Commentary / Featured

It’s time to hold Earnie Stewart accountable

Photo: Earl Gardner

It’s never too early to panic or find a scapegoat in Philadelphia.

With Philadelphia Union collecting just two points from their first four matches — and a winless streak dating all the way back to August 2016 — the blame has largely landed on the shoulders of Jim Curtin.

Some fans see Curtin as an incompetent manager, not fit for this new and dynamic era of MLS, and cite poor in-game adjustments, predictable tactics, a lack of creativity, defensive ineptitude, and a handful of other complaints to bolster their case.

While Curtin has been far from perfect, he must work with a roster that, with every passing week, appears to have more questions than answers.

For that, some serious questions land at the feet of Union sporting director Earnie Stewart, whose player acquisitions have been absurdly disjointed from on-field plans.

A year and a half is not enough time to cure the mess left behind by ousted Union chief executive Nick Sakiewicz, but to place blame solely on Curtin or even the players is to ignore the real issues plaguing the 2017 Union.

The Union employ a rigid 4-2-3-1, a defined system in which each player has a specific role and contribution on each side of the ball.

Regardless of whether it’s a collective or executive decision by Stewart or Curtin and his staff, the club has made it known that this is the system they will implement, top to bottom, across the organization. Whether you like it or not, it is what it is, and it’s laudable to instill consistency in an organization that has long lacked a plan.

This year’s Union team definitely appeared on paper to be the most talented in the history of the club, but the team hardly looks effective. Talent alone doesn’t yield on-field results.

There’s been a lot of “In Earnie We Trust” from people since the former U.S. international arrived in Chester, and rightly so. Stewart’s accomplishments for previously middling clubs in the Eredevisie were impressive, and the hope has always been that he could bring the same chutzpah and results to the Union.

But the roster he assembled, no matter how talented it may be, does not fit the system the Union deploy.

Across the midfield, players acquired over Stewart’s tenure are incomprehensibly ill-suited for a 4-2-3-1.

  • Roland Alberg is neither a No. 10 nor a standalone striker.
  • Haris Medunjanin is a No. 6, but only if he has a ball-winning midfielder beside him.
  • Alejandro Bedoya is not a No. 10, nor is he the sort of ball-winning No. 8 that Medunjanin requires.
  • Ilsinho and Fabian Herbers are not traditional wingers.

Meanwhile, Jay Simpson does not appear to fit a single-striker system (though the sample size is small). On defense, the Union’s soon-to-be-well-tested center back depth depends on a rusty veteran and an extremely green rookie.

Whether it’s tweeners who don’t fit a definite position or players deployed out of position, the Union’s roster doesn’t fit the system.

Many fans and commentators have called for Curtin to switch to a two-striker setup, either a traditional 4-4-2 or aggressive 3-5-2. While the Union may very well have the personnel for either formation, that’s besides the point.

The plan is, and has been, for the Union to deploy the 4-2-3-1.

The onus is not on Jim Curtin to detour from an organization-wide principle because Stewart has failed to acquire the proper players to fit the scheme.

Could in-game adjustments be better? Absolutely.

Should player decision-making improve? No doubt.

Is this clumsy roster Jim Curtin’s fault? Hardly.

While Earnie Stewart’s record in the Netherlands is impressive, it’s time to start holding him accountable, just like everyone else.

58 Comments

  1. pragmatist says:

    Not to knock Medunjanin, who is undoubtedly a quality player, but I have to think the entire narrative of this season would have changed if we had signed a different player than him. If we had signed a true #10 instead of yet another deep-lying midfielder, everything about this team would have change.
    .
    That one signing – a good player but a bad fit – could be a major source of this season’s issues.
    .
    Oh…and Yaro needs to get healthy. I’ll keep beating that drum. Yaro/Marquez is much better than Gooch/Marquez, even if I appreciate what Gooch has been able to do. We need the speed and passing of Yaro on that back line.

  2. MikeRSoccer says:

    Before we start talking about holding Curtin and Stewart accountable, we need to discuss Sugarman and the ownership. Asking any GM or coach to compete with teams that have 3 DPs, many of whom have salaries well north of $1 mil is arguably an impossible task. In 8 seasons, Bedoya is the only player that required a substantial investment from Sugarman. That’s simply not enough investment to realistically compete in MLS, particularly in 2017.
    .
    Graham built the academy. The State paid for the vast majority of the stadium. Apart from Bedoya and practice fields, what has Sugarman invested?
    .
    We can harp on Curtin and Stewart all we want, but the lack of investment in players is the core issue with this team. In MLS there is only one other team that spends less than us: New England. Investment is the problem and until it changes, I do not care who you have running the front office or team, we’re going to be basement dwellers.

    • pragmatist says:

      We’ve been middle of the league in total salary for the past 5 years. Now, we haven’t splashed $5M+ on DP’s, but there are only 5-8 teams in the entire league that do that.
      .
      The investment from the ownership group is not out of line with the league average. It’s out of line with the Favorite Children of the league: LAG, SEA, NYCFC, ORL…who am I forgetting? Anyone? That list will grow soon when LAFC joins, and whatever Beckham does. But the fact is that we are not all that different than most of the league in investment.
      .
      And since the FO transition, Richie Graham has had a larger influence, and a larger infusion of money has been directed to infrastructure (practice fields, training facility, YSC), the Academy, and BSFC.
      .
      I understand the frustration when we see teams lining up to sign Zlatan, but the truth is, that line is about 3 teams deep. No one else can afford a ticket to that party.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        You forgot Toronto and Atlanta, but in fairness before I could write I had to go look.
        .
        And DP spending is no longer necessarily as good a measure of spending as it was some years ago. TAM/GAM is now an important factor.
        .
        If memory serves, Tranquillo Barnett was within $100 K of Edu in salary. And we have no idea what Medunjanin costs, and won’t till mid-May.

    • Adam Schorr says:

      It’s not lack of spending, it’s poor spending. Ilsinho and Alberg are making 900K combined. We have a bunch of bench players making 6 figures. We could have 1.5+M spent on guys contributing positively. But we don’t. The money’s there, blame Earnie for wasting it.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Earnie’s basic MO is like the Phillies recently with veteran pitchers. Rehab damaged goods into re-sellable assets.
        .
        Alberg could not win a starting job. He’s not going to bring profit, or if he does it won’t be much, especially if you put numeric valuation on the effort invested in what I’m calling rehab.
        .
        Ilsinho might. He is at least in the starting mix, and someone elsewhere in need might pay well to get him.
        .
        no trader realizes profit on every deal, not even a Dutchman.

      • MikeRSoccer says:

        First, we need to distinguish between league money and investment from Sugarman. Ilsinho and Alberg are under the DP threshold, so Sugarman does not pay a cent of their salary. The only time he spends money is when a player’s salary is above the DP threshold AND we do not spend TAM or GAM to cover the excess.

        .

        Second, of the 22 teams in MLS, the publicly available roster and salary information indicates that somewhere in the region of 16-19 of those teams utilize all three DP spots – the Union utilize 1. (I do not count Edu because he has not played in almost 2 years.)

        .

        Third, 8 of the teams in MLS – SEA, COL, TOR, LA, ATL, NYC, ORL, and POR spend well over $1.5 mil to either acquire or pay their DPs.

        .

        Fourth, an additional 3+ teams – I’ll point out NYRB, SJ, and KC in particular – use a strategy where they have 4+ players above the DP threshold, but paydown their salaries to conform with roster rules.

        .

        Fifth, the teams that fall into the Union’s category of spend – NE, VAN, RSL, MIN, DC, and Dallas – are all basement dwellers, with the exception of Dallas – who do not need to spend money because of their academy.

        .

        Simply put, the number of teams spending large sums of money on players is growing and becoming the norm. Three years ago it was only Seattle and LA, but that is not the case anymore – it is close to 40% of the teams now.

        .

        Here is my ultimate point: We do not use all 3 DP slots. DP slots require a certain amount of ownership action and investment. Even if you believe that someone else is good enough to get more out of the available money, what makes you think Sugarman would pay the high salary that person would no doubt request?

