Philadelphia Union: the ole onionbag (mailbag) week two

Mar 18, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Derrick Jones (21) dribbles up field past Orlando City SC defender Donny Toia (25) during the first half at Orlando City Stadium. Orlando City SC defeated Philadelphia Union 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2017; Orlando, FL, USA; Philadelphia Union midfielder Derrick Jones (21) dribbles up field past Orlando City SC defender Donny Toia (25) during the first half at Orlando City Stadium. Orlando City SC defeated Philadelphia Union 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s that time of the week again where I answer fan questions about the state of the Philadelphia Union and anything else that catches your fancy.

You can view the last edition of the Philadelphia Union mailbag here

So let’s get to the questions here, starting with some from Reddit users.

After watching Bedoya’s performance with the USMNT – defensively sound, quick to distribute, doing his best to remain invisible because being seen means he is doing his job wrong – when does it become time to accept that Bedoya is simply being asked to do more than he’s comfortable with here?

You’re right. Bedoya is at his best as a support player around other guys. He is not someone who should be the focal player in an offense but he is a great guy to have around another focal player while also making those around him much better. It’s tough because right now, with injuries to Ilsinho and Jay Simpson, Bedoya is likely being asked to do more than he was initially expecting. Haris Medujanin getting comfortable in the lineup will also be key to Bedoya as the team will have another creative outlet so that all attacks don’t have to flow through him.

Now that we’ve entered the second year of the Earnie Stewart era, do you think the Union will be able to shake off Sak’s poor decision-making this season?

The Philadelphia Union are getting there when it comes to moving past the decisions made by Nick Sakiewicz but I don’t think that they’ll be fully behind the club until the academy has matured. It’s on the cusp but it’ll likely be about two more years until the reserves of the team are mainly composed of Home Grown players. This club is trending in the right direction but it isn’t there yet.

What do you think is the best way to fill up the stadium consistently? Start winning, buy a big-name DP, better accessibility to the stadium, or something else?

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This is a tough one. The cop-out answer is to win games but look at FC Dallas, they’ve been wildly successful even capturing the supporters shield last year but they have to tarp over the majority of their stadium during matches because they can’t fill it. That shows that winning isn’t the only piece of these equations. Same with big name DP’s, it’s more of a band-aid solution that will cause a small blip in the number of fans that come out but if they don’t bleed Philadelphia Union blue, they won’t stay once the excitement wears off.

Accessibility is huge as shown by the team’s partnership with Uber and Jay Sugarman talking about building a train station near the stadium. This will help a ton because if you don’t have a car, frankly, the stadium is a pain to get. Because of that even though the atmosphere is awesome, it’s tough for the casual fan to justify going. The good news is that Tim McDermott is in tune with what needs to be done for the Philadelphia Union to capitalize on their unique market.

Is a hot dog a sandwich?

No, a hot dog is not a sandwich. To me, a sandwich needs to be between two (or more) separate pieces of bread.

Is this team’s defense the one we saw limit Vancouver and Toronto to 1 and 3 shots on goal, respectively, or the one that was easily flustered and abused at Orlando? Oguchi has been better than expected, but why is it so difficult to find a legitimate partner for Marquez? Is it time to give Wijnaldum a chance at LB?

I’d say that the defense is somewhere in between. If you look around the league, you’d be hard-pressed to find many teams with two quality center backs. The Philadelphia Union are close if Yaro is able to develop but for now, Gooch has proven that he is more than capable of holding down the fort for now.

Also, don’t crucify Fabinho for one game. He’s been one of the best defenders on the team before dropping the ball against Orlando (who has a better attack than people give them credit for) and he deserves to get a longer leash for the Philadelphia Union. For now, Wijnaldum needs to focus on learning English and getting acclimated to the squad. Much like Roland Alberg last year, Wijnaldum will get his chance to impress in Open Cup matches then we can talk first team action.

With Jones’s strong string of performances, what do we do about Edu?

We’ll see what the medical team says but for now, Jones offers a much-needed insurance policy to Edu but if he’s healthy our depth and flexibility will improve significantly. However, don’t hold your breath waiting for first team football from Maurice Edu this year.

Player you’d love to see next season here? (either realistically or just to dream about)

I’m gonna look towards the summer here because I want to see reinforcements come in to take the Philadelphia Union to the playoffs. Gimme Messi!!!! Just kidding but realistic targets would be Matt Polster or Khriy Shelton. Both are young guys stuck behind world class players who could contribute to the future of the Philadelphia Union. Looking at what happened last year when Patrick Mullins was finally freed, I believe that the same could be expected from these two guys.

Next: Bedoya comes off bench, USA draws in Panama

Our final question comes from Philadelphia Union fan account Dooper Scooper on twitter: Would you cash in on a lucrative corp. partnership that would give the club proper spending money if it meant renaming the team?

No no no 1000x no! The Philadelphia Union were built as a blue collar club and they should stick to their roots. Rebranding fully can lead to alienating your fans and it’s something that should be avoided. Renaming the stadium and picking up other corporate sponserships is okay but the team is off limits.