Player ratings

Player ratings & analysis: Union 1-1 Impact

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Another dominant performance, another disappointing result.

The Union turned a win into a draw Saturday for the second time this season, continuing a pattern from last year. They could be sitting atop the standings. Instead, they’re mid-table.

But it’s early, and this is a team still feeling itself out. Who are the best 11? How best do these pieces fit? That is still a question to be answered for this team, as one would expect with a team that acquired so many key, new parts in the offseason. So let’s explore it a bit, as Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Montreal may have revealed a bit more of the answers.

As McInerney goes, so goes Maidana

After a stellar first two games against Portland and New England, Chaco Maidana has gone quiet. Union manager John Hackworth has pulled him from the last two games after about 55 minutes to get a spark from Leo Fernandes. One four-game stretch is too small a sample to adequately reflect Maidana’s tendencies. But after the first two games, it seemed clear that Maidana had some nasty attacking tendencies. So what happened the last two weeks?

Jack McInerney’s performances might lend some insight.

Look at both players’ touches over the season’s first four games.

GameMcInerneyMaidana
@Portland6097
New England54107
@Columbus2741
Montreal3067

As one goes, so goes the other. However, it may be as much correlation as causation.

McInerney may be a dangerous poacher, but he has played little part in the possession game the last two weeks outside of a terrific pass to set up Vincent Nogueira’s goal on Saturday. On the day, McInerney completed just 7 of 9 passes.

Meanwhile, with Nogueira’s tendency to bounce from sideline to sideline and sit deeper than a typical playmaker, a hole appears to remain in the center attacking third between the center midfielders and McInerney, unless Leo Fernandes is in the game to fill it. Last year, Conor Casey filled that hole as a target forward.

In all likelihood, this is where the attack is bogging down and why Maidana and McInerney (and Sebastien Le Toux, to a lesser extent) haven’t connected with the midfield trio as much the last two weeks. The attack has a missing link.

Does Brian Carroll fit the Union anymore?

Brian Carroll was having a really solid game Saturday until one misplaced pass to Vincent Nogueira set up Montreal’s counterattack goal. His defensive takeaway and subsequent pass to Jack McInerney began the break that led to the Union’s goal. Carroll led the Union with 24 defensive takeaways (3 tackles, 4 interceptions, 3 clearances and 14 recoveries), with 15 coming between midfield and the 18-yard line in the field’s central channel. His play helped limit Montreal to just two shots on target. Carroll is a valuable player for a team, and his overly harsh critics need to accept that.

So what’s wrong?

Soccer isn’t a game of individuals. It’s played by teams, and the key is how a team’s parts interrelate. That makes it all the more sadly ironic that a classy, underrated, team player like Carroll may prove excess in the long run.

Philadelphia may have evolved beyond the point where they need a true No. 6 defensive midfielder like Carroll every game. That role typically exists on a team because the No. 6 has to cover for a pure creative attacker in front of him who needs defensive support to shield the back line. Philadelphia doesn’t have that player though.

The additions of Nogueira and Maurice Edu, emergence of Leo Fernandes, and move to a 4-3-3 may make Carroll the odd man out. Nogueira may lean more offensive and Edu more defensive, but both are box-to-box midfielders in the No. 8 style, capable of covering vast amounts of ground and contributing at both ends of the field. They can sit at the base of a midfield triangle the way that Portland’s Diego Chara and Will Johnson do to allow Diego Valeri freedom to roam in front of them to create as a No. 10 playmaker.

Thus far, Nogueira has filled the Valeri role for the Union, but he likes to sit deeper and may be worthy of the tag, “deep-lying playmaker.” With a trio of Nogueira, Edu and Carroll in the lineup, all three like to sit deep, leaving a gap in the central attacking third between them and McInerney.

With Maidana and Fernandes, the Union have a pair of left-footed attackers who can create in the offensive third. By only using one of them at a time and starting Carroll, Hackworth sacrifices offense for defense.

Once the back line gets healthy, he may not need to anymore.

