Previewing the Union’s Starting 11 for 2017 season opener: Number 10


The Union have a plethora of players who can play the 10 for them. With the departure of Tranquillo Barnetta, some others have the opportunity to make the spot their own. Those in the running are Alejandro Bedoya, Roland Alberg, and Fabian Herbers. Bedoya should be starting the season as the eight so he won’t be competing for the 10 right now. So Alberg, an actual number 10, and Herbers a hybrid attacker/winger are fighting it out for the start in 2017.

Roland Alberg went on a tear in 2016. He is a scoring machine when he gets the opportunities to shoot. The problem with Roland’s game is his defensive effort. He tends to stick high, almost as a second striker. He is not as diligent on the defensive end, as a Bedoya or a Herbers who are workhorses. This could hurt Alberg’s chance of starting. His offensive power is a major asset, but that skill may be more effective coming of the bench with 25 minutes left in the game when defenders are fatigued. The Union could go with Alberg as the starter if they want his attacking prowess from the start.

If the Union want more of a player who will help back and defend from the advanced position, their best bet would be putting Fabian Herbers at the 10 spot. His style of play is very similar to that of Barnetta’s last year. A hard worker who has the pace and the skill on the ball to create a play in an advanced position, and the defensive prowess to help press when the team needs it. The Union may be looking to the second year player to break out in the center of the field, after he lead the team in assists from the wing last season.

Herbers and Alberg both showed well in preseason, but towards the end Herbers was getting more time at the 10 then Alberg was. This again, is probably because of his work rate and willingness to help on the defensive end. The Union seem like they want players who will be aggressive in all aspects of the game. Since the Union want to be a high pressing type of team, their attacking players must be willing to press hard when they don’t have the ball.  Herbers and Bedoya do this very well; where as Alberg wants to be more of a target for when the Union win the ball back. Because of this, i predict the Union will start Fabian Herbers at the 10 against Vancouver.

Herbers is the latest addition to the Union’s starting lineup. Check Philly Sports Network tomorrow for the final installations of the 2017 starters. Until then, peace out Union fans.

Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports