Tag Archive | "2010 Player Ratings"

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Philadelphia Union vs. Chicago Fire: Player Ratings

Posted on 12 September 2010 by stoma

It was a sea change for the Union vs. Chicago this weekend. A new keeper in Brad Knighton, getting his second chance after a 23-minute appearance vs. FC Dallas a while back was derailed by an errant lunge. A new right fullback in former U-17 product and Hackworth charge Sheanon Williams. A new look to the backline with Juan Diego Gonzalez out with injury. A second sell-out at PPL Park. And what comes of such change? That first shutout win.

Go figure.

As the Knighton era begins and San Jose awaits, the Union find themselves still somewhat in the playoff hunt all thanks to a revitalized Justin Mapp and Sebastien Le Toux’s 11th goal of the season. ASN Philly’s Sam Toma takes a good look at the Philadelphia Union’s first shutout.

GK Brad Knighton (8.5) *ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH*- Making his 2nd start of the season, Knighton did not have to do much to improve upon his debut, the ill-fated sending off against FC Dallas.  But he did much more than improve, energizing the crowd in much the same way he did in the friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara.  Bailing out the defense with acrobatic, steely saves and controlling the box on corners, Knighton did it all in the 1st half.  The 2nd half proved to be no letdown, as the neophyte keeper played the role of field general to perfection.  With one hiccup, an incident in which Knighton almost replicated his sending off in Dallas by diving out of the box and then being forced to leave the area to defend Patrick Nyarko, the backup of the past (at least for the immediate future) still made the most of his opportunity.  Nowak all but confirmed that Knighton would get a second consecutive start on Wednesday in San Jose.  Suffice it to say it is well-earned.

RB Sheanon Williams (6.5)- Showed the speed that this team has been looking for from the fullback position and featured an unknown weapon, the Roberto Carlos 40-yard throw-in.  Defensively, Williams did leave a bit to be desired in the decision-making department, especially late as the Union worked to protect their lead and clean sheet.  Sheanon appeared to tire as the game wore on.  However, the positive far outweighed the negative for the youngster, as his ability to get forward, deep into the opposition’s territory and send a couple of dangerous crosses in to the area displayed the potential of the attack when supplied with speed from the back. 

CB Danny Califf (7.5)- Played heads up defense throughout the 1st half, making 4 strong clearances, most notably a lunging clearance in the 27th minute off a cross from the left corner.  Throughout the match, the captain was engaged, aware, and played within himself.  Perhaps realizing that he had to show real leadership in front of an inexperienced goalkeeper and alongside a piecemeal back four, Danny played flawlessly at the back today and took no chances in helping to secure his team’s first clean sheet of the season, a feat he took great pride in.

CB Michael Orozco Fiscal (6.5)- Playing in the center again for the first time since early on in the season with the injury to Juan Diego Gonzalez, Orozco-Fiscal acquitted himself quite well, teaming with Danny Califf to form a solid center-backing corps in front of Brad Knighton.  Utilizing a bend-but-don’t-break strategy at the back, Orozco-Fiscal was most useful in cutting off angles in the penalty area to prevent attackers on the wing from supplying the middle for dangerous scoring opportunities.

LB Jordan Harvey (6.5)- With Williams pushing high for most of the 1st half, Harvey was able to concentrate on neutralizing the uber-speedy Patrick Nyarko.  Despite a couple of close calls, Nyarko never got into too dangerous of a position as Harvey and Miglioranzi worked to box him in.  Harvey never let Nyarko get into space in the final third and utilize his speed advantage as he used smart positioning and, when forced, made a few heady sliding challenges that proved effective in keeping the ball away from Chicago’s attack where they could use it.  Harvey’s best defensive performance of the year and a third straight successful marking assignment, as he held speed-demons Davy Arnaud of Kansas City and New England’s Sainey Nyasi scoreless (Arnaud did score, but off of a free kick).

MID Sebastien Le Toux (8)- No more adjectives required for the breakout star of the 2010 MLS season.  In the 36th minute, Le Toux managed to start and finish a counterattack, taking a deflection in the midfield and sending it long to Ale Moreno who held it up and fed to Justin Mapp, who found Sebastien streaking on the back side.  All that was left was for Le Toux to completely contort his body and fake far post before slotting home his 11th goal of the season just inside the near post.  Continued the rest of the match as the jack of all trades, dutifully shifting his role to hybrid midfielder/second attacker when Danny Mwanga went off and then closing the match as the sole striker when the team moved into defensive mode to close out the game.

MID Andrew Jacobson (5.5)- Jacobson played strong defensively but tentatively on the offensive end.  Uncharacteristically, he passed on a couple of open shooting opportunities.  Perhaps we have become accustomed to seeing Andrew come off the bench when the team is in need of a goal and he is instructed to provide a spark, but it was still unsettling to see him passive in the final third.  Defensively, Jacobson has a wonderful instinct of how to use his speed to both rectify mistakes and to cover for teammates, allowing them to gamble forward without worry that a miscalculation will mean an automatic break the other way.

MID Stefani Miglioranzi (6.5)- Showing why a pairing with a young speedster is optimal relative to the stale coupling with injured Eduardo Coudet, Miglioranzi was able to play much more aggressively and effectively knowing that Andrew Jacobson had the speed to track back and clean up any danger.  As the game settled in, Stefani balanced linking the attack with tracking back to monitor Patrick Nyarko and Nery Castillo, helping significantly to hold the duo scoreless and without any real opportunities.

MID Justin Mapp (7.5)- With his 3rd assist in as many games, Mapp has established himself as the premier playmaker on this team with production never realized by Fred in the same role for the majority of the season.  In addition to finding Le Toux for the game’s only goal, Mapp was all over the field and sparked several counter-attacks by making himself available to receive the ball from the back.  Had to feel nice to play like that against the team that cast him off earlier in the season.  Came off for Kyle Nakazawa in a bit of a defensive replacement in the 77th minute.

FWD Alejandro Moreno (6)- Really showed his value to the Union’s attack, making all the smart touches that would allow Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga to spring free for dangerous runs toward and into the penalty area.  The quintessential Moreno play, really, took place to facilitate the game’s only goal: Ale received a long ball in the air across the pitch from Seba, settled it with his chest and held up long enough for Justin Mapp to arrive from the midfield, receive the pass in stride from Moreno, and find Le Toux streaking uncovered down the back side.  The substitution of Moreno, which occurred when Shea Salinas came on in the 70th minute, was timely, as Moreno ‘s style is not as effective when Le Toux is the only viable recipient of his service.  Once Mwanga came out, Ale’s holding up was simply no longer the best strategy.