Speaking of that back line …

The Aaron Wheeler experiment is fascinating. He is an absolute beast in the air. His defensive positioning is surprisingly good. Wheeler’s long strides enable him to cover a surprising amount of ground. Yes, his distribution is awfully suspect, but that appears to be a function of playing in a completely new part of the field. Given time, he should settle down and read the game better there.

So what happens when Austin Berry recovers?

He goes right back into the starting lineup, of course. Right now, he is more reliable than Wheeler.

Still, one has to wonder about Wheeler’s future. He has great athletic ability, size, and instincts. His potential as a center back seems vast. Is it too late in his career to emerge as a top line center back?

In American soccer, it’s never too late. He could make a nice safety net if Amobi Okugo bolts for Europe when his contract expires.

Player ratings

Zac MacMath — 5

A perfectly ordinary day at the office: Make the routine plays, don’t get challenged much, get beat by the one good shot your opponents get. Fairly typical for MacMath.

Ray Gaddis — 7

Gaddis won six tackles Saturday (and ranks third in the league in total tackles with 19). That’s a big defensive game. You can’t knock him for the counterattack on the Di Vaio goal. Fullbacks push into the attack in the modern game, and Gaddis can’t always show superhuman speed in recovery. Okugo and Wheeler were in adequate position where they could have stopped the goal. In the attack, Gaddis was ordinary, however. The Union miss Sheanon Williams.

Amobi Okugo — 6

Okugo was having a solid game until he waved off defensive help and gave Marco Di Vaio just a tad too much space. Di Vaio made him pay with a terrific curling shot, deflected or not. Sometimes, that’s just how it goes: Great players make great plays, and Di Vaio made one. The learning curve continues for this burgeoning star.

Aaron Wheeler — 7

Wheeler was absolutely dominant in the air and made key defensive play after key defensive play. However, his distribution remains a problem, and he deserved at least one yellow card, if not two, on the day. You can’t get away with violent shoulder blocks on Justin Mapp every game.

Fabinho — 3

Fabinho brings some nice things to the left back position, like a left foot. But getting outrun by Di Vaio (not exactly known for his pace), connecting on a low percentage of crosses (1/6), and playing subpar defense won’t help him hold onto a starting job once Sheanon Williams returns to full fitness.

Brian Carroll — 8

See above. Brian Carroll had a very good game. Teams like New England that need a true No. 6 d-mid should pay attention.

Maurice Edu — 7

Edu completed 39 of 44 passes, and three of his five incomplete passes were headers. Those numbers seem Keon Daniel-like, except that Edu was sending these passes ahead toward the attacking third. Add a solid defensive showing, and it’s a good game on the whole.

Vincent Nogueira — 8

His goal was perfectly taken, and he covered a lot of ground defensively, making four tackles. As usual, he was all over the field on both ends. No Union player — and few in MLS — inspires as much confidence on the ball as Nogueira. He looks like an all-star, and this wasn’t even his best game.

Cristian Maidana — 4

See above. Maidana disappeared for much of the match before leaving with an injury in the 55th minute.

Sebastien Le Toux — 5

Le Toux completed passes all over the field because he was playing all over the field. Some have made the case that Le Toux’s positional indiscipline may hurt other attackers because he fills their spaces. It might be time to see what an entire game of playing Le Toux on the right and Maidana on the left produces. Simplicity can produce wonders.

Jack McInerney — 6

McInerney set up the Union’s goal with a good run and an equally good pass. But he touched the ball just 30 times, less than any other starter on the field. Was that his fault or a function of the midfield personnel? (See above.) Likely a bit of both.

Substitutes

Leo Fernandes — 6

Fernandes entered the game and promptly started finding and putting the ball in dangerous spots. He once again filled a gap in the attack that needed to be filled. (See above.) His dead ball service nearly created a goal. Another stellar game that makes the case for more minutes.

Conor Casey — 4

Casey nearly created a goal in the 72nd minute, shortly after coming on for his first appearance of the season. Otherwise, it was a fairly quiet 20-plus-minute stint.

Antoine Hoppenot — 3

Hoppenot came on in the 83rd minute and then didn’t touch the ball a single time.

