Photo: Earl Gardner
Editor’s note: Longtime PSP readers have read the snarky, caustic, argumentative but always smart comments from a commenter by the name of ScottyMac. It seemed about time we offered Scott McVey a guest column. Here’s his first. We’re calling this series — and I hope it becomes one — “Studs up”. –Dan Walsh
Author’s note: Dan and I talked about an accountability article a month or so ago, but 2 points in 5 matches resulted in a drumbeat of accountability articles. I’m changing tack… *
Earnie and the long game
I am more and more convinced that, when Earnie Stewart was announced in December 2015, he didn’t care a lick about short-term results.
He wanted to build a club how he saw fit.
I’m a consultant by trade and we perform “current state assessments” as a matter of course, and I think Stewart’s assessment was “We’re low on the maturity model.” He was also handcuffed to a neophyte manager to whom he needed to explain things, like having a vision for play as a foundation for player acquisition. Which leads to…
Throwing a drowning man a rope (both ends)
Did you know that, in the 10 years that Stewart has led football clubs, he’s had 8 different managers?
If a self-professed soccer neophyte owner saddles you with a neophyte manager, you can help him along by providing talent that won’t fit.
When Bedoya was bought, there were quotes to the effect that Curtin convinced Earnie he needed Bedoya. Stewart spoke to Jay Sugarman, who heard enough to open the checkbook.
What was missing from those quotes was any firm conviction that this was a guy Stewart viewed as essential, or maybe he thought he’d stopgap the Nogueira loss and impending Barnetta departure. Either way, the risk was Curtin’s.
Know when you’re outclassed
The sodding of Lot B and renovation of the old machine shed have been lauded near and far as prima facie evidence of Sugarman’s investment and commitment to the club. That’s the most positive spin you can put on it.
The reality in MLS – what version are we on? Vista? – is that training facilities, academies, front office staff, reserve teams and apparently tattooists are the minimum to be a professional soccer club** in America. Full stop.
Applauding these developments is akin to huzzahing your children for flossing after a meal and not recognizing that it is baseline care and feeding.
Be happy the Union have facilities.
But don’t continually pat yourselves on the back for them, especially when you look at what the expansion Atlanta side just unveiled. We keep Instagramming our lean-to while they cut the ribbon on the McMansion.
Stop dreaming of other locations
When things go bad for fans online, some rocket surgeon likes to bring up that Chester is a bad locale. These people need to be banished on the Obvious Rocket to the Sun (Editor’s note: This is the infamous sun rocket that will take Fabinho away one day.)
We all know the Chester riverfront and site of a former SuperFund site are not ideal. Honest, we do.
Shut up about it.
No one is offering tens of millions of taxpayers bucks to build a new stadium anywhere else anytime soon. My real estate Magic 8 ball says, “Whine again in 30 years.”
Jim Curtin vs. straw man manager
I’ve seen quite a few arguments online posing the argument as “Well, if you fire Jim, who do you bring in?”
This is a false argument for keeping Curtin as manager. When I was a kid and came home, Mom would say, “We’re having green bean casserole for dinner.” I couldn’t say “UGH” fast enough.
“What do you want then?:
“ANYTHING BUT GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE!”
See, in this anecdote, the green bean — Oh, you got it? Cool. Let’s move along.
4-4-2 diamond vs. 4-3-3 vs. 4-2-3-1 vs. oh, who cares?
The Achilles heel/first domino to fall has always been Maurice Edu. If he could play, it relieves the rest of the midfield and lets other players move into their more natural positions.
The other piece: The Union didn’t replace Tranquilo Barnetta.
No matter what formation you want to play, having an attacking midfielder who creates for others is essential. No, stop, don’t argue that in MLS today you don’t need one and you can get by with a ______-like player in that role. They are still creators, and the Union are fresh out. They are awash in midfielders of dubious abilities, but they have no true calming destroyer or offensive creator.
If this season is to be saved, it starts with the opening bell** of the summer transfer window. Otherwise, we will all recall 2015 as not that bad in comparison.
* – This may result in a cease and desist letter from SI. And yes, there are only six things on this list. Also, I got too tired to write 7 things. Writing is hard.
** – I find the club vs franchise discussion/debate as tired people who feign annoyance at “The MLS” and popped collars.
*** – Is there a bell? There ought to be.