So, um, yeah, about that game Saturday. As you all know, MNUFC were once again run off the field in a 5-2 beat down at the hands of the New England Revolution. It probably could have been worse if the Revs didn’t take their foot off the gas in the second half. We here at EPL, thought it would be a good time to have a quick discussion on what we would do if we were Adrian Heath or the members of the front office?
"What tough decision would you make about the team if you were the manager?"
Garrett Denney: Drop 5 on defense all the freaking time. Tell the guys to stop letting other players just run in a green field. Find a way to get Demi off our books? Keep Thiesson on LB. If we sign a knee-jerk DP, I will lose my mind. That would be the worst possible reaction to all of this.
Siems: The toughest choice would be not to do anything rash. I understand there is a depth issue. There are plenty of issues along the backline. But, making a rash decision right now can only exacerbate those problems. I think I would bite the bullet and move to a 3 man backline full time, and I would try to let my midfield use their individual talents best. I don't think that going out and throwing money at a DP or cutting half the team will change anything. The decision _not_ to do anything more than adjusting the Starting XI's formation and players would be the toughest thing for me to do.
Birsch: The 2nd toughest choice would be what brand of ear plugs to buy. People can say what they want about the team, the choices that have been made and can call for Heath's head all day, but it is way too early to make a move like that. With injuries, suspensions and international play, as well as trying to find a core group of guys that can play together, we have seen a different MNUFC Starting XI each week. Get the guys healthy, continue to mix up the lineups until we find something that works. Unfortunately, some notable absences prevented the team for riding any momentum the Rapids tie allowed. Heath has a system, and we have seen glimpses of it working, he just needs a bit of time to get everyone to buy into that system. MNUFC's defense has been abysmal, everyone and their mother can see that, but again the back four has been different every single game so far. The toughest choice will be deciding whether to keep going with the gameplan we have had heading into the season, or blow it up and try again. I kind of hope that they are doing Mighty Ducks-esque activities at practice this week. WE NEED MONTAGES OF MNUFC PLAYERS HAVING FUN.
Alex Gormley: I think the toughest choice for the coach is the decision on when and how to change up the lineups. They've only played four games, and they've looked really bad in three of them. If things continue in a similar fashion, the coaching staff are going to have to get a look at some of the other players on the roster and rotate out those expensive signings that have underwhelmed. I have to believe that the fans won't like this at all, given the fact that they love this team and want them to win. The team really cannot afford to panic and change their vision this early. They need to continue to rotate players and evaluate the talent that they currently have and plug the holes with signings down the road.
dvits14: Honestly, the only thing I would do at this point is start the same XI that started against the Colorado Rapids. See if they can build-off that performance. The unit that played in that game looked the most fluid and cohesive from what we have seen thus far. Give them a couple more opportunities to build-off that performance. If they can build-on it, then start making the next round of tweaks but at least they’d finally have a core base to work with. However, in another 3-4 weeks, if they are still giving up 5-6 goals per game, well, if I’m Adrian Heath at that point I’m sitting on the bench with a pint in-hand each game. Might as well have some type of enjoyment out of the fiasco.
katosportsgirl: I would move towards using the 3-5-2 as a normal formation. It seems to have been the most effective formation used this season. Adding to that I would use the lineup that we used against Colorado as again that seems to have been the most effective.
Eli Hoff: I think one of the hardest decisions was made in benching Vadim Demidov, the captain for the Colorado match. Personally, I'd stand in front of the team and alert them that nobody has a starting role and that everyone has to earn every minute of playing time. The best eleven players have to be put on the pitch every week, whether that's mostly NASL guys, off-season signings, or a combination of both. A good coach brings out the best in his players, but the players have to be at their best too.
Stephen Taylor: The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. I think the hardest thing our coaching staff will have to admit is that some of their plans simply aren't working.
When he was hired, Adrian Heath spoke of a desire to play attacking soccer. But the second-half of the Revs game saw the Loons' manager resort to a five-man back line. Credit to the boss for seeing the need for a shift in focus to the defense, but now he has to sort out how to get his team to stop conceding at this historically bad rate. Attacking philosophies have to take a backseat to that, for now.
Certainly, this will involve some changes in personnel. Demidov was signed with the hopes that he would be our defensive leader and organizer, but that hasn't really panned out. It is unfortunate, but a player United spent TAM looks best suited to our bench right now.
What tough decision(s) would you make? Let us know in the comments.