(Guide on ratings: 0 – worst game possible. 1-3: poor game. 4-6: below average to above average. 7-8: good game. 9: great game. 10: perfect game.)

The Geiger Counter

Edvin Jurisevic — 3

There is no way that Andrew Wenger deserved a red card for his 76th minute tackle on Vincent Nogueira if Aaron Wheeler can get away with the kinds of hard first half tackles that put Justin Mapp on his rear end. Jurisevic lacked consistency all game. Had Montreal lost, they would have rightly felt jilted by a poor referee.

Preferred starting lineup for next week against Chicago

Union at Chicago - preferred formationIt’s time to see what the team’s best attacking six look like. They looked awfully good against New England a few weeks ago. The caveat here is, of course, who’s available. Edu will on international duty Wednesday night, so whether he plays Saturday for the Union remains to be seen. If he can’t go, then Carroll should be his logical replacement, though I’d like to see what Mike Lahoud could do at the base of the midfield triangle when paired with Nogueira. Likewise, Berry and Williams have been out with injuries, and Fabinho and Wheeler are logical replacements for them again if they can’t go, with Gaddis back on the right side.

96 Comments

  1. For looking as good as they do 90% of the game, this team is surprisingly depressing me right now.

    • Ironically, if we were still playing uglyball with last year’s roster, 5 points from 4 games would probably have us fans kinda happy.

  2. Fabinho made Justin Mapp look like Leo Messi. Yes he’s left-footed, but even that’s not working for him now. We need Sheanon back asap and I’ll take Gaddis defensive cover despite his lack of a left foot.

    Nogueira was so inspiring. I love watching him play. It’s a shame the one time he lost the ball turned into a perfect Mapp pass to a perfect DiVaio shot (complimented by mediocre defending and goalkeeping).

    I think your ranking for Edu is a little high. He was caught in possession way too much and even looked a bit soft at times. Protecting himself for #USAvMEX?

    On the other hand, I thought LeToux had a better game than your rating.

    Perkins and Mapp were fantastic for Montreal. Was I the only one surprised?

    • I somehow suspect that Fabinho still has that knock he picked up during the Game against New England. He may have been put out there due to lack of options. Sheanon can’t come back fast enough.

      • I think you may be right. Fabinho isn’t as fast as Gaddis, but seriously? losing to Di Vaio by that much pace? Something has to be wrong. However I still but Gaddis there when Shaenon is back.

      • Di Vaio may be old, but he still has some pace in him. In person, I can tell you I was shocked at that sprint past Fabinho. He’s still got it.

      • Very good point.

    • +1 on Edu. Not his best game. He didn’t add much offensively and was outshone by Carroll defensively.

    • +2 on Edu. He lost the ball about four times in the first fifteen minutes, getting pushed off it.

      • +3. I remember clearly his first touch was a bad turnover in the middle of the field, and I thought “well it’s raining.” About 5 or 6 bad touches later my first thought was “I hope you play better than this at US Camp this week.” He better not turn it off if he gets called up in May to protect himself, and the same goes for if he doesn’t get called up. He better not lose interest.

    • True, I may have been a bit high on Edu. It was a coin toss between 6 or 7. Maybe I read the coin wrong? πŸ˜‰

  3. If I were the coach:
    1) Maidana would sit the next game and be replaced by Leo.
    2) I’d tell Jack if he continues to make demeaning gestures on the field to his teammates every time they don’t give him the final pass, I’ll break his hands.
    3) Gaddis plays over Fabinho when Williams is back.
    4) Not much else. The chances are there, it’s early in the season, they’ll get finished. No need to over-react.

  4. Fab looked out of his depth, which is rare. He was consistently beaten on the counter, and didn’t offer much going forward, which is also rare. I felt Edu looked a step slow and turned the ball over more than usual, and that Maidana was a net negative for the second straight game… However, the team played admirably, given the weather, and 1-1 is a really tough result to take after another really impressive performance.

