Philadelphia Union vs. New York Red Bulls: Player Ratings

Posted on 11 April 2011 by stoma

GK Faryd Mondragon (6.5)- Faced with rebounding following the first goal conceded and first loss of his MLS career then a PK loss in the Open Cup on Wednesday, the captain was a little more fired up than usual against New York.  Given that his default setting is “uber intense”, referee Alex Prus and his assistants were in for a long night.  All in all, a solid outing for Mondragon, as he caught a couple of breaks but did what was asked of him throughout.  Neither of Juan Agudelo’s near misses, the shot in transition in the 21st minute that hit the left post and the strike in alone against Faryd that struck the crossbar in the 31st minute, would have been soft by any stretch had they found the back of the net.  Other than those, there was not a whole lot of action for Mondragon, who only faced 1 shot on goal and recorded 1 save and was never seriously tested once the Union went up.

LB Jordan Harvey (7)- Not a lot of opportunity for Harvey to get forward in this match, but for good reason: Harvey was tasked with handling the blazingly fast Dane Richards, which he did with excellent results.  Richards never even sniffed the goal and rare was the occasion where Harvey needed help in keeping him covered, which could have created openings elsewhere.  Jordan was given one job against New York, and he performed it successfully.

CB Danny Califf (6.5)- Another solid game for the former captain.  Nothing spectacular, but he did his job with little drama.  It is becoming apparent that, paired with the quicker, flashier Valdes, Danny will play the role of stabilizer in front of goal, which certainly seems to suit him well.  Califf did have the only major defensive lapse of the night, allowing Juan Agudelo to shrug him off and then lose his mark before seeing his strike hit the crossbar in the 31st minute.  No points off for missing on a scoring opportunity in the 17th minute when Justin Mapp’s free kick found its way through to his feet, although it was comical.  Perhaps Danny thought that since he had scored in the opener off of his left foot, that was his strong side.  Our humble advice is to use the right boot next time, sir.

CB Carlos Valdes (8 *ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH*)- The gatekeeper to the penalty area was stingy with entry against New York, as Valdes played ballhawk in the Union’s final third, refusing to let anything get over his head.  Further, when tested directly, Carlos dispossessed his man straight up several times.  Some may say that Thierry Henry had a down game, but that is downplaying the job Carlos did to make that the case. Valdes was the most important factor in ensuring that the Union’s goal remained untouched for a 3rd time in 4 games.

RB Sheanon Williams (6.5)- A complete effort from Sheanon on Saturday, as he contributed in his usual manner by pushing forward effectively and also helped to put the clamps down on Dwayne DeRosario defensively.  Sent several crosses in that created scoring opportunities, most notably in the 17th minute when his cross resulted in the Roy Miller handball that led to Justin Mapp’s dangerous free kick and in the 81st minute when the ball he sent in was deflected out to Stefani Miglioranzi, who one-timed the ball high over the bar.  His performance against New York proved what a weapon he can be when firing on all cylinders.

MID Justin Mapp (5.5)- A welcome sight back in the first XI, Mapp provided the stability that the team has come to depend upon on the wing, linking as well as joining the attack on a consistent basis.  His timing may have been a touch off, as he missed Le Toux on an easy through ball to send Seba in alone against the keeper in the 34th minute.   Still, a good first game back and a relief for Union supporters to see him getting after it and not showing any obvious effects of a lingering injury. Came off for Danny Mwanga in the 59th minute.

MID Stefani Miglioranzi (4.5)- For the 2nd straight game, Migs took something off the table.  Coupled with a couple of questionable angles at tackle attempts was Stefani’s inability to avoid telegraphing every single pass he made.  Compared to last season, when Miglioranzi received mostly high marks, the problem is most likely not that he has become any worse himself, just that everyone around him has flourished and improved while he has remained the same.  We wondered here if Eduardo Coudet was redundant playing in the same midfield as Migs; now the question is whether Migs is redundant in a midfield that already has Brian Carroll.

MID Brian Carroll (N/A)- Strained his right hamstring trying to explode for the ball early and had to come off for Amobi Okugo in just the 6th minute.  According to Carroll post-match, the injury is not expected to be an issue going forward.

MID Keon Daniel (6)- Having earned a start in regular season play after his excellent showing in the 2nd half against Los Angeles, Daniel had another effective outing, if not as visibly stellar as his debut.  However, in addition to playing up the wing, Keon proved valuable in tracking back to help out defensively on the vast speed of New York’s attack, particularly Dane Richards and Jan Gunnar Solli, who was perpetually pushing forward.

