The Philadelphia Union Thread

Discussion in 'Youth National Teams' started by ussoccer97531, Mar 21, 2021.

  1. thedukeofsoccer

    thedukeofsoccer Member+

    Jul 11, 2004
    Wussconsin
    Club:
    AFC Ajax
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    FBref has Flach in the 80th percentile in terms of pressures at his position (not in all of MLS). So he's good, not great in the area, even.

    His ball-winning #'s, in spite of so many attempts, are indeed just above average. His ball recovery #'s are well below average, speaking to the lack of range.

    In conjunction w/ the poor offensive #'s, this indeed speaks to a try hard, who wouldn't have utility on the nat'l team, outside maybe plugging a hole at lb in the interim. Though if you're just opting for a young, uncapped player, why not someone more talented like Paredes or Tolkin?

    Vis a vis Acosta, at least he has mobility. Sands has Flach's mobility, but is bigger and better on the ball. He should be back in the mix and used more properly.
     
  2. JUnionFan

    JUnionFan Member

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Sep 30, 2020
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  3. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

    Oct 12, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
  4. JUnionFan

    JUnionFan Member

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Sep 30, 2020
    This game wasn't, though it sounds like it's an outside possibility moving forward:

     
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  5. JUnionFan

    JUnionFan Member

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Sep 30, 2020
    1450504583202103302 is not a valid tweet id
     
  6. JUnionFan

    JUnionFan Member

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Sep 30, 2020
  7. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

    Oct 12, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    Andrus and Olney are pretty underwhelming selections IMO. I know some rate Olney pretty high, so I’ll take the criticism if it comes. I personally don’t see it.

    Darboe is pretty good. I think he’s one of their next few HG signings. Zielinski is a player that I was impressed with from what I’ve seen so far this season. I believe he only moved from NYCFC about a year ago. Rocio is supposedly a potential star. Heard a lot of hype about him. He’s one of two 07’s on this roster I believe. Saw his age group recently for Philadelphia Union, and he wasn’t on the field, so I can’t give an opinion.
     
  8. JUnionFan

    JUnionFan Member

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Sep 30, 2020
  9. David Kerr

    David Kerr Member+

    United States
    Oct 18, 2019
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    CJ Olney is an absolute baller and is arguably a better prospect than Darboe
     
  10. Luksarus

    Luksarus Member

    United States
    Jul 27, 2018
    I agree. I have seen some of the Union U17 games and I must say that he looks much better than when he was playing at PDA.
     
  11. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

    Oct 12, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    What does everyone think about the Union’s style of play? They play a very narrow 4-4-2 without wingers, and rarely go away from it.

    One of the positives IMO is that it’s easily the most distinct I see from first team all the way through the academy teams. Their top players at all levels almost all tend to fit this formation very well. This seems very conscious and thought out. I also think it can end up working very well at the first team level. Ultimately, it suits the guys they select as the players to bring through the academy once they get to the first team.

    On the other end, I think it looks very disjointed at the lower levels. The forward players can struggle when they play a team that won’t concede possession because teenagers rarely can hold the ball up. Also, it’s very demanding on what it asks of fullbacks and the Union do not prioritize quality fullbacks to begin with, but most good fullbacks that age would still struggle with how it asks them to play.

    It took me a long time to contextualize the play of all the kids we saw play for Union II last season in this context. They all look remarkably better for the first team this season at a higher level. I suspected the formation played a part, but it took me nearly a year to figure out the puzzle.

    I’d be interested to hear what others think. I think we don’t talk about this aspect enough. If you think about it, I don’t think there’s one young player that is highly rated that this system does not fit well. The closest may be Darboe, but he’s so tactically versatile that it doesn’t effect him.
     
  12. Campeones123

    Campeones123 Member

    Barcelona
    Brazil
    Sep 2, 2021
    IMO, the Union academy teams are awful on the eye which is funny to say considering how much individual talent they have. The style from the 1st team down in clear, its to go direct as fast as possible. If you watch the Union II all the way to U15's, it seems frantic and directionless. The # of turnovers and forced passes can be at times, alarming. The last few U17 matches I watched there were so many instances where players could have made smart passes to control the match but instead always force it, something that wouldn't fly at a 1st team level.

    If anyone has noticed, they've been experimenting with Darboe as sort of an 8 in Union II games. IMO, he can over complicate things in one vs. one situations from the wing and isn't as quick as some might think so maybe they are assessing if long-term he's more effective from deeper positions. I can see some success as a 10, but he hasn't looked great playing the role of distributor.

    Union II have some real quality players that don't show well at first look, but I'm sure would look drastically better in the 1st team like the Aaronsons, McGlynns and Sullivans did.
     
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  13. gogorath

    gogorath Member+

    None
    United States
    May 12, 2019
    I can speak only to the senior team, but I like a 442 diamond for them. They are never going to be a massive spending, so going with a formation that works well in a counter, is super solid defensively, is smart.

    I'd like it better if they were developing some pacy strikers for the top. It seems like Darboe might play there but he's also a winger?

    And having a 10 spot does work well for development, IMO, even if you don't often get to play it at the pro level. As well as working through the midfield with short passing triangles, which the diamond is good for.

    That said, they've been spotted in a 433 a few times this season.
     
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  14. Kombucha

    Kombucha Member+

    Jul 1, 2016
    Club:
    --other--
    I thought they said on ETR last week that Union was playing more 4-3-2-1 recently, but IDK
     
  15. don Lamb

    don Lamb Member+

    mine
    United States
    Aug 31, 2017
    Interesting topic. It does seem like Curtin has been a little more open to not being strictly 442 this season. I agree that the diamond midfield is difficult for less savvy players to get right, which makes it very challenging at youth levels, and good points from @gogorath about why it suits Philly and their market.