  5. I like your starting lineup if the U. want to stick with a 4-3-3.

    But what about getting Casey and McInerney on the field together?? Conor would very nicely fill the hole that you bemoan in your article, and he is really excellent with the ball at his feet and so could mix it up really well with our new additions. This would involve moving to a 4-4-2. More speficially, we could take Carroll out (I agree with everything you said about him, including the fact that he was the Union’s best player on Saturday) and play a 4-1-3-2 (Maidana/Nogueira/LeToux being the 3). Or, if we keep Carroll in (not my preference), we have a 4-2-2-2 (with Carroll/Edu as the back 2, Nogueira with LeToux or Maidana or Fernandes as the middle 2).

    • Agreed, re: Casey. That’s my alternative: You do a 4-4-1-1 with Casey in for Fernandes. Hackworth will likely try it at some point.

    • Yes, Casey for Carroll and switch to a 4-4-2 is what I would like to see. Also, upgrade Le2 spot. Fernandes and Ribeiro(I know he’s in Harrisburg, but he can be called up anytime) are my top choices there. Hopefully Chaco comes around soon.

      • In a weird world where the best players are used to there fullest abilities the Union play a 5-3-2.

        Jack-Connor
        Chaco/Leo
        Vince-Mo
        Fab-Aaron-Austin-Amobi-Sheanon

        And we destroy every team we play. Sheanon and Fab can and do push all the way to the end line with three of the leagues most athletic and versatile CB’s behind them to snuff out counters. Both Vince and either Chaco or Leo are both free to roam and create as necessary. “The Beast of The East” as Mo Edu is now known owns the entire center of any pitch he steps on to. Big Country Conor Casey beats the hell out of the other teams most imposing Center back while Jack continually has to remind the other where he left his jock strap. End dream sequence.

      • And I didn’t even mention the delicious set piece targets.

      • Except your lineup has 11 field players. So unless we’re putting Wheeler in goal, something’s gotta change. πŸ˜‰
        .
        edit: Oh, wait – I think you’re saying one of Chaco or Leo. If so, nevermind. Long day…

      • Southside Johnny says:

        A sweet dream for sure.

  6. I agree Carroll was having his best game in a long time before the late error, but an 8? Seems like your overcompensating for the inevitable Carroll haters. Agree on your points about him though. He still has a place on this team, but may be excess with the current pieces. Personally I would love to see him coming on later in a game like this to kill it off. He won’t have 70 mins on his legs and his mind may stay fresher too. Brings a great attitude to every game.
    .
    I think most people agree something needs to change, and it can’t just be Hackworth’s mindset of “we need to finish better”. Yes that’s very true, but he needs to facilitate a change.
    .
    The options as I can see it are either Carroll out for Leo or Casey, Jack out for Casey or Maidana or Le Toux out for Leo. Personally I would go Casey on for Carroll to start in a 4-4-2. Then bring on Carroll and Leo in the second half, followed by the obligatory Hoppenot for forward sub. This at least makes us have 2 attackers, as opposed to 1 with the wings staying back. Also Casey is exactly the type of player needed right now.
    .
    Also, everyone calling for a Wheeler/Berry back line and Edu/Okugo midfield need to keep dreaming. There is zero chance of that happening. Great though and possibly amazingly effective, but right now I’d settle for Hack being creative enough to change a formation.

    • james lockerbie says:

      I am in complete agreement with that line of thought. We can’t get Hack to think differently about his subs now you want him to rethink his pet project okugo’s transformation to center back…mind blown

  7. Also, I totally agree that Wheeler had a really strong game. And at this point we have to give major props not just to Wheeler himself, but to Hackworth for seeing something excellent when many of us scratched our heads over his strange move.

  8. Until this rating system includes coaching, then I don’t think it lends much to the overall conversation. Rating Fabinho 3 is suspect at best considering he was running with Justin Mapp all afternoon and Di Vaio does have pace. He seems to beat a lot of defenders and not just on the Union. Gaddis had issues with Mapp and Di Vaio last year as did Sheanon Williams.

    Question to the group – Did Sheanon Williams have issues with his fitness going into training camps or in general?

