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The Best of Both Worlds - 2014 FBM Beer-view: Philadelphia Union

With Major League Soccer and the rest of American soccer kicking off we've curated an impressive list of players, personalities, broadcasters, front office folk, and fans to have them tell us (and you) about their upcoming 2014 season.

And, of course, pair their hopes and dreams for this season with a tasty local brew.

That's not just a preview... it's a "beer-view".

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By Richard McGovern / The Soccer Desk

Team: Philadelphia Union

Coach: John Hackworth

Is he the right man for the job? 

Probably not.  Promoted to head coach in mid-2012, Hackworth was originally brought in to build the Union’s Academy.  The Former US U-17 coach has shopwn a clear ability to identify and develop young players, but seemed out of his depth running a senior squad.  Hack shows blind loyalty to “hard-working” and more easily coached players to the exclusion of more creative types, often a sign of insecurity in a less-experienced coach.  While his teams are well-prepared, they seem incapable of adapting to changes in their opponents game plan.  Union fans have taken up a collection to buy him a copy of Inverting the Pyramid.

Player(s) to watch?

Brian Carroll.  The Union’s Captain-by-default looked terrible in 2013, a seemingly obsolete model of a holding mid, a winged Polish lancer charging the Panzers of Ozzie Alonzo, Dax McCarty & Juninho.  How much of that was Carroll feeling his 32 years, and how much the strain of cleaning up after a midfield that had a worse collective first touch than Stephen Rea in The Crying Game.  Union fans should have an answer this year, as the team brought in former US International Maurice Edu to run in tandem with Carroll, and former Souchoux captain Vincent Nogueira to play the top of their triangle.

Predictions for 2014?

The Union have improved, but so has the rest of the East, and a real lack of depth on the backline (read: no starting LCB, no true LB) leaves them in the clear second tier.  A big pickup in June, or a breakout season at centerback by Ethan White gets them into the playoffs, but barring that, its another year of unhappy nights and unpaved parking on the banks of the Delaware.

Local Beer Pairing:

The "Neshaminator" by Neshaminy Creek Brewing is the Union in beer form.  The Weizenbock made from the very waters that feed into the Delaware 30 miles north of PPL Park has real bite up top and a solid body, but the back end feels unfinished and has a bitter aftertaste.  Just like the club, it probably needs to age a bit.

Tags: Beer, Major League Soccer, The Best of Both Worlds

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