Poll results: Here’s what you think of the Union’s offseason

Photo: Earl Gardner

One month can make a lot of difference.

Back in December, we polled our readership to get a sense of how people were feeling about Philadelphia Union. It was a mixed bag. Fans’ confidence in the team was clearly shaky.

Now, after the team absolutely owned January with several big transactions, things have changed dramatically.

PSP’s most recent poll, which drew more than 400 votes, found that:

  • 95% of voters now feel more confident that the team is headed in the right direction.
  • 98% graded the team’s offseason as an A or a B.

Here is how things played out on each question.

Readers: The Union aced the offseason

More than half of you — 53% — gave the Union a grade of an A for their offseason. Another 45% of you gave them a B. (Ten people gave them a C. I’m curious to hear why.)

Bottom line: People like the Union’s moves. They dramatically improved the midfield with three players in their primes, picked up a returning U.S. international in the process, and surprised many with their moves in the draft. Before the season, Union manager John Hackworth was open about what he felt he needed to do, and he filled nearly all those needs in the offseason.

Readers: More confident in team after this offseason

In our December poll, there was a mixed view on team leadership, with 65% feeling Hackworth had earned a return in 2014 but only 30% feeling that Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz had done a good job.

After their January performance, however, 97% of you are more confident the team is headed in the right direction now. It was put up or shut up time for Union leadership, and most of you feel they put up.

(One person felt less confident. Can’t satisfy everyone.)

Readers: The Andre Blake move is a good one

64% of voters liked the move to trade up in the 2014 amateur draft and pick goalkeeper Andre Blake. That’s a definite vote of confidence for the move.

What’s interesting is that, given other vote alternatives, the biggest vote-getter was 20% who said they were undecided on the move. So these people aren’t necessarily in the anti-Blake camp.

Only 16% of voters said they did not like the move. Of them, 11% felt the team was giving up on incumbent Zac MacMath too early, while 5% said the team should have signed a veteran instead.

I don’t know about you, but I was definitely surprised so few people preferred a veteran alternative. I’m curious to hear from voters as to why they did not.

Readers: New additions draw interest

We asked you what new player you’re looking forward to seeing play the most, and no one got a majority. Here’s how it broke down:

  1. Maurice Edu: 42%
  2. Vincent Nogueira: 29%
  3. Chaco Maidana: 11%
  4. Pedro Ribeiro: 10%
  5. Andre Blake: 4%
  6. Corben Bone: 1%

In some ways, the breakdown isn’t a surprise. Edu is a U.S. international and the biggest signing of the group. Few have seen Maidana play, but Nogueira had some eyes on him because he played games for Sochaux that were televised in the United States after it became known the Union might sign him.

The most interesting development here was that so many people want to see Ribeiro play. After seeing his performance in this week’s friendly against New York, one can understand why. How about that play where he dribbled down half the field with a defender hanging on his back? And was he playing striker, or attacking midfielder? Ribeiro looks like the wild card of this offseason.

Readers: Maurice Edu was a better buy than Michael Bradley

We asked you whether you preferred Edu at $600,000 in annual salary Michael Bradley at $6 million a year.

A mere 86% of you said Edu.

Talk about a vote of confidence. But also, that comes with an understanding of how business is done in MLS. Philadelphia can’t compete with what Toronto paid, but many seem to think they spent their money wisely this offseason.

Readers: Not satisfied with current center backs

We asked you who should start at center back next to Amobi Okugo, knowing full well almost none of you had seen rookies Richie Marquez or Kevin Cope play.

Well, 40% of you said the team needs to acquire a prospective starter, while 29% said you’re not sure yet who should start. The rest split among Marquez, Cope, Ethan White and even Brian Carroll, with only White (21%) garnering more than one-fifth of the vote.

It’s fair to say most feel the team needs to do something to strengthen this position.

And in case you’re wondering, apparently Frank Yallop doesn’t view Austin Berry as a starter in Chicago, perhaps because he wants to get fired again, or perhaps because he’s trying to talk up Bakary Soumare as trade bait. But if he means it, what would you think about a Ray Gaddis for Austin Berry trade?

