Player ratings

Analysis and Player Ratings: DC United 2-2 Union

Photo: Courtesy of

You know things are bad when Ben Olsen has already given Jim Curtin’s locker room speech before the game is over:

Philadelphia Union fought back, and fought through the defense’s worst passing performance of the season. Then they stopped fighting.

Or, to be more accurate, they stopped fighting as a team.

Here is a partial list of events after the 89th minute:

  • Patrick Nyarko nearly gets back onside to volley home a tying goal.
  • Andre Blake’s poor punch allows Nyarko to drive at goal, but C.J. Sapong’s excellent recovery saves the danger.
  • Blake redeems himself with a stunning double save on Kennedy Igboananike and Lamar Neagle.
  • Walter Restrepo’s unconscionable decision to dribble into the middle means the Union’s best chance to hold the ball is over in under fifteen seconds.
  • Steve Birnbaum is left free on Taylor Kemp’s cross and hits his shot directly at Blake.
  • Blake proceeds to punt the ball over nearly everybody, essentially gifting the ball back to DC immediately.
  • Igboananike is put through in the center but luckily he’s still Kennedy Igboananike so he is pushed off a bouncing ball.
  • Restrepo again loses the ball quickly in the center.
  • Jair Marrufo waves off a clear foul on Sapong near the top of the Union’s box when the Union man is shoved over from behind.
  • Richie Marquez’s half clearance falls to Luciano Acosta.
  • Acosta floats a cross to the back post where, again, everybody is open. Birnbaum equalizes.
Union passing from minute 90 until Birnbaum's equalizer

Union passing from minute 90 until Birnbaum’s equalizer

Shall we dare to gander at the Union’s pass chart from the 90th minute until Birnbaum’s goal? Yech.

The Union had no composure. They had no organization. They had, perhaps most disturbingly, no maturity. The defense that has played above their age and experience much of the season struggled to move the ball all night, and it came back to cost them at the end.

And that’s too bad, because before the final few moments of the match, this was the story of a team that could win even when they were far below their best. It was a match in which Ilsinho was largely a soft spot, but looked to have set up the winner with a strong individual defensive play. It was a match in which Ken Tribbett had a howler of a first half but recovered to play a solid second frame. It was, for most of the second half, a good bad match.

What does a good bad match look like?

It looks like DC’s shot chart through 86 minutes… plus DC’s shot chart in added time. Aside from a Birnbaum header, DC was kept to the outside and far from goal for the majority of the match.

DC shots before 90th minute

DC shots before 90th minute

DC shots: 90th minute and beyond

DC shots: 90th minute and beyond

Even as the Union struggled to create their own chances, they kept the home side at bay. Luciano Acosta faded as the match wore on and United settled for low percentage shots from the left. DC only took one shot from a good position between the 46th and 80th minutes, and they became almost entirely reliant on space down the Union right to establish an offensive presence.

Meanwhile, Tranquillo Barnetta emerged from something of a rut to rediscover a love of driving forward with the ball at his feet and Fabian Herbers realized DC’s man-oriented defense meant Rob Vincent would follow him out of the center and leave gaping holes for Barnetta to run through.

Herbers and Barnetta and Ilsinho: Someone is the third wheel here

In the first half, Philly’s three on-the-ball playmakers were tripping over each other. Barnetta has never settled in a deeper role and had to almost physically restrain himself from leaping forward whenever Ilsinho found the ball and turned inside.

Meanwhile, Herbers was popping up in traditionally good holes only to find Ilsinho or Barnetta already there.

The result was an offense that seemed stuck in first gear. DC’s defense was extremely man-oriented, with Acosta and DeLeon handing off Barnetta and Carroll while Vincent followed Herbers through the forward zone. This meant that Herbers would bring Vincent into play whenever he checked to the ball, clogging Ilsinho’s progress up the wing. When he switched to the left channel Herbers wasn’t creating separation and Vincent ended up with three interceptions and a tackle in the opening forty-five minutes. Not bad for a guy who played wing and scored goals in USL.

There were two keys to creating a more dynamic Union offense. First, Barnetta needed to incorporate different elements of his game into his deeper role. The Swiss midfielder has sought to occupy many of the same spaces he used to, at the cost of defensive positioning. Barnetta can logically argue that he’s dangerous when he can turn and run at defenses from holes behind the midfield, so that is where he should be. Below, he makes a great read to get behind the defense on the right and Herbers storms the box but blows the shot.

