Union remain rocksteady behind captain Brian Carroll


Brian Carroll was selected as the Philadelphia Union’s team captain in January, nearly two months before the start of the club’s fourth season.

The veteran midfielder was honored.

He still is.

Wearing the armband is a distinction that he takes very seriously.

“For sure, it’s a great honor and I was very excited when this opportunity was presented to me,” said Carroll, who is playing in his 11th MLS season and third with the Union. “When you put on the armband, you’re expected to play a certain way and represent the club in a certain way. For me, it’s been nothing new because I’ve always played that way anyway, giving it my all every time out.

“I have always tried to lead by example. Wearing the armband is really an extension of who I am anyway. I’m a team player willing to do anything for my team to win. It is an honor to be asked and represent the Union. I do take it very seriously and I’m more than happy to put this type of responsibility on my shoulders.”

Being the club’s captain hasn’t been easy.

The Union opened the season with a tough two-goal loss to Sporting Kansas City. Then they traveled to Colorado in a blizzard and had to wait 24 hours before competing against the Rapids. What followed was a chilly game against the much-improved New England Revolution.

Next up is a meeting against the New York Red Bulls Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena.

The Union are 2-6-0 all-time against New York. They’re winless (0-4) at Red Bull Arena.

Once again, it’s a tough task for the club.

Having a quality veteran like Carroll certainly helps in these types of situations.

“I am honored to wear the armband, but it’s not the first time I’ve done it,” Carroll said. “I’ve been in this league for a long time and I’ve worn the armband before when asked. I’ve played in good weather and bad weather. I’ve played on teams with long winning streaks and on teams which struggled to win. Being the captain is something I do take seriously. I think having the experience that I have helps because it’s a long season.

Read: Carroll right man to lead charge in 2013

You have to understand what it takes to compete at a high level through a long season. In the early part of this season, we’ve faced some tough obstacles. There will be more. If any player comes to me, I’ll do what I can to help.”

The Union advanced to the MLS Cup playoffs in 2011 before struggling last season.

They made a number of roster changes and are hoping to secure a berth back in the postseason in 2013.

Led by their steady midfielder and captain, it’s a strong possibility. Yes, it’s early, but the Union are off to a terrific 2-1-0 start.

“I think it’s important to get off to a good start because points are tough to come by at any time,” Carroll said. “Like any team, we want to get back to the playoffs. But that’s a long ways off. We have to focus and play one at a time. Whether I was the captain or not, I would treat every game the same. I will always try to lead by example."

Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at andy.jasner@yahoo.com 

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