clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Signal Intel: Sad-sack Union still more than a speedbump

Eugene Rupinsky of The Brotherly Game joins us for the question-and-answer ritual

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Chicago Fire Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Hot Time: What's going on with the Union's defensive rotation, do you think? Is it just a matter of a whole pile of guys failing to impress, or is Jim Curtin part of the problem here?

The Brotherly Game: When you're as far down the table as the Union are, roster changes aren't just necessary - they're pretty much mandatory. I think the Union also have defensive players who are all pretty much around the same level in terms of what you will get from them - there isn't much of a difference in level between Keegan Rosenberry and Ray Gaddis right now, so the parts are mostly interchangeable and you tend to go with whomever has been showing the most in training and in games. I don't think anyone has been awful (although Josh Yaro is one more bad penalty away from that level), however no one aside from Andre Blake has been great either.

HT: If you were you Earnie Stewart, what kind of offer would it take to interest you in selling Andre Blake? C.J. Sapong?

TBG: If I was Earnie Stewart, I'd listen to offers for any and all players. I wouldn't be looking to sell either Blake or Sapong, but I wouldn't reject offers out of hand either. Blake reportedly had offers in the $1-2 million dollar range, which I feel is a bit low but would accept if he was interested moving abroad. Sapong would almost certainly net less than Blake, but again if it was a move abroad and he wanted to do it I wouldn't stop him. That said, I wouldn't sell either of these guys to another team in the league unless it was for some ridiculous sum of money. The last thing the Union fans need is Sapong going to Seattle or something and winning MLS Golden Boot.

HT: What's up with Mo Edu? And how bad was the DP deal for him?

TBG: Edu is still rehabbing from a second broken leg suffered about this time last year. He's been getting minutes with Bethlehem Steel FC, and perhaps will be available for selection with the first team at some point. That said, the Union have clearly moved on. They don't play a system that really calls for a deep-lying central defensive midfielder, instead going with a box-to-box guy in Alejandro Bedoya and a playmaking central midfielder in Haris Medunjanin. Edu may get one last match, but I would imagine his time in Philadelphia has drawn to a close.

I think the DP deal for Edu was a bad deal, but not because of his injury issues. Anyone who goes through rehabbing from not one but two broken legs deserves all of the credit - most people would have given up after the first. I think Edu was a good acquisition for the Union - a good face for the franchise during some tough times. I think Edu's deal was a bad deal because I can't justify paying a central defensive midfielder a DP salary. I get the guy has a pedigree, international experience with the US National Team as well as with Rangers and Stoke, but at the end of the day that's a lot of money for a position where you can find a decent player for less than what Edu made.

I'll leave you with this - I don't think we've seen the last of Maurice Edu. If he's able to rehab fully and get healthy, I would guarantee there's a team out there that would sign him - obviously not for what he's making now but for some amount of money to give him a shot. My tinfoil hat prediction based on absolutely nothing is that he goes to Los Angeles FC in the Expansion Draft. He's from nearby Fontana, and I'll bet Bob Bradley thinks he can still get some production out of Edu.


HT: With five games to play, the Union are nine points and four spots below the playoff places - so, basically, it ain't happenin'. What's a best-case scenario for the rest of 2017, with an eye on the future health and viability of the Philadelphia Union?

TBG: Best case is the Union evaluate some guys whose contracts are coming up at the end of the year to see if they're worth keeping around or not. They should also look to get some of the young players like Derrick Jones and Adam Najem some first team minutes in an environment without pressure. Jim Curtin said in this week's press conference however that Jones and Najem would play with Bethlehem Steel FC instead, so perhaps they'll get an opportunity later in the season but we'll have to see. Beyond that, it doesn't matter. While I'm usually pretty optimistic and try to count the small victories and see the bright side of things, I'm pretty cynical about things right now with the Union.