FWD Danny Mwanga (5.5)- Seemed determined to take his man on just about every time.  Played well, but held the ball when passing it to the next man would have shown better judgment in several instances.  Took a bad spill early in a collision with Fire keeper Sean Johnson, but was able to make himself available all the way through the 1st half and to the 55th minute, when he came off for Fred.  It was revealed after the game that he had suffered a slight separation in his left shoulder and will undergo x-rays and potentially an MRI to follow.  Chances are he’ll skip the trip to San Jose in order to take just about 2 weeks to recover fully for the home stretch.

CF Fred (5.5)– Came on for an injured Danny Mwanga in the 55th minute.  In an effort to avoid the “shrinking” of the field that playing he and Justin Mapp as opposing wingers has too often resulted in, Fred served the role of alternate striker, then after Nowak went to Le Toux as a stand-alone striker, center forward directly behind Le Toux for support.   If a low cross into the box had reached him, Fred had a sure goal shortly after coming on, but it was not to be.  After that, he smartly deferred ball-handling ability to Mapp for the next 20 minutes and found himself in the middle of several legitimate opportunities.  All in all, a strong appearance in substitution, which may be the best way to use him the rest of the way.

MID Shea Salinas (6)- Back from his stress-fractured fibula after two months out, Shea got right back in the mix, coming on for Alejandro Moreno in the 70th minute.  Eager to show that his rehab has him back to full strength and, more importantly, full speed, Salinas wreaked havoc down the right flank for the entirety of his 20 minutes on the pitch.  His infusion of speed will be a valuable commodity down the stretch for the Union as they continue to harbor hopes of relevancy in the playoff race.

MID Kyle Nakazawa (5.5)– Came on for a gassed Justin Mapp as a marginal defensive replacement to help cement the game in the 77th minute.  Didn’t impact the game a great deal, but put the punctuation mark on the end of the game with a blood-curdling tackle of Freddie Ljumberg in stoppage time.

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Player Ratings: Philadelphia Union vs. Chivas de Guadalajara

Posted on 02 September 2010 by stoma

GK Brad Knighton (8.5) * ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH *- Big game from the backup, redeeming himself after his previous sighting (being sent off in Dallas).  With acrobatic save after acrobatic save, Knighton seemed to thrive on the unusual sight of an opponent launching a shot from distance, as that is nowhere near as common in the MLS.   A highly effective and entertaining performance, Knighton definitely found himself all over the place and recorded the first solo clean sheet in PPL Park history and definitely worked for it, recording 8 saves.  Unscored upon in 3 appearances, Knighton is clearly king of the international friendlies.

RB Michael Orozco-Fiscal (5)- Solid but unspectacular game for Orozco-Fiscal, who found himself concentrating more on defense due to the wide open pace of the game early on leading to several chances for Chivas.  He was able to serve a couple of useful balls when he did push forward, but was not able to work himself high on the pitch often enough.

CB Danny Califf (4.5)- Sometimes it’s tough to tell whether Califf is experiences lapses in judgment or is actually trying to physically intimidate the opponent.  This was one of those times, especially against a physically imposing Chivas de Guadalajara.  A giveaway followed by a forearm shiver to the chest of a Guadalajara attacker in the 15th minute didn’t exactly set the tone, but that’s not important. What’s important is that the captain believed it did…something.

CB Juan Diego Gonzalez (5)- It has become apparent that the clearance problem amongst the defenders is now contagious and has moved from Califf to Gonzalez for the time being.  After misjudging a ball over his head in the 13th minute, Juan Diego was saved from being blamed for a second goal in as many games when the referee decided against whistling for a penalty kick after Califf and Patricio Araujo had their feet tangle inside the box.

LB Jordan Harvey (5.5)- Able to get forward a fair bit during the 1st half; to no avail, of course, because he still can’t manage to settle balls that would put him into space in a timely fashion.  Has at least perfected the art of taking the professional foul when he can’t get back, although he was booked for doing so in the 40th minute.

MID Andrew Jacobson (5.5)- Made up for his lack of size with his blazing speed, finding himself in the ample open spaces that the pace of the game created.  His adaptability gives him the slight edge over Zimmerman for regular time in the midfield at this point.

MID Eduardo Coudet (5.5)- Interesting to see that the journeyman has become the team’s first option for corners and free kicks with Le Toux out.  A solid game, as Coudet once again showed, as he did his first time out against Celtic, that his game is well-suited to an international pace with quick, precise touches.

MID Stefani Miglioranzi (5)- A rather ho-hum game for Migs, as he seemed to be going through the motions and trying not to get hurt.  He did manage to muster one of the worst header attempts ever off of Coudet’s corner in the 29th minute, which was at least amusing.

MID Nick Zimmerman (5)- Unlike Jacobson, could not adjust to the fact that he was simply too slight to impose himself on the ball by traditional means.  Routinely pushed aside by Chivas midfielders, Zimmerman could not find his rhythm in his one half of action.

MID Fred (5)- Lots of touches, some gratuitous, from Fred in his half of action tonight.  Especially in friendlies, Fred often looks like he’s showcasing and/or amusing himself.  He dribbles into traffic just to show that he has the handles to dribble back out of it, it appears.  Nothing too productive in Chivas’ part of the field, however.

FWD Danny Mwanga (5.5)- Worked hard, but was not provided any balls to work with.  With Moreno & Le Toux being rested, Danny was the only true forward as the coaching staff used the opportunity to try out a slightly modified shape.  Showed improved touch in the midfield.

MID J.T. Noone (5.5)- With each passing appearance as well as his time on the training ground, Noone is looking less and less like a starstruck kid and more like a player who relishes the competition on the field.  Still needs to work on getting rid of the ball more quickly and having in mind what he wants to do well before attempting to do so, but the improvement is readily apparent.

DEF Sheanon Williams (5.5)- Playing in his first match as a member of the Union following the announcement of his signing earlier in the day, Williams displayed the speed and skill that makes it clear why Philadelphia was intent on signing him from the USL Second Division’s Harrisburg City Islanders.  A national teamer at every age level thus far, Williams has risen quickly in the U.S. since starting his professional career.  A quick back with a good touch and strong instincts, Sheanon should be a good addition for the present as well as the future for the Union.

DEF Cristian Arrieta (5.5)- Showed little rust after having his job wrested from him upon the signing of Juan Diego Gonzalez.  Arrieta, in fact, had a much better showing that either of the starting center backs, leaving one to wonder if he should not be part of a rotation of all three that simply allows the coaching staff to ride the hot hand or hands.

DEF Toni Stahl (5)- Managed to avoid being sent off, which has to be considered progress for Stahl (aka “the 26th man”).  Hopes that Zach Pfeffer will be signed to replace him are most likely to be unfulfilled in the immediate future.

MID Amobi Okugo (5.5)- Made several solid tackles during the early part of the 2nd half, which was running wide open.  Continued to make his case for inclusion into the regular rotation, where he would look excellent paired with Miglioranzi in the center of the midfield.

