The Philadelphia Union have had a trying start to their 2017 season, failing to win any of their first five games and collecting just two points. That point total is the lowest of any team in MLS so far.
This slow start comes on the heels of an end to 2016 that was less than perfect. They lost five of their last seven games, drawing two, and lost in the Knockout Round to Toronto FC.
In the offseason they brought in Bosnian international Haris Medunjanin to stabilize the midfield and Jay Simpson to provide a goalscoring punch up top. Both have performed admirably but neither has been able to lift the Union to better results.
One area of the field that the club has invested serious resources is in the midfield. In addition to Medunjanin, Philadelphia signed US international Alejandro Bedoya in August of last year to add to a group that already included MLS veteran Chris Pontius and former US international Maurice Edu. Edu has yet to appear in a game this season due to injury.
Looking at the raw stats, Bedoya and Pontius have not performed to the level that was expected. Bedoya has yet to record a goal or an assist, while Pontius has just one assist after a 12-goal, six-assist season in 2016.
Their Audi Player Index figures tell a slightly different story. Midfielders have averaged 274 Audi Player Index points per game this season, both Bedoya (299) and Pontius (296) sit above that average. Despite this, it’s clear that they will not need to perform at a higher level going forward.
One player that has started every game for the Union is 19-year-old Homegrown Derrick Jones. Jones was thrust into the starting XI, much to the surprise of fans and media, and has been solid for Jim Curtin. His Audi Player Index average of 68 does not tell the full story, as he has vast potential and should improve as the season goes on.