Philadelphia Union vs. Los Angeles Galaxy: Player Ratings

Posted on 03 April 2011 by stoma

GK Faryd Mondragon (6)- Well, the newly minted captain is human, after all.  I suppose it is better we realize that sooner rather than later, but it’s still a disappointing fact to be faced with.  This is not to say that Mondragon played a particularly bad game; the single goal he gave up was certainly no softie.  However, he did get burned by Juninho (who hasn’t?) only to see the shot rattle the woodwork and benefited from Juan Pablo Angel uncharacteristically flubbing a sitter, pushing a header that came as the result of a Landon Donovan cross off a counterattack wide of the goal.  Ultimately, Faryd did only allow the one goal, but for the first time he seemed a bit hesitant to come off of his line for balls in the air.  Mondragon also did not make any particularly difficult saves, although he did strongly repel a David Beckham in-swinging direct kick that was ticketed for the back of the net.  All in all, not a stellar performance from the captain, but nothing to be concerned about, either.

LB Jordan Harvey (5.5)- Called upon to push forward more than in the first two games combined, Harvey almost paid dividends on several occasions, most notably sending a lovely early cross towards Carlos Ruiz, who had managed to shake Omar Gonzalez during a run to the goal; unfortunately, Ruiz could not get himself on the end of the service.  On the defensive end, did well when directly called upon, but the fact that the flanks were open for the Galaxy attack through much of the game must fall partly on Harvey.

CB Carlos Valdes (6)- A quiet yet effective game from Valdes, as he combined with Califf to largely shut down the Galaxy attack and keep things relatively quiet in front of Mondragon.  Carlos took some smart fouls in tough spots while managing to keep himself out of referee Paul Ward’s book, seemingly an incredible feat in and of itself.

CB Danny Califf (6.5)- Gamely plugging away despite a strained meniscus in his left knee, Califf continued to show his commitment to maintaining his readiness and engagement in the game through the full 90 minutes.  Danny also continues to display his ability to get into shooting lanes and block shots and crosses, which is quickly making him one of the most valuable center backs in the league.  Even when the game opened up and the Union were pushing for an equalizer, Califf was the strong anchor required to prevent the type of easy counterattack that plagued the squad last season.

RB Sheanon Williams (5)- Mixed results for Sheanon against Los Angeles, with nothing particularly good or bad about his game.  Performed ably when asked to go forward and was more or less competent defensively.  However, his tendency to try and get overly physical when he feels he is in a bad spot defensively hurt him in this match and will continue to do so if referees keep perceiving his challenges as reckless, which they often appear to be even when they are really not.  Williams was largely overmatched by Donovan; there is no shame in this, but there is also no need to compound the difficulty of marking someone like Donovan by taking him down repeatedly and giving the official the opportunity to discipline you and give the opposition multiple free kicks in dangerous positions.  Williams was taken off for Jack McInerney in the 73rd minute.

MID Kyle Nakazawa (5)-Another down performance from Nakazawa, which is becoming a bit of a troubling trend.   As we’ve stressed, this team needs production from the attacking midfielder spots, particularly from the wing.  Nakazawa may not take much off the table, but at this point, he is not bringing anything to the table either.  A free kick specialist who does not put any free kicks on frame or to a teammate in a dangerous position is not very valuable.  Nor is an attacking midfielder who has to be taken off for another attacking midfield because he is not playing his role effectively.  

MID Brian Carroll (6)- Carroll continues to be an excellent defensive midfielder, but it was more clear than ever during the Los Angeles match that the team cannot rely upon him to be any sort of dependable link to the offense.  He has better ball control and possession ability than Stefani Miglioranzi, but is no better equipped to participate in the buildup or attack in any meaningful way.  None of this is to detract from what Carroll is, but it is certainly something to note for a team still searching for its identity in the early part of this campaign.

MID Stefani Miglioranzi (4.5)- For the first time in memory, we can honestly say that Migs played a poor game for the Union.  Sometimes it looks like he is just doing things effortlessly because he performs so smoothly; against the Galaxy, one had to wonder if he actually was exerting any effort because the results were so lackluster.   Whether he was missing wide open passes to continue the buildup or tentatively looking to go backward with the ball when the Union were trying to push forward with the man advantage, Stefani looked a bit out place, topping a substandard performance off by losing Leonardo during the scoring set piece, which led to the only goal of the match.

Sebastien Le Toux ©ASN/Terry McLaughlinMID Sebastien Le Toux (6.5)- Along with the rest of the attack, Le Toux was largely invisible for the early part of the match.  Seba did manage to track back a fair bit in an effort to initiate the attack from the midfield, but his efforts were largely fruitless throughout the 1st half.  At that point, it became clear that Le Toux would need to move forward in order to be effective against the packed-in Galaxy defense, so Piotr Nowak and the coaching staff decided to remove Danny Mwanga and let Seba operate from the top of the formation.  This proved a wise decision: even though the Union still did not break through, their attack created far more chances in the 2nd half, the best of which was created by Le Toux when he took a shot from the top of the area that was deflected and landed at the feet of Jack McInerney, who just missed equalizing.