FWD Kyle Nakazawa (5.5)- Clearly the team’s best option on initiating set pieces, the hype surrounding his free kick ability has been substantiated by his performance.  Also showed improved physicality on the defensive end, not afraid to get into a couple scrapes with the physically imposing Chivas side.

MID Justin Mapp (7.5)- Combined for the second straight game with Jack McInerney to produce an aesthetically pleasing goal.  His ability to drop passes in to the paths of strikers with minimal angle to work with is one of the main reasons he is such a weapon on the pitch when in form.  Further, for the first time, Mapp was a major asset on the defensive side of the ball, tracking back and disrupting the attack of Chivas several times.  This may be a sign that Mapp is getting his legs back under him and getting used to playing regular minutes once again.

MID Roger Torres (6)- Continuing improvement from the youngster, but he still has not been able to put it all together at one time.  Torres showed the dynamic nature of his talents at different times during his half of action, working a give and go with Mapp, controlling the ball and marshalling the attack in the midfield at times, and even ripping a shot from the left side from about 25 yards out that had the crowd salivating as it sailed just over the cross bar.  If and when he figures out how and when to use each of his abilities, he will be scary good, there is no doubt.

FWD Jack McInerney (7)- With a second goal in as many games,  McInerney is showing a continued development in the maturity department, as both goals have come as the result of precisely timed runs into the penalty area and calm finishes.  It was clear from day one that he had immense talent, but if he can keep on learning how to get himself into dangerous positions, the coaching staff will have no choice but to keep increasing his minutes.  Unlike Mwanga, Jack does not have the physical size to allow him to take on big central defenders directly, so the importance that he hone his skill on timing patterns and runs towards the goal is paramount.

MID Zachary Pfeffer (5.5)– Other than the fact that he had to be constantly talked out of freaking out while warming up on the sidelines and that he possessed a grin that covered his entire face just before coming on, the U-17 hopeful looked quite composed on the pitch and even dished out a hit or two.  His touches were productive, if a bit predictable, but the future is clearly bright for the Dresher, Pennsylvania native.  Bonus points because he’s freaking 15 years old.

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Philadelphia Union vs. Colorado Rapids: Player Ratings

Posted on 15 August 2010 by stoma

GK Chris Seitz (5.5)- Never really tested other than the out of nowhere mad rush to the goal that forced the keeper to punch the ball out hurriedly, leaving Colorado’s Jeff Larentowicz with the ball at the top of the area.  Seitz could do nothing about the perfectly buried goal in the lower right corner Larentowicz struck, but perhaps he could have held the free kick or at the very least struck his parry with a bit more conviction.  He was also unable to hold a free kick in the 64th minute, but that punch out did not hurt him.

RB Michael Orozco Fiscal (6)- Continued to show why he is gaining the confidence of the coaching staff with each passing game.  And as that confidence pushes higher and higher, so does Orozco-Fiscal’s position on the field, as he often gets down the length of the pitch to provide crosses into the box.  We even we saw a run all the way into the opposition’s penalty area in extra time, as a beautiful finish for the apparent winner was negated only by a late offsides flag from the lineman.  Clearly a more reliable crosser of the ball than Jordan Harvey.

CB Danny Califf (7.5 *ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH*)- Seemed determined to push higher on the field this game, but still managed to get back in plenty of time when required.  Perhaps this is something for Nowak & Hackworth to keep in mind, as Califf is at his worst when he has nothing to do put stay back and wait for attacks to come his way.   Instead, a highly involved Califf was at his best against Colorado: winning balls in dangerous positions, serving the ball down to Le Toux that lead to the equalizer in the 73rd minute and also serving the ball that led to the apparent winner by Orozco-Fiscal before it was called back for offsides.  All work and no play make Danny a dull boy.  And a dull Danny might just crack somebody upside the head with an elbow.

CB Juan Diego Gonzalez (6)- The silent partner at the back tonight, Gonzalez has only been here for three games and already it is easy to take his resilience and stability for granted.  He has quickly established himself as a staple with his solid man-marking, decision-making and natural ability.  The coaching staff is definitely spoiled for choice at the center back position.

LB Jordan Harvey (5.5)- A stronger showing this time out for Jordan, as he seemed to find the balance between his defensive responsibilities and finding the right times to push forward to join the attack.  With the addition of Mapp and the emergence of Orozco-Fiscal, Harvey has struggled to find a defined niche with the team.  During this game, however, he showed that his versatility can be his greatest asset, as he can complement the defense or the attack as the situation calls for.

MID Fred (6)- Without Mapp clouding issues of who should get the ball in the midfield and when, Fred was able to return to his high-flying, free-wheeling ways, working a productive and dangerous one-two with Danny Mwanga several times as he transitioned from midfield to attack.  While this did not produce any goals, it gave the coaching staff food for thought going forward as they work to define the roles of the team’s personnel.  Fred was taken off for Jack McInerney in the 83rd minute.

MID Eduardo Coudet (5.5)- With the return of Miglioranzi, Coudet no longer had to assume all of the defensive responsibilities in the midfield, freeing him to link the attack and actively participate, as he was able to show his touch from a few dangerous crosses.  Going forward, it is apparent that Coudet is the safe option at the other central midfield spot, but the team may be better served going for more speed, athleticism and creativity from the position.  In that vein, Coudet was replaced by Roger Torres in the 63rd minute.

MID Stefani Miglioranzi (6.5)- Back after two games missed with a groin injury, Migs sought to bring his stabilizing presence back to the lineup.  It is safe to say that he succeeded, as the unit seemed whole again, never really seeming threatened at the back other than the mad scramble that resulted in a 1-0 deficit for the Union.  Both viewers and teammates can take great comfort in watching Miglioranzi on and around the ball, as he effortlessly and without hurry moves himself into the correct position and rarely, if ever, makes a bad decision with the ball.

MID Sebastien Le Toux (6.5)- A center back’s absolute nightmare, the best thing about Seba is that every time he touches the ball, no matter where he is, he is looking to produce a goal.  No effort or touch is wasted in this pursuit.  This puts immense pressure on the opposing defense, forcing the action and, as the results of this season have borne out, produces eye-popping statistics.  Le Toux found Danny Mwanga several times this match, obviously garnering his 9th assist after using his speed to beat the defense down the field and get into the left corner before finding Mwanga streaking into the penalty area.  However, Seba also authored several near misses from Mwanga, nearly finding the rookie’s head on a cross in the 3rd minute and narrowly missing on another cross in the 20th.  Unfortunately, the pressure Le Toux puts on the referees does not seem to be producing just results lately, as for the second time in four games, an extra time takedown in the box is not called in Seba’s favor.

FWD Alejandro Moreno (6)- Returning from international duties with Venezuela, Moreno looked rejuvenated.  Maybe it was the time away from the club, maybe it was getting his 1st goal of the season, but Ale looked downright spry on the field.  He rattled the right post on a shot and had a goal called back for being offsides.  This was important in its own right, as Moreno has been rooted to the high midfield for most of the season; the fact that he is now looking to get towards goal is a great sign.  Eventually came off for Justin Mapp in the 59th minute.

