Union team celebration
Photo by Greg Carrocio

Daily Doop: Answering U, the fan

I love social media, especially Twitter.

I never thought I would, but I do.

Many of you may think your tweets that mention @philaunion fall on blind eyes – and we aren’t going to lie, some do – some raise very good questions we can’t always answer in 140 characters.

So what we’ve done at philadelphiaunion.com  is taken some of your tweets thought them through and provided the answer to some of your burning questions.

It may not be the answer you want to hear, but hey…

Also, we are considering making this a recurring theme from time to time on our site in addtion to "The Daily Doop," especially during the offseason. So if you seriously want to be selected to have your question answered, then ask one that doesn’t lack insight along with the hashtag #Uquestion. We will acknowledge fan frustration, but insulting or derogatory comments won’t get a second look.

In layman’s terms: keep it classy, Philadelphia.

On Tuesday, we announced that Zach Pfeffer was headed to Germany in January on a yearlong loan deal at TSG Hoffenheim 1899. While many of the comments were positive, Union fan Sean Croce (@croccdogg) wrote:

“I know everyone seems to be happy with Pfeffer’s mover to Hoffenheim, but why couldn’t he develop with @philaunion instead?”

It isn’t so much that he can’t develop here, Sean. I’ve seen Zach work closely during and after practice with the coaching staff, he’s constantly in the gym at YSC Sports in Wayne, a 25 minute ride on the Turnpike from his house in Dresher and he’s been called up to numerous national team camps that have sped along his development quite nicely.

The issue here is games and a player of Pfeffer’s caliber needs more. There hs to be more than the 10 MLS reserve league matches provide per year to get that game experience – and no, you don’t get those within an in-practice scrimmage. In Germany, Pfeffer will get a chance to play a ton of matches with Hoffenheim’s II side, as their reserves get over 20 matches in a season. Additionally, Pfeffer’s age is a plus as he can also latch on with Hoffenheim’s youth academy. Hoffenheim boasts an under-17, 19 and 23 team and all three compete in matches throughout the season.

The sky is the limit. And the hope is that when he does return to the Union, he’s that much better given the duo fold training and increased matchplay.

Another interesting statement was made by a fan with the handle @onelove who wrote:

“who wants to pay those ticket prices to see youngsters playin d MLS! Experience players please! Hope @philaunion is listening”

Those comments were made in response to an initial question posted by the handle @24x7Soccer who asked “Will MLS favor youth over aging stars?”

No doubt questioning if the league ideology will revert back to having clubs skew payrolls, enticing aging Eurostars to come to MLS. Fresh off the “The Beckham Experiment,” it’s been reported that the owners of the Los Angeles Galaxy were looking to entice Brazilian star Kaka to join the club alongside Irish international Robbie Keane.

Here’s what I can tell you…

After speaking to the coaching staff here, they collectively realize that it’s evident the club could use some experienced players in key positions. But at the same time, it won’t be a complete overhaul. Reason being quite frankly is because it doesn’t have to be. There is a solid enough core within this locker room that a gifted stalwart (or two) would strengthen and raise the game of the current roster.

Look, it’s no secret that the Union is the youngest club in Major League Soccer. And while at times having the youngest club in MLS allowed for mistakes and lapses in judgment to happen, it also provides the coaching staff to mold a talented group of young stars that not only improve just the Union, but strengthen our national team over the long term.

And let me just remind you…

In July, the Union had a grueling month long stretch, playing eight games in 27 days. That’s practically one game every three days. Six of those games (starting June 30 at Houston) were league matches. The Union posted a .667 winning percentage in the league (4-2-0) and went 5-4-0 overall capped by a 2-1 win over New England at home (July 29).

Their winning percentage was the third highest in MLS for that month only behind Los Angeles (.750) and Houston (.857), the two finalists in this year’s MLS Cup. Mind you, that’s with a crop that is two years younger on average than the rest of the league.

Just sayin...

Hope we were able to shed some insight. Keep your questions coming and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Contact Kerith Gabriel at kgabriel@philadelphiaunion.com. Follow Kerith on Twitter @sprtswtr

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