Readers: Practice facility should be team’s priority

After Sakiewicz said the team’s biggest priority is to build a practice facility, we figured we’d see if Union fans agreed. Apparently, 81% of you do. That’s a pretty big vote of confidence.

Now, what do you think about that message he sent to Chester government officials through the media last week? Apparently, it worked. That bit of gamesmanship brought Chester right back to the table, and the complex appears to be getting built at PPL Park after all.

Readers: We want to watch preseason friendlies!

90% of voters want to see preseason friendlies streamed online, and 48% feel really strongly about it.

Pretty straightforward, huh? Stream the friendlies online!


  1. Hey at least you know Corben Bone reads the site since that is the only possible way he got even 1% of the vote.

  2. Well, I think you answered the why some just gave a “C”, they weakened the back line and have very young keepers. I’d change my grade up when that CB gets sorted out. Whatever fake bravado people felt after slapping around some college kids (they went D1 a few years back, the School of the Blind wasn’t available?) evaporated in the Jax air when Sam and Henry shredded that back line. Yeah, they aced the midfield, but they need to fix that right quick. Can you imagine Defoe’s reaction to seeing the game tape? “Right, you’re having me on, am I on camera? That’s not a real back line I’m to face, is it? Really? F*** all I’m scoring 50 goals here. (Its not easy to type in a British accent, but I think I nailed it.)”

  3. Couldn’t agree more ScottyMac! Here’s how I suss out the offseason. (Admittedly, I may have been drinking when I voted in this poll, so I may not be one of the “C”s.)

    1. Traded up and lost allocation money to draft a goaltender we don’t need.

    2. If you don’t think Zac MacMath is a good goaltender, then I’d encourage you to look up the name Zack Steffen. HOW MANY YOUNG DEVELOPING AWESOME GOALTENDERS DO WE NEED?!?!

    3. We could have had a starting quality CB with the pick we traded for a goaltender we didn’t need.

    4. Actually, we needed (and still need) 2 centerbacks! Omobi is a #6!!! The only thing more infuriating about Hackworth playing people out of position is his inability to draft or otherwise acquire people to play the positions he doesn’t have anyone to play.

    5. The reason that Hackworth doesn’t play Amobi in his natural and preferred position is that he insists on playing the master of the backwards pass Brian Carroll.

    6. Our big offseason acquisitions are 3 midfielders. It seems the only way to get them all on the field together is to not play our 2 best offensive players from last year, Casey and MacInerney. And to play our best player Amobi out of position.

    7. The most infuriating thing is drafting Ribiero. Deja vu! Roger Torres! I know they are totally different players, but they are both attacking midfielders. They both excite the fans. But Ribiero’s not going to play either. We just acquired 3 midfielders, 2 of whom are DP’s! Can you say “garbage time?”

    9. Corben Bone. Don’t get me started. Is he going to steal minutes from Ribiero and Pfeffer?

    10. Eddie Johnson is going to eat this team alive. As ScottyMac indicates, Defoe could beat this team playing 1 v. 11. And those are 2 teams that finished BELOW us last year. I’m ready for a last place finish in the East. Hoping we can tie Columbus. Misery loves company.

    • I don’t even know where to start with this one. So I won’t. But I have saved this for later in the year. It’s Valentine’s day btw, make sure to tell your SO that you love them. Something tells me that they only hear their faults from you.

    • You’ll either be a prophetic genius or an idiot troll. It will be interesting to come back here in August to see how your 10 points have played out.

    • amen to 5 & 6

    • I was amongst those that checked to early to tell about Blake. Do I like having two potential starters on the team when a starting CB is needed? No, but if they could swing a trade of either for a starting CB I am not against it. Steffen may not accept a HG contract so I wouldn’t count on him as Union keeper until that happens. I read in different places that he has his eyes on Europe.

      Amobi is fine at CB even if it isn’t his ‘natural’ position so we are not in need of 2 CBs unless you can offload Carroll. Carroll should be better this year because he will have more reliable players around him and he won’t have to cover for another player or two who either jogs back on the play as it passes him by or another player who ran into a brick wall and is still on the ground (Keon/Cruz). Carroll is still one of the better destroyer CDMs in MLS as he reads plays well.