FWD Danny Mwanga (7)- Another calm finish indicative of a savvy veteran, not of a rookie not even two-thirds of the way into his first season.  At this point, it’s fair to call the kid can’t miss.  Barring injury, he is going to have a fantastic career, both at the club level and, eventually, at the international level.  Now we have to hope that the US Federation does what they need to do to get him eligible for the U.S. team.

MID Justin Mapp (5)- Came on for Alejandro Moreno in the 59th minute.  One is left to wonder whether Mapp being left out of the starting XI was a concession to Moreno and his role as a leader of this team, or an acknowledgment that Justin is still not well-conditioned enough to go a full 90 minutes.  If that is the case, Piotr Nowak is correct in choosing Mapp for the latter part of the game than the early portion, but that choice did not pay off this time, as Mapp did not find himself a part of the action with any regularity.

MID Roger Torres (5.5)- Came on for Eduardo Coudet in the 63rd minute.  When on form or, perhaps, when he develops his ability to distribute to the strikers, Torres will help form the most athletic and dynamic look the Union can feature in the midfield, with Miglioranzi, Fred and Mapp.  However, while it is clear that Torres has returned to full speed from his injury and that he has the ability to beat his man from any position on the field, Roger will not make the next step until he learns at least two or three consistent, dependable ways to pass the ball into a dangerous position.

FWD Jack McInerney (N/A)- Came on for Fred in the 83rd minute as an extra striker in an effort to go for the winner.  Ultimately did not have a significant impact on the game.

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Philadelphia Union vs. Manchester United: Player Ratings

Posted on 22 July 2010 by stoma

GK Brad Knighton (6.5)- Again looked indecisive early, but did the job when he was asked.  In a half highlighted by a point-blank save on Danny Welbeck in the 37th minute, he gets to say that he kept one of the best teams in the world out for a full 45 minutes.

RB Michael Orozco Fiscal (5.5)- Of the defenders, seemed to keep his calm the most early when Man U. came out of the gate quickly.  Played solidly in the middle throughout.  Continues to improve.

CB Cristian Arrieta (6.5)- Left to cover for Jordan Harvey’s frequent forays forward, he had trouble rotating over early but adjusted by the middle of the 1st half.  Came out at the half for Toni Stahl.

CB Danny Califf (6)- Looked a bit panicky in his clearances early on, pushing a couple out for corners when he had space to settle.   Communication between the back line still seems to be a problem, especially while working the offsides trap.  His strongest moment as captain came in the 88th minute, when Brian Perk came off his line yet again to handle a ball that Califf was already in the process of dealing with; Califf let Perk know in no uncertain terms what his responsibilities were.

LB Jordan Harvey (5)- While it certainly wasn’t his decision to push up constantly, his inability to track back hurt the defense several times early on.   Ultimately, his being perpetually in transition ended up being the difference in the game, as a turnover on a pass from Toni Stahl to Harvey while trying to get forward from the back resulted in the only goal of the game in the 76th minute.

MID Sebastien Le Toux (6)- Early on, with Manchester United setting the tempo, Seba took the lead in sticking his nose in, ensuring that the Union would not be an afterthought.  A couple of near misses for the freshly-selected MLS All-Star, but he most personified the hard-nosed, scrappy nature this team is starting to develop a reputation for.

MID Stefani Miglioranzi (5.5)- Looked spry on the field tonight, selling out because he knew he would be coming off at halftime.  Him and Coudet together continued to be a calming influence in the middle.  Did indeed come off at halftime.

MID Eduardo Coudet (5.5)- He must be performing well in training, because the team is looking to feed him in the midfield to allow him to link to the attack.  While he does try earnestly to help defensively, his movements are simply awkward back there. Altogether, though, a much more complete showing from the trialist this time around.

MID Fred (6)- Not as effective in this game as the last few from the wing.  Most likely due to the competition, he found himself having to get back far more often, which left him at the back when the attack started quite frequently.  Used the dribble more than the quick touch tonight.

FWD Alejandro Moreno (5.5)- Appears to be more or less fully recovered from his knee bruise, as he is back to his posting up, holding up form.  Missed on a fairly open chance from Mwanga in the 11th, but didn’t seem to be overly disappointed.  Ale is back, ladies and gentlemen.

FWD Danny Mwanga (7) *ASN PHILLY MAN OF THE MATCH*- Was clearly not intimidated, as he announced himself by taking on Fabio in the 11th minute, rounding him in the corner and then cutting it back deep to Ale Moreno, who could not convert the opportunity.  Another near miss in the 16th minute, as he cheekily turned an Eduardo Coudet into a volley on net that just cleared the bar.  Danny in particular seemed to flourish in the setting of this game.  The pace appeared just to his liking, as was the sometimes wide-open nature of the game from the 15th minute to the end of the first half.  Mwanga continues to make big strides in short periods of time.

Substitutions:

GK Brian Perk (5.5)- Once again, came in cold and immediately took control of the game from the defensive side.  When you’re as cocky as this guy comes off, you either back it up or you don’t.  Perk does.  At the same time, making strong, quick decisions assumes that you’re properly trained and ready to make the right decision the vast majority of the time.  Brian is not quite there yet, as his forays off his line are sometimes ill-advised.  We know at this point that he can make the highlight-reel save, but it is not as clear whether or not he can be the steady rock that personifies a true #1.

MID Andrew Jacobson (6)- Continues to make his case to be included in the first eleven as his brand of wide field coverage managed to draw the praise of none other than Sir Alex Ferguson.  While he failed to take a couple of good chances, he showed a motor that never stops and did an extraordinary job stabilizing the middle of a young unit in the 2nd half.

FWD Nick Zimmerman (5.5)- Came in at halftime eager to shoot, getting a decent effort off with his left foot early on in the second stanza and then a less-than-stellar effort with his right foot in the 55th minute.   Zimmerman seems to genuinely enjoy being on the field with this team and relishes every opportunity he gets.

FWD Jack McInerney (5.5)- The kid clearly does not lack confidence, as he will shoot it from anywhere on the offensive side of the field (perhaps from across midfield as well, although we haven’t seen it yet).  There’s excitement in the air every time this kid laces up the boots.

MID Amobi Okugo (5.5)–  One thing is clear: this kid will be exciting one day, most likely sooner rather than later.  However, for the time being, he’s going to just have to keep taking his reps where he can get them and gain confidence on the pitch in game situations.  Tonight was a nice step towards that, as Amobi eschewed the attempts for the spectacular and played his game simply and solidly.

RB Toni Stahl (4)- So, when he’s not getting sent off, he’s making ill-advised passes that end up leading to game-deciding goals.  Throw in his pass back toward the center after receiving Brian Perk’s panicked pass from the back that led to a frantic scramble in its own right, and it continues to baffle as to why Stahl is given chance after chance with this team.