        • pragmatist says:

          About 2 years before the Sixers started “The Process,” they signed Andre Iguodala to a max contract. He was making as much as LeBron. Why? Because the front office thought we needed a max player, and he was the best guy on the team. They sure as hell weren’t luring anyone of any quality to the team, so they signed their own.
          .
          That doomed the team to failure.
          .
          Yes, I would love for this team to find a way to sign Mario Balotelli (I’ll keep asking until he retires!), but the idea that you have to have 3 DP slots used leads to teams making bad choices. If they can find the “right” person, then great.
          .
          Also keep in mind that Sugarman didn’t voluntarily bring the Union into MLS. He had to be convinced by the league and Sak once the SOB convinced the league that we deserved a team. While the whole “fans created the team” is a great story, it led to a bad ownership situation.
          .
          These things don’t exist in a vacuum.

        • It’s not fair to not caunt Edu just because he’s not playing. He’s still a DP player we are paying. Also, the Union have bought down players using TAM pretty aggressively. They aren’t in the top tier of teams on salary spending, but they are clearly in the middle.

        • scottymac says:

          PREACH ON MY BROTHER

        • scottymac says:

          I think part of the problem here is, y’all think Earnie cares about 2017. Feel the Ern is playing the Long Game.
          .
          When he came on in 12/15, Sugardaddy said Curtin staying was a prereq for the gig. Earnie said of course.
          .
          Earnie said my man how do you want to play? Jim said huh? 4-2-3-1 I guess, dunno.
          .
          So Earnie set about to get people that he knew to come over. There aren’t any scouts, so he’s relying on FIFA and YouTube and memory.
          .
          Jimmy wouldn’t know who to play if you spotted him the D and the J. Earnie shrugs and says fine, you’re drowning, let me throw you a rope, and while I’m at it, let me throw you this end too. We’ll see who is here in 2018.
          .
          The Union are committed to like two contracts for 2018 in Haris and Simpson. Everyone else is an option year guy.
          .
          He’ll get his coach. And then we’ll see a ton of guys in on frees that will play how they want to play.
          2018 renewals where it’s at. Just gotta slog thru 2017 first.

          • Zizouisgod says:

            Good points. Stewart is thinking beyond 2017 and it’s still TBD whether that will include Curtin as well.

    • Just Woke Up says:

      One of the issues I see with this team is the players who we decide to sign as DP’s. You need your DP’s to contribute goals. It is the only thing that makes sense. Both Edu and Bedoya, while both are good players, are not going to contribute the creation or scoring of goals. Your big money players need to make goals happen. This is what wins you the close games. I like Bedoya but he should not be the highest paid player on your team. He is a role player on a good team at his best. Not a big money signing to build a team around.
      .
      So that does bring us back to the main problem of not spending enough money to sign the goal scorers of the world. Bedoya makes about $1.1 mil a year, Dempsey makes 4.6 mil, Altidore makes $4.8 mil, and Bradley makes $6.5 mil to compare him to some of his US teammates in MLS.
      .
      Ultimately the problem starts with not spending enough but is compounded by spending money on the wrong type of player. Nicolas Lodeiro makes about $1.75 mil a year but had a $6 mil transfer fee. The idea that Lodeiro is not on a significantly higher contract than Bedoya is mind numbing. But the transfer fee shows why we can only dream of a player like this coming to the Union.

  3. In Earnie we Trust.

    After coming from the side show circus that was Nick Sak in charge, where we were barely taken seriously and we were just waiting for the next “He played in a little tournament in Brazil” moment, I’m willing to give ES more than one fucking year before we start throwing him into the fire.

    • I totally agree. I still believe in Earnie, but he has not been great so far so some blame must go to him. I think it’s an adjustment coming from the Dutch league though.

    • I’m not saying that Earnie needs to go (dear Lord, I hope he doesn’t). I think he has all the knowledge and tools to succeed mightily in MLS. I just mean that, while everyone is hastily screaming about Jim Curtin, you need to look at the very imperfect roster he is working with. And that has to fall on Earnie. Hopefully he’ll learn and start building within the system the team has committed to.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        We all need to keep in mind that a trader can only work with what is available in the market THAT HE KNOWS ABOUT.
        .
        Jay Sugarman mentioned that a scouting structure lies in the organization’s developmental future earlier this year. Very probably first investments in scouts have been at the youth levels, since youth takes the longest time to pay off.
        .
        And recall that Earnie Stewart said in so many words last summer that he wants to watch a player PRACTICE in order to evaluate him. Ponder the operational mechanics of doing that for a moment.
        .
        What percentage of his signings to date have been players whom he already knew? with a scouting system that proportion will regress towards its mean. Right now I think I remember it is heavily skewed away from it.