    • No, he was fine when camp opened and then pulled a muscle during one of the scrimmages. He is just taking longer to come back than they initially had hoped.

    • i don’t know why people bring up rating the coach almost every week. they have said they aren’t going to do it

      • +1, thank you, I’m tired of it. This is our forum to criticize tactics. It’s easy for us to say “so and so sucks” anonymously. But do an interview after and you’ll be much kinder. It’s a perfect balance on this site. Leave it alone please.

      • Just as you say “Not me”

  9. while I’m ok with Okugo’s rating, his failure on the goal was more than just giving too much space. He gave him the entire goal as a shooting lane, with his back to the field, forcing MacMath to take the near post. I’m not sure if Okugo was trying to bait him to shoot far-post or not, but I wouldn’t take those gambles with Di Vaio

    • Totally agree. His angle was all wrong, and the one thing you don’t give DiVaio is space. Only other complaint on the goal was that MacMath was lined up directly behind Amobi covering the near post too tightly.

    • Exactly. Okugo lost where he was on the field, plain and simple. The entire goal was open with room to spare to curl it into the far post. It’s a shame because Okugo was in beast mode for most of the game.

  10. I would rank Nogueira lower for not passing to wide open Jack in the first half and for the terrible corners. Both he and Letoux had terrible corners, most of which were picked out by Perkins since they were too close to him and did not have enough pace.

    • It’s tough to launch corner kicks in when you’re starting from a pool. I’m surprised they didn’t switch sides and kick outswingers to avoid those spots in the far corners.

    • No way. Defender had that pass covered, Jack ran too deep and took away his own space for that pass on the six. Nog was looking for it, but Jack was actually not in a good position. He made the right decision of going for the far post shot.

      • Agreed. And when Jack was open towards the end of the play, I believe he was in an off side position.

      • Agree – I thought Jack was offside as well. It would’ve been interesting had he caught up to the ball near the post for the tap in.

      • Agree. The defender seemed to overplay the pass. I know I was yelling for Nogueira to shoot, as he was unchallenged and it seemed like the higher percentage play at the time.

      • you guys may be right: I was in the RE section and could not see Jack’s nor the defender’s positions; all I saw was that he was wide open.

      • +1, and this makes Jack’s gesture even more annoying

      • +1 (definitely in an offside position)

    • The Black Hand says:

      Mac blew that goal. Noguiera wanted to pass. Jack stayed off for far to long, completely removing himself from the play. If he dropped back MUCH earlier, he would have given Noguiera space to send him in…all alone or at least drew the defender away, giving Noguiera a better angle.

    • james lockerbie says:

      Le toux needs to slow down on his corners they seemed to be rushed. I believe he was more focused last year his service was dead on. He seems to be back on hitting them low with pace or high and too close in on the keeper.

  11. I like the point about the hole at CAM and how Leo fills it- and I agree that Wheeler is good enough to be called a revelation- but I take issue with Okugo’s six. He told his team he had it covered and then didn’t- two big mistakes. The finish was phenomenal, but did Okugo need someone to tell him what Di Vaio could do? An okay to good game and that mistake puts him at a four. That’s the breaks when you are a CB. I still love him though.
    Edu really disappointed me by being the biggest contributor to our disjointed start. He gave up the ball too many times.

    • I have seen Leo do a lot but I haven’t necessarily do anything that would suggest he is a CAM.

    • Can Maidana slide into that spot behind McInerney? I know he’s played centrally before, and doesn’t seem to have the legs (at least not yet) to get up and down the sidline on the wing. I’m not sure where he’s been most effective in the past, but it seems it’s been slow going getting him integrated into the flow.

      Nogueira on the other hand, is so impressive. Pretty sure I have a new man crush.

      • Completely agree. Maidana doesn’t seem to have the legs to both create and defend the full 90. I think it is best to let him focus on creation and have other guys (Edu, Nogueira, Carroll) focus more on defensive roles. Of course that means Hack would have to change….

