what they said.
Nick Youngstein: Roland Alberg in front of Vincent Nogueira and Maurice Edu. Nogs and Mo are very comfortable in possession. Having better players around will make it so Mo doesn't have to force himself forward to make attacks happen.
At wing, I'll stick with Chris Pontius and Ilsinho to start, with Tranquillo Barnetta, Leo Fernandes, and Sebastien Le Toux getting some sub minutes there.
Frank Cobbina: Edu-Nogs in the middle, Pontius, Alberg, and Barnetta left to right as the wingers. My answers could change in a month with Warren Crevalle and Ilsinho getting more playing time.
Jared Young: Edu and Nogs in the central midfield. Brian Carroll and Creavalle have done well but not enough to supplant those two guys who have a higher ceiling. Pontius, Alberg and Barnetta as attackers. Pontius because of the work rate and he's an MLS winner. Barnetta performed better than I've seen from Ishino as has Alberg.
Barry Evans: What Jared said, but I think with the foursome of Pontius, Alberg, Ilsinho, and Barnetta you play three of four each match to keep everyone fresh.
Matt Ralph: I'd go with Pontius, Alberg and Barnetta in the attack with Edu and Noguera holding. I like Le Toux as the first sub off the bench and I like Creavalle for depth.
For me, right now I have Vincent Nogueira alongside Maurice Edu, however I have confidence in replacing Edu with Warren Creavalle at any time. Creavalle has looked like a younger, stronger, and more technically proficient Brian Carroll this season, and with Edu's tendency to jump into an attack I feel like Creavalle's focus on defense could help balance out Nogueira and the attacking mids a bit better than Edu. Still, Edu gets the nod from me when healthy.
On the attacking side of things, I use Tranquillo Barnetta on the left, Roland Alberg in the center, and Ilsinho on the right, however should any of them preform poorly I feel confident using Chris Pontius or Leo Fernandes at center and Sebastien Le Toux on the right. Any of these options are good options, and I'd feel confident with any of those player starting.
Who would you start in the midfield if everyone was healthy? Let us know in the comments section below!