|(Times / ROBERT J. GURECKI)|
They've scored once in 351 regulation minutes. They've gone six matches without a win. They've been shut out nine times, a franchise record.
So ... what's the next step for the Union and their beleaguered offense?
If you ask John Hackworth
, he thinks it's a goals-by-committee fix.
It's worse than that. The Union, with their scoreless draw in New England last weekend, have been blanked on nine occasions this season. That's worse than the eight they incurred in their inaugural season.
The likely move, per Hackworth, is to trust what you've got. That means playing third-year guy Jack McInerney
(above), seasoned veteran Freddy Adu
and rookies Antoine Hoppenot
and Chandler Hoffman
to your heart's content. That means trusting your gut with that quartet, in the hopes that those guys can find the net in a way they haven't in games gone by.
The real fix, however, is farming out the job. The Union must find goal scorer elsewhere. Their offseason add projects, in the form of Lio Pajoy
and Josue Martinez
, were failures. Pajoy wasn't anywhere near the goal scoring force the Union expected, or that ex-boss Peter Nowak
had predicted. And Martinez, well, he can't even find his way into consistent starts.
Dating to 2011, they transferred one of MLS' most-successful goal scorers to Mexico (Carlos Ruiz
), traded the franchise's best scorer for allocation money (Sebastien Le Toux
) and traded another scoring threat (Danny Mwanga
) for a guy marketed as a scoring threat (Jorge Perlaza
), who turned out to be nothing more than a ghost in the lineup.
That's a ton of goals out the door. The remedy for the Union in the interim will come from that aforementioned foursome of young legs. The long-term fix will arrive in the offseason transfer window.
Look what Columbus did. The Crew rose from midseason irrelevance to postseason capable with the additions of Jairo Arrieta
and Federico Higuain
. They realized their flaws and went outside the franchise to correct it. The Union might have to do the same in hopes of achieving a more successful campaign in 2013.
Labels: Antoine Hoppenot, Carlos Ruiz, Chandler Hoffman, Columbus Crew, Danny Mwanga, Freddy Adu, Jack McInerney, John Hackworth, Jorge Perlaza, Josue Martinez, Lionard Pajoy, Robert Gurecki, Sebastien Le Toux, shutouts