Philadelphia Union vs. Real Salt Lake: Player Ratings

Posted on 12 August 2010 by stoma

Man of the Match

GK Seitz (7.5) *ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH*-

Single-handedly kept the Union in the game after being abandoned by his defense on the equalizer.  In the 2nd half, Seitz came up monstrously big and ended the game with 4 saves, none of them of the garden variety.   While he still doesn’t have his first clean sheet of the season, this is the first time we can honestly say he deserved one.  We’ve been asking for Seitz to step up and carry the team; tonight, he did it.

LB Jordan Harvey (5)- A game of conflicts for Harvey, as he stayed back more than usual while Orozco-Fiscal got the call to press up tonight.  Late in the game, Piotr Nowak had to implore Jordan to push higher as the Union drove for a winning goal.  A highly intelligent player, Harvey can be guilty on occasion, such as tonight, of thinking too much and not relying on his instincts.

CB Danny Califf (4.5)- Straight up embarrassed in allowing the equalizer in the 17th minute by Fabian Espindola, who tore through him and easily slotted one past a helplessly exposed Seitz.  When the captain should be bowing up when his team takes the early lead, that’s two consecutive games where 1-0 leads have turned into 1-1 draws going into the half.   Califf, as has been the case too often this season, responded to his gaffe by making panicky clearances the rest of the way.  Throw in the general shakiness on balls in the air, and we have a third consecutive poor game from the captain.

CB Juan Diego Gonzalez (5.5)- His first appearance for the Union on Sunday displayed that he needs to be on the field at the back for this team.  His second appearance validated that belief, as he was the stabilizing force in front of Seitz that Danny Califf once again proved incapable of being.  Let’s not forget that he played his role in conceding the equalizer, as he let a routine ball into his feet eat him up.  However, conversely from Califf, Gonzalez was able to rebound from the mistake and play solidly from that point forward.  Unlike Cristian Arrieta, Gonzalez has the confidence and polish to pick up that slack, as he showed tonight.

RB Michael Orozco-Fiscal (6)- Took on more of an active role tonight, as he got the call from the coaching staff to spend more time pushing up and on the ball from the fullback position.  When he got the ball at the back or in space, Orozco-Fiscal looked extremely comfortable holding, moving forward and picking out the right pass.  In addition, he handled his defensive responsibilities almost flawlessly, A complete game from the burgeoning staple in the lineup.

MID Justin Mapp (5)- Mapp managed to disappear for the most part tonight, as he did not play an integral role in any significant buildup or any real chance.  Fitness may still be a factor since coming over from Chicago, as Piotr Nowak saw fit to remove him for Roger Torres in the 56th minute.

MID Kyle Nakazawa (5)- Still not the strongest defensively, but using his talents to get forward, having a strong shot off a pass from Danny Mwanga that Kyle Reynish managed to stop.  Kudos to Piotr Nowak for realizing that Nakazawa is not interchangeable with Stefani Miglioranzi, and all credit to Nakazawa to adapting his role to accentuate his strengths.   It must also be mentioned that, the defensive struggles in the midfield notwithstanding, Kyle did make several key clearances in the final third.  Came off for Amobi Okugo in the 63rd minute.

MID Eduardo Coudet (6)- With Miglioranzi still out, Coudet has been asked to be the reliable rock in the center of the midfield diamond and he has responded admirably, recognizing the need with the current personnel to drop back more and allow the other midfielders to control the ball on the attack.  Sure, he may be somewhat limited in that it appears he can only play offensively or defensively in a particular game, and never both, but there is something to be said to staking out a role for a single game and doing the job exceptionally well.

MID Fred (5.5)- Along with Mapp, didn’t play a major role in this game as the attacking tactics favored longer services and quick, timed releases from the strikers.  Unlike Mapp, however, Fred was still able to play a role in the attack, making several well-timed forays into the area when Le Toux would split out wide and wait for the chance to cross.  Ultimately removed for Andrew Jacobson in the 81st minute.

FWD Sebastien Le Toux (6.5)- Showing once again why he is a viable MLS MVP candidate, Seba continues to do it all for this team.  His 8th assist of the season puts him at an even point per match average, puts him in the top 3 for assists in the league and puts him staunchly in the race for most points in the MLS this season with 13 games to go.  And all that is without mentioning how pretty the assist on the Danny Mwanga goal was: receiving a long Jordan Harvey throw and knowing he had Mwanga streaking on a timing pattern, he quickly turned away and flicked the ball with exquisite touch directly into Mwanga’s path, putting him clear in on goal.  The rest of the way, Le Toux more or less created or was on the end of every chance the Union had, unfortunately coming up short.  Still more evidence, however, that he is the engine that makes this team run.

FWD Danny Mwanga (7)- Back after missing three games due to injury, the frontrunner for MLS Rookie of the Year continued to bolster his case with his 6th goal of the season , a calm finish off a beautiful Le Toux flick-on to give the Union an early 1-0 lead.  In addition, he showed off his developing interior touch with a slotted ground pass from the endline out to the top of the area for Kyle Nakazawa, who had his blast saved by Kyle Reynish.  Not a perfect game, as he certainly let a couple of chances go by the wayside, most notably a clear chance to take on the keeper 1 v. 1 in the 62nd minute that was erased after a heavy first touch put the ball into Kyle Reynish’s clutches.  However, his strength continues to improve, as a couple of hard turns on defenders playing him close followed by ignition of the burners forced hard fouls from the defense and free kicks from dangerous position.  Mwanga is really beginning to show how he can effect a game in ways other than his scoring. He has Nowak impressed at his development over the past three months.

MID Roger Torres (5)- Came on for Justin Mapp in the 56th minute for his first appearance on the pitch in an MLS game since July 10 against San Jose and overall since July 14 against Celtic F.C., when he badly sprained his right ankle.  Showed that he has the creativity and elusiveness, but still unsure of where to go with the ball once he gets by his man.  Still, good to see the youngster at full speed once again. 

MID Amobi Okugo (5)- Came on for Kyle Nakazawa in the 63rd minute as the more versatile option in the midfield and showed why the promise is so high for the 19-year old.  Looking more and more comfortable on the ball with each passing appearance, Okugo is starting to build the confidence to let his immense talent show.  For now, it’s still in the form of teasing flashes of brilliance, but watching the ease with which he moves displays his potential obviously to anyone watching.

MID Andrew Jacobson (N/A)- Came on for Fred in the 81st minutes.  Took a couple of long, strong shots, but ultimately did not impact the game significantly in his 14+ minutes.

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