With Brian Carroll sidelined for 3 to 6 weeks with an injury to his plantar fascia, the Philadelphia Union need to find a central defensive midfielder to play next to Alejandro Bedoya. They do have some options though:
- Warren Creavalle - Creavalle is the obvious choice to replace Carroll. His defensive ability and physicality are what you look for in a 6. Unfortunately for Creavalle, he’s seen more time at the 8 than is natural 6 position this year, and that’s partially to blame for why he’s had a few lackluster matches for the Union. The only real down side of Creavalle is that he tends to take bad fouls, picking up three yellow cards and one red card in just under 1100 minutes this season. That being said, I feel like Creavalle will be the guy to beat out for this job until Carroll comes back.
- Ken Tribbett - Tribbett is a center back by trade but also played central defensive mid at college with Drexel. Strong and physical, Tribbett’s real strength lies in his aerial abilities - not something normally associated with a CDM. Unfortunately as we’ve seen in a few of his recent outings at center back, Tribbett is good for a mental lapse or two per game. Fortunately if he’s playing CDM, he’ll have guys behind him to help clean up. The biggest issue for me is that playing CDM at the collegiate level is far different from playing against MLS caliber talent, and I’m not sure how well Tribbett would fare trying to shut down a Sacha Klejstan or Sebastian Giovinco - both of whom the Union will face twice more this season. Until he gets some reps at the position, we won’t really know what he’s capable of.
- Derrick Jones - The Union’s second-newest Homegrown Player has fared very well at CDM for Bethlehem Steel FC and for the Union in their friendly against Crystal Palace. Still a bit of a raw talent, Jones is a natural CDM and has the tools to develop into a solid MLS player. That being said, he is probably a depth option at this point until he can get some quality minutes.
- Maurice Edu - Why is Edu so far down the list? Well the former United States national team midfielder has been injured for over a year and has missed the entire season thus far. While Edu is itching to get back, he and the Union know that this is not something that can be rushed. Edu will get some playing time with Bethlehem Steel before returning to the first team, so it could still be a few weeks before he’s anything close to being match fit. Edu should be seen more as a longer-term solution at CDM as opposed to the band-aid that’s needed at the current time.
So with an important stretch of matches coming up, who would you like to see at central defensive midfielder for the Union? Let us know in the comments section below!