The Cruz Conundrum
Written by special guest contributor to the Union Dues, Rich Ransom.
Since joining the Philadelphia Union Danny Cruz has been a player that has made Union fans choose sides. Love him or hate him that’s how it’s been . He has made fans rip their hair out at times or grab it in amazement. Number 44 has run the sidelines with high energy, excitement, and intensity. However, to some people that’s either too much or not enough.
So what side am I on? Neither. I have been one of the many people who have seen Cruz in a negative light. From yelling out, “Cruz what are you doing?! Pass the ball!” To “Cruz, what kind of shot was that?!” Or the new one, “Why is Danny Cruz so sweaty?” Yet still, I have been able to show support. “Cruz is fast on the side line.” “Cruz moves the flow of the game on the break perfectly.” Or to what I said when he scored two against Seattle, “I knew Danny’s got it in him!”
To sum it all up I have one thing to say about Danny Cruz: He’s doing his job.
I agree with all the criticism against him. He does take too many touches on the ball while running. I agree there have been many times I’ve watched him run down the wing and have said to myself, “He needs to pass at this point,” and still he doesn’t. But if he can’t find anyone to pass to, can he make the cross?
Cruz gets handed much criticism for not pulling the trigger often enough. He came to the team as a trade for Lionard Pajoy and was to be utilized as a striking forward. However, when Sebastian LeToux returned to the Union in the offseason, Cruz was no longer part of the depth chart for forwards. He was put out on the wing, what is normally not a scoring position. When criticism is directed toward his lack of successful shots, I consistently respond with the question; What did you expect? Danny Cruz was placed into a position that requires him to drop scoring chances for those who can pull the trigger.
Cruz’s hustle has been constantly questioned due to his lack of results. I agree. His movements on the field lack results. Crosses over the target runner, runs that lead to nowhere, and the mysterious tripping over his own two feet. It’s frustrating to see missed scoring opportunities, still he accomplishes his goal of getting the ball down the field. “Hustle stats” aside, the job of the winger is to get the ball to the other side of the field. Personally, any way he gets it down there is acceptable.
I argue Danny Cruz’s job description is misunderstood. To some, he is a scoring threat who doesn’t back up what’s on his resume. To others, his short comings are expected and not surprising. But as I’ve mentioned, his performance fails to unite support for either side. Considering his results this past game, not choosing a side on how you view Danny Cruz is still OK.