  12. Andy Muenz says:

    I agree that Wenger didn’t deserve red, but I thought Camara did deserve one, so in that respect, justice was served. (Note, that I messed up the DVR settings and didn’t record the game, so on both plays, all I have to go on was my initial live view and in the case of Camara, one additional view on the screen at halftime).

    • I wish Jack Mac had carried Camara into the box before he fell so that he could get a PK out of it. Overall, I’d say they’re both 50/50 red/yellow cards, so it evened out. It’s not like we played any better with a man advantage, anyway.

    • Seeing it live, I shouted “red” immediately for Wenger. I thought he broke Nog’s ankle.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Agree 100%, Andy. Wenger’s tackle looked horrible BUT he did lower his foot at the last second (and ended up getting the ball). Should have been yellow. Camara should have been shown the red, because Jack would have been clear on goal. The remaining Impact defender was closer to goal but too far away to have gotten to McInerny. I think that Wenger’s red was a bit of a make-up call.

      • I think macks touch was what let the ref/camara off the hook as it was questionably far enough he may not had enough space to control and put on net reliably. agree it could have been red and I believe would have been had macks touch been a length and direction that made everyone sure he would have been able to handle it.

  13. I am starting to think Sheanon is our MVP in his absence he adds so much to our team when he is out there.

    • if he stays out another month there will be rumors of a transfer to Barcelona

    • kingkowboys says:

      I agree that Sheanon’s absence is really hurting us. We need his service and the throw ins. This weekends sloppy conditions would have been perfect for a long throw to Casey. It could have brought us back up to three points.

    • I like Shannon very much, but he needs to improve in the attacking 3rd with his runs and crosses IMO. I think Gaddis is better than him in that respect. I also believe Gaddis is close to his equal in playing right D. Shannon clearly has Gaddis beat with that amazing throw-in ability and also in the air. Gaddis is a bit underrated and we are lucky to have him as a back-up, especially at his price tag. That one area of improvement for Shannon and he gets his call up to the national team.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I see it a little differently. I think that Shaenon is better than Gaddis, in the final third. He’s more confident with the ball at his feet. Gaddis is improving drastically, though. Defensively, I don’t think that Shaenon is close to Gaddis. He gets trapped upfield far too often and fouls in dangerous spots (a lot).

      • Shaenon was first or second in assists for us last year.

  14. Nogueira should be given the armband immediately. He was giving more direction to this team in one game than BC7 has done in 3 years.

    • So we are gonna give the armband to the guy who doesn’t speak English? Does that mean Hoppenot and Letoux are immediate starters.

    • Immediately may be overkill, but I agree 100%. Nog needs to be captain sooner rather than later. Not only is he a great player, but his persona and attitude on the field SCREAMS leader.

    • kingkowboys says:

      There was a comment that Nog is still trying to grasp the language during one of the broadcasts, and this is his first year. He’s a skilled veteran and should be vocal. He’s the playmaker right?

      Okugo should have the armband. Vocal defensive leader who should be here for a long time pending an extension. That allows us to sub/sit Carroll without changing captains.

    • Edu should get the armband. Nog’s struggle with the language is the main reason he doesn’t get it(at least yet).

    • ebradlee10 says:

      If anyone is going to get the captaincy, it should be Okugo, and should be for as long as he’s here.

  15. The Chopper says:

    The season going forward depends on what kind of production if any, the team will get from Conor Caey. Regardless of how the midfield pieces are filled, Jack McInenry simply is not a lone striker. He is a second striker/poacher who has a knack for,being in the right place to clean things up after the work is done, but not doing a lot,of that work himself. He needs a partner up front to do the work and occupy defenders.

    If John Hackworth insists on running a 4-5-1 (it doesn’t look like a 4-3-3 to me) Casey is the better option up top, but does he even have the legs left for 60 minutes a game?

    Hoppenot is not a starter and even now looks like,his time as a sub is less than helpful. Wheeler is looking like a defender. LeToux can’t finish. This team needs to find another striker, but does not,have the funds to buy a strong one. A trade is the only option, but who,has a legitimate striker to,spare?

