Philadelphia Union logo - generic image

Armchair Analyst: One big question for Philadelphia Union

One Big Question: What happens when Ilsinho becomes mortal again?

The Brazilian winger played 1083 regular season minutes, and they were +23 with him on the field. In the 2000 minutes when he wasn't out there they were -15. Urp.

The man was a cheat code basically all season long, but he is now 34 and for as good and fun as the Union were last year, this is a very clear red flag. Philly might have a problem on their hands.

Part of this they intend to mitigate by switching more fully to a 4-4-2 and, according to sporting director Ernst Tanner, making a couple more signings. They already splashed out a record fee on Jamiro Monteiro and brought in Venezuelan d-mid Jose Martinez, so I'm sure Tanner's not lying.

But Ilsinho was mostly unreal last year, and Philly were ordinary (at best) when he wasn't that. Somebody on that roster has to take a big step forward in terms of productivity and allow Ilsinho to play a few games in something less than God Mode.

EDIT: It's probably worth noting that I wrote this with the assumption that Ilsinho would, in fact, be back – and they're negotiating to try to bring him back. But, concerningly, he's not on the Union's first preseason roster.