I've seen many articles posted in the last few weeks with explanations as to why the Philadelphia Union have been in such a funk. Frankly, none of them seem to address the 3 ton blue and gold elephant in the room. This team has been in shambles since the departure of Vincent Noguera. But why?
This is what I've seen. While the coach tells us the tactics being used are not the blame and the players fit the scheme, I see quite a different story. The first half of last year, the Union played a high attacking line which was very successful. We had many turnovers that resulted in goals and kept the opposition pinned in their defensive end. After Vincent left we seemed to stop playing the high attacking football and went back to having no identity. Look at the wins and losses after that.
This team, our team, has not put a positive string of games together since the first half of last year. According to Coach Curtin, the tactics are working and the players fit. Maybe the formation could work although I doubt it but lets look at the latest game against NYCFC. We started out, in my opinion, doing well. We pressured high, kept NYCFC pinned in and had possession on the ball. NYCFC came in with a plan to play out of the back.
At halftime, things changed, NYCFC started sending balls over the top and burning our defense. What changes did we make? None, we made none. We made three like for like subs and lost another game.
If you look at the players we have, we are man for man a better team than last year. Our problem is lack of creativity, not from the players per se but from the coaching staff. During the off-season we acquired players to fill gaps. Jay Simpson, FaFa were brought in to score. Haris to replace Vincent. We drafted midfielders who look like they can play in this league. Many of them just sit on the bench. Our back four is suspect, our central midfield lacks speed missing Yaro who is injured, Rosenberry is not having a year like last year and Fabinho (geez, don't get me started).
So, what should we do? Well, believe it or not, I think to protect the back and get many of our good midfielders on the field we should switch to a 3-4-3. This is how it could work:
back line: Gooch, Marquez, Yaro
Mid field: Rosenberry and Pontius on the wings and Haris and Ale in the Middle
Attack: Sapong becomes the target holding stricker with Simpson/Ilsinho/Herbers playing off him.
The reality is we have the talent on the roster but It appears that they have no confidence in the coaching staff! Do I think Jim Curtin is a bad guy? No I think he is a good guy. Maybe at times too good. I think that someday he will be an excellent coach and someday we will wish we held on to him, but for right now in this current environment with these players I would like to see a coaching change and I hope it would be someone with experience and a winning mind set!
We could continue to do analysis out the wazoo but it comes down to this. Six games in we've dropped 16 points!! We have a lot of work to do to meet the expectations that the Union Brass set for us. It's time for a change, a new outlook, a different set of eyes. I don't hate Jim Curtin, but I love the Union and this is getting painful to watch!