MID Kyle Nakazawa (5)– Back from his lengthy injury rehab, the man billed by the team as a “free kick specialist” almost delivered from distance in the 55th minute.  Put another shot on net off a broken build-up in the 74th minute, but didn’t impose himself on the game much otherwise.

MID Martin Rivas (4.5)- The latest trialist came on in the 61st minute and immediately looked lost.  He didn’t know where he was supposed to be and, when he did stumble upon the ball a few times, he was eager to rid himself of it. His youth is appealing (18 years old) but if you ask us, the jury need not be out on this trial.

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Philadelphia Union vs. Seattle Sounders: Player Ratings

Posted on 28 June 2010 by stoma

Player ratings from ASN’s Sam Toma…based on a scale from 1 to 10 (with 10 being the highest):

Chris Seitz – Goalkeeper 7.5

Only really called into action once in the first 40 minutes, but responded to that chance well. Beaten on a ball he could do nothing about in the 45th, as his defense let him down a bit on a deflection right onto the foot of Pat Noonan.  Got his revenge against Noonan in the 59th when he out-waited the striker before saving the penalty kick that preserved the tie at the time.  Solid and confident all day long; decision-seeming to improve by the minute.

Shea Salinas- Defense 7

The pacy option to prevent Montero from running wild like he did in the opener and to especially guard against rising star Steve Zakuani, becoming more and more confident at the back with every passing appearance.   For the first time, really seemed to take on primary defensive responsibilities and showed himself to be the aggressor.  Started to push forward in the 2nd half, with Jordan Harvey staying back.  The highlight of his forays forward was the clipped ball towards Moreno that drew the foul call in the box that resulted in the penalty kick and the Union’s first goal.

Jordan Harvey – Defense 6.5

As has been the case throughout the season, pushing up from his right back spot and serving the attackers.   As noted above, switched responsibilities with Salinas in the 2nd half and hung back a bit more. Both Salinas and Harvey shut down the wings for Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Zakuani. Very little was heard from Seattle’s most dangerous attackers.

Danny Califf – Defense 6.5

Almost pitched a perfect game in the 1st half only to allow Pat Noonan behind him on the deflect for Seattle’s goal in the 45th minute.   For the first time this season, didn’t let a mistake rattle him and held firm in front of Seitz for the remainder.  Of course, improved goal-keeping makes a defense look better and vice versa.  Tonight, it was a beneficial co-dependent relationship.

Cristian Arrieta – Defense 6

Solid for the most part, but certainly deserves his fair share of blame for the deflection leading to the goal.  And, of course, did commit the foul that led to Seattle’s penalty kick.  But he also got into the air well on both sides of the ball, forcing Keller to make one of his better saves of the night off of header from a Le Toux corner in the 78th minute.

Stefani Miglioranzi – Midfield 5.5

Steady at the back, not a lot of action/touches through the 1st half.  Almost like a referee, it seems as though if we don’t mention Migs’ name, he and the Union had a good game.  So, maybe I’m contradicting myself by only giving him a rating of 5, but I’ll let you all ponder that one.

Roger Torres – Midfield 5.5

Not providing much by way of service, but was able to get forward himself more and offer options for his teammates.  Subbed off for Jacobsen in the 63rd minute before really making his mark on the game.

Fred – Midfield 7

Played at his consistently solid level, providing useful touches around the box.  A bit more aggressive in the last third this match than in those previous, getting 2 shots on frame, both quality scoring chances (the second of which was the 79th minute goal off of Sebastien Le Toux’s corner kick).  Came off to a standing ovation and several “we are not worthy” salutes in the 81st minute.

Sebastien Le Toux ©ASN/Terry McLaughlin

ASN's Man of the Match Seb Le Toux ©ASN/Terry Mc Laughlin

Sebastien Le Toux – Midfield 8.5 *ASN’s MAN OF THE MATCH

As always, led the attack, but 3 shots on goal in the 1st half did not seem to overly worry Keller.  This all changed in the 2nd half, first putting away the equalizing penalty kick in the 54th minute, then becoming the point guard on the break.  Playing at midfield to accommodate Danny Mwanga’s recent addition to the first 11, Seba’s work rate really produced results in the final 45 minutes.  In addition to taking 6 corner kicks of the 8 Philadelphia created,  he was able to be the link between the midfield and the attack that this team has been looking for.  Direct involvement in all 3 goals and really should have had 2 assists, but for the fact that Mwanga’s was technically unassisted due to the fact that it was off the rebound.

Danny Mwanga – Forward 7.5

The phenom’s confidence is clearly beginning to rise, showing willingness to take on defenders.   Put 4 shots on frame and had his hard work pay off in the 84th minute off a pretty pass from Seba, although he had to put in the rebound after having his initial effort stopped.  Physical ability is blatantly apparent; the kid is the real deal.    Subbed off for Nick Zimmerman in the 87th minute to a standing ovation.  Proved that he can, in fact, score in normal time.

Alejandro Moreno – Forward 7

Looked a step slow early.  Had a couple of good opportunities to score, but could not convert.  However, still managed to influence the game greatly by drawing the foul that resulted in the penalty kick and the Union’s pivotal 1st goal.  Ultimately, a bit concerning that he was not winning as many balls and holding up the defenders as well as we and his teammates have become accustomed to.  All the same, Ale himself said after the FC Dallas game that he does a lot of things that go unnoticed, and tonight was the perfect example.  It may not show up in the score sheet, but Moreno’s hand touched all three goals: obviously, he directly set up the penalty kick by drawing the foul; he seemed to screen and/or fake Keller out on the ball from Le Toux that eventually found Fred’s foot; and the gorgeous through-ball to Seba that sprung him and Mwanga on the break.  Still the engine that drives the Union bus.

Andrew Jacobson – Midfield 5.5

Came on for Roger Torres in 63rd minute.  Showed good energy in the immediate aftermath of the penalty kick exchange. A strong move for Coach Nowak, sending a message that he would not be playing for a tie, which the team followed, helped by the injection of energy from Jacobson.

Amobi Okugo – Midfield N/A

Came on for goal-scorer Fred in 81st minute

Nick Zimmerman – Midfield N/A

Came on for goal-scorer Danny Mwanga in 87th minute.

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Union at Chicago, Player Ratings

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Breton Bonnette

That was a lesson of putting the chances you create away. Chicago, though outplayed throughout the majority of the match, did just that and reaped the benefits. It was cattenaccio at times from the home team but when the time was right (Arrieta one on one with Nyarko) or chances were presented to them (Miglioranzi’s disgusting clear), they got the job done.  The Union – playing decent soccer for a good amount of the 90 minutes – instead had to run, yet again, post-match. There was possession and that’s promising but little was done about the final pass or final shot that is necessary to put the ball in the net.