Sure, do that next week when Bedoya is consciously watching for counters.

Against United’s man defense, the first order of business is getting by your defender. This should be cake for Barnetta, who has great change of pace and vision for a hole. But over the past few matches, he has been hesitant to attack spaces, settling for longer balls into the corners. This has had the dual downside of bypassing Roland Alberg, who doesn’t look for those runs, and limiting Barnetta to a sitting distributor role that doesn’t fit his skillset (but fit Vincent Nogueira perfectly).

When Barnetta finally began attacking space, he immediately disrupted DC’s defensive shape.

Acosta couldn’t or wouldn’t keep up with him and Vincent began hanging in the middle as cover. This meant Herbers became more dangerous if he was willing to drift away from Vincent’s locked-in position in the center.

The rookie did just that and became both a good outlet and a wonderful decoy who cleared the middle for Barnetta. The best result of Herbers’ movement wasn’t his own stats, but Barnetta’s. Philly’s best creator was able to get in more advanced positions to spread the ball around in the second half.

Ilsinho giveth a few times, but taketh away one big time

Both early in the match and late, DC United found freedom up the Union right. The easiest moment to pick out early (and the hardest to watch) was Taylor Kemp’s bullying run through the left channel that left Ilsinho behind and left Ken Tribbett hoping there were at least ten great moments in the Olympics to close out Sportscenter Saturday night. Though Kemp deserves credit for fighting off Tribbett and finishing with the aim of an archer, he never should be allowed such freedom to advance.

DC’s fullbacks play extremely tight to their wingers. You know this, I know this, Jim Curtin knows this, and Ilsinho knows this. It is essential that runs over the top are mixed in with short possession passing in order to keep Kemp and Sean Franklin honest.

Ilsinho never did this, and when Kemp jumped through him like a cornerback sitting on a curl route, everybody could see it coming.

If Ilsinho is hitting the hole behind Kemp with any regularity, the fullback has a lot more hesitation about bombing forward like he did again in the 39th.

The big questions still looming

Ultimately, Ilsinho’s troubling defense and Herbers’ continued growth mean Philly needs to seriously consider whether the Brazilian should continue as the locked-in starter out wide. Though his creative ceiling is higher, Ilsinho costs the Union dearly defensively, and this is a team that absolutely needs solid organization through the middle third to protect a back line that is low on confidence and playing more minutes than anyone on the right side has before in a single season. With Bedoya going box-to-box and Barnetta looking to attack defenses more vertically from an advanced position, the Union may want to switch to Herbers out wide and use both wingers as defensively-responsible goal threats.

Also, with Carroll potentially sidelined for a while and Mo Edu still not ready, Warren Creavalle could take on even greater responsibility. Creavalle is an aggressive defender who tends to get locked in on the ball instead of keeping his feet moving and shadowing passing lanes.

DC was able to move him out of the center rather easily on Saturday, and that’ll be a death knell for the Union against the top three teams in the Eastern Conference.

Player ratings

Andre Blake – 4

The first goal seemed to catch him off his guard, and in extra time he was guilty of a bad punch and kicking the ball right back to the other team.

Keegan Rosenberry – 3

Poor passing early and trouble sorting out zones with Creavalle later in the match.

Ken Tribbett – 2

Can argue that the pass Kemp intercepted in the run-up to the first goal is on Ilsinho, but the missed tackle, missed open header in the box, and confusion on Mullins’ breakaway were all bad marks on a rough night for the big center back.

Richie Marquez – 2

A terrible night with the ball for Marquez, and he topped it off with the soft clearance to Acosta that led to the tying goal.

Fabinho – 4

Not a great evening, but certainly contributed more than the rest.

Hamid positioning on Barnetta free kick.

Hamid positioning on Barnetta free kick.

Brian Carroll – 5

Too much chasing, but he wasn’t really the cause of it. Get well soon.

Tranquillo Barnetta – 6

Another muted performance until he started trusting himself with the ball again around the 25-minute mark. Then the engine started sputtering to life.

Fabian Herbers – 6

The adjustments. So good. Herbers was in Rob Vincent’s pocket for much of the first half, and when he got free he seemed to end up in the same spaces as Ilsinho and Barnetta. In the second frame, Herbers pulled Vincent wide and deep, then when the holding mid wouldn’t follow him he started causing havoc. Not enough to lay claim to a starting spot (especially with Bedoya on deck), but another indication that he’s not done growing as a player.

