Commentary

What else could go wrong?

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Everything has gone wrong for the Philadelphia Union this season. And I mean everything, from late-game collapses to baffling refereeing to off-the-field incidents to Rais Mbolhi generally.

I don’t need to tell you how bad it’s been.

Last weekend’s 3-0 pounding by Vancouver — featuring a start by the team’s fourth-string keeper and generally horrific play in every phase of the game — seemed like it must be the lowest point of the season. I mean, how much worse can you get than one win out of eleven matches?

Well, I wanted to find out. So I called in a few favors and got a chance to take a look in a crystal ball — yeah, I have a crystal ball guy — to see what the rest of the Union’s season will bring.

As it turns out, we’re not even close to rock bottom.

May 17: Due to a series of freak injuries, the Union are forced to start Rais Mbolhi at centerback. D.C. United score three goals in the first ten minutes before Mbolhi earns a red card. He flips off the Sons of Ben as he leaves the pitch.

May 25: Following the team’s sixth straight loss, this one to New York Red Bulls, Jim Curtin is fired as Union manager. In a surprise move, Nick Sakiewicz assumes the managerial duties. “I have no say in who gets hired as the manager,” he states. “If you believe that I do, you’re not informed with the right facts.” At the press conference, Jay Sugarman announces that a sporting director will be hired “within the next three months.”

June 3: Brian Sylvestre decides to take a job at the nearest nuclear power plant. Fifth-string keeper Trey Mitchell is named man of the match as the Union fall to Columbus 3-0.

June 6: The Union pick up their second win of the season, toppling NYCFC at PPL Park. The Union inexplicably finish the season with seven points out of nine against the expansion side.

June 24: As Fernando Aristeguieta tries to break through the Seattle Sounders defense, Chad Marshall disembowels him with a katana. Referee Armando Villarreal motions for Aristeguieta to play on as the Venezuelan bleeds out on the pitch.

June 27: Trailing 1-0 in the final minutes, Andrew Wenger beats Montreal’s entire defense, including the keeper. His tap-in from the six-yard line flies into the Delaware River.

July 1: Mbolhi is finally transferred to Turkish side Konyaspor in exchange for a bag of potatoes. “We expect those potatoes to start at left back this week,” proclaims a jubilant Chris Albright.

July 11: Fans at PPL Park are excited to see Jimmy McLaughlin make his season debut on the wing. McLaughlin lasts one minute against Portland before tearing every muscle in his leg simultaneously. Doctors say that they’ve never seen anything quite like it.

July 26: After a summer of building tension (for reasons no one can quite decipher) Norway and Finland declare war on each other — though, in true Scandinavian fashion, Nerf guns are used rather than real ones. Seizing his chance, ex-Union man Freddy Adu captures Danny Cruz and, via an arcane clause in the MLS Roster Rules, claims his roster spot on the 2015 Union. Adu plays in three matches, posting 0 goals, 0 assists, and 46 photos on Instagram of his 2011 call-up to the national team.

August 17: With the Union’s losing streak up to nine straight games, many criticize Sakiewicz’s team selection and tactical planning. “I have no say in the team selection or the tactical planning,” Sakiewicz claims to anyone who will listen. “If you believe that I do, you’re not informed with the right facts.”

August 18: At a press conference announcing the shock signing of ex-QPR keeper Robert Green, Jay Sugarman announces that a sporting director will be hired “within the next three months.”

August 19: Thanks to a bit of identity theft, the Union realize that they’ve accidentally signed the wrong Robert Green — this one a 45-year-old schoolteacher from Camden, N.J. He starts in goal against Montreal nonetheless.

August 29: Visibly fed up with the entire club, Vincent Nogueira does not appear for the second half of the match against New England. He is never seen again, though a rowboat carrying a lone figure is seen crossing the Delaware River near the end of the match.

September 12: Worried that everyone had forgotten his existence, Fabinho makes the most of a rare start, scoring a hat trick against Columbus. The Union lose 7-3, but Fabinho starts every game the rest of the way at striker.

October 25: In the season finale, keeper Oka Nikolov costs the Union a point when, in a haunting echo of last year’s Chicago game, his 89th minute throw lands directly at the feet of Amobi Okugo. Okugo slots home the game winner and pointedly declines to celebrate. “I have no say in our transfer policy,” Sakiewicz says after the match. “If you believe that I do, you’re not informed with the right facts.”

November 1: The season mercifully over, Jay Sugarman has finally had enough. Sakiewicz is fired and PSP’s own Dan Walsh is installed as the club’s sporting director. In December, reporters spot Sakiewicz attempting to hitchhike to Los Angeles, mumbling something about “LAFC.”

(See, maybe there’s a bright light at the end of the tunnel after all!)

57 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. Well done.

  2. This was great.

    Thank you

  3. The Black Hand says:

    I wish that I could say that this scenario was impossible…

  4. Samuel Langhorn Clemens would support this satirical view.

  5. very good!!!!

  6. Wait…so, the Union aren’t getting the bag of potatoes?…or Freddy?

  7. Great One says:

    Several of these things will actually happen. But the Jimmy thing is just crazy talk. We all know he’ll never get to play.