Philadelphia Union Player Ratings (1-10, 10 being the highest)

GK: Chris Seitz -7 – ASNPhilly’s Man of the Match

This is one of the first games we really saw a boatload of spectacular saves from the young keeper. He will be a big part of this squad’s future. His confidence continues to grow and he’s well on the Brad Guzan track to success. Okay, let’s not jinx him.

DR: Cristian Arrieta – 5

Arrieta has trouble dealing with pace. That was evident against Houston when Danny Cruz blitzed him on several occasions. Why then, would Arrieta up against Patrick Nyarko – probably one of the fastest in the league – work out? It was only a matter of time.

DC: Danny Califf – 5.5

Unable to anticipate where Nyarko was going with the ball on the first play but otherwise, a relatively decent game from the captain. If you noticed, there was very little of McBride throughout the game. A threat taken out by Califf.

DC: Michael Orozco Fiscal – 5

The Califf and Orozco pairing needs to continually improve. There weren’t any shocking areas and in fact, this was a relatively consistent game from the two but much more should have been done on the two plays that led to Chicago goals. Especially the second.

DL: Jordan Harvey – 5.5

Harvey is improving on his forward runs but for the most part, he was unable to make a real impact on the game.

MR: Shea Salinas – 5.5

Probably should have had Salinas in the back from the get-go with the threat of Patrick Nyarko looming the whole match. It wasn’t a matter of if – just when – he was going to get the chance to burn Arrieta. Salinas, however, looked solid back on defense. Salinas is another one of those 100% effort from the gun players and it hurt him later on in the game. He still belongs in the first XI going forward.

MC: Stefani Miglioranzi – 4.5

An inexcusable clear that led to Marco Pappa’s eventual gamewinner highlighted a disappointing performance from Migs. The truth is it has been a tough last couple games for Miglioranzi and he’s just not playing with the same composure he was early in the season.

MC: Kyle Nakazawa – 6

I like this kid. A couple more games and he should feel comfortable moving more into the offensive set-up. His deliveries on set-pieces are consistent and his defense in midfield has improved each time out. There’s a reason Nowak keeps putting back out there over Jacobson or Okugo.

ML: Fred – 5

Nobody doubts that Fred can dribble around, find space, distribute at times, and generally impress us with a heap of skill, but the lack of purpose he shows on the ball really hurts this squad.

FC: Alejandro Moreno – 6.5

I can’t wait for the day Moreno decides to take a 20-yard drive, it goes in, and every Philadelphia Union fan rejoices with the possibility that the Union could have two instead of one striker intent on scoring. The Moreno and Le Toux combo works – we have seen it happen – but if we don’t maximize chances, this kind of bunker-down, defensive crap will happen more often from opposing teams.

FC: Sebastien Le Toux – 6.5

Le Toux knows you have to put away the chances. He’s done so already 5 times this season and he had several opportunities in this match regardless of a catenaccio set up from Chicago.

Subs:

FW: Danny Mwanga – 6.5

Grabbed the consolation goal and had the presence of mind to make sure it hit the back of the net. He is also starting to slowly gain enough confidence to take men on, use his body, and realize when he’s in too much trouble to get out of it. He could work well the rest of this season in a super sub role – along with the addition of Torres, that’s a tough duo to deal with late in games.

MF: Roger Torres – 6

You have to like  Torres coming in off the bench. Fresh, motivated, and more than capable of  resuscitating a fading attack. Wish he could play the full 90, coupled with Salinas in the attacking right back role but I’m not sure that’s going to happen for a while.

MF: Nick Zimmerman – N/A

The road trip concludes with a Thursday night match-up vs. the Kansas City Wizards led by South Jersey native Peter Vermes. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen put in a stellar performance for them in Toronto to ensure they left Canada with a point this past weekend. We’ll be back with a preview on Tuesday this week. As always, tell us what you thought of the game. Frustrating? Was it a step forward or back? What changes need to be made to secure a point or three in Kansas City?


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Philadelphia Union at Houston Dynamo Player Ratings

Posted on 30 May 2010 by Breton Bonnette

The Union surprised an incredibly tough Houston home team last night coming from behind to win 3-2 in the dying moments. It was the #1 draft pick Danny Mwanga that grabbed the gamewinner all thanks to the unwavering work ethic of both Alejandro Moreno and Sebastien Le Toux. The win now puts the Union at 2-5-1. Player ratings are based on a 1-10 to scale with 10 being the highest.

GK: Chris Seitz , 6

Arguably there was very little Seitz could do on the restart goals from Brian Ching and Eddie Robinson. He made several fantastic saves. The one that stands was the near post save on Danny Cruz after he was through with a one-on-one opportunity.

DR: Cristian Arrieta, 5

Aside from the fact Arrieta couldn’t handle youngster Danny Cruz (and that’s a big fact), he was a fair distributor of the ball from the back and got forward well on occasion. Cruz was a tough one to cover all game and Houston realized that. On numerous occasions, the Dynamo found space in between our defensive line and our center mids making us vulnerable to that through ball. Arrieta was burned due to collective defensive positioning but managed alright overall.

DC: Danny Califf, 6.5

Califf did his job as a captain, there’s no doubt about that. This was the most organized we have seen the defense including Nakazawa and Migs in the middle. One couldn’t help but chuckle – and hold your breath for fear of a card – on the bodycheck of Houston’s Danny Cruz.

DC: Michael Orozco, 5

Incredibly shaky early on in defense. Orozco calmed things down a bit in the second half even though, upon replay, it looks like he was the one outmuscled on Brian Ching’s second-half equalizer. Not sure it would have mattered who it was defending Ching on that play as he clearly had an angry eye for goal.

DL: Jordan Harvey, 6

A serviceable appearance from Harvey although it seems he has more than solidified the left-back position. He gets forward well, has begun to minimize his problems with distribution from the back, and he hustles.

MR: Shea Salinas, 8, ASN’s Man of the Match

The real spark tonight. Salinas was all over the place. Aside from some technical problems here and there and wayward passing, he was constantly a problem to Hainault and Mulrooney on the flanks. His chip of Onstad was outright gorgeous. Gassed after that first half’s effort.

MC: Stefani Miglioranzi, 5.5

Not his best game. Migs was sloppy all over the field and made some rather untidy tackles that aside from his early season ejection were pretty uncharacteristic of him.

MC: Kyle Nakazawa, 6

With the performances of both Salinas and Nakazawa, Torres coming in off the bench sounds like the best idea. Nakazawa’s pace and placement on set pieces marginally outweighs Torres creativity and skill. Nakazawa’s defense is getting better each start out as well. Clearly still needs a lot of work but he’s turning into an interesting central midfield prospect.

ML: Fred, 5

He’s supposed to be the veteran playmaker and we’re not really seeing any of that. There was too much running into traffic or trying to force passes that just aren’t there. Didn’t have the same presence on the left flank that Salinas had on the right.

