Last week, MLSSoccer.com’s podcast, ExtraTime, began diving into various MLS clubs’ histories in hopes of deciding the four most important and influential faces to be on a hypothetical Mt. Rushmore.
The trips down memory lane have been enjoyable for all MLS fans during this time. For Philadelphia Union fans, they were lucky enough to hear Head Coach Jim Curtin’s take on who he thought worthy of Philadelphia’s Mt. Rushmore. Curtin went with some solid choices, picking Sebastien Le Toux, Andre Blake, Alejandro Bedoya, and Brian Carroll.
Naturally, Union twitter was abuzz. Many offered their own opinions on Curtin’s selections while others offered their own. Our Union writing crew here at PSN decided it was time for us to make our own picks. So here it goes. As always, feel free to let us know your thoughts and whether you agree or disagree.
Matt McClain’s Union Mt. Rushmore
We apologize in advance for the redundant picks from our staff, but certain Union players just deserve an Mt. Rushmore nod without question. In my mind, those three are Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Bedoya, and Andre Blake.
After those three, there’s a giant basket of names you can make feasible arguments over. Take a peep at Jeff’s fourth selection for example. Even Curtin’s pick may be an ‘outside the box’ choice at first. But despite having just 10 years of history, Philadelphia have accrued several notable players who made major impacts.
Sebastien Le Toux is untouchable. We should all agree there. His goal-scoring production coupled with his propensity to create chances for others while rocking the blue and gold is still unmatched. No Union player since the speedy Frenchman has come close to his production output in terms of both goals and assists. His lovable nature, warm personality, and Ring of Honor mentions make him an easy pick.
Next, the captain Ale Bedoya. Bedoya may deserve his own mountain in addition to being on the club’s Mt. Rushmore. The leadership ability and professionalism he brings each year to a young and constantly changing Union roster is essential. He and Curtin have seemingly meshed perfectly since Bedoya’s arrival in 2016. He only logged 10 matches in 2016 after joining as a summer signing. But since he’s logged over 9,000 minutes, became a steady rock of a captain, and helped in immeasurable ways inside the locker room and on the training pitch with Philadelphia’s young core of homegrowns.
Andre Blake is the Union’s lone MLS All-Star representative. He’s done that twice. He’s become internationally known while playing with his native country of Jamaica (Gold Cup Golden Gloves winner + Best XI in 2017). And he’s quietly become one of the most notable and reliable players on the Union’s roster the past 5 seasons. While he’s had some serious downs while with the club, Blake remains one of those franchise faces for a club who continues to trend upward. He took over full-time in 2016 and hasn’t looked back. There are many positives to Blake’s tenure so far, and with a revamped goalkeeping coach at the helm, his progression is set to continue.
Lastly from me, Haris Medunjanin. This pick was the toughest by far, but I wanted to be unique with this selection. One aspect of Medunjanin’s game is 100% unparalleled when comparing former Union players. His passing is unmatched. Haris remains the best passer to ever wear a Union kit and his abilities to use his vision and skilled left-foot to pick out teammates across a pitch is a coveted skill set in today’s MLS. His defensive efforts made him a constant liability within the Union’s system, yet his offensive production outweighed that risk. In fact, oftentimes, the Union’s offense was structured to run through Haris, whom they relied on heavily to control games in the midfield. He may have left on a somewhat unsavory note (being left out of Tanner’s favored style of play), Haris deserves a lasting spot in Union history as one of the most irreplaceable players to play in Chester.
Tim Lovenguth’s Union Mt. Rushmore
Extratime was spot on with their player picks. If I was choosing an Mt. Rushmore of players, my four would be Sebastien Le Toux, Alejandro Bedoya, Andre Blake and Brian Caroll. However, for this exercise, I wanted to pick an Mt. Rushmore of players and others affiliated with the Union that has been Monumental to the club and deserves to be immortalized on their Mt. Rushmore. Here’s who I think deserves to be on the Union’s Mt. Rushmore:
Sebastien Le Toux:
I know I mentioned him above, but what Seba was able to do for the club in two stints was amazing. The production on the field, the cult hero status, the down to earth nature. There is no Union without Sebastien Le Toux.
The Sons of Ben:
Speaking of there being no Union, the Sons of Ben literally formed to bring an MLS team to Philadelphia! The did so, and have been an amazing supporters group for the 11 years of the club’s existence. Things may be a bit rocky and we may see newer supporters groups spring forth, but the way this group founded and supports this club gets them on the Mt. Rushmore.
He’s the longest-tenured head coach in the team’s history and has shown progression in each year he’s been, head coach. He’s likable, a Philly guy, a players coach, and is also very down to earth. He may not be a flashy coach that you see over in Europe, but he deserves to be on the pantheon of Union greats.
While he has only been with the club for a short amount of time, Tanner has shown he knows how to run a Soccer club like the Union.
Nick Sakiewicz built a foundation he was not necessarily a soccer guy; Earnie showed what a Sporting Director could do, but was too rigid. Tanner has a plan but can go with the flow when it comes to leading a team. He has a clear style that has helped Philly get their first playoff win while playing fun soccer to watch. His little influence so far and bright future on the horizon get him on the Mountain.
Also, honorable mention to Chris Albright as a member of the front office. The dude has been so influential in getting players to come to Philly and I feel like he gets looked over.
Jeff Green’s Union Mt. Rushmore
Jeff selected Sebastien Le Toux, Andre Blake, Alejandro Bedoya, and Ilsinho. Jeff went with the Brazilian magic-man, aka the Super-Sub, aka the Union’s secret weapon X.
While Ilsinho may not come anywhere close to touching the number of minutes logged by Carroll, Le Toux, Blake, or Bedoya – one thing Ilsinho does bring is excitement. The joy he’s brought to fans in brief periods of playing time in monumental games is enough to warrant an Mt. Rushmore argument.
Share yours with us
As always we welcome your feedback. Let us know your opinions, thoughts, etc. Share your Union Mt. Rushmore with us and we can compare our picks. Stay safe and healthy!
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Peace out Union fans!
Mandatory Credit: @Extratime via Twitter
Graduate of Pennsylvania State University ’16. Interests include sports and history. Follow on twitter for Philly sports news – @MMcClain_PSN
Philadelphia Union writer.