Ilsinho – 4

Another game with a lot of ball and not a lot of danger, plus he struggled to contain Kemp. But that tackle/assist was gorgeous.

Chris Pontius – 7

Can’t stop scoring, and such an asset in the air.

CJ Sapong – 4

Can’t start scoring, but still an asset in the air.


Warren Creavalle – 5

Flashed the athleticism but struggles to control the pace of a game like the man he replaced. Philly missed Carroll’s ability to slow things down and make simple passes once they went ahead.

Charlie Davies – 4

This was not the right time to use Davies. You can’t talk about how the defense starts with the striker all season then put a striker with one day of practice in to try and hold a lead on the road.

Walter Restrepo – 2

Would’ve been a great asset in the first half when nobody could threaten behind DC’s aggressive fullbacks. Was not a great asset closing out the match.

Geiger counter – 3

MLS referees have a weird way of changing their rules based on time of game.


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Adam Cann fair and balanced as usual…. in pro sports when you’re giving out 4s and 3s and a spot of 2s as measure to effectiveness you know what I say cause it’s not new, “Off with their heads,” which is the scorn they deserve as that is the way they play…. headless dysthymia of generalized anxiety disorder panic make me want to vomit godAWEful soccer.

  2. Those grades are, as usual, very accurate; the whole team looked bad, especially at the start.

    As for Sapong, it doesn’t matter how good he is in the air, he is the lone forward and has but 6 goals in 21 games. He blew another easy one early in the 2nd half. Worse is that CJ only has 2 assists. This team needs more production from the striker.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I love CJ, but man he has fallen woefully short of what is needed from a Starting Lone Striker. Much of it isn’t necessarily his fault, but he has also blown many chances.

  3. UnitedPenn13 says:

    A 4 is way too high for Ilsinho. He’s a midfielder. Midfielders have to play defense too. He doesn’t. Too busy dribbling into crowds and not passing the damn ball. Curtin should have pulled him, not Pontius. I’ve had it with Ilsinho.

    • I’m not done with him, but I am starting to really fall off. I’m not sure he can play in MLS. For better or worse (probably worse) MLS is a league where you need to run a lot or you get burned. He doesn’t run a lot. He also was really cramping Herbers space as shown. He’s too narrow all the time and it kills our spacing of the D. We had the complete opposite problem with Wenger last year.

      • What we ultimately need is a someone more like Pontius on the wing. Lloyd Sam who got picked up by DC actually could’ve worked great.

      • Yeah, honestly I’d like to see Ayuk there. I know he’s been gone for awhile but he’s back now.

      • That’s who I have been waiting for…….kid can ball!

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:


      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        His play Sunday at Lehigh reflects he has been away from the Philadelphia Union’s version of a flank midfielder’s defensive responsibilities for July, June, and much of May.
        He’ll recover it in time.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        I think BSFC might have wanted to have Ayuk on the left and Fernandes on the right with Richter yesterday but not for the very same reason you found it wise to have Restrepo on the same side of the pitch as the BSFC skipper … the reason why is because I think Ayuk might have done a better job staying wide on the left flank to help stretch & stress the Charlotte defense as compared to the job that Fernandes did in that regard

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I had simply assumed the early season combination of Richter and Ayuk that worked so well back in the Jurassic era of this season.
        I also thought that Ayuk had a speed advantage on Slogic.

    • I get criticism of Ilsinho, but the man almost single-handedly created that second goal. He had another similar pickpocket of a DC player earlier in the match. I’d have given him a 5 or 6. Just because our centerbacks had a nightmare of a game, I don’t see why we need to downgrade attacking players. If Sapong hits that sitter or Herbers puts that shot on frame in the first half and the Union win 3-2, what do the grades look like today? Not criticizing or second guessing Adam’s grades, because grading is really hard. Just defending Ilsinho a little.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Quite a few only see the negative attributes and seek to confirm their biases…. hmm. Sounds like me.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        El P.
        AS hard on himself as he is on his soccer team.
        Socratic, positively Socratic. [The Athenian philosopher not the ball, in case there is doubt.]