      • “… everyone is hastily screaming about Jim Curtin…”
        .
        Hastily? Union fans are not grumbling about a coach who’s been here for just three months; they’re raising legitimate concerns about a coach who has been in charge for almost three full seasons, and was a top assistant with the club before that.

  4. The premise of this piece relies on the supposition that Stewart is making all the calls regarding player acquisition and the Curtin simply takes what he gets. I doubt very much that the relationship is working that way. Mys suspicion is that Curtin is very involved in picking the players brought in. Stewart is also not picking the system. And he’s not making calls like playing Bedoya at #10. Bedoya is a good exmaple. We know Curtin wanted him before Stewart even arrived. Stewart helped him get it done. I think the answer to the question “why is this team performing so poorly” is an easy one. One that the coach and our best-paid player admitted this week: We’re not playing an optimal system with optimal players in that system.

    • So Curtin is over-ruling Stewart on everything. He’s the big voice in the room. Earnie is always at practice and gives Curtin pointers. He bought into the system. I highly doubt that Curtin is as powerful as you describe. I think he’s just the scapegoat for the entire organizations issues so far.

      • I’m not saying the opposite is true. What I’m saying is Curtin isn’t just out there taking orders. He has autonomy. And I think he has some say in player acquisition as well. You can’t just let Curtin off the hook with the old “he’s doing the best he can with what he has to work with.” I don’t buy it.

        • I agree with that. And even if Curtin had no input on who’s on the team, he’s still the one picking the lineups and he’s not getting the most out of the team he has been given.

    • I would be shocked (like, SHOCKED) if Curtin is overruling the Sporting Director (who is basically his boss) for personnel moves. It would be unprecedented.
      .
      The reason Bedoya is playing at the 10 is because we don’t have another 10. That’s not on Curtin.

      • Again, I didn’t use the word overruled. The point is I don’t think it’s accurate to think he has no say in the process whatsoever. That’s just ridiculous.

        • Old Soccer Coach says:

          perhaps the verbs “propose” and “dispose” might be useful here?
          .
          This preseason I have twice watched Brendan Burke make it his first order of business after a scrimmage or a practice to engage the sporting director in private conversation. The body language both times suggested that the young man was asking the older man questions. To say more is rampant speculation.

      • 100%

  5. I asked Ernie about this at a meet & greet back in December. He said Jim has final say on who plays where. As far as the formation goes, he didn’t say.

  6. el Pachyderm says:

    I absolutely hold Earnie Stewart accountable to all of it… including keeping a sinking ship afloat by unloading ballast but not the skipper.
    .
    …that’s the whole point of a sporting director.
    .
    I’m also willing to be big picture top of table patient.
    .
    The game day roster. The movement of players. The tactical adjustments, the fact this team has not won a game in forever is most decidedly not the Sporting Director’s fault.
    .
    These are professional soccer players adrift in game. These are players coming off a two week break two times this young season completely bossed off the field.
    .
    Just Play Well. I’ll take draws instead of wins, loses because of inexperience. JUST PLAY WELL FFS.
    .
    Make me want to watch….360 minutes played and I’ve averted my eyes, popped calcium channel blockers and proton pump inhibitors like Skittles to maintain internal homeostasis.

  7. Phil in Wilmington says:

    Listening to the KYW show podcast, I was struck by how often I heard what basically amounted to “______ is not playing as well as they can so far this season.”
    When it’s one or two players, you can put that on a player (e.g. Alberg and this phantom fitness issue, Blake’s distribution woes being part of his game that will hopefully improve over time).

    But when it’s nearly everyone, regardless of how long they’ve been on the team? That’s on the system and the preparation and the locker room. That’s on coaching AND the front office AND ownership as all are limiting what your personnel are able to do.

    Either the system you are playing is not putting players in positions where they can be effective, or you don’t have the right personnel to make the system you are ascribing to work. Chicken meet egg, either way there’s no steak on this menu. Bedoya has shown in Ligue 1 and with the USMNT that he is an international level shuttler/wide midfielder/cohesion guy that makes players around him better when he is supporting them; nothing in his output has shown that he is a 10 or talismanic player. Either make a move to trade him to a team that can afford him or change your system so you’re putting him where he can have the most impact. Centrally is not where that is.

    But the Bedoya situation does not absolve Curtain from the fact that most folks on the field are not playing to their potential level right now (maybe other than Jones and Sapong).

    I say blow up the system and put folks where they can have the most impact in terms of being goal dangerous.

    Just off the top of my head; what about a diamond with Jones at the base (with our other DM’s platooning as necessary), Haris at the tip (platooned by Gimp Alberg once he’s “fit”), with Bedoya and Illshino and Pontius as your main platoon of wide players? Herbers, Picault, Simpson, Sapong Davies, and Gimp Alberg as your stable of forward players?

    How much worse can it be than what we’ve seen so far?

    • Zizouisgod says:

      It’s difficult to just change formations unless you’ve practiced another one for a bit (remember Nowak’s 3-5-2 vs Houston in the playoffs).

      Most teams will practice and train in a base formation while making slight modifications to it based upon various situations (e.g. – need a late goal, up or down a man, protecting a lead, etc.). And this is doubly true early in the season where the team has not had enough time to jell so you have to resist the urge to tear things up at this point.

      Curtin can make subtle adjustments to what each player’s role is in the 4-2-3-1 formation without trying to completely overhaul the system in a week before you play one of the best sides in the league. We’ve seen him do that in the 2nd half vs. DC and I would expect him to continue to do so going forward. To me, that makes the most sense.

  8. OneManWolfpack says:

    Full disclosure: I’m an “In Earnie We Trust” guy… and I am not very high on Curtin. With this said, I feel that if Curtin has the idea or the chops to pull off a formation change – then he should do it. Problem for me, is I don’t think he knows how. I agree that ES acquisitions have not exactly panned out and have been a bit erratic… but to me Curtin compounds the problem, by continuing to jam a square peg in a round hole. It’s your ass on the chopping block if this thing goes south. Try something. Change it up. Personally, I will stick with the GM who has years of experience doing the job in Europe, as opposed to a manager who is (I guess – still) learning on the job.

    • But the 4-2-3-1 was Curtin’s own idea. He is the one sticking by it even though he knows damn well that we don’t have the players for it. We haven’t since Nogs and Quillo left. HE is the one choosing to play Bedoya out of position “because there’s no better option”, really? So a Bedoya on the wing or next to Medunjanin supporting someone like Herbers at the 10 wouldn’t work? Herbers is far from a perfect 10, but with the players around him in their best positions, maybe he would grow into it as a young player, where as Bedoya is not changing anything in that spot. When has playing someone out of position for lack of a better option actually worked anywhere in sports? So why weaken two positions? To me, this is Curtin’s failing in this situation. Herbers has played at the 10 for us, and did it admirably as a rookie, he’s not perfect, but neither is Bedoya, far from it.

  9. I also feel like people are totally forgetting the type of player acquisitions we were able to enjoy before ES was here.

    Do you all remember Porfolio Lopez? Or “Is he even a real person” Gilberto? OR he who shall not be named?

    Alberg and Ilson are a FAR FAR cry from those disasters. Alberg and Ilson fall into the “they have talent, but for a variety of reason they are not playing to their best”.

    Pre-ES the majority of our signings fell into the “circus side show” category.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Well, I kind of thought Vince Nogueira did okay. I credit him to Hackworth.
      .
      Carlos Valdés wasn’t bad the first time around, wasn’t bad at all.
      .
      Andre Blake is kind okay, too, I guess.
      .
      BC has been serviceable.
      .
      Faryd Mondragon wasn’t too bad for an old guy.
      .
      Le Toux was an okay pick-up, both times, actually.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      David Myrie and Kai Herdling would both like a word.

  10. I have to say that I think this piece is on-target. No, I’m not saying that we want to get rid of Earnie Stewart — he’s the best piece of soccer pedigree we’ve ever had in Chester, and we do need to give him more than a year and change to do his thing. But it is also true that a lot of what he’s given us is square pegs to fit the round holes of our system, and the list Steven has in the piece nails it.

    Now, is SOME of that player selection on Curtin too? Maybe a little, but not mostly. Bedoya is not a fish out of water in our system. He could be playing the 8 (his favorite spot) or on the wing (as he does for the national squad). He’s playing the 10 because we don’t have a 10 and we need one. And we don’t have one because Earnie hasn’t gotten us one.

