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Three questions with The Brotherly Game

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We asked the Union experts what’s gone wrong in Philly

MLS: Montreal Impact at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Well Galaxy fans...its been a rough week.

Know who else had a rough week? The Phiadelphia Union, who exploded out of the gate with three first half goals only to blow the lead and draw vs. Montreal. Winless so far this season, there’s just as much pressure piled on head coach Jim Curtin as Curt Onalfo. Probably more.

Thanks to the Brotherly Game for the time.


LAG Confidential: It was painful to watch the Union confidently stride to a 3-0 halftime lead, only to relinquish all three points as Montreal drew level in the dying stages of the match. Is the result on the players or the coaching staff?

The Brotherly Game: When you're in this kind of funk, there's plenty of blame to go around. I feel like that draw was on both the players and the coach, but mostly the players. Yes, Jim Curtin went for the 4-2 victory by using all three subs to bring on offensive players, however time and again Union fans have seen the Union try and park the bus to only give up a goal. That the Union didn't have any defensive subs to bring on besides center back Oguchi Onyewu and right back Keegan Rosenberry is a different issue. Brian Carroll was the lone healthy defensive midfielder available and wasn't in the 18, and that's certainly on the coaching staff.

That all said, Jim Curtin and the coaching staff weren't on the pitch when those three goals were scored. They weren't the ones who blew a one-on-one chance with the goalkeeper at 3-2 late. Those were mistake made by the players, not the coaches, and you can't hold the coaches accountable for those mistakes.

LAG Confidential: Jay Simpson has been disappointing so far this year. Why has the English striker struggled in MLS?

The Brotherly Game: I don't feel like he's fit to play in the Union's system. At Leyton Orient when he was putting up XBOX numbers, he was used in a dual striker formation. The Union play a 4-5-1, which means Simpson couldn't play off of a second striker to create opportunities. Not only that, but when he was starting at the beginning of the season the Union were using Alejandro Bedoya at the 10 because Roland Alberg reportedly came into camp almost 20 pounds overweight. Playing an 8 in the 10 spot worked as well as you'd think it would (poorly), and by the time Alberg was fit Simpson had been hurt and replaced with a resurgent CJ Sapong.

The jury should realistically still be out on Simpson though. There's still a lot of season left for him to have an opportunity to work his way into a starting job - hopefully this time with decent personnel in position to help him flourish.

LAG Confidential: Here in LA Curt Onalfo is on the hot seat, and many are calling this week's match vs. the Union a must-win. Still without a victory in seven games this year, is Jim Curtin in the same shoes?

The Brotherly Game: That all depends on who you ask. The fans have been calling for Curtin's head for a while now - the team hasn't won since August 27, 2016, and the natives are more than a little restless and those calls have been getting progressively louder with every loss and draw that piles on. But the Union's Front Office is the only opinions that count, and Earnie Stewart has very publicly backed Curtin on more than one occasion. Last week's match was a microcosm of this - while Jim and his staff deserve some of the blame, to pin it entirely on them neglects how poorly the players have performed at times.