It seems like only yesterday that the summer transfer window closed, so obviously we need to talk about what we need to do this summer. Is it too early, perhaps, but even if the new guys work well, the season is unlikely to be save at this point, and with only a handful of matches left we need some things answered. Not just questions about personnel, but exactly what's the plan here. Soccer could easily be described as organized chaos, but when does it become too little organization and too much chaos? After two losses, and two totally different games against the Sounders, and with the Loons all but eliminated, it might be time for everyone here and at MNUFC to take a deep breath, and decide what we need to do over the next 8 months or so to make the 2018 season a real revelation.
Is Heath the guy?
First, are we satisfied with how Inchy has managed to this point, or is it time to cut out losses and look elsewhere? There are two types of coaches (maybe 3), idealists and pragmatists. Jurgen Klinsmann was the idealist, while Bruce Arena is the pragmatist. Heath is an idealist. He'll continue shopping players until he finds what he wants for the very specific system he wants, and it's a slow process. Given enough time, and the right personnel, they can find amazing success with ruthless efficiency and expertise in a singular style. Inchy is in process of finding his favorites among the MNUFC roster, but at the expense of playing players out of position and over-committing to certain players while alienating others, a problem that plagues idealistic managers (Jurgen and his love for Orozco and alienation of Nagbe). So the ultimate question is, are we willing to wait and let Health tinker with the lineup until he finds what he's looking for, or do we look for someone who will look to find a winning strategy regarless of personnel or tactics?
Who's in / Who's out?
After two full signning periods can we really say we're happy with the way our roster looks. The euro guys were a bust. The NASL guys were solid, good, but not great. The expansion draft was a bust, but the trades they ultimately turned into (Burch, Cronin, Shuttleworth) have been the brightest spot for Manny Lagos and the front office. However, to this point the roster is a shmorgishborg of veteran placeholders, but for who? Is it Danladi or Ramirez? Finlay or Molino?Nicholson or Ibarra? Who are the back up fullbacks? What are we doing with the young guys? What's Calvo's best position? Who's the number 10? And besides Cronin and Ibson, who are the MFs?
Who's the number 10?
If we're going to play a 4-2-3-1 we need a number 10 and it isn't Molino. He's been average at best and at most times worse than that in the middle of the field. It under utilizes his speed and ability to break down opponents one v. one. His vision in the middle is decent, but his distribution on the whole leaves something to be desired. Ibson would be a better fit, with his ability to operate in small spaces with the ball at his feet and make quick passes in small areas, but I'll go so far as to say that withoout a 10 the 4-2-3-1 is not an ideal formation. Something like a 4-4-2 wide diamond or a 4-2-2-2 is a better fit given our roster makeup. So are we gonna toil through a number 10 Molino, switch the formation, or try another guy at that position?
Who's the number 6?
Ibson and Cronin don't seem to be giving up the defensive MF spot anytime soon, but who's the true backup? Warner has been an expansion draft bust, and although Heath loves him, Ibson is too much of a free roaming player to play the 6 indefinitely. He routinely leaves Cronin unprotected in the middle of the field. Depth is a serious concern on this team and without a quality backup for the tandem, the two MFs will deteriorate quickly under the sheer volume of mins. It's a bit too late to rectify the situation for this season, but a true bruising no. 6 has to be high on the list of transfer needs come this offseason.
What's the deal with Ish?
What's the plan with Ish and for that matter Martin? Youth is a commodity we should not take for granted. Without an academy feeding us players currently, we need to treat these guys to as much playing time as we can find. Youth will be the backbone of this team, especially as most of the team begins to age, and while our depth remains thin at best, these could be the guys that guide us through a tough transition as long as they get the attention they need. Martin is a MF, but is he a 10,8, or 6? When will he displace the uninspiring Warner as the go to bench guy? As for Ish, where does he belong? Up top with Ramirez and Danladi, on the Wing fighting for time behind Nicholson and Ibarra, or is it on the backline as an understudy to Burch? If we're sticking him down low, why not at CB. Ish's tall rangy frame, quickness, and ball skills allow him to be a high upside CB with some time and cultivation. Plus it would push Calvo to LB, which seems to be a more natural position for him. So again, what's the plan with Ish and Martin?
His time at MNUFC has been tumultuous at best, but he still has quality. A guy Heath hyped up early and that was selected through expansion, followed by some poor performances and some world class whining. He at one point was asked to take some time off away from the team to clear his head. So, is he gone for good? Is it a mysterious injury? Is he clearing his head again? For a player who was supposed to be a game changer, he hasn't done much and only barely been featured. What's his fate?
Who are the rest of the guys?
Allen, Anor, Davis, de Villardi, Greenspan, Kadrii, Kapp, Leiton, McLain, Schuller, K. Venegas. Who are these guys and where have they been. Anor and de Villardi both suffered season ending injuries. Venegas and Davis are backup fullbacks who are both out of favor. McLain and Kapp are GKs. Schuller is back in Finland on loan. While Allen, Kadrii, and Leiton are all loanee attackers. These are the guys who typically don't see the pitch, so are we gonna keep them or drop them, and are we gonna see them before the end of the season? There really isn't much news revolving around these guys so an update might be in order.
It's tough being a fan of a team that doesn't appear to have a plan or be on the same page, and it's time for some organization, some answers, and some inspiration from the front office. The fanatics have suffered enough and deserve to have their patience rewarded with some blueprint of the future.
Let me know your thoughts and sound off in the comments below.