Know what’s awesome? Hot takes on the Philadelphia Union. Know what’s even awesomer? Those same hot takes coming from Super Heroes.
Here at The Union Deux we are focused on equal parts insight and entertainment. This month three of the staff put on the costumes and swapped brains with Marvel Comic characters and thought deeply about the Union. Reviewing the month of April we are fortunate to have Professor X, The Human Torch and Thing give their thoughts.
Professor X (Jared Young)
A little known fact in the world of soccer is that I routinely convince coaches to change tactics by controlling their minds. It was years in this making but this past month I was able to convince Arsenal’s extraordinarily stubborn manager Arsene Wenger to try the trendy back three. He had been steadfast in rolling out his possession oriented 4-2-3-1 formation and the fans in North London were reaching peak anger as the team sank in the table. While Wenger’s soccer is still beautiful the belief is that the modern game is passing him by. But thanks to my mind controlling Arsenal has new life as they won three straight, including an FA Cup win over Manchester City. Sure they lost at White Hart Lane last weekend, but so has everyone else. The switch may have come too late but Wenger has shown the world and himself that he can indeed change for the better.
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, a young manager named Jim Curtin hasn’t gotten a win in sixteen matches, but stubbornly sticks to his version of the 4-2-3-1. He says he has the horses to run it, but he plainly does not. Try as I might, I can’t get this coach to change his mind. My super powers just aren’t enough. You’d think if Arsene Wenger was open to change then the youngest coach in MLS might be open to it. He really thinks this is the best formation for this team and there is no convincing him otherwise, while the poor results roll in. I’m convinced a swapping of Roland Alberg for Jay Simpson and a simple switch to a 4-4-2 will both provide more offensive flexibility up top and help the defense retain much needed compactness. But even this Super Hero can’t get into the bizarre mind of Jim Curtin.
The Human Torch – (Drew Gobrecht)
Allow me to introduce myself, even though you’ve probably already heard of me. I’m (pause for dramatic effect) The Human Torch.
You can applaud now.
That’s right, the fantastic Human Torch is going to take time out of his busy day to give you Piping Hot Takes about everyone’s favorite Soccer Team. What’s my hot take this week?
Fabian Herbers is the most dangerous attacker on the team.
You heard me. Not Bedoya. Not Sapong. Not Ilsinho. Not Pontius. Fabian “The German Love Machine” Herbers.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Torch, brah. You must have hit your head fighting the forces of darkness, or maybe during a bitchin’ motorcycle trick. No way is Herbers our best attacker.”
Pshhh. Nah, brah. You’re the one that hit your head. You know I never mess up my bitchin’ motorcycle tricks. Herbers is my dude. He rocks all day and all night. Now, I’ll admit. Herbs lacks a certain flashiness that I typically like to see in my favorite players, but he more than makes up for it with his hard work, and his silky smooth passing.
Herbs is straight crushing it. The Steel Curtin has cut his minutes lately in a lazy effort to change things up, but The Torch thinks this is a mistake. Herbs is one of the only guys on the team making good runs between the defensive lines, one of the only guys capable of playing a dangerous pass, and one of the only guys with the legs to press effectively for a full 90 minutes.
Jim. You gotta listen to your buddy The Torch. Don’t sleep on The German Love Machine.
The Thing – (JC)
I realize that somewhere along the line Ilsinho was deemed good enough to play in Europe, but honestly, those days are gone. All he is anymore is a one-move, has-been and a defensive liability that cost Keegan Rosenberry his job.
Consider this; a player with “explosive” offensive skills, rated a 5-star skill rating in EA Sports FIFA 17, has a grand total of 2 goals and 2 assists in 30 games. Even if you ignore the fact that the two goals came during an “even a broken clock is right twice a day” moment during a 3-0 win against DC United, this is pretty pathetic coming from a player taking an International spot and earning an overpaid, half a million dollars.
If you look a little deeper into his stats, you might find the Union’s overall record over the last two years is 8 wins, 15 losses and 6 ties in every game Ilsinho either starts or subs-in, and a much better record of 4 wins, 3 losses, and 5 ties in games in which he stays the heck away from the field.
Who cares though, Curtin is unexplainably in love with him. He thinks he’s ready to explode, and judging by the occasional “oohs and ahhhhs” coming from the stands when Ilsinho makes that one move during a game, nothing is going to change. I mean, “2 assists in 30 games coming from your starting winger is very impressive”, said no-one ever.