      • el Pachyderm says:


      • I agree Pete, he does things out there not many in the league can do. He’s not fit, that’s the whole problem……and he’s had awhile to work on this. That second goal was all him. I don’t mind him pinching if Rosenberry provides the width. Arsenal will even play their 4-2-3-1 that way with certain personnel in the 3 set. But he doesn’t provide much defensive cover in back 3rd….or middle third. He presses well in the front third, the 2nd goal as an example. So how do you deal with the dilemma? That’s where the coach needs to be a little creative……good coaches try to hide their weaknesses……I’m thinking the new fourfourtwo article with Jose. He discusses this. I’m not comparing the players…..but a few years ago in the same publication they had an interview with Zizou ( not our esteemed PSP contributor, mind you) and when he played at Madrid, I forget the manager….played him as a left midfielder……but told him….it’s on paper, play centrally…..Roberto Carlos will provide the width. Point is, you figure out a way, I know they are married to the 4-2-3-1…..but can’t help but think, a 4-3-3 with him as a winger, which is only a slight adjustment of the 4-2-3-1…..might solve that.

      • Good points, the only think I will add is he needs to provide width sometimes. I love the fact he pinches in because it is something we need, but he also needs to get wide sometimes to stretch out the D. It can’t always be on Rosenberry.

      • absolutely….

      • Zizouisgod says:

        Yes, that’s true. I was told to play centrally which is easy when you got Roberto Carlos bombing down your left side.

      • yes, the gaffer didn’t want you to feel insulted by seeing LM next to your name….you handled it with class!

  4. pragmatist says:

    As look over this, I’m actually encouraged by the possibilities of the next few weeks. (I don’t know, maybe I took some optimism pills this morning…)
    But if Bedoya is this season’s answer at the 8, I think we can see some pretty impressive performances. Barnetta back to the 10, slide Herbers out right, and send Ilsinho to the bench to join Alberg. Both would be fantastic late-game subs.
    I don’t think the defense will continue to perform like this. They are young, but there is too much talent back there. It’s time to get Yaro back on the field. And as long as his injury wasn’t worse than they have been telling us, then I think we’ll see him this week.
    Losing Carroll, however, may be a bigger loss than we could have predicted. Hopefully it’s a very short recovery time.

    • Yeah, losing Carroll really hurts.

    • Yea I totally agree with you. People seem to forget how young are back line is. Marquez and tribbet are both, what like 24? For CBs especially, experience experience experience is everything. I have no problem with this team continuing to play a young defense as I think it’ll pay off in the long run (assuming they keep these players)

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        They’ll keep their young defenders. Moneyball.
        Marquez costs $63,000. Rosenberry is $62,500. Gaddis is $152,500. Tribbett is $51,500. Yaro’s salary is $130,000 and total compensation is $194,000. Anderson and Fabinho are not young.
        Source is MLS Players Union data from May of this year.

      • Great info. Thanks, OSC!

      • I thought Ray would be marketable if it ever came to it…..but that’s a heavy price tag dude……wow.

      • Remember a couple of seasons ago and the narrative it was criminal he was on such a low salary?

      • Yeah, dude……no matter how good of dude he is, what you produce on the pitch is what counts……who’s going to spend that kind of scratch on him?

      • Well at the time he was making something like $40k I believe.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I do not think the MLS Players Union list is sortable by player position, and I don’t think their position listings are as specific as would be needed..
        That being said, it would be interesting to get a ranking of players’ salaries by positions on the field and see where our guys lie in the table.

      • Yaro is Generation Adidas and at this pace probably won’t graduate this season. He’s a freebie.

      • I’ve been wondering if that’s kept him off the field more than the shoulder.

        Why play a guy 5 or 6 extra games if by keeping him off you can have him for free again next season.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Free in terms of the salary cap. In MLS speak, to the degree that I have any competence in the pidgin version thereof, he does not count against the senior roster.

      • Also, to an extent,free. THe name GA means Adidas puts money in from a marketing side to fund these players and they get some marketing stuff out of it. There were some ads back in 2010 with a quick flash of Mwanga working out. Some of our picks are made solely with reducing the salary bill. Not sure how much the roster spot means for the U as they’re usually rolling with an open spot or two with a claim they can’t find anyone good enough to fill it.

      • The gap between Yaro and Rosenberry is crazy for a #1 versus #3 pick. I suppose that’s Generation Adidas thing, but still…wow.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        I am assuming that Yaro’s total compensation package includes a signing bonus pro-rated over the life of the contract, and perhaps agent’s fees.
        Were I an agent I would have recruited a graduating senior with no more NCAA eligibility to forfeit who was the likely #1 pick to my stable.

