Friday, May 4, 2012

Philadelphia Union: The Season so Far

I realize this is a rather odd time for an article like this. But I've been thinking about how the season has gone thus far, and I wanted to write down my thoughts on the season thus far. And it has been an up and down season! If I don't get to every player on the roster, don't worry, their time is coming.

We'll start off with the most recognizable name on the Union, Freddy Adu.

Freddy Adu
Freddy Adu may be the best known name on the Union outside of Philadelphia, but he is far from a fan favorite. And that is due to his play. He can have games where he shows brilliance, laying balls at the feet of his forwards, or scoring on a nifty backheel. But his game is just like his career, streaky at best. He does have games where he plays well. And then he has games where he doesn't. And that just isn't good enough. last season, Adu had the excuse of not being in shape or knowing the system well enough. This season he missed time due to Olympic qualifying. But now we're in the meat of the MLS schedule. And Adu does not have the luxury of those excuses any more. It's time to see some consistent play from Adu, not just flashes of brilliance. And I think we'll get that play from him.

Lionard Pajoy
The Colombian striker has big shoes to fill. Fan favorite Sebastian Le Toux out, and new and unknown Lionard Pajoy enters. And Pajoy has not played well. 1 goal through 7 games is not what a fan base expects from its best striker. But to be fair, Pajoy is not Le Toux. And perhaps we've been expecting too much. The team has not been playing to Pajoy's strengths, especially when they play him as the lone striker up top. So part of the blame lays on Nowak. But Pajoy needs to adapt. And the time has come to adapt. If we don't see a goal from the run of play from Pajoy by the 10th game, I think it is time to look for someone new up top.

Zac MacMath
It was a shaky start, I'll admit it. But MacMath has stormed back, and is playing the best soccer of anyone on the pitch. He commands his net, and his backline. He set the franchise record for shutout soccer. And yes, his backline has played very well. But MacMath makes the saves when they need to be saved. And that's all you can really ask of him. Does his team score for him in the run of play? No. But without MacMath, the San Jose match would have been over after 15 minutes, and probably would have ended up 5-1. So MacMath gets my man of the season award this far. And if he can keep it up, he'll be the leader of the clubhouse before the end of the season.

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