Union homegrown Austin Trusty made the USA’s roster for the U-20 World Cup. The young defender has been a regular with the youth national team for years now. His play has been good enough to sign a homegrown contract with the Union, after less than a full year with Bethlehem Steel. This young player will be on the biggest stage during these next few weeks. Could this experience ready him for the Union’s starting 11?
With Josh Yaro missing out on the first 3-4 months of the season, The Union will lean on veteran Oguchi Onyewu to play the right center back role. But what happens if, God forbid, Gooch gets hurt. The two players left at center back depth are Ken Tribbett, and Austin Trusty. While Tribbett has more experience, he has shown fatal flaws in important situations. Let’s say all hell breaks loose; Gooch/Marquez sustains an injury. It’s between Tribbett and Trusty, who do the Union choose?
There are 15 games in the first four months of the season. Yaro’s absence is during a difficult first third of the Union’s season. If all hell breaks loose, and Trusty were to beat out Tribbett due to the absence of Yaro and an injury to Marquez or Onyewu it would be against:
Vancouver, Toronto, Orlando, DC, Portland, NYCFC, Montreal, LA, Red Bulls, DC, Houston, Colorado, Real Salt Lake, NYCFC, Red Bulls and DC.
Each of these games presents a different challenge to the Union back line, some would play out well for Tribbett, others for Trusty.Let’s take a look at the good and bad reasons for putting Trusty out there for the Union?
Trusty is young but he has shown great qualities as a centerback. His main attributes being his positioning and his speed. These qualities are something the Union lack at the centerback position without Yaro. The speed to cover counter attacks is something he possesses. The pace to keep up with the faster attackers in MLS. This is a quality that could peck Trusty over Tribbett in matches against faster attacking teams. His positioning also makes him a good choice.
He has shown promise in crucial instances. When he needs to approach an attacker to press him he does, when he needs to sit back and maintain the defensive shape he does. In other words, he never loses his head. This is something that Tribbett has an issue with. Too many times last season he made the wrong decision on when to approach/sit back, this led to conceding goals.
Trusty is an option in a pinch for the Union, and if he plays well in the U-20 World Cup he could easily jump Tribbett on the depth chart.
With the Union Academy and Bethlehem Steel, Trusty has always played left-center back. If something were to happen to Onyewu, and Trusty were chosen over Tribbett, he’d be playing out of position in his first MLS appearance. This could lead to a boat load of problems. If he’s used to shifting one way to pressure attackers, he would have to adjust to shift the opposite way. It would also mean that his positioning, as a whole could be off. He may be used to stepping up to pressure someone when on the left side, that he can’t pressure while on the right. This of course would be part of the teams game plan against the specific opponent, but it’s something that could play a factor in his decision-making.
Another problem is, if the Union decided to bleed him against world-class talent, and he didn’t show well. If Trusty plays his first MLS match against NYCFC, and he couldn’t keep up with the attack, then the team will likely suffer. This is the question with every young player; will they do well, or will they flop?
Austin Trusty is on the rise. At a time where the Union need contributions from their depth, Trusty could be an option for the Union should a problem arise. He plays some competitive matches going up. USA plays Panama on Feb. 18, Haiti on Feb. 21 and Saint Kitts and Nevis on Feb. 24 in their group stage games. If Trusty shows well, maybe he’ll be an option for the Union going forward.
Come back to Philly Sports Network for a preview of the last phase of the Union’s preseason tomorrow. Until then, peace out Union fans.