  5. Adam, I know you don’t give out coaching grades, but is it safe to assume from your comments on Davies (“not the right time to use Davies”) and Restrepo (“not a great asset closing out the match”) that you were not impressed with the head coach’s performance this weekend?

    • I’m probably more critical of the Davies sub in the 80th. If it’s Davies for Ilsinho in the 60-70 range, then sure. Now you’ve got a bit of time for Davies to probe behind the back line. But in the final ten, I’d rather have someone pressuring the center backs so they can’t serve good balls in.

      The Restrepo sub… I can’t believe Curtin told him to go in there and dribble at the defense in extra time. I think Restrepo should be an asset there, providing speed and carrying the ball out of danger. But he made a few poor decisions that I don’t really pin on Curtin.

      All that said, Restrepo’s defensive awareness is his biggest downfall. He needs to work on that asap to be a real asset to a team like this one.

    • Looking at available players, unless he goes to a 5th player in the back (Yaro or Gaddis), there weren’t really any defensive oriented subs available. He had already been forced to swap like for like early in the game with Creavalle for Carroll, so there was no double pivot to turn to late game. Restrepo, Davies, and Alberg were the options….and none particularly defensive. At that point, I assume you’re just hoping that fresh legs plus some soccer sense will help kill off the game.

      Fair argument to be made that Ilsinho could have given way instead of someone like Herbers, but there really weren’t any obvious kill off the game options available.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I think you’ve touched on a key point that hasn’t really been mentioned. The fact that Curtin had to use his only defensive midfield sub in a like for like situation rather than being able to bring in Creavalle for someone like Ilsinho late in the game to help kill it off.

      • I think part of that is sticking to the “we play the same way no matter what” mantra.
        Still, players play. Doesn’t matter if you are an “offensive” or “defensive” player, at the professional level you need to know how to contribute to killing of a game.
        Sapong is a forward. But he should know that late in the game he can contribute by winning defensive headers and/or getting on the end of clearances and holding things up in the offensive end. Davies and Restrepo can use the threat of there speed to force the other team to keep an extra guy back. They should use their fresh legs to do the dirty running for the starters on the field who are getting heavy legs. When a turnover or recovery is made, they should move to space, preferably wide, to make themselves available, then carry the ball vertically into the offensive zone to, at minimum, let the team recover their defensive shape.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        He shifted to flank mid at the time of the Davies sub and was back in the defensive third in general. I do not remember specific plays.

      • Yeah Sapong did. He is usually pretty good with his defensive duties both up top and on the wing.
        That part of the comment was more listing examples of my second point – that both “offensive” and “defensive” players need to contribute to killing off a game.

      • Section 114(formerly) says:

        There was Yaro for Tribbett. The speed would have been helpful and Tribbett was on a yellow and was hideous.

      • At that point in the game you don’t sub your CB. That doesn’t even make sense. Their lumping balls in the air left and right and you want to pull out arguably one of the best defensive player in the air that we have. I mean come on even if he had a bad game that is not the point you pull him. Especially with Yaro sitting 5’9″ or something like that with an injured shoulder. I could see adding Yaro in for Ilsinho, but no one is going to pull Tribbett at that point in the game.

      • You never sub your back four unless they are hurt……you keep them as a unit. Or if your down late and go to three back and need to switch personnel. Never f&$k with your back four during a match……..agree.

      • Normally I’d agree, but I’d personally be ok taking Fab out for Gaddis when we are protecting a lead in the final minutes.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Maybe against a subbed on real speed burner.

      • @Scott – yeah, great points on the available options. And I think the Restrepo sub has the potential to go either way. If he uses his speed to kill of the game, it’s a great sub. Bad decision-making rather than bad coaching is my guess there.

      • of course that is where LeToux was typically subbed in. And he is effective at killing time and challenging the defenders

      • pragmatist says:

        This is a fantastic and understated point. We can all discuss Seba’ first touch all day long, but you may have seen here what he brings to the end of the game, and it was clearly missing this weekend.

      • True and True, but I think $300K is a bit much for what he brought to the team.

