Hackworth talks who will fill the void given the absence of Union captain Brian Carroll

With Carroll out, Hackworth talks options at defensive midfield

Carroll celebrates vs. Ocean City

Photo Credit: 
Greg Carroccio

Suspended captain Brian Carroll will miss his first game of the year on Saturday.

Of course, the game happens to be a must-win season finale with faint playoff hopes hanging in the balance.

It means Union manager John Hackworth is now tasked with replacing a guy who has played 2,969 of 2,970 minutes in 2013. The technical staff will be forced to address the holding midfield position for the very first time this season.

"We could move Amobi there and that would shift our backline a little bit," said Hackworth of his personnel options. "We could use Michael Lahoud there, but he's coming off an injury, so we have to make sure that he's 100 percent ready to start a game. We could change our formation a little bit and literally not replace anybody in that spot but play a little differently. We have some options, but at this point we haven't made any decisions yet."

Carroll is suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

As for Lahoud, the midfielder has paired alongside Carroll in the holding role in years past but is still recovering from the ankle injury that's kept him out of recent action.

Moving Okugo, who played midfield under Peter Nowak in 2010 and 2011, would require someone else to step in at center back. You could theoretically use Sheanon Williams in that spot, drop Fabinho to left back, and slide Ray Gaddis to the right.

The rest of the available midfield corps is not entirely experienced playing in Carroll's position.

"Nobody can replace BC as a captain and what he does for us on the field," Williams told reporters Wednesday. "He always seems to be in the right places at the right times, so it's definitely going to be tough to fill his role. We definitely have some guys that are willing to step up and do the job, understanding that this KC team is very attack minded and has a frontline that's as good as anybody in the league. So, whoever plays there will have to do a good job of being a good screen for the back four and try to do the little things that BC does."

There's also the lesser issue of passing off the captain's armband.

"I would say that we do have a good group of guys in the locker room, and of the guys that will most likely be on the field on Saturday, two guys I would look to immediately would be Jeff Parke and Conor Casey," said Hackworth. "I think Sheanon Williams and Amobi Okugo are also young guys that I think easily would take that leadership role on. I don't think it's going to be a big deal for anybody. I think the way our team has done it all year long is that those guys have acted as leaders whether they were wearing the armband or not. Whoever wears it on Saturday, and we haven't made that decision yet, will do the same thing they've been doing." 

Who do you think should fill the void left with Carroll's absence? Leave a comment below.

Contact Union writer Kevin Kinkead at k.kinkead@hotmail.com