Good afternoon, and a very happy Canada day to our friends up north, and also a happy July 4th weekend to those of you residing the United States. The holiday schedule has given us some very exciting games and several events unfolding in the last week have given us plenty of cause to ponder. Here are your weekly questions:
“I will work my hardest to hit the ground running for the Union and be ready for the important decisions the club will make entering the 2016 season.”
Earnie Stewart laid bare that pledge upon his hiring in Philadelphia prior to this season. Has he worked his hardest? Given Philly’s results thus far it’s easy to be persuaded.
The Philadelphia Union haven’t finished higher than sixth in the Eastern Conference since 2012. In 2011 they were a playoff team, the only time in their short history in MLS.
But the Philadelphia Union under Earnie Stewart’s guidance have put together a squad that not only atop the Eastern Conference, but also have the most goals scored across all of MLS. In 2015 they scored all of 42 goals. Thus far, they’ve put 28 in the back of the net and at the midway mark of 2016 look like they will easily eclipse that mark.
Furthermore, the Union’s form put them fourth overall in MLS, and they are deserving of this position. They’ve turned Talen Energy into somewhat of a fortress, going 6-2-1 thus far. Their away form leaves much to be desired, with only a solitary win outside of our nation’s former capital.
What sincerely put the Union in the upper echelons of MLS that they so enjoy momentarily is the eight game unbeaten streak that spanned five weeks, ending with that 3-2 loss away to NYCFC. Streaks like that can make a season for a side. FC Dallas managed a full 15 match unbeaten streak in 2010, solidifying the playoffs by the end of the summer.
It’s not out of the question to expect that with Philly. Chris Pontius is scoring goals again, and he hasn’t done that in three years. CJ Sapong, last year’s leading goalscorer for the Union (9 goals), looks like he might try to find the form that landed him MLS Rookie of the Year so many years ago. But other acquisitions like Blake (who has been outstanding), Alberg, Barnetta (a half season veteran), and Rosenberry have mixed well alongside vets like Sebastian Le Toux, who is still playing quality soccer moving into his twilight years.
Really, the test begins now for the Union. Le Toux, Sapong, Edu (obviously, long term), and Herbers are all injured heading into the Fourth of July weekend. The timeliness of the respective recoveries will make a huge difference. But the core of the Union’s back line and their midfield, save Le Toux, has been relatively preserved. Goals may come few and far between, but if Alberg can find a way to net five goals every three games (as he has in the past three), things will be fine for Philly.
They’re a playoff team, barring any major catastrophes.
Happy Canada Day! I'm not sure if this question is asking which is best overall or which is the better representative dish of the great nation of Canada. For me though, it doesn't matter. Poutine is going to win this in a walk. For those of you that aren't aware, Poutine is a Canadian dish that basically involves fries, cheese curds, and gravy. It's not unheard of to find it in the States, but you have to look kind of hard. I suggest you do. It's the kind of thing that you would usually find at a bar or pub. A nice happy hour snack. It's delicious and there are many variations on the classic recipe. I had to look Timbits up. I don't know what I expected, but of course they come from Tim Hortons. Timbits appear to be more or less what we'd call a donut hole here in the United States. However, it should be noted that they are NOT in fact donut holes as Timbits are made on their own, and are not the leftovers from a batch of donuts. The flavor lineup for Timbits looks pretty solid though. Next time I'm at a Tim Hortons, I'll grab a couple, but for now I've got to give this one to Poutine which I think offers a far more distinctive and authentic Canadian gourmet experience.
Alex Bono got his first taste as the Toronto number one in the Reds’ dramatic win the Canadian Championship Final. He allowed two goals but played well by all accounts. Bono will probably be fine as an interim stopgap for regular starter Clint Irwin.
Toronto could however be looking to find a midfielder with today's news that both Will Johnson and Michael Bradley will be sidelined 6 weeks. The transfer window opens Monday, and with that the allowance of trades. I could see Toronto looking to find a veteran midfielder within MLS to give them minutes over the next month and a half. Call me crazy but a move for Antonio Nocerino could be something beneficial to both parties.
The answer here is easy.
If you look at current form, Waston has the capability of taking down his opponents in a very physical way without doing harm to himself. The latter portion of that explanation is why Kompany didn’t win out in this metaphorical brawl. His injuries and age have seen him take knocks he would have easily absorbed five years prior; and while he had a wonderful season last year, his pace has deteriorated after his recovery from 2014-15. Collin...well, if we are talking about his days in Kansas, I would absolutely throw my money on the Frenchman. However, he has cleaned up his act since moving to Orlando, and I don’t see that changing in New York either.
Hang on a second, I know this is irregular, but I've got to come in here and throw down my two cents. Aurelien Collin doesn't even have to show up to win this. Comparing Kendall Waston to Collin is like comparing a house painter to Cezanne. It's not even close.
Sigi’s coaching seat is both very hot, and very cold. You don’t have to dig very deep in Sounders’ fandom to find contentious opinions about Sigi’s tenure as the Sounders coach. It’s no question that the Sounders have massively underperformed this season, and while there are plenty of valid excuses & explanations, a large portion of the version falls on the lap of Sigi. Some -- okay, a lot -- of people were very surprised to see Sigi kept on as Sounders coach after last season’s debacle. Which, leads me to my explanation of my non-answer answer of your question. I think that this was always going to be Sigi’s last season as Sounders coach, regardless of results. Even before the sale of Oba, the Jordan Morris signing, the struggling, etc. Now, if the season gets to the point of no return, then maybe the Sounders fire him mid season. But, that rarely happens in MLS, especially with a team as talented as the Sounders are. If the things continue going the way they do, though, then I think whatever the plans are for the off-season might come a lot sooner rather than later.