Philadelphia Union: Maybe it’s time for a change in Chester

Apr 22, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin walks off the field after a loss against the Montreal Impact at Talen Energy Stadium. The game ended in a 3-3 draw. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin walks off the field after a loss against the Montreal Impact at Talen Energy Stadium. The game ended in a 3-3 draw. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Just when you think that things can’t get any worse for the Philadelphia Union, they go out and blow a three goal lead.

After the 3-3 tie to the Montreal Impact, the members if the Philadelphia Union acted like they just lost the match. That’s because, in essence, they did. Ties occasionally can be taken as moral victories but this wasn’t one of them. Tying a match after being up 3-0 is a gut punch and it should feel like a loss.

The Philadelphia Union went into the half up 3-1 (it should’ve been 3-2 but Dominic Oduro blew a chance) but the warning signs were there for a breakdown. It was up to Jim Curtin to keep the team composed in the second half and he fell flat on his face.

While there were no issues with his substitutes (for once) with Fabrice Picault, Fabian Herbers, and Derrick Jones. The biggest issue in the game was that the team lacks a killer instinct. They were soft in the second half and while some of the blame falls on the players, the majority of it should fall on the coach.

To be up 3-0 at home, it feels like a loss. It’s hard to stomach. This team deserves a lot better; the fans deserve a lot better. – Alejandro Bedoya

While Jim Curtin can’t physically go on the pitch and defend a 3-1 lead, he should be able to instruct his team on how to. His failure to do that is damning. The team getting ahead 3-0 shows that they DO have the horses to compete. And if a team can get ahead 3-1, they should be able to hold the lead barring an otherworldly performance from the other team.

The Montreal Impact getting back into the game wasn’t an exceptional performance by any stretch of the term. It was the Philadelphia Union being soft when it mattered most and their captain missing on critical tackles leaving his back line out to dry.

It’s becoming like a broken record in Chester…

After the game, Jim Curtin started off how he has started off the four previous disappointing results. He lauded the team for their effort and character saying,  ” there’s not a group of guys that deserves a win right now [more] with the amount that they work and amount that they each put into it each and every day”

While Curtin isn’t wrong, sympathy for the team doesn’t equal wins. Neither does the guys “deserving to win.” The only way for this team to turn it around is to play a full 90 minutes of error prone soccer and they haven’t proven that they can do that. This week, the Philadelphia Union to take on the struggling LA Galaxy.

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Lose that game and the Union will have finished a critical month without picking up a win. They had winnable games but they won’t have capitalized. At that point, Earnie Stewart will have a tough decision to make. Does he stand pat with his head coach that he has supported multiple times during this rut or does he go out and make a move?

Standing pat would risk alienating the Philadelphia Union fanbase that is already growing jaded with the club. But if he makes a move, the pressure immediately shifts to him as every transfer and every result will be placed under a microscope. This will be Earnie Stewart’s team and he will be under pressure to do something that the Philadelphia Union haven’t done in their history.

Get a coaching hire right.

For some reason, the Philadelphia Union’s history has been almost cannibalistic when it comes to head coaches. What I mean is that everyone has come from a similar coaching tree and as results show, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. It started with Piotr Nowak who was succeeded by John Hackworth who spawned Jim Curtin.

If Earnie Stewart is going to move on from Jim Curtin, the replacement cannot be his assistant, Mike Sorber. The Philadelphia Union don’t have the resources to get someone like Bob Bradley but it also doesn’t mean that they can skimp out in a coaching search. The best case would be the Mike Petke situation at Real Salt Lake where he seems to have changed the fortunes of the club.

It may be a bit of a stretch but if the club can hire someone to introduce some organization in the squad while showing tactical flexibility it can happen. It’s tough luck on Jim Curtin who’s being hung out to dry at this point but there’s almost no other choice.

Next: Union fail to win again as the nightmare continues

Hiring a new coach also won’t solve the issues with ownership or erase the errors in player acquisition. But it’s a start, it shows that the Philadelphia Union are ready for a change. A sign that flitting between bad and mediocre from year to year isn’t enough.