      • pragmatist says:

        No arguing that it was too high of a price. But his qualities were missed in this particular match.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Laz, at the end of the year, may the pro rated remainder value of his contract be worth two extra points in the standings?
        He’s already been paid 21/34ths of his total compensation. The remainder would be 13/34ths of $310k.
        what revenue would the club realize from a home playoff game?

      • Does the coach not oversee practices and drills for this exact situation? Not sure I’ll ever understand the rush to absolve the coach here. Any other sport and he’s criticized for that. Especially since it was the theme of 2014/2015 and a lot of preseason talk about how we will close out games from now on.

        Maybe we can design a drill called “1v2 Take it to the corner and kill the clock nummy”

      • Your last sentence raises an important question — what was the thinking behind bringing off Herbers and moving Ilsinho inside?
        That decision, coupled with the Davies for Pontius exchange, left the Union killing off the match with two players out of their normal positions (Sapong and Ilsinho) plus two others with little playing time this season (Restrepo and Davies).
        Is there any wonder that there was so much confusion down the stretch?

      • I think moving Ilsinho inside was about minimizing his running.
        Having to burn a sub on Carroll after his injury, only two of Herbers, Pontius, or Ilsinho could come off.
        For the record, Ilsinho would have been the first one on that list that I would have taken off considering he rarely goes 90. Herbers has young legs and Pontius has been good for 90 almost every time out. That said, decisions need to be made and we can argue all we want, but we will never know if the outcome would have been different. For me, I put the most amount of blame on Marquez for the equalizer, but it is of course not solely on him. However, looking at the replay, he had more time then he realized to make a better clearance and he is really the leader on the backline so has to do better there.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        My assumption when the move was made was that Herbers had reached his physical limit. While he has gone ninety, he has done that neither regularly nor recently.

  6. Someone check to see how badly they performed the last time the team traded Le Toux. Perhaps being down two Frenchmen is unberable.

  7. Thepenguin1 just posted an update of the season performance vs all others and most recent 10 games ppg graphs here:
    worrisome… need to get back on the line we were!

  8. That’s what I don’t get……if Pontius is such an asset in the air……..WHY THE HELL TAKE HIM OUT THE LAST TEN MINUTES!!!!!!!!

    • What I’ve understood is they are worried about his body breaking down if he plays more than 60 or 70 min per game.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      this is pure guess, pure.
      There may have been an element of wanting to get him the curtain call in a place that matters to him.
      obviously didn’t work out had that had any influence on the decision at all.
      I was surprised at the time that it wasn’t Ilsinho coming off.

  9. Because Curtin has absolutely no idea how to coach. Nice guy. Straight talker. Bad dresser. Horrible coach.

  10. MikeRSoccer says:

    It will be interesting to see if Yaro starts in the next game. If he doesn’t, he must be in Curtin’s dog house. I really did not understand why Curtin brought in Davies and Restrepo when it was time to bunker down. Yaro for Herbers and pushing Barnetta to the 10 would have made significantly more sense to me. I agree with Adam that the Restrepo sub made sense, but the player made some horrific errors.

    • Doesn’t mean he is in the dog house. Could mean that he is struggling with his shoulder injury (or playing through the pain when in a physical battle).

      • pragmatist says:

        It could also be related to Generation adidas minutes and a desire to keep him off the cap for as long as possible.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        you raise a good point by association, namely, how do minutes played for the Bethlehem Steel affect Yaro’s generation Adidas status for 2017?

  11. MikeRSoccer says:

    Simon Borg suggesting that Ilsinho fouled Acosta into the run up of our second goal is completely absurd. If that is a foul, I’m not sure there is a permissible way for a tackle to be made from behind or from the side. The contact is virtually negligible, Acosta was just out muscled and even then, he barely stumbled.
    With that said, Acosta was 100% fouled just outside of our box when Olsen lost it and was sent off. I believe the culprit was, yet again, Creavalle. There have been a number of discussion on here regarding Creavalle vs. Carroll. This is another point where I would argue Carroll is preferable to Creavalle. I get the criticisms of Carroll, but it’s exceedingly rare for an entire bar to yell, “What the hell were you thinking there Carroll?” The same can’t be said for Creavalle. Every game, even as a sub, it is a guarantee that he will commit an egregious foul just outside of our box during an incredibly inconvenient time. MLS officiating saved him on Saturday; it did not save him in Houston.
    This all speaks to the need for Edu to return asap and, imo, for Jones to start getting minutes. A defensively and physically strong player who is also an excellent passer is exactly what we need to finish off games. We have few reliable and safe defensive options coming off the bench for our midfield. We need to start using Jones. He is an asset that we are not using and he can be a difference maker for finishing off games imo.