FC: Alejandro Moreno, 6.5

That work rate never dies. For example, getting harried and hassled along the right flank in the final moments of the game, Moreno still had the composure to find a streaking Sebastien Le Toux. That simple pass eventually led the gamewinning goal. He is the heart and soul of this tough Union squad.

FC: Sebastien Le Toux, 7

Seba grabbed his fifth goal of the season but most of his work, believe it or not, was done off the ball. Houston’s defenders were forced to track him creating . That connection with Moreno plenty of times in the game and it seems to be getting stronger. The last time they connected it was on the give and go that led to Le Toux’s right flank run and subsequent gamewinning assist. Early on, though, Le Toux was out of sorts.

Substitutes:

FW: Danny Mwanga, 7.5

Comes in mid second half and provides the assist on Seb Le Toux’s equalizer before Le Toux returns the favor and sets the rookie up with a gamewinning sitter. There is still much that is raw about Mwanga but it’s clear the goal vs. FC Dallas has calmed the nerves. It’s amazing what a little confidence will do for somebody.

MF: Roger Torres – 6.5

Until he stay consistent for the full 90 minutes, this super sub role really helps him. He’s able to go full out without worrying too much about whether or not he has enough left in the tank. It was Torres’ chip to Mwanga that set up Le Toux’s equalizer.

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Player Ratings: Philadelphia vs. FC Dallas

Posted on 15 May 2010 by stoma

GK- Chris Seitz (6): Came out with decisiveness early and made the right decision more often than not.  The goal could not have been stopped by any keeper (excepting Kevin Hartman today).  Even though the team kept the ball away from him for most of the 2nd half, he was ready the couple of times he was needed.

DEF- Jordan Harvey (7): Apparently, the coaches’ choice to press up from the back for this game.  After watching Shea Salinas serve that role from the right back position, Harvey put his own touch on it with good success.  He served balls while maintaining his defensive responsibilities.

DEF- Cristian Arrieta (5.5): Just about single-handedly gave up the goal to Brek Shea after laying off of him and allowing the turn and shot from 15 yards.  After that, however, Arrieta played solidly, although he mostly opted to simply clear balls that reached him instead of looking to launch a counter.

DEF- Danny Califf (6):  Helped the team weather the early storm, standing tall in the face of two early challenges.  Shutting speedster Jeff Cunningham is no small feat, to be sure, but we must penalize the captain for the fact that Cunningham flubbed 2 open scoring opportunities and for a missed clearance late in the 1st half.  Finally, marks off for missing two relatively open headers in the 2nd half.

DEF- Michael Orozco (5):  Didn’t really stand out much either way.  He joined Arrieta early in laying off his mark too much.  He also straight up whiffed on a clearance in the 18th minute that missed becoming the 2nd goal by a whisker.

MID- Fred (5.5):  The man simply refuses to shoot for some reason.  On the other hand, I think he could probably dribble out of a phone booth.  He didn’t seem to be demanding the ball as much in the midfield, which could be seen as good or bad, depending on one’s perspective.  Seemed more efficient than in the past few games and, most importantly, was committed to digging back to help on defense several times.

MID- Stefani Miglioranzi (6.5):  Took a little more offensive responsibility this game, pressing up and serving balls to the forwards, including the ball over top of the defense that found Sebastien Le Toux about a quarter of an inch offsides in the 8th minute.  As usual, was a rock towards the back when needed.

MID- Kyle Nakazawa (5): Almost appeared to be playing 3rd striker for much of the match.  Brought in for set pieces, but didn’t offer much by way of supply.  Finally cramped up and was subbed for in the 67th minute.  The definition of an average performance.  Not too bad for a first MLS start, all told.

MID- Roger Torres (5):  On the other hand, when you’ve started the vast majority of the team’s seven games thus far, the definition of average is nothing to write home about.  The story for Roger was the same: good when in space, but still needs to show that he can create his own space.  And, as has also become a typical story, Torres was subbed out in the 2nd half after a silly yellow card.

FWD- Sebastien Le Toux (7) * Man of the Match:   Seba really appears to revel in the love the home crowd reserves for him.  Anyone who was worried about whether or not he would be showing any ill effects of his injury can rest easy now.  The team as a whole really seems to have embraced him as the goal-scorer, dismissing any sentiment that the home-opener hat-trick was an adrenaline-fueled fluke.  Called barely offsides on a late flag from the linesman to prevent a goal in the 8th minute.  Consistently getting to long balls, displaying a speed that many were not aware he possessed coming into the season.

FWD- Alejandro Moreno (6.5): Was ready to pounce as always, digging back into the midfield to secure possession and taking a physical pounding while coming back for more as usual.  A pro’s pro, Ale showed how a team leader can affect a game without having his usual involvement in the attack.

SUBSTITUTES

MID- Shea Salinas (5.5):  After coming In for Nakazawa in the 67th minute, he looked eager to shoot, but a little out of rhythm in the midfield.   His spark off the bench arguably woke the team up from a mid-half lull that could have seen the clock run out without anyone on the pitch noticing.  Salinas’ near-miss   around the 75th minute seemed to urge the team to take more chances on net.  In addition, he earned several corners that helped lead the late assault on Kevin Hartman that led to the late equalizer.

FWD- Jack McInerney (N/A): Came in for Torres in the 75th minute, but didn’t really make an impact.

FWD- Danny Mwanga (7): Only 13 minutes, but a game-tying goal in the last seconds of extra time for a first professional goal?  That’s got to be worth something.

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Philadelphia Union vs. Real Salt Lake, Player Ratings

Posted on 09 May 2010 by Breton Bonnette

Rinse and repeat. The Union opted for more of the same this week. Two costly mistakes and a lack offensive aggression stretched the Union’s losing streak to four straight.

After coming out strong early in the first half, the Union were unable to find a final pass or shot capable of finding them the league. You have to think that the first goal in any situation would really calm these guys down going forward. The way they look now is timid. Nobody wants to take the reins and take a shot at goal. In fact, we didn’t see any offensive aggression until the insertion of Shea Salinas started causing troubles on Salt Lake’s right wing.

The analysis will be minimal this week as frustration has taken hold. We’ll add more as the week goes on. Please let us know what you thought of the game in the Comments section below.

Philadelphia Union Player Ratings

GK: Chris Seitz, 5

I still remember what Brad Guzan looked like in his first bunch of games for Chivas USA. That’s why I’m not unbelievably worried at Seitz and frankly, his mistake was one that many keepers – good or bad – would have made. This one just happens to fall after several shaky appearances. The blame falls strictly with Roger Torres on that one.

DR: Cristian Arrieta, 4

When have blind backpasses EVER been a good idea? Arrieta’s gaffe made him the latest Union defender to wipe away any momentum that Philadelphia stored up. Even before the mistake, Arrieta’s play was suspect. Chalk it up to one bad come and let’s see if the former Islander bounces back.

