Hello and welcome to the Brotherly Bag, a new mailbag column here at Brotherly Game. We (John Rossi and Jordan Wohl) will be here to answer your (hopefully) Union-related questions every Friday. Have something you’d like to ask us? Tweet it! And don’t forget to tag it with #BrotherlyBag so we can see it.
Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s get to those questions.
1. Which Union player do you think would be best at American Ninja Warrior?
Jordan Wohl: Well, it is hard to say. I'm thinking to succeed you have to have the perfect combination of strength, speed, and endurance. CJ Sapong is probably the best bet to do well. If Aaron Wheeler was still on this team, I would pick him. I have a soft spot for Wheelz.
John Rossi: Cool, it’s our first and last American Ninja Warrior question. Congratulations to American Ninja Warrior for making Ninja Warrior boring. The main appeal of that show was that guys were inches away from falling into disgusting, muddy water at any moment. The American Ninja Warrior course looks like it was constructed out of repurposed parts from the Wipeout set. Which Union player would be most successful at this? Probably Eric Ayuk, followed up by Keegan Rosenberry and Chris Pontius. Those are all strong, pretty agile guys who aren’t too big. I feel like Sapong and guys his size are carrying a little too much weight to successfully navigate all those obstacles.
2. Will Brock Lesnar be able to defeat Goldberg for the title at Wrestlemania? (This is NOT Union-related but since it was the first question asked on Twitter, we’ll let it slide.)
Jordan: It has to be Lesnar, right? I mean as much as I want to pick my fellow member of the tribe, Goldberg, he has to drop the title so Raw, which has lagged behind Smackdown, can move on. Unless Goldberg starts doing whatever the hell Oguchi Onyewu has done to turn back the clock, I am thinking it will be a 15 minute match, but Goldberg falls to Lesnar at the "ultimate thrill ride" (sorry).
John: I don’t know anything about wrestling but I like that Vince McMahon where he falls over in his chair.
3. Is Raul Gonzalez still on trial with the Union or Steel?
John: Nope. He signed with the Richmond Kickers earlier this week.
4. What is Alejandro Bedoya's best position with the Union?
Jordan: With the emergence of Derrick Jones as the second coming of Vincent Nogueira and the big money signing of Haris Medunjanin, by default he basically has to play the ten. There's no way Curtin is going to bench Medunjanin or Bedoya, which means the only other spot he could possibly play on the field is at the 6/8 hybrid that Jones has played. He’s probably best at the 8 in that box-to-box role but in this current system and with this current roster, he can't line up there.
John: Though we haven’t seen him there, and likely never will, it might be on the wing. When he played at the No. 8 last season, he was incredibly hesitant on the ball—the polar opposite of Haris Medunjanin, who I think can be more accurately dubbed the second coming of Vincent Nogueira. With the addition of Medunjanin, Bedoya’s been asked to serve as the team’s primary playmaker. Though it’s still too early to say that Bedoya can’t fill that role, he’s only had one half this season where he looked like a DP #10. Bedoya, like Tranquillo Barnetta before him, plays the position like a winger forced to convert. That is to say that he tends to drift into space and wants to be played in behind opposing back lines. As a result, he can take himself out of games, essentially failing to provide a link from the midfield to the attack.
We’ve seen Bedoya and Herbers swap places often so far this season, which speaks to Bedoya’s desire to get wide and Herbers’s desire to come inside and create. We likely won’t ever see Bedoya starting on the wing given the team’s depth in that position and Roland Alberg’s inability (or whatever it is) to break into the lineup. But given his outstanding motor and comfortability as more of an auxiliary creator, I think Bedoya would excel on the wing more than anywhere else.
5. Next Union player likely to get his first NT callup?
Jordan: [In our email thread, Jordan sent an absurdly long emoticon that cannot be pasted here] #DerrickJonesHypeTrain. Are we doing stupid hot takes? Ok because here is a real stupid one: Derrick Jones will be better than Michael Bradley and will win a world cup for the USMNT. (Do not @ me @jordanwohI)
John: If we’re going by calls-up and not caps, then it’s either Ayuk or Derrick Jones. Jones looks set to have a great season, but it’ll still be hard for him to force his way into a roster before next January. Even then, with the World Cup approaching, Bruce Arena may be looking for more experienced options. If Ayuk gets playing time in Sweden and Cameroon falls out of World Cup qualifying contention, perhaps he can earn a call-up. Who really knows.
6. What happens when Josh Yaro comes back? There's no international spot or roster space available.
Jordan: I have no clue. Maybe with Ayuk going on loan, this will clear a spot. Since Major League Soccer roster rules are extremely convoluted, I don't really understand what will happen.
John: They’d probably just loan out Jack Elliott, right? Yaro’s not set to return for another few months, so maybe Herbers or Andre Blake will have a green card by then. But loaning Elliott seems like the logical move, especially considering the depth at center back.
7. Should the Union bring back Aaron Wheeler?
Jordan: Hell yeah babey. If they don’t, the likeliest scenario would be for the Union to face Harrisburg City in the US Open Cup and lose thanks to a Wheelz brace. That would be peak Union. When this happens, don't say I didn’t warn you.
John: We’re doing an Aaron Wheeler question to appease Jordan, who otherwise would be bugging me incessantly to get me to include one. No, the Union should never sign Aaron Wheeler again, but I think they are doomed to having him slam dunk on them in the Open Cup every year. That seems like an acceptable tradeoff.
Remember to tag your Union-related thoughts and questions with #BrotherlyBag. Please do not use the #BrotherlyBag hashtag to inundate us with questions about American Ninja Warrior, thank you.