Philadelphia Union press clips: October 22nd
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(Dave Zeitlin, MLSSoccer.com)
CHESTER, Pa. – When Brian Carroll ran onto the field for the final 16 minutes of Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City, the Philadelphia Union midfielder knew he was making his first appearance in more than a month.
He also knew it could very well be his last at PPL Park.
Carroll, one of the league’s longest-tenured players, will see his contract run out at the end of the season and is uncertain about his future.
“It goes through your head,” Carroll said after the game. “It’s kind of hard not to. But, at the same time, you just have to be a good pro and finish the game off. Whenever your name and number is called, you’ve got to do your job, that’s what I try to do. If I’m able to do that again next year, then that’s great.”
Carroll – who last season became the 24th MLS player to reach the 300-game milestone – had been a starter in this league for almost the entirety of his 12-year career, winning MLS Cups with two different teams (D.C. United and Columbus Crew) and making the playoffs in his first nine seasons.
But after beginning the 2014 season as a starter and captain, Carroll saw his playing time diminish late in former manager John Hackworth’s tenure and then under interim manager Jim Curtin.
With the Union loaded in the central midfield, Carroll has played less than 90 total minutes in the club’s last seven games heading into Sunday’s finale vs. the Columbus Crew (4 pm ET; Unimas).
Even still, the 33-year-old midfielder believes he can be a contributor in MLS next season. And despite the demotion from starter to reserve, he’d like for it to be with Philly.
“I still enjoy playing, and I still think I can contribute,” Carroll said. “So we’ll talk with them at the end of the year and see if they agree with that. If they do, then hopefully I’ll be back. And if not, I’ll try to find somewhere else.
“I’m still in the mindset of maybe being able to play another year and then take it from there.”
Carroll added that helping solidify a win Saturday was a great moment “because I don’t know what the future holds.”
But if that was his PPL Park finale, it wasn’t how he envisioned it – not after Philly collapsed down the stretch to miss the playoffs for the third straight year, the only three years Carroll didn’t play in the postseason.
“It’s disheartening,” he said. “But this group is going in the right direction. I think there are a lot of positives going forward, especially the way the group turned it around midway through the season. We didn’t finish how we wanted to, but from the staff and core group here, I think there’s a good solid base to grow and get better and make that push for the playoffs.”