Q1. Looking back on this Union season, which players have been most responsible for the team's struggles - and what do you expect will happen to those players when the season ends?
Eugene R., Brotherly Game: I think a great many of the players bear the brunt of the blame for the Union's bad season. Roland Alberg was expected to be the 10 the Union would run their offense through, and instead he showed up to camp almost 20 pounds overweight and hasn't been consistent enough in the opportunities he's been given. Chris Pontius' production has declined significantly, although playing on the right instead of the left isn't helping him in that regard. Keegan Rosenberry regressed, being benched in favor of Ray Gaddis. Josh Yaro was injured and then returned to some horrific blunders, committing a DOGSO in stoppage and allowing a tying PK and then the following week picking up a straight red for a boneheaded challenge. That's a lot of players who the Union were depending on to have good seasons that in one way or another didn't perform. It will be interesting to see what happens during the offseason when most of these players' contracts are up for re-negotiation.
2. If the Union get mathematically eliminated from the play-offs before the last week of the season - not saying its gonna happen, but it very well could - do you think the team will start playing its reserve or academy grads, or keep sending out the veterans to finish off the year?
Eugene R.: Let's be honest - the Union are all but mathematically eliminated from the play-offs now. Even if there's that glimmer of hope, when you have to qualify it with "mathematically" they're pretty much done. That being said, I don't think so simply because the Union don't have that many kids to play. I'd like to see Derrick Jones, Auston Trusty, and Adam Najem get extended looks but I don't feel like that will happen. I think the Union will try to save some face and get results using first string guys so that the end result isn't as awful. Maybe the last game of the season is the one we'll see some sort of crazy lineup with bench guys and prospects, but who knows.
3. Let's lighten the mood for a bit - if this little 'Demolition Derby' we have going on had a trophy, how would you design it?
Eugene R.: I'd get an orange traffic barrel that they use during road construction, and atop it would be a blue hubcap and a red hubcap to symbolize our teams. And along the side of the barrel would be the date of every time the clubs played, the final score, and the player of the match. It would be like the Stanley Cup, and presented to the team who won the match to hoist toward their fans. And like Liga MX, it would be engraved (or burned if it's a heavy-duty plastic barrel) on the field as soon as the whistle ended. Maybe try and get it sponsored by the New Jersey Turnpike or something since you guys are at one end and we're at the other. Winner gets to claim Central Jersey as their own (or loser gets stuck with them, I don't care).
GK Andre Blake; DF Giliano Wijnaldum - Richie Marquez - Jack Elliott - Keegan Rosenberry; DM Haris Medunjanin - Alejandro Bedoya; AM Fafa Picault - Roland Alberg - Chris Pontius; FW CJ Sapong
Suspensions: Oguchi Onyewu (Yellow card accumulation)
Injuries: OUT: F Fabian Herbers, D Ken Tribbett, M Brian Carroll, QUESTIONABLE: M Maurice Edu