We took a brief hiatus, but we’re back to answer your questions about the still-horrible Philadelphia Union.
Why should we even bother to buy tickets to this team anymore? Also, how can we convince Comcast to buy this team?
Jordan Wohl: But, wait till next ye—Sorry couldn't resist. I will try my best to convince you. Gameday is fun to tailgate with friends and family. Ummm, remember the Open Cup Finals? Those were cool, too. That's all I got, convinced yet?
Year after year, the Union make it harder to justify buying in for fans. I couldn't blame if you did not want to come to games for a bit. Newer expansion teams like Orlando City SC, Atlanta United, and Minnesota United FC all seemingly have better talent on their rosters in addition to greater success in only their first or second year. Eventually, something has got to give with this team and organization. I don't know what that is, but we will see.
Oh, and we all need to just call up Comcast like when our bill is too high and threaten to switch to another cable company unless they buy the team.
John Rossi: You probably shouldn’t honestly. Unless you want to. That’s really the only reason. If you want to spend money on tickets to watch a very bad team, that’s your prerogative. And it’s understandable, because I and very many others still love this very bad team. If you can’t justify giving money to a very bad team, that’s cool too. You don’t owe them anything.
Will we ever run two strikers up top to start the game?
Jordan: The year is 2060, the Philadelphia Union are playing a 4-2-3-1 with Brian Carroll as team captain. Seriously though, the organization looks dead set at playing a 4-2-3-1 throughout all their teams. Take a look at this article by Matt DeGeorge of the Delco Times. In it, Curtin basically says that by scrapping the system there will be more confusion among his side. So the answer is unless the Union are down late, probably don't expect two strikers anytime soon.
John: I’ve lost all hope that they will at this point. If they haven’t changed their formation after a 15-game winless streak, then they never will.
Are the Union getting close to Chivas range?
Jordan: It is kind of sad we are getting to this point that the question has to be asked. It’s been eight years and there have only been four real major matches in team history (2011 MLS Cup Knockout Round vs. Houston, 2014 US Open Cup Finals vs. Seattle Sounders, 2015 US Open Cup Finals vs. Sporting Kansas City, 2016 MLS Cup Knockout Round vs Toronto). The Union lost all four of those matches. Chivas played in four playoff matches over their first eight years and even won the Western Conference one year. Chivas lost all those games too.
I thought the Union seemingly righted the ship when they fired Sakiewicz and hired Earnie Stewart. But, at this point, the question has to be sort of be asked: While it has not brought the off-field drama that the Sak era did, is this new era of Stewart just another long, circuitous, slightly less hectic route to borderline mediocrity?
The team has spent money so that isn't an excuse. However, they have spent terribly. Take a look at this year's salaries. Ilsinho, Jay Simpson, Chris Pontius, Haris Medunjanin, and Alejandro Bedoya make up nearly half of the team's guaranteed compensation. I do not know how the team can justify that considering their lack of production. In their history, aside from maybe Vincent Nogueira, has any big signing worked out for this team long-term?
It's a mess, I am not sure if this is rock bottom for this team. Fans are mad and angry. I cannot blame them. For too long, the fanbase has been loyal to a team that has been overall not good sans maybe one and a half seasons (2011 and half of 2016).
For the team, the anger at least shows the investment that the fans have in the Blue and Gold. Once they begin to show how apathetic and tired they have become with this team and begin not showing up as opposed to anger with the smattering of boos post game, then the Chivas question will begin being asked louder. I do not know if there is a large apathetic portion of the fanbase or even a plurality of such, but I am sure that there is a growing base of people who are just tired of coming week after week to watch a borderline mediocre team.
At this point, I think it is fair to at least ask the question. This is not just based on this season. This is based on the eight-year span this team has existed. We will see where this team goes, but I am just not sure at this point.
John: In terms of on-field performance, they’re probably worse than Chivas was. But Chivas weren’t contracted because they were bad, they were contracted because the owner was a lunatic and the fans weren’t showing up.
For years, the Union’s front office was a mess, but that was largely due to the presence of Nick Sakiewicz. If he were still here, perhaps the Union would be closer to Chivas territory. The current regime, which has the club in the midsts of a record-long winless streak, is not defined by the dysfunction that characterized the Sakiewicz Era and the Vergara Era at Chivas. The Union, under their current ownership and sporting director, are just plain bad. Plenty of teams have been bad. It takes more than that to draw Chivas comparison.