  16. I don’t know the right answer to fix the lack of goals, but I keep going back to last year. Casey seemed to be involved in a big portion of our goals. On the same note, while I agree with the criticisms of LeToux, he also was often a contributor to our goals last year (and the same so far this year). Hard to take him off as well.
    .
    Finally, I will repeat my preseason prediction that Nogueira will be our season MVP. If he starts scoring more goals like he did Saturday, we will be a very dangerous team. I just hope his legs hold up deep into the summer after playing first team ball for 18 straight months.

  17. Wow. From MLS site:
    .
    “…from his last 20 minutes on the field. It’s hideous:
    Maidana touched the ball 12 times in a 20-minute period. Ten of those times resulted in the Impact heading in the other direction.”
    .
    Schnikey! With that in mind, I think you could rate him a 2.

  18. The Black Hand says:

    Nice job, Dan.
    .
    It’s time to take a look at our #1 pick. If anything, the competition could force MacMath to pick up his game. He has been poor.
    .
    The back line had there hands full. All, but Fabinho, were up to the task. His 3 was generous. Wheeler/Okugo have been working together nicely. Gaddis was very good, in his typical unsung manner.
    .
    The midfield was disorganized. Carroll was valiant in defending but he needs to distribute better, if he is to warrant a spot in the XI. He has a way of sucking his fellow central mid close, congesting a small space. This results in the rest of the midfield collapsing in and players being rushed. If we could spread out more, our players would have a little more time to look around and make positive play. Not to mention, it would open the opposition and widen passing lanes. A lot, not all, of this results from #7 being on the pitch. All that said, Carroll had a match!

    Noguira is a damn good player! Maidana is also a fine player but needs more space to be effective. LeToux puts out the effort but his poor touches are becoming a bit of a problem. We need to use the width of the pitch, throughout our midfield, and stop relying on our backs to make up the wings.
    .
    Now to Jack. He is a talented player that can be effective if deployed properly. HE IS NOT A LONE STRIKER!! (Watching DiVaio work made it all the more obvious) Sure his runs, at times, are nice but he needs to get on the same page as his teammates. His off-the-ball run (on Noguiera miss) was appallingly bad and he should have been very much taken to task by the manager. His body language, after the miss, made it all that much worse. If we are going to attack from the flanks, then we need a striker in the box. WAY too many crosses were delivered, only to find McInerny 18 yards out. Even if he were in the area, he is too small to fight off CB’s. Hackworth needs to abandon the 4-3-3 (4-5-1) or Jack needs to adjust his game. All of our fine play crashes in the final third (4 games/4 goals).
    .
    This club should have more than 5 points!

    • james lockerbie says:

      I know it was just high school and local club play but when I was a winger sending in a cross to watch it go through the box with no one there to tap it in was the most maddening experience! Now as a fan it’s even more maddening! There have been several crosses in this game and the previous matches that went through the box only to go out the other side or get picked up by the opponents backline. horrible, we need jack to crash the far post.

      • The Black Hand says:

        This formation just isn’t working out. Hackworth is, undoubtably, looking at a ‘Barcelona’ type formation. The difference is, Pedro(LeToux) and Sanchez (Maidana) both play above Messi (Jack). The two are acting as the strikers, with Messi trailing. Our formation reverses the attackers, leaving Jack alone up top and unable to have effect. Switching the top three positioning could work, if it weren’t for the fact that our two CM’s are playing too close and Carroll cannot really distribute. If we sat LeToux, pushed Noguiera outside and set both he and Maidana ahead of Jack, with Leo at the 10; we might be able to get by without Casey (who is nowhere near fit). It would require Carroll to show much more poise, on the ball We could move Okugo to the CDM…nah. I don’t know what the answer is, but Hackworth must make changes!!