      Comparing Torres to Ribiero is misguided and you even point that out. Ribiero and Torres may both play a similar position but one is 6’4 and the other is 5’5. While Torres had good ball skills he was often muscled off the ball easily and did not have great speed. Could he have been an effective player in MLS? Maybe, maybe not. Ribirio is just entering his first year and you are right in that he most likely won’t see the field for the Union much if at all this season but he was projected by most analysts to go much higher than he did.

      To either Casey or Jack sitting I don’t think it is a bad thing, mostly for Casey as he was gassed at the end of the year. Alternating starts between the two could be effective (or suck) but we will have to wait and see.

      Bone – really he was a waiver pickup and was probably snagged because they were selling Farfan. And it was done well before the big 3 signings happened.

      Top level goal scorers may be licking their chops to run at our backline but it is still preseason and either another move could be made or one of the three in camp could impress or they could all be mediocre and no signing comes in and we are in trouble again. It is an unknown at this point.

    • when i saw the ribiero torres comparison i figured this has to be a joke. ribiero is like two roger torreses stacked on top of each other

  4. Hey let’s throw the baby out with the bath water. Or better idea, let’s give this time to work. I admit I am new tot he Union and I am first off a Galaxy fan from SoCal. But I can tell you this, I made the same mistakes as a fan years ago when the Galaxy drafted a couple rookies named Ching and Gordon. In the regular season they were terrible and I advocated throwing the guys away and questioning why LA ever picked these guys up. Well I guess we all know how things turned out for those guys. So the question is, does Philly want to win tomorrow, or build a winner for years to come?

    • I vote win tomorrow! Why defer pleasure? This isn’t MLB with a 100 years of history. It’s MLS. A young league. We wait 2 years and Orlando and Miami will be kicking our butts. And Amobi will be playing for ManU.

      Either way, happy to generate some discussion.

      BTW, Duke, had a nice glass of wine with my wife, some appetizers, then home to wrestle the kids to bed.

      I pay for tickets, adore the players, but I’m allowed to complain about a football team that drops 14 of 21 points in September and October and scores 7 goals in 7 games. To say nothing of losing 5-1 to NE, 5-3 to Montreal, 4-1 to LA, and 4-0 to Columbus during the season! Or the embarrasment of the Open Cup.

      Either way, I’ll be there on March 15, freezing my arse off. With my sweetheart, my wife of 11 years!

  5. Interesting the taking Blake was approved by a majority but only 4% said they wanted to see him play the most of the new players. Personally I voted that I approved of the trade up for Blake but more because it gives us depth at keeper than that I think Blake should step in immediately and play.

  6. From the linked article about Chicago’s center backs:
    “Hurtado, Soumare and Berry, who is six games away from breaking the MLS record for consecutives games played, all welcomed the competition early in preseason.”
    Huh? Help me out here. The way the sentence is written, it reads that Berry is 6 games away from the record. And that’s not anywhere near true, given Berry didn’t even enter the league until 2012. Some digging tells me that Chris Klein holds the reocrd for consecutive starts (118) and consecutive games played (141). Berry has a grand total of 62 games played in MLS.
    And that comment isn’t referring to Soumare (obviously) or Hurtado either.
    What am I missing? Did the reporter just make that up?

    • maybe soumare and berry as a tandem?

      • That wouldn’t seem right either. They have less than a year together (not even taking into account whether Soumare played every game since we traded him there).

    • Maybe consecutive games played at start of career? Per mlssoccer.com’s game log, Berry was an unused sub for the Fire’s 6 games in 2012 and has started all 62 league games since.

      • Possibly. Though for that, I would think not being in the first 6 would rule that out, too.
        It’s just an odd statement that doesn’t have any basis in obvious fact.

    • I sent a tweet to the author. It’s consecutive full games played.

  7. I would’ve suggested signing Rusin, but Orlando just signed him this week.
    If we’re trading Gaddis, we’d better be getting someone really good, and I’m not sure if Berry is that guy. So the only reason I even consider a Gaddis for Berry trade is because of the high probability that we’ll lose Gaddis in the upcoming expansion draft anyways.

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