  8. Dan C (formerly of 103) says:

    What else could go wrong? How about a style/ fashion shoot on philly.com. At least now we get to see how the idiots in the front office dress to go to work, I mean dress to go to the place they get paid to do something other then what they are supposed to do. I want to hit Nick Sak in his smug smile with the shovel he is standing next too!!!!!!!

    • James Lockerbie says:

      +1 And why no pictures with the style of the technical staff? Oh wait, What technical staff?

      • There was a shot of Rene Meulensteen lounging on the Riviera in a Union speedo (with Bimbo on the ass). . . but Philly.com censors had the foresight to remove it . . . don’t worry it will be back for their Sexy Singles week issue.

  9. If only hiring a real front office was not just a laughable joke

  10. I just spent 10 minutes analyzing which of these predictions may really happen. After a detailed review, I’d set the over/under line at 8, sadly.

  11. The Oenophile says:

    I could see that scenario with Nogs happening this coming Sunday evening …

    • alicat215 says:

      yup, stoically looking across the other side of the river humming the La Marseillaise………

      • The Oenophile says:

        I bet after reading this PPL Park security will be watching all the boat ramps on the Delaware to stop him.

  12. Andy Muenz says:

    So you’re saying that the Union will give up 3 goals in the first 10 minutes Sunday? So far they have yet to give up a goal in the first 20 minutes of a game, so just giving up 1 in the first 10 minutes would be something else going wrong.

  13. J in Section 125 says:

    Great article. Glad you didn’t predict the Commodore Barry Bridge falling on top of PPL Park or the team committing to pave the parking lots only to find that dinosaur bones were found and now the lot becomes a protected archeological site.

    • I’d go with the Commodore Barry Bridge falls on top of the newly paved Lot A, destroying the still hot asphalt. Only then will the dinosaur bones be discovered

  14. alicat215 says:

    Funny article. In all seriousness, we still haven’t come close to rock bottom…….we still haven’t seen anything yet!

    • alicat215 says:

      you see….no Nando for 8 matches, check. Only 17 available players for Sunday, check. You can’t make this shit up!

  15. Fabulous, this! Exactly what i needed! 😀

  16. Old Soccer Coach says:

    In reference June 24th, a katana is too long to smuggle onto the field. However a tanto is not. Minor point, I know.

    • alicat215 says:

      both a katana and a tanto are above the Union’s pay grade……more like a toothbrush formed into a jailhouse shiv!

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Yes, but both are within the Sounders’ pay grade.

        • alicat215 says:

          I don’t think Chad Marshall would need a blade for anyone on this club………..and Andy….it’s called a joke…….Don’t be a douche bag…….

  17. My crystal ball has a different prediction for September 12: Fabinho is finally strapped to the Rocket-to-the-Sun and countdown begins. It’s is a dud (of course) and Fabinho starts the next 850 games at left back, retiring reluctantly at the age of 55.

  18. Good piece. Love the katana line.

  19. murphthesurf says:

    Well, the team could be so Awful and Poorly managed that the local paper has to run Fashion Articles:

    http://www.philly.com/philly/living/style/Office_Style_Philadelphia_Union.html

  20. Sadly, it was a right footed bag of potatoes that was acquired.

  21. While watching the Vancouver match, I seriously considered changing the channel to watch the Phillies instead. I didn’t, but if that day comes later this season, that will truly be a sign of hitting rock bottom.

  22. Brilliant stuff but I would never wish that fate on Dan.

  23. Jim Boligitz says:

    Union caught playing with deflated balls, docked 8 points, finish the season with negative points and get relegated to NASL

  24. OneManWolfpack says:

    June 24 & July 11 (my birthday) made me laugh the most. Well done! Haha

  25. James Lockerbie says:

    Someone should write a new article on Pro/Rel in the U.S. The writer could use the Union for the primary evidence of how important Relegation is, to keep pressure on ownership. Ownership must invest in it’s teams technical staff to improve quality of play on the field. To make smart decisions that lead to improving a team’s record or face the consequences of Relegation.

    • Yup. The last 3 weeks this is all I have thought about after each game. If we could get relegated, this ownership would have something ‘real’ to lose.

      The worst part, I would actually be fine with being relegated (if it were possible) if it meant purging the roster, going young, etc. That is how bad this team is!

      • I’ve been wondering whether I’d prefer to watch this team succeed in “MLS 2” and work towards promotion or to watch it continue to get spanked by nearly every other team in the league. I think I’d prefer the former. … I get the league’s reluctance to have a pro/rel set up, but I’m starting to appreciate the idea more and more.

    • James I thought the same thing. Well said.

  26. You left out the part where Keon Daniel returns on loan.

  27. Wow. What were you smoking to come up with july 26?? Well done! 🙂

  28. Brilliant!!! All the way round! We have had a tough year so far and everyone is just channeling their anger and frustration into the funniest stuff. Please keep up the great work!…no room at the cliff….I should have got there sooner!

  29. MooseHere says:

    Haha………..Sadly, this might be a best case scenario!

  30. just curious.. Since MLS doesn’t have Pro/Rel, has a club ever been kicked out and forced to compete elsewhere?
    Not that I want it to happen, but is it even possible?

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