  19. Some observations, in no particular order:
    .
    I thought Jack had one of his better games, actually. Not only did he score the assist on Nog’s goal, but he had a sweet back heel pass to Nog not too long after, but Nog was about 5 yards offside. I thought Jack did a better job filling his space this game – though the numbers above have me questioning my memory, frankly.
    .
    Shocked Wheeler didn’t get a card for his first half hit on Mapp.
    .
    I think Okugo’s rating is a point too high. It’s only one play, but it was a really bad one. He simply gave way too much time and space. I thought he should’ve closed down on him a lot sooner and forced Marco Polo to make a move.
    .
    I was encouraged to see Macmath so demonstrative toward Okugo after the goal. I can’t recall MacMath ever yelling at a defender for a blown assignment before.
    .
    I agree about the switching of Le Toux and Maidana. I’d love to see a game where they don’t, just to see what happens. That said, I don’t think you *can* have such a game, given that Le Toux takes left corners and Maidana takes right corners (and free kicks, for that matter). That forces a swap of positions, at least temporarily.
    .
    Hack is getting better at subs, I guess, since we didn’t see Danny Cruz this week. The question of me is whether Maidana is being removed for effectiveness, fitness, or a combination. If it’s fitness related, then OK for now but Maidana’s gotta improve. If it’s effectiveness, I’d love to leave him in and see what he does with Leo on the field.

  20. Until Berry and/or Williams comes back:
    .
    McInerney – Casey
    Edu – Maidana – Noguiera
    Carroll
    Fabinho – Wheeler – Okugo – Gaddis
    .
    After Berry or Williams returns, swap Edu and Carroll, and put LeToux in Edu’s place.
    .
    The 4-3-3 experiment has run its course.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Swap Edu and Maidana and you have something. I don’t think that Casey if fit for a start, though. Leo???

  21. the most concerning part for me was how jack seemed to cower at every long ball and just stand there and hope no one ran into him. I don’t expect him to dominate in the air but he has to try and establish some position. he was getting pushed off the ball and man-handled.
    I am sure there are multiple reasons for this but as a striker playing for several years in this league he needs to find a way to cope with this as any coach watching the game knows how to take him away.

  22. Saturday’s game clued me in on Maidana’s problem: another one-footed player. In my section we were all laughing at Mapp and his avoidance of ever using his right foot, but I soon realized that Maidana does the exact same thing.

    He was looking kind of gimpy and wasn’t going to beat anyone with speed down the left, but on the right it’s so obvious he wants to cut inside that he’s really easy to defend.

    He was grabbing his calf a lot. Maybe they should give him a break.

  23. OneManWolfpack says:

    “A perfectly ordinary day at the office: Make the routine plays, don’t get challenged much, get beat by the one good shot your opponents get. Fairly typical for MacMath.” — DAMMIT that is frustratingly accurate.
    .
    Agree with the rest of the ratings. Especially Fabinho. A guy is killing this team. Can’t wait to see Gaddis and Williams together soon

  24. Southside Johnny says:

    Dan, nice job with the ratings and I mostly agree with your analysis. I would come to Jack’s defense on a couple of points. First, I think it’s hard to blame a high striker much if at all for lack of involvement/touches given the hole and disconnect in the midfield. He seems to be damned if he drops back for the ball and damned if he doesn’t. If you buy that premise, then 7 for 9 completions from 30 touches including a beauty of an assist doesn’t seem too shabby to me. I also think he has been more involved in possession in the previous matches than you credit him, but was often behind the attack when he did that. Still, I think a 6 is fair enough.

  25. You’re killing Wheeler and Fabinho for their poor passing and lauding Gaddis and Carroll who may have the worst ball skills in the league. I believe I saw Gaddis play a ball 20 years backwards and into the stands in the first half and send an attempted cross 15 rows into the SoBs in the second, but his worst moment had to be when he let an Edu pass roll right under his foot and over the touch line. Carroll? what can you say about a guy that can’t dribble, can’t pass and can’t score from 10 yards out with the ball sitting still.

  26. Why do you all think you are competent to rate professional soccer players ?
    Let the pros do their job and enjoy (or not).

  27. james lockerbie says:

    @prof A Judge Once said, “I can’t define obscenity but I know it, when I see it.” So must of us have never played the game beyond the college or local adult pick up leagues but we can recognize talented well played soccer when we see it! and what else should negadelphians do between games?

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