DC: Danny Califf, 5

Where was Califf or Orozco on Alvaro Saborio’s clincher. The central pairing of Califf and Orozco were distinctly average. Not much to say except the regular minimize the costly plays and keep organized.

DC: Michael Orozco, 5

Orozco rarely took a run into the attack. Not sure why but other than that, there was very little I noticed with him.

DL: Jordan Harvey, 6

Harvey looked dangerous up and down the left side. He better watch out, however, the costly mistake bug bit Orozco, Califf, Toni Stahl, and now Cristian Arrieta. Jordan, you’re next!

MR: Roger Torres, 4

His duck on a Real Salt Lake set piece led to Chris Seitz’s foul-up. Torres needs a break. He no longer is a secret weapon. Defenders have seen this guy and realized that he’s easy to manage. Put a body on him, close down, and get him frustrated. Start someone that can take the beating right now.

MC: Andrew Jacobson, 4.5

Not his best.  There was a lack of vision there that Stefani Migilioranzi possesses. With Migs in there, he was able to concentrate on what he was good at – getting out of tight spaces, winning balls. Without Migs, it was his job to do the same while trying to jumpstart the offense.

MC: Kyle Nakazawa, 5.5

We want to hear from Union fans on this one. Nakazawa is starting to play his way into the lineup. His set pieces alone make him a better option than Jacobson who could provide some real energy off the bench. His biggest weakness so far seems to be the adjustment to the physical nature of Major League Soccer play. That should come with time, experience, and a keen sense of positioning.

ML: Fred, 5

Fred is frustrating. Sometimes frustratingly good, sometimes frustratingly bad. He can play but it stings when he sits on the ball waiting for defenders to crowd around him so he can toe poke it away and open space. Very rarely will that work in Major League Soccer. He doesn’t like to pull the trigger either.

FC: Alejandro Moreno, 5

Moreno did his part again. Can you teach an old dog a new trick though? Moreno can set things up well as we have all seen but teaching him to pull the trigger every now and again could help this team a lot. Regardless, Moreno has operated proficiently in his role as support striker but as of right now it looks like only Seb Le Toux speaks his language.

FC: Jack McInerney, 4.5

It would be interesting to know whether or not Nowak and Hackworth have discussed starting Salinas up front. McInerney looked lost for the most part and there’s not much more we can expect from him this early on. He works best as first off the bench in an Ole Gunner Sjolskaer super-sub role.

Substitutes:

Danny Mwanga, 4.5

Yes, there’s potential but why put him in when he hasn’t put much together on the field yet?  It’s understandable that we’re looking towards the future but if Nowak keeps throwing into the fire, yielding the same results, it could start to have a negative consequence.

Shea Salinas, 6

Salinas needs to start. Once he entered the game, Philadelphia’s offense looked dramatically different. Put him in for Torres.

Nick Zimmerman, 5

Came in and wanted to do something to help the squad but couldn’t find the chops to do so. Helped end a run of shotless minutes that frankly was getting annoying.

Next up, FC Dallas at home. A return to Philadelphia should be good for the Union. Hopefully, by then, the costly mistakes will have gotten old. So much so that we earn a point or two during the next long road trip.

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The First Five: Gauging the impact of the Union

Posted on 04 May 2010 by Breton Bonnette

With the first five regular season games of the Philadelphia Union’s inaugural season gone, we wanted a way of  tracking our sentiments throughout it all. The player ratings have allowed us a nice gauge as to how we think each player is doing. And despite a 1-4-0 record, our thoughts on the first five games are remarkably average. We’ll be revisiting the table below every five games, monitoring current form and each player’s season performance as a whole.

 

Player at SEA DCU at TOR at RBNY at LAG Average
Arrieta   7 6.5 5 5.5 6.00
Califf 6 8 3.5   4.5 5.50
Fred   6.5 6 5 5 5.63
Harvey 5 6.5 7 5.5 4.5 5.70
Jacobson 5 7 6 5.5 5 5.70
Knighton            
Le Toux 6 9 5 6   6.50
McInerney         6 6.00
Miglioranzi 6 7 6.5 7 4 6.10
Moreno 5 7 5 6.5 5 5.70
Mwanga 4     5   4.50
Nakazawa         6 6.00
Okugo     5     5.00
Orozco 5 6 6.5 4.5 5 5.40
Perk            
Salinas   6   5 7 6.00
Seitz 6 5 4 4.5 6 5.10
Stahl 4         4.00
Thomas     4.5     4.50
R. Torres 6 8 7.5 5 4.5 6.20
Zimmerman       6   6.00

The bright spots? 

Sebastien Le Toux ©ASN/Terry McLaughlin

Sebastien Le Toux (6.50)

– Far and away, Le Toux has already engrained himself in the history of this club. He has 5 of the 7 Union goals on the year, 4 in the regular season, and his partnership with Moreno up top gives the Union a chance every time out. RSL, Chivas USA, and Toronto FC fans couldn’t say that in their first year of existence.

Roger Torres (6.20) – A huge drop-off in the last two matches leaves us wondering if Torres needs a little more of a limited role. His creativity and tenacity makes him a valuable asset but he is too easily taken out of the match and the more we play the 18-year old, the more the physicality of the league might take a toll on him. Regardless, he has still shown his chops as one of the most promising youngsters in the league. 

Stefani Miglioranzi (6.10) – The vet is a coach’s favorite everywhere he goes – just ask Sigi Schmid and Bruce Arena. Migs – stupid red-card foul vs. the Galaxy aside – has provided a calming presence in the midfield, coupled with Andrew Jacobson. Between Moreno and Migs, the Union have a solid captain-like core for when Danny Califf goes mad. 

The troubling? 

Chris Seitz (5.10) – His outings have gotten progressively better and frankly, I’m not worried. Still early mistakes and understandable jitters have him pegged as the worst rated this team has to offer. We foresee this going up. 

Michael Orozco (5.40) and Danny Califf (5.50) – On paper, this really should look like one of the best central defense pairings Major League Soccer has. The only real downside of this pairing on paper would be their aggression. Unfortunately, it has really yet to work out for a full 90 minutes. Mistakes, brain cramps, bonehead plays, and shaky moments have plagued Captain Califf and Orozco. Once again, we foresee this getting a bump as the season progresses and this partnership solidifies itself. 

With defending champions Real Salt Lake up next and a second home game looming, the Union have to find a way to grab a point or three on the road before things get a bit out of hand. It’s already been proven that the core is there for them to do that but execution has been subpar when it was time to do so. What do you think of the player ratings? Do they tell you anything? Are they accurate? What do you want to see from these guys going forward? 

Archives (Last Five Games): 

At Seattle. 

vs. DC United. 

At Toronto FC. 

At New York. 

At Los Angeles.

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