    Nevertheless, I said it at the beginning of the season, and it seems to have become more evident throughout the season, I think the most important thing about the Union is the clear identity and culture that they have created more so than their formation. Their principles of play are rock solid, and that allows Curtin to tweak things and be flexible without losing any sharpness in the team's performance.

    FCD is the only real comp for Philly, and it feels like the opposite is true there. Maybe I'm wrong, but I get the feeling that they have won so much at the younger levels strictly based on superior talent. They lack an identity though. That showed in Lucchi's tactics, and it might be why they've struck out so much in the international market.

    Back to Philly, Aaronson, Sullivan, and McGlynn have all types of versatility, even as they seem to have fairly specific roles where they excel. I don't think the formation is going to be all that critical as Curtin seems to give them freedom to interchange and combine within whatever framework the tactics call for. Like I said that other day, this group is going to be a lot of fun to watch next year.

    The consistency of the 442 at youth levels has probably been a big part of how the Union has been able to develop such strong principles. The versatility of the players (even those who have not broken through yet it sounds like) is a huge feather in their cap as they are clearly not nailing players down to specific type-cast positions. Their players and their style are gritty and aggressive, but in a very sophisticated way -- it's easy to see how the 442 diamond formation is a big part of creating this identity.
     
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  16. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

    Oct 12, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    Isn’t it nearly the same thing? The second striker and the CAM play left and right instead of CAM and SS. That’s the main difference.
     
  17. don Lamb

    don Lamb Member+

    mine
    United States
    Aug 31, 2017
    Good point. These are the types of little tweaks that can have such a big impact when there is already a strong foundation.

    Curtin has had some good years, but it seems like there is potential for what he has built to really take off here shortly. Another couple of years and this long term vision that has been in the works for so long could be fully in place. At that point, I wonder if he will see more there to tap into and take further or if he will want to leave for a new challenge.
     
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  18. JUnionFan

    JUnionFan Member

    Philadelphia Union
    United States
    Sep 30, 2020
  19. Mahtzo1

    Mahtzo1 Member+

    Jan 15, 2007
    So Cal
    I think this next year could be the year they take the whole league. They are poised to be the first "development" team that really cashes in on their youth. They did very well, but didn't quite pull it off (completely) with Aaronson and McKenzie but maybe next year will be the year. They have managed to put together a solid to good MLS team and the trio of Aaronson, McGlynn and Sullivan seem ready to be difference makers that could put them over the top next year. They will have a window of one....possibly two years to take advantage of this crop before they are sold to Europe. As you say....it'll be fun to watch.
     
  20. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

    Oct 12, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    I think next year we will also see Craig and Sorensen, who I don't think are lesser players. They are defenders, and defenders almost always take longer to break into the first team. They will add a lot to the team to have two more top young talents added to the mix. We should also see continued improvements from Freese, Fontana, Flach, and Fontana. All these kids are still young for pros, even if they aren't the youngest players on the team.
     
  21. Mahtzo1

    Mahtzo1 Member+

    Jan 15, 2007
    So Cal
    I haven't seen them but Harriel got some minutes as defender and Cole got a cameo too. How are they? Should I be surprised to see a little more from one or both of them too?
     
  22. ussoccer97531

    ussoccer97531 Member+

    Oct 12, 2012
    Club:
    --other--
    #348 ussoccer97531, Nov 6, 2021
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2021
    I forgot about Cole Turner, who you mentioned. I don’t know what they’re going to do with him. He’s redundant to some of their other players. Positionally he’s similar to Craig and probably also Flach. He’s ready for MLS though. I’m not sure Harriel will ever be great, but I think he can be an MLS starting RB. I’d suggest Freese may be the one among the slightly older Union HGP’s (Freese, Fontana, Blake, Flach, Turner, Harriel) that could have a breakout season, but he’s sitting behind Blake, so it’s hard to see where his playing time will come.

    I think we’ll continue to see the Union churn out valuable young players that can play a role. I think though that a few of these guys may benefit from an intra-league loan or trade (Freese, Turner, Fontana). They could open up a spot for signing players like Gilman, Alguera, Jones, Abbey to a contract before we see the next wave of bigger HGP signings when their ‘05 and ‘06 age groups start seeing some players sign with the first team. Gilman in particular is a player I’d be very surprised to see not sign within the next year. I can’t imagine he’d want to go play college soccer with his level of play.
     
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  23. jeff_adams

    jeff_adams Member+

    Dec 16, 1999
    Monterey, Ca
    I heard tonight that Alguera will likely be on the bench for El Salvador's next WCQ game. That's impressive for a 2004 keeper.
     
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  24. Dynamo Kev

    Dynamo Kev Member

    Oct 24, 2000
    Really interesting topic. Last year my daughter played on a team where the coach was also a Union youth trainer and he would constantly yell- forward. Any drop or square ball was met by - forward!. I thought it was odd given almost every academy is preaching 4-3-3 possession. But now it makes sense. I watch the u15 Union often and it's not very pretty. They play a 4-2-2-2 box midfield, Arena used to do it with Armas, Reyna, LD and Beas back in the day with McBride and Wolff or Clint up top. I hated that formation then and now. There's never anyone out wide and you can't switch the ball. But now it makes sense why the trainer was always yelling - forward.. The formation seems to work best against a 3-5-2, because when those wingbacks get caught upfield, you essentially have a 4v3 counter attack.
    It definitely seems like the tide is turning from possession based play to high press. Which is sad because i think the 4-3-3 possession style teaches kids more and helps their long term development.
     

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