Clearly arguments can be made for both cases. 2 games in the season do not dictate the rest of the 32 left to play. This is the third year Nowak’s been in charge and the team has regressed. We have a lot of new players that Nowak believes will fit his style. The entire team chemistry is disrupted with the turnover of our playmakers. Our team needs time to start to gel together. Why send our team internationally for preseason games instead of playing games against our own competition?
This list for each can go on, and on, and on.
It’s easy as a Philadelphian to quickly jump down a coach’s throat – hell, we’ve been doing that to Andy Reid for 5 years, justifiably so (only the foolish think he can field “America’s team” ). But why, with seemingly all the wrong choices and the “clause of silence” all throughout Union management, should we hold back from attacking Nowak?
Well for starters he’ll make you run laps.
Being that this is practically a brand new team – 15 players remain from being on the 2011 roster at any point in the season, 9 (give or take) being primarily subs, with 1 now a regular starter – it does take time to gel. The question now, as we know with Nowak, is with the acquisitions made in the offseason, do these players not only gel with Nowak’s bipolar strategy (‘solid’ defense with defensive offensive pressure) but do they have the capability to perform as such.
With Carroll, Califf (if not taking a shot, apparently), and Valdes being the central defense it seems, you will often find Gomez and Williams pressing the ball into the offensive half (and the occasional Valdes, and Gomez drops back). This tallies for 5 players that are guaranteed to be conistent starters – barring national duty. Add in Pajoy as a viable outlet for crosses, set pieces, and our only offense it seems, this makes up 6 of our 10 players.
So… what gives?
Lopez has yet to impress, and has made costly foolish mistakes that have lead to goals. Mental lapses if you will (at least the one I saw against colorado, going for the ball instead of making sure the man behind him was marked). Being that this is his 8th year playing soccer, one can’t really explain why he would have these costly mental lapses – one would assume maybe it’s just the newness of everything getting to him, but a professional shouldn’t be making these mistakes.
This shows what we expect – or at least explains – 7 of our 10 field players who are going to be our regular starters (sans call ups). It almost seems like Nowak has most of the tools he needs (read wants) to implement his bipolar system. But sadly, we are still missing 3 players.
Who do we have for these three players? Well, a russian roulette of youth, talent, and immaturity. You can almost label any of these descriptions on our cast of characters – considering that Marfan is probably the odds on favorite for regular starter, who knows how many times even he will play. Adu, Mwanga, and Torres don’t even have guarantees in being a starter in any of these positions. And sadly, this is where our push forward in play will likely, and constantly, stall. Why? Inexperience with eachother. They are the connection from the backline to Pajoy, and even have direct paths toward net themselves – but because nothing is consistent with this area, it will always end up changing.
Looking at things in a breakdown, you almost wonder how we were only able to tally 1 goal a game so far. Albeit there have only been 2 games, but we should have a more solid team than even last year. So it goes to wonder – is Nowak almost completed with his experiment with our team and it will just take time? Or, is this just the beginning of the end for him?