Philadelphia Union v. Columbus Crew: Player Ratings

Posted on 06 August 2010 by stoma

GK Chris Seitz (4.5)- Beaten by a great header off of a free kick the first time and let down by his defense the second.  Two legitimately good saves.  Still, not his strongest outing and, since his save on the Pat Noonan penalty kick in the win against Seattle, has not had a save that rallied and energized the team.  For as much fire as he shows back there, Seitz does not often enough take the team on his back.  That’s the next step in his development.

RB Michael Orozco Fiscal (5)- Was able to push forward more this game with only 1 striker to worry about for Columbus, but Orozco-Fiscal did not really make anything happen in any of his forays to the front.  He did make several promising runs down the wing without the ball, but we never got to see what would have happened had the ball been sent his way, as it never was.  Defensively, nothing great and nothing overly damaging.

CB Cristian Arrieta (5.5)- Along with Califf, he struggled with the one-striker set that Columbus was featuring.  The two center-backs never got their communication down in terms of when to pass off coverage to the other, and this situation was exacerbated when Stefani Miglioranzi was lost late in the 1st half.  Although he was not as culpable as Califf in the two goals, a bit more maturity and assertiveness on the part of Arrieta could have helped to prevent either or both.

CB Danny Califf (4)- Poor showing from the captain, as the second goal falls pretty much all on Califf’s shoulders and he certainly played a part in the first.  Trying to make the savvy play instead of the practical play, he denied Lenhart from going far post and ended up leaving the goal side wide open.  Can’t do that against a scorer of Lenhart’s caliber and expect good results.  As has been the case throughout the season, the fate of the captain and the keeper are inextricably tied; this was an extremely poor effort from both.

LB Jordan Harvey (4.5)–  That’s now two consecutive subpar games for Jordan, officially a cause for concern.  He was so solid early in the season that we did not realize he had a failing: a chronic inability to settle bouncing balls.  Perhaps not a problem for your average defender, but for a fullback who is asked to come forward and participate in the attack as frequently as Harvey?  Yeah, it’s an issue.  If he’s going to continue to be Piotr Nowak’s answer as the attacking fullback, we’re going to have to start seeing some execution to go with his obvious smarts and instincts.

MID Fred (5.5)- The benefit of being a good player on a bad team is that you’ll always get plenty of chances to shine.  The downside of being a good player on an improving team with the potential to be good is that you have to adapt to the talent around you.  Now that the Union have acquired Justin Mapp, who is just as comfortable on the ball for long stretches as Fred, the latter is going to have to learn to make the most of his now-depleted touches and get used to not having the ball run through him every single time down the field.  This is going to have to be partly Piotr Nowak’s job as well, as he can no longer have Mapp & Fred just roam around the top of the midfield as each individual sees fit.  They’re going to have to have defined roles until they learn to play off of each other and to trust one another’s strengths.  Tonight, we saw a deferent Fred, something we had not seen before, a player willing to move the ball quickly and allow Mapp to shoulder the bulk of the ball-handling and distributing role.  From this point forward, the Union will be hoping to see a balance between the two.

MID Eduardo Coudet (5.5)- Another solid if unspectacular game from the new signee.  With Mapp & Fred spending the lion’s share of the time on the ball, Coudet didn’t get as many chances to participate in the attack as he did against New England.  However, him and Miglioranzi really seemed in rhythm in the middle together until Stefani was injured.  After that, it was Coudet struggling to cover for an overmatched Nakazawa for most of the 2nd half, and when Columbus started to sit on their lead a bit, Coudet disappeared.

MID Stefani Miglioranzi (6)- Actually managed to stand out a bit tonight, making a couple of key step-ups to win possession on defense and getting forward decently, even cracking off a shot in the 14th minute to force a corner, his second shot on frame all season.  Unfortunately, a rough tumble in the 41st minute led to enough of an injury to put him off for Kyle Nakazawa.  We learned afterwards that Migs had tweaked his groin, an injury he has aggravated in the past by trying to play through.   We really learned how important Stefani is for this team tonight, as his departure opened the door to miscommunication at the back and 2 goals.  While the team is deep in terms of its midfielders, there is only one defensive stalwart amongst the corps, and that is Miglioranzi.

Man of the Match

MID Justin Mapp (6.5 *ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH*)-

Now that is what the Union expected to see when they rescued him off the scrap heap in Chicago.  After a debut in which he still seemed lost in the fog of trying to come to grips with what had happened, we saw the potential and ability that earned the 25-year old 5 caps with the national team from 2005-2007.  On the ball, he is the most technically sound and creative player on the team, with the possible exception of Fred.  What he eventually does with the ball will produce results once he learns and begins to trust his new teammates.  But we got a glimpse into what will hopefully be the long and fruitful future of his role with the Union.

FWD Sebastien Le Toux (6.5)- A solid , scrappy game from Le Toux.  He wasn’t able to use his speed as much as usual and had trouble getting the final touch he needed to spring himself or a teammate for a shot, but he kept plugging away and even showed us his convincing dive in the box to draw the penalty kick in stoppage time of the 1st half.  He then, of course, proceeded to bury the PK in the right corner for his 9th goal of the season.  But, for the rest of the game, he was fractions off, most notably on the redirect of Andrew Jacobson’s cross in the 84th that Crew keeper William Hesmer managed to just turn aside, leaving the ball crawling parallel to the goal line before heading wide and out of bounds.  That moment seemed to represent the night of both Le Toux and the Union: good idea, fairly good execution, but poor results.

FWD Alejandro Moreno (5.5)- Ale definitely has a bigger impact, plays a bigger role, and plays better when Danny Mwanga is not on the field.  Unfortunately, the team does not.   And Moreno didn’t quite do enough to convince anyone that matters (i.e. Piotr Nowak) that this is not the case.  It is almost as if he has a mental block on scoring at this point, but it’s definitely not all in his head.  Every gilt-edged chance Alejandro has seen this season ended like the one we saw in the 20th minute, when he first had a shot on that was deflected, then had the clear chance spoiled when he failed to recover fast enough to strike the ball before it could be cleared.  Maybe there’s a metaphor in there somewhere for the 31-year old losing a step, but by now it has become too depressing to even take it.

MID Kyle Nakazawa (5)- Came on for Stefani Miglioranzi in the 41st minute.   While we thoroughly enjoyed the two beautiful balls he served up off of free kicks, both of which should have been goals (one of which became the Le Toux penalty kick call), we did not take as much pleasure in watching Nakazawa repeatedly getting beat in the air and muscled off of the ball.

MID Andrew Jacobson (5.5)- Came on for Fred in the 77th minute.   Probably should have been the substitute for Miglioranzi, given his more physical nature.  Used his energy to create several chances, most notably the low cross that Le Toux redirected only to have Hesmer turn it away and McInerney fail to catch up to it before it trickled across the end line.  More positive stuff from Jacobson as he makes his case to start in the midfield.

FWD Jack McInerney (N/A)- Came on for Justin Mapp in the 83rd minute.  Did not have a significant impact on the game.

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