    • Agreed that our $700K Dmid/Instagram takeover specialist should get on the field. If he was still limping just a week or two ago, he’s realistically 2-3 weeks off. So…7 games? 6? And will his match fitness be so low Creavalle is an auto sub?

      May be time to mentally wrap our heads around the fact that if BC7 is out for any real time (35ish with an achilles injury? Bouncing right back) that your DJones wish will probably come true, at least to the 18. The pressure builds for Creavalle to play a mistake free game and avoid the stupid card tendency, otherwise, what? Fabinho with Gaddis at LB? Leo (cringe)? If DJones isn’t ready and the promotion was more to lock him down for next year, well, he better get ready.

      • It was said that he could be seen favoring his stronger leg when causally walking or standing around but looked fine when in drills or running. It could be more of a habit thing then an actual problem.
        I tore a ligament in my ankle in college and had a slight limp for a good year or so afterward recovering. No pain or problems, it was just that I was so used to limping because of the injury for 10-12 months that it became routine and took awhile to break.

      • Optimistically hoping that if Bedoya is at #8, Creavalle will not feel the need to have such an impact at dmid and will play the #6 within himself…of course that could just be hopium I’m smoking…

    • I went back to watch Instant Replay after your first note. I agree that Borg’s call for a foul there was absurd. But it was interesting to note that every one of the controversial calls that Borg highlighted went the Union’s way. We should have been down a man 4 minutes in to the game. Those who believe the ‘refs are out to get the Union’ storyline will do well to remember this game as a counterexample.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      the question why Jones was signed to the first team when he was signed remains an excellent one. The only insight we have is the organization’s pathbreaker spin.
      perhaps there was someone they are trying to recruit into the Academy for next year who needed to see a concrete example of what is possible.
      With that being said, basing my argument solely on one datum – I am not a scientist but a history teacher so theorizing from one datum is allowed, along with large future helpings of crow-swallowing sauce! – Derrick Jones played the #10 last Sunday at Lehigh, not the #8. I believe Coach Burke may have been trying to rediscover the success Jones had in the 1st half against Rochester playing behind Seku Conneh, who also started last Sunday. It is also possible that the first team wants him to get experience there, we’ll never know.
      Jones has not played the #6 this season, only #8 or #10.
      My assumption is that Bedoya is going to play the #8, and that as close to full time as he can manage.
      My further assumption is that the top organizational priority for Jones is that he get maximum game minutes. He missed the prior week’s game against Toronto because paperwork pertaining to his MLS signing was incomplete, something about a physical, it has been reported somewhere.
      Max game minutes will occur with the Steel, and he still needs work on creating offensive space for himself while under double and triple-team physical pressure. [Incidentally, El P., he almost got away from an extremely physical triple team in the second half last Sunday before he was subbed off. Beat the 1st 2, not quite the third. Practicing with MLS-ers may be helping him learn. So will a serious off-season or two in the weight room.]
      I doubt he gets minutes with the first team until after the USL season is over, unfortunately after the last regular season game September 25th, as playoff probabilities are shrinking.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        Jones was in the CAM slot and Chambers was in defensive midfield? I trust you, OSC, and, with the benefit of hindsight, that makes sense … Jones spends so much time far upfield, I’ve come to take it for granted he was in his typical “# 8” role last Sunday … (Germans have never been wrapped up in labeling certain positions by numbers the way the English used to be and the Americans now are) … Now that I think about it, though, Chambers was lying a lot deeper than he has been in quite some time but I was too busy noticing how terrible of a time Fernandes had staying wide on the left flank … When I hear players’ positions referred to by numbers, I think about the old Libero (sweeper) and remember that no formation, or any position in any formation for that matter, lasts forever.

  12. I’d love to know what rating the head coach would get, Adam.

    • Why the obsession with this? The site has clearly stated they will not do this. The comments cover it pretty good. Who cares. The coach has less impact on the game then we like to pretend. He’s not the one missing sitters or botching clearances.

  13. Just caught Bedoya presser. Very straightforward answers from him except for what position he will be playing.
    Only negative I can take away from it is that he is someone who continues refer to the age of his child in months after 1 year.
    Excited to see him debut!

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