Philadelphia Union: the ole onionbag (mailbag) week 1

Mar 11, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Young fans hold a large Philadelphia Union flag on the field before action against the Toronto FC at Talen Energy Stadium. The game ended tied 2-2. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Young fans hold a large Philadelphia Union flag on the field before action against the Toronto FC at Talen Energy Stadium. The game ended tied 2-2. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Here at Section 215, we’re always evolving with our coverage and because of that, I would like to introduce our inaugural Philadelphia Union mailbag.

In this mailbag, we’ll be taking reader questions about life, love, the pursuit of happiness, and the Philadelphia Union and answering them. To ask a question that may be featured, just send it to me or the Section 215 twitter account with the hashtag #AskChuck. That way it’ll be included in the ole onion bag for the week (thanks, Tommy Smyth).

Our first question comes from Barry Evans: At which point could Jim Curtin’s job be at risk if there is no improvement?

Honestly, this isn’t a question that I considered yet and then Jeff Cassar got ousted by Real Salt Lake. MLS hasn’t been a league that has had much pressure to win and make swift decisions during the year but with this firing three games into the season, it is clear that times are changing around the league. With the Philadelphia Union on a 10 game winless streak, one would assume that Curtin’s seat is getting warmer and if this team doesn’t turn it around by the all-star break, that he’ll be out before the summer transfer window opens. The game against DC United on April 1st and if the Philadelphia Union don’t win against their struggling rivals, things could snowball leading to Curtin being relieved of his duties earlier.

Our next question comes from union fan account Dooper Scooper: Who’s the first guy you see losing a starting spot to the next man up?

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This question was half answered in my last article about the Philadelphia Union midfield. The guy with the shortest leash in the starting lineup, to me, is Haris Medunjanin. In the early days of the season, Medunjanin has been more of a liability to the team than an actual help. He will need to perform better as the season wears on or risk losing his role to some combination of Warren Crevalle and Brian Carroll. While this sacrifices creativity for defense, if Medunjanin isn’t picking up assists, it wouldn’t be too harmful.

Our next question is from writer Paul Catrino and kind of plays off of the above question: What are your drives and aspirations in life? Also, healthy Edu or DJones in front of the back line?

For the drives and aspirations portion, I’d answer with a simple line from the Pokemon theme song, “I wanna be the very best like no one ever was” This means to always improve and look for ways to be the best writer that I can be. Moving to the question I’d ask why does it have to be Edu or Jones? Obviously, I’m not sold on Medunjanin but we all know that Edu likes to get forward when he can and next to defensive stopper like Jones, he can be himself and charge into the box while still having cover. If Medunjanin gets it together than I could see a healthy Edu grabbing starts in front of Jones.

Next up we have a question from writer Ricky Zellefrow: Does Pineapple go on pizza?

Absolutely, I love me some Hawaiian pizza, come at me, bro.

This next one is from Frankie Sorrentino: with a healthy Yaro/Tribbett would Gooch lose his job?

I’d like to say that I’m pleasantly surprised with what Gooch has brought to the Philadelphia Union. His positional awareness has been great so far and he has surpassed Ken Tribbett on the depth chart. When Yaro reaches full health, I don’t think that Gooch would fully lose his job, though, I think that it would be a situation like the one that Yaro and Tribbett shared last year. Based on matchups there would be a rotation as to who Richie Marquez’s partner would be. Also important side note, Richie Marquez is the goat and I don’t care who knows.

This next one is from John P. O’Donnell jr: Why are union players who get called up to the USMNT cursed after they come back?

I wouldn’t say that there is a curse it’s just that last season raised our expectations from Chris Pontius to sky high levels and I’m not sure if he can reach them moving forward. in regards to Alejandro Bedoya, he is what he is and hopefully, he’ll acclimate to the number 10 role for the Philadelphia Union.

Union fan Mike Bonfanti asks: How secure is Fabinho’s job this season?

If Fabinho keeps playing like he has been so far this season and is able to stay relatively healthy he’ll easily keep his job through the season. I saw the Wijaldum signing as one for the future since Fabinho is getting up there in age but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Next: Improvement is needed from the Philadelphia Union midfield

Our final question is from fellow writer Jim Wicker: Who do you see being the first two Steel players called upon for meaningful first-team minutes?

I’m gonna take a slight cop-out answer here because I believe that Auston Trusty will go back on loan to the Steel during the season. Due to him being under contract with the Philadelphia Union and having already spent time with the team last year it could be easy to see him get time in the US Open Cup along with league play if someone is injured. The next man up is also a slight cop-out and that’s Eric Ayuk. He came into the preseason with a determination to make the squad and if it wasn’t for the signing of Fafa Piccault, he’d likely be on the team. Ayuk is one injury away from making it.