FWD Sebastien Le Toux (6)- The return of Justin Mapp and Keon Daniel’s inclusion in the starting XI allowed Le Toux to start the match up front.  And this would have worked wonders, as Seba was able to receive the ball in dangerous positions numerous times.  However, there was one problem: Le Toux had apparently managed to leave his first touch on the training ground.  Time after time, Sebastien was left with one man to take on between him and the goalkeeper, but he could never find his way around.  Still, it is clear that Seba needs to play up front in order to maximize his impact on the game and, not to sound like a broken record, but the effort he puts forth every single game is, in most cases, going to overcome any deficiencies in his game on a particular night.

FWD Carlos Ruiz (6.5)- Began the match with a keen sense of the team’s need for offense (or at least offensive opportunities), and tested Bouna Coundoul from distance twice, catching him off his line the first time and seriously challenging him the second.  When the team sputtered in the midfield in the middle of the match, Ruiz went out and got himself the touches he wasn’t getting through the normal run of play.  He even managed to intercept a pass and would have found himself on a one-man breakaway but for an unlucky bounce of the ball backward and over his head.  As has been the case throughout this young season, Carlos also did his job getting under the skin of the New York defense, drawing a yellow card on speedster Dane Richards for a reckless challenge in the 29th minute.   Came off for Roger Torres in the 67th minute.

MID Amobi Okugo (6.5)- Came on for an injured Brian Carroll in the 6th minute and was able to assert himself into the action.  Perhaps it was an uptick in confidence following his highly positive campaign with the national team U-20’s, perhaps just a continuation of the development Amobi had already begun to exhibit during the preseason, but we anticipate Okugo will make a real push for inclusion in the first XI going forward this season.  He showed that he has the ability to be the engine in the middle and more than hold his own defensively.  Depending on what Piotr Nowak and the coaching staff want to do with the formation in the middle, look for Okugo to replace Miglioranzi on a regular basis if current trends continue.

FWD Danny Mwanga (6)– Came on for Justin Mapp in the 59th minute as part of a short-lived three-attacker look from the Union.  This match was tailor-made for Danny, with its wide-open spaces and room down the flanks to operate.  He used the space to draw fouls and keep possession in the New York defensive area.  Mwanga’s efforts to disrupt initiation of New York’s build from the back found the ultimate reward in the 68th minute when he deftly intercepted an attempted outlet by Tim Ream and fed Roger Torres for the match’s sole tally.

MID Roger Torres (7.5)- Came on for Carlos Ruiz in the 67th minute.  Waited all of 30 seconds to change the game (we were actually able to time it at 13 seconds from the time the restart occurred to the time the ball hit the back of the net), barely staying onside on a breakaway with Danny Mwanga off of a turnover, receiving the ball and calmly putting it past Bouna Coundoul into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.  For the rest of his time on the pitch, Torres was an unquestionably positive influence on the match for the Union.  Torres got into space, kept possession and switched fields effectively, all of which wasted precious seconds and served to prevent the Red Bulls from ever mounting a serious challenge to the Philadelphia goal in the waning moments.  Most importantly, he turned the atmosphere from a healthy buzz to simply electric, whipping the supporters into a frenzy with his goal and then keeping them on the edge of their seats every time he touched the ball.  Easily the performance of the year thus far for young Torres.

4 Comments For This Post

  1. Ken Says:

    Good ratings this week. Glad to see you noticed the impact of torres. I also agree with your assessment of Le Toux, he just doesn’t look sharp. One thing that doesn’t seem to be missing from Le toux is his work rate. Hopefully he will find his touch, and Nowak will realize Migs is giving the ball away 70% of the time and we might have a decent midfield.

  2. Eli Says:

    Okugo deserves better, as does Mwanga.

    Your love of Ruiz is unfounded and wrong. Two cracks from 35+ does not equal a good performance.

    Fat Chooch shows no effort, on offense or defense, and is slowing down Le Toux and Mwanga.

  3. Guest Says:

    From a team perspective, this was the best performance of the year so far. It didn’t always look pretty, but they got the job done. I’m in section 119, so any action around the goal is easily visible, and the defense looked cool and calm regardless of the situation, including Henry’s amusing attempt at a bicycle kick which was effortlessly headed away. Last year I watched the defense closely as they prepared for set pieces and their was often confusion and communication was lacking, but if that exists this year they certainly don’t show it. If they continue to improve, which I know they will, they’re not only gonna be fun to watch but should be a force in the East.

  4. Chris S Says:

    Good ratings. I’d have given Okugo another half-a-point and subtracted it from Ruiz, but this week I seem to have seen eye-to-eye with you

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