The Philadelphia Union are in trouble.
CJ Sapong is still dealing with an ankle injury, not having played since before the Copa America break. Fabian Herbers was held out of the U.S. Open Cup match against the New York Red Bulls with a tweaked hamstring, and just yesterday it was reported that Sebastien Le Toux - who had filled in at forward against the Red Bulls - had suffered a concussion and was out indefinitely.
Provided Sapong and Herbers are still injured and unable to go against the Houston Dynamo, who starts up top for the Union today? I posed that question to the staff here at Brotherly Game and got the following responses.
Chris Pontius is our most physical midfielder. He can win balls in the air, makes good runs. Tranquillo Barnetta has played on the wing most of his career so not missing anything there. Warren Creavalle and Brian Carroll at the double pivot will help the defense.
Barry Evans: I’d go with Ilsinho. He can hold the ball up better than anyone else which at least gives the team that part of a forward. On the right you can bring in Walter Restrepo, who has done fairly well.
Nick Youngstein: I'd put Ilsinho up top, and Restrepo on the right wing. Ilsinho is naturally a central player who's good with the ball at his feet. He'd be good at laying off and linking with Barnetta, Roland Alberg, and Pontius.
Jared Young: Bring up Seku Conneh (from Bethlehem Steel FC) and see what he can do. This is the price you pay for gambling like this. I'd rather keep players in their natural position. Based on Wednesday I wouldn't be surprised if Leo Fernandes starts up top.
John Rossi: Just stick Fernandes there for a game and hope. Then go sign someone on Monday and make sure this doesn't happen again. I didn't think Fernandes looked too bad on Wednesday, and Curtin said he's been great in practice, so whatever.
Matt Ralph: Sign Conneh to an emergency loan. I think the league would interpret this as a hardship case.
Personally I’m thinking either Fernandes or Conneh. I think the midfield setup of either Carroll or Creavalle, Barnetta, Pontius, Alberg, and Ilsinho is more than the sum of its parts, and removing any of these guys would be counterproductive. Most of the goals lately have come from the midfielders, so I’d leave them where they are and give either Fernandes or Conneh the opportunity to show what they can do.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!