August 27th, 2016…… That’s the last time “Till the day I die” played in Chester, and we walked out of Talen Energy Stadium with a win. I know, that is a long time ago. Hell, since then both my boys have started and completed a full fall and winter season of travel soccer, the country has elected a new President, and we have learned that United Airlines still runs Fight Club. That is way too long for us Philly fans to sit quiet. We demand results, and we dream high. But we are in a lull that demands a deep run into the playoffs. I believe this is the only way to silence your 10’s of thousands of experts out here. And this is only my opinion. I’m sure there are a lot of other experts out there smarter than me.
So how do we right this ship? I know that you have heard the critics out in social media land tell you “fire the coach!” Even coming up with hashtags to support their cause. And I may be in the minority when I say that I believe that doing this will not fix it. We fans have demanded this from all our sports teams over the last decade and a half, and it has not fulfilled our need for championship hardware. It’s the easiest thing to do to quiet the disgruntled fan base, but it is not the answer. So what do we need? Here are my thoughts;
- Edu; we need to figure out what is happening with him. He was going to be our leader, our captain. But his lack of play due to injuries has put some doubt in his leadership abilities. Half of our roster has never seen him play. There are tons of questions out there about his future to which we have no answers. We need a decision about his future ASAP, before he is considered someone just stealing money from the payroll. Making $700,000.00 in 2015, and $725,000.00 in 2016, we need to have results from him. And I understand that it is not an “under performance” issue here, but it’s time to make a financial decision. The fans need to know. $69k per game not to play is a lot.
- Formation; Maybe we need to move to 2 up front? Our current formation isn’t bringing pressure like we thought it would. And as you can see from our losses, the 2 up front lets you strike the ball from outside the 18. Something the U desperately need to start doing. I also see a lot of struggles with the through ball to the corner. It’s not working the way it should. I am not, nor do I pretend to be smarter than the coaching staff. But something needs to change in the way we pressure the final 3rd. We are making it too easy to read or attack.
- Team Leadership; we need the player that takes the team on his shoulders. The person that will tell these guys that they are not playing to their potential. I have heard that the locker room can get pretty loud at halftime, but who is the leader. Who is our Ray Lewis from Baltimore, or Jordan from the Bulls? I would love to hear Gooch in a post-game presser say “We need to pick our asses off the ground, and start playing the game we know how to play!” Or maybe even call the team out to start performing like an MLS team should. I just don’t know who that is, or should be. But we need it. Hell, maybe even coach Curtin could do this. But we are getting tired of the excuses from everyone. It’s going to start sound familiar to Andy Reid famous “I’ll take the blame for this one”.
- Fans; we can’t give up. Yes there are trolls out there that will hate the Union no matter what, but we need to show the team that we want to win. We have a wide range of fans here in Philly. The ones that will love the organization no matter what, and the ones that will show their hate the first time they fail. I fall in between those two. I love the Union, and proudly display the team wherever I go, but I want them to be successful. So instead of calling for the coaches head, which is what the majority of people are doing, let’s figure this out and right this ship. If it doesn’t work, than there is no choice, right? But we can’t give up, not now.
The season is early, and last year at this time we rising to the top. This year we are on the bottom, with nowhere lower to go. Let’s right this wrong, and hopefully in 2 months we are back on top, hitting our stride at the right time. I will not get into trusting the process like the NBA team in town is asking me to do. Trust comes from proving yourself. Prove it to us Philadelphia Union. Prove that this is just growing pains, and you can look back at us in 2 months and laugh. But we need results. We need to start climbing the table, and not just looking at best case scenarios. I believe in you, and so do thousands of others. But there needs to be change. Let’s start with winning. You need to figure out how to do that. We will take care of the trolls.