    Who HAS Earnie gotten us? Alberg, who simply does not fit our system at all, Simpson, who may need a partner up top to be effective, Medunjanin, who is clearly a very talented player but doesn’t exactly mesh with Bedoya (though maybe he will end up working well with Derrick Jones), and Ilsinho, who is likewise talented but I’m not exactly sure what he is either.

    BTW, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty of blame to go to Curtin too. Given that the pieces don’t exactly fit the way we’d like — and that he clearly recognizes that, as he said himself recently — he needs to try something different. Last year and the early part of this year have revealed no sign that he can do that, and if he can’t, then he cannot be a successful coach in this league.

    But at this point, one would be hard-pressed to give Earnie Stewart a better grade as Sporting Director than a D.

    • ES deserves atleast a B for his work on the pipeline alone.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      You had me until D…. I mean they made the playoffs last year, right?
      .
      It is quite possible this team is just off to a slow start and begin kicking it into gear and finish strong and most if not a great deal of these arguments are moot.
      .
      We are still in observation mode ultimately.

      • Yes. Too much is being thrown around here because of a slow start. The team has actually looked overall ok in all games so far except for Orlando. They didn’t look great to start last year but got results due to some timely scoring and Blake being amazing. I think we actually have been better this year to start even though the results don’t show it.

      • hobosocks says:

        The problem for me is not the points, but the play. The team looks terrible. As some around here say, just. play. well. 😉 The U isn’t doing that, and I don’t believe most of the Stewart signings are able to be a part of it. You can’t fire him or anything, and I hope its all a master plan I can’t see, but I’m increasingly worried that our new SD was not the solution to the team’s habitual dysfunction that we thought he’d be.

        • Made an observation a little further down… I do believe they are shopping for a CAM, but they cannot tip their hand to the public… or even the players. I expect that things will become clearer at the close of the summer transfer window.

      • Yes.

    • hobosocks says:

      I agree completely, to the point that I’m just typing this rather than my own thoughts, since Scottso has already shared them!

  11. I can’t remember the last time I screamed in joyful profanity at something the Union did. (maybe it was BC’s goal he scored on a desperate volley late in a game last season. Who remembers that?) I’ve been sitting here for 30 minutes typing and deleting comments. I feel like I’m inching slowly toward the cliff of Union despair… arghhh

  12. I agree that there should be a shared blame to go around but also believe there is a huge disconnect between Earnie and Jim.
    .
    While JC appears to have no flexibility in tactics and no idea of how to properly utilize the roster he has, it is up to ES to provide him with players that fit.
    .
    Jim (and everyone else) knew that Ale is an 8 and that Alberg had no shot of starting this year. There was a clear need for a 10 and 6 (due to Edu injury). However instead of buying that 10 or 6, we bought an 8. Earnie lucked out with the development of Jones. And none of us need to get started on needing a true Striker.
    .
    Also… Is anyone else tired of hearing JC talk about how well his striker defends and his centerback passes?

    • My assumption is that Earnie (and probably Jim) can’t/won’t tell us everything.
      .
      They need to try to get the most out of the current roster for now. Telling them or fans that they are shopping for a CAM during the summer transfer window ain’t gonna happen. “Hey, guys… train well, play well because we are shopping three of you to create space for a true 10.”
      .
      Leadership doesn’t mean 100% transparency all of the time. It’s a delicate tension that must be managed.

  13. Nogs and The Calm combined were a dynamic complementary CM pair that compensated for a lot.
    They haven’t been replaced. I say win 1 comes v. last year’s MLS Cup runner up if Ale hits the PK in the best played half since maybe ever.
    In a parity league the Union should stay close enough to earn the first playoff win ever.
    Committing to a formation and style throughout will not maximize wins now.
    I think Jay is committed to profiting from his investment and will avoid a downward trajectory with a talent and manager upgrade if need be.
    Check back in June on those fronts.

  14. Dick Saunders says:

    Easy Fix:
    (Might be flipped on the backline…?)
    Blake
    Gaddis Marquez Epps Keegs
    Bedoya Alberg Meduj Pontius
    Simpson Sapong

    4-4-2 or toss in FaFa and pop out Gaddis for a 3-4-3. Marquez has wheels, and we’ve been winning the possesion arrow marginally so far.

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