FWD Danny Mwanga (4)- Unlike Le Toux, Danny never found a way to get himself involved in the game after the team’s early offensive struggles.  Part of Mwanga’s necessary development is going to have to be him acquiring the knowledge of how to maximize his touches and opportunities when they are severely limited, as was the case in Los Angeles.   Due to his ineffectiveness, Mwanga came off for Keon Daniel at halftime.

FWD Carlos Ruiz (5.5)-Conversely to attackers such as Le Toux or Mwanga, there is really not much one can expect Ruiz to do if the ball is not getting to him from the back.  His job is to receive the ball and hold up or capitalize on a chance, not to advance the ball from the midfield and link all by himself.   Of course, when crosses did come his way, he was either a step late (50th minute) or committed a foul (77th minute).  Still, though, you have to give Ruiz credit for doing his best to get under the opposition’s skin, which led to Chris Birchall’s sending off, and for continuing to plug away until the final whistle was blown.

MID Keon Daniel (7 * ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH*)–  Rare is the occasion when a substitute can do enough to be called the best player on the field for a particular side, but that was the case for Daniel in his first appearance in a Union kit.  The 24 year-old Trinidad and Tobago international came on for Danny Mwanga at the half and allowed Seba Le Toux to move up front.  Immediately, Daniel took control out wide and became the link between the backfield and the attack that was lacking for the entire 1st half.  He was the point man on the vast majority of the buildup in the 2nd half and acquitted himself quite well, showing reliable ball handling and excellent field vision.  If Justin Mapp is out for an extended period of time, Daniels may be the answer the Union are looking for on the wing.

MID Roger Torres (6.5)- This game was simultaneously an exhibition of the talents Torres already possesses and his limitations.  Roger came on for Kyle Nakazawa in the 62nd minute.   His presence was sorely needed, and his inclusion in the match unquestionably benefited the Philadelphia side, but Roger’s playmaking still lacks that refined sense of discipline that produces results.  The kid can create, there is no doubt about that, but his tendency is to go for the all-or-nothing play, the spectacular as opposed to the practical.  He sees things on the pitch that few others can, but he needs to understand that he cannot simply will the play to end how he envisions it.   Sometimes he needs to make the lateral pass to maintain possession and momentum instead of trying to drop one over the top of the defense; sometimes he needs to go out wide instead of trying an outside foot direct pass to Jack McInerney making a run towards the goal mouth, who himself chided Torres following the play.  Torres breathes life into the Union attack, but we’re still waiting on tangible products of his contribution.

FWD Jack McInerney (6)- Came on for Sheanon Williams in the 73rd minute as the Union made their final big push for the equalizer.  McInerney continues to show signs that he is going to be a very special player when he puts it all together.  Not only can he be a large contributor, but he has the makings of a team leader.  Union fans might decry the effort and heart displayed against the Galaxy by some on the pitch, but those accusations cannot be put upon Jack Mac.  He came into the game prepared to try and make a difference and almost did on several occasions.  His retaliation against Chad Barrett in stoppage time for an upending that earned McInerney a red card and a one-match suspension may have been ill-advised, but it also went a long way towards endearing Jack Mac to the fans even more.

5 Comments For This Post

  1. UnionGray Says:

    If Daniels can perform like that consistently will I be doing “Ke-on Dan-iels, clap, clap, clap clap clap…” from the RiverEnd instead of the Torres chant? Daniels was exciting and effective.

  2. Sec 103 fan Says:

    “[McInerney’s] retaliation against Chad Barrett in stoppage time… earned McInerey a red card and a one-match suspension may have been ill-advised, but it also went a long way towards endearing Jack Mac to the fans even more.”

    Retaliation like that is just stupid and often gets a red card (c.f. Beckham in the World Cup 2002 (?). Union Jack is a fine young player and doesnt need to get sent off to earn endearment from the fans.

  3. LL Says:

    Keon, wow he really stepped up and proved he should be playing. I think they need to re tool the 3 striker option, it doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe things will change once we get mapp back out there to work with carroll on getting some crisper passes up to the strikers? It just seems like there trying to work plays up front instead of simple passes. last yr it was defense this year looks like offense is the problem.

  4. LL Says:

    Keon, wow he really stepped up and proved he should be playing. I think they need to re tool the 3 striker option, it doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe things will change once we get mapp back out there to work with carroll on getting some crisper passes up to the strikers? It just seems like there trying to work plays up front instead of simple passes. last yr it was defense this year looks like offense is the problem.

  5. Philgarvin Says:

    Your a moron. Torres doesnt produce results? Check your facts. Who has more assists per minute played that Torres. Hint? NOBODY ON THE UNION.

    Last time I checked, soccer teams only score 1 to 2 goals a game. Therefore, most attempts to score will be unsuccesfful. All Roger has to do is be successful a couple of times. He has proven to do that in the past.

    If he were to have full 90 minutes, one to two of those over the tops is going in. You cannot say that about any other player on the union.

2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. The Philly Soccer Page » Not so good, more news Says:

    […] ASN Philly agrees with Harvey, naming Keon Daniel the Man of the Match in their player ratings. […]

  2. Open Cup Primer: Union look to get at least one step further in 2011 | American Soccer News Says:

    […] unlikely Man of the Match came out of Saturday’s loss to Los Angeles for the Union. Trinidad and Tobago international Keon Daniel was a huge bright spot on the wing for the Union […]

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