Photo: Earl Gardner
The discussion about Jim Curtin has been extensive and justified. The tired old saying goes that trying the same thing multiple times and expecting different results is insanity. But a rigid manager doesn’t absolve the players of blame. They are wholly responsible for their performance on the field, and how could anyone say that their performance on the field has been adequate? Let’s break it down player by player and consider how well they’re doing their jobs.
Before we do, a quick reminder about how PSP does player ratings: 5 is an average score and points are added or subtracted from there. So a performance of 6 is a fine score, and a 4 leaves something to be desired but isn’t horrible.
Andre Blake — 5
In fairness, he did keep this game from being a complete embarrassment with his usual acrobatic excellence. You really can’t blame him for letting David Villa pull a Carli Lloyd on him; those hail Mary shots work because no sane keeper expects them. You can, however, fault Blake for what happens after he blocks a shot. Obviously he can’t catch everything, but on numerous times Friday night, he blocked a ball only to have it fall at the feet of the New York attack. It didn’t cost him this game, but if he doesn’t get a handle on this habit soon, it will.
Keegan Rosenberry — 4
It was speculated that Rosenberry wasn’t wowing this year because he had to cover for Onyewu’s less dynamic defending. Maybe he had to stay back to babysit Jack Elliott in his first MLS start. Whatever the case may be, Rosenberry needs to get back to the form that made him such a surprising asset last season if he’s going to see another above-average score.
Jack Elliott — 6
This score comes with the qualifier, “for a rookie”. Mistakes were made. There’s no question about that, and if he had more time under his belt his rating would probably suffer. Still, he proved he was mentally prepared for the game by refusing to back down just because his job was to cover David Villa. He read the game well enough to intercept several potentially dangerous passes from NYC FC and overall preformed like a player that’s closer to being ready for MLS play than some of the Union’s regular starters.
Richie Marquez — 5
We were treated to a signature Marquez slide tackle in the second minute, which would have stopped an attack by New York’s Rodney Wallace if the offside flag hadn’t gone up. Beyond that, Richie stayed on his feet for most of the match, save for a pretty clear handball in the box at the 29th minute which he was lucky to get away with. He was also partially responsible for Jack Harrison’s goal, but it’s hard to fault an outnumbered player for failing to solve a problem created by a teammate.
Fabinho — 3
First off, maybe if he actually bothered to tuck his shin guards all the way into his socks he wouldn’t lose them like he did in the seventh minute. Just a thought. But curious sartorial decisions aren’t the reason for this low score. Poor defending and ineffectual offensive contributions are. He was a key contributor to the pinball game in front of the Union’s goal that closed the first half, and some sloppy play lead directly to Jack Harrison’s 52′ goal.
Alejandro Bedoya — 6
Putting players in position to best use their talents yields positive results! Who would have thought? He still isn’t delivering up to his paycheck, but his shot in the 28th minute was the Union’s best look at goal all game.
Haris Medunjanin — 5
He does a lot of things other players don’t, and he doesn’t do a lot of things those players do. So instead of making the same comparison that’s been made before, consider this: Suddenly the Union’s love of long-ball offense looks like a conscious decision rather than the only option left to a team without a plan.
Ilsinho — 3
There’s a new name on the back of the jersey, but it’s the same shortcomings as before. He’s a master at one on ones, making almost any MLS player look a fool if he finds them alone. But once he jukes one player, Ilsinho will probably just dribble into a crowd of three defenders and give up the ball. At one point the ancient treasure that is Andrea Pirlo out hustled him to the ball, so even with the obvious improvement in fitness over last season he’s still not exactly quick.
Roland Alberg — 3
After his admittedly wonderful cross in the 28th minute, Alberg failed to have much meaningful impact on the game. Maybe this is a product of fitness. Surely many can relate to playing hard early in a game only to find you don’t have the endurance to keep it up. The difference is Alberg is an allegedly professional athlete. It is literally his job to keep his level of play up. Ignoring the fact that he should have kept fit in the off-season, we’re now three months past the start of preseason. If fitness isn’t here yet, will it ever be?
Chris Pontius — 3
Pontius has had hot and cold streaks before, but at some point it stops being a streak and becomes the new normal. So we shouldn’t be surprised what happens on the field is missed passes, wasted shots, and long minutes without any impact on the game whatsoever.
C.J. Sapong — 5
For all his problems, C.J. has never stopped trying for this team. New York’s clean sheet does mean his goal-scoring “streak” has ended, but when you’re the only attacking threat it’s easy for the other team to shut you down.
Fabian Herbers (60′ for Pontius) — 4
Thirty minutes is a healthy chunk of time to make a difference, and Herbers failed to do that meaningfully.
Adam Najem (71′ for Alberg) — 5
It’s hard for anyone to make a difference in 19 minutes, particularly if you’re playing your first 19 minutes in MLS at a position that requires a high level of understanding with your team.
Jay Simpson (78′ for Ilsinho) — 5
Again not much can be learned from so short a shift, but why is he only getting so short a shift when it’s clear other players on the field aren’t working out?
Jose Carlos Rivero — 4
Missing Marquez’ handball was a big gaff, and there may have been a New York handball in the 4th minute that was ignored as well. Other than that, there were good calls and there were debatable calls. So standard MLS fare really.
Player of the Game
David Villa: I mean, really.