Reader reactions: At the halfway point

Photo: garenm1

The season is halfway done. The Philadelphia Union are tied for first place with two games in hand on the Red Bulls.

And after Philly travels to New England for a Sunday night showdown with the Revolution, they won’t play another league match for twelve days (July 29 vs Colorado).

PSP gave you a summary of the first half of the year. We gave you our midseason grades.

Now we want to hear from you.

As the guy who hands out player ratings, I have great respect for PSP’s readers. Rarely does the comment thread fill with useless banter like, “stupid ratings,” or “all wrong.” That isn’t to say there haven’t been negative responses, but they’ve been thoughtful challenges to my numbers, and well-reasoned explanations as to why I’m wrong (and why, no, Kyle Nakazawa did not have a good game and I need to get off this/Sheanomenon/Mwagic man’s bandwagon).

This is perfect; it’s why we do player ratings.

And since we know you have strong opinions, we want you to give us your Midseason Awards. Either post your answers in the comments below or email them to us. We will announce the winners next week.

  • Best Offseason Move—What was the best thing the Union did this offseason? Was it the Valdes pickup? The Carroll trade? Or maybe it was getting rid of Seitzy or Fred.
  • Worst Offseason Move—What do we regret about the offseason? Bringing in Ruiz? Trading Jacobson? Signing Taylor Twellman?
  • Best Moment of the First Half—Can anything top the Ruiz goal? What about the Torres winner against NY? Or maybe Sheanomenon’s goal line save?
  • Worst Moment of the First Half—Seattle’s tying goal at the death? That first loss to LA? Or maybe the atrocious performance at Vancouver?
  • Favorite Thing Heard at PPL Park—A chant? A passing comment? A Dragon roar? Nakazawa’s ukelele?
  • Best New Enemy—In 2010, Dwayne de Rosario danced after scoring a crappy free kick. Who has joined him on the Boo Forever list in 2011?
  • Best New Enemy—In 2010, Dwayne de Rosario danced after scoring a cheap free kick goal. This year, Mastroeni dove in the box, Mark Geiger sent off Jordan Harvey, and Fabian Espindola stuck his finger in Roger Torres face. Plenty of options to choose from.
  • Manager’s Rating—Peter Nowak is a divisive figure but he is getting results. From 1-10, what have he and the rest of the coaching staff earned over the first 18 games of the season?
  • Player Most Deserving of More Playing Time—A Farfan? Daniel? Torres? Amobi? Who should be on the team sheet more often as the season rolls on?
  • Best Player—Who do you love?

Tell us what you think below or send us an email


  1. WolfmanDan says:

    Best Move: Valdes!
    Worst Move: Chris Agorsor. Granted, none of the players in later lotteries may end being anything special, but this move can be, at best, pointless.
    Honorable mention to picking MacMath, who although 100% useless, could still become useful down the line (2012? 2013?), and I don’t know if we’d be appreciably better with Sarkodie, Sapong or Bruin (since the forwards would, despite having more goals than any of our players but Ruiz and Mwanga, would be buried on the bench).

    Best Moment: Torres against NYRB narrowly edges out Danny Mwanga’s goal to draw the Galaxy (for obvious reasons).

    Worst Moment: Espindola’s goal. Not only was it heartbreaking because we were dominating play, but that play should’ve been stopped multiple times.

    Favorite Thing Heard at PPL Park: LONGITUDE, LATITUDE MAPP! MAPP! MAPP!

    Best New Enemy: Offensive Ennui.

    Manager’s Rating: 7. Just like the Union, above average but not great.

    More Playing Time: Amobi. Runner-up: Anyone not named Paunovic.

    Best Player: Faryd Mondragon.

  2. Best/worse move: Didn’t follow til this year, so don’t have much to say here. Valdes/Mondragon rock.

    Best moment of the first half: Maybe not a moment, but I’d say the 6-2 killing of Toronto. That was really the point where the offense came alive and showed that they had potential to score.

    Worst moment of the first half: The goal given up against RSL stands out as being a crappy moment, though I’m not convinced it’s the worst.

    Favorite thing heard at PPL: Wolverine chant.

    Best new enemy: Hassli?

    Manager’s Rating: 7. He’s been baffling at best, but seems to have a plan behind it, and it’s worked so far. Point added for making the announcement of the lineup each game one of the more exciting/worrisome parts of it. Point subtracted for the rage/heart problems added by this.

    Player Most Deserving of More Playing Time: Before the Harvey trade, I would’ve said Gabe Farfan, but it looks like he’s getting it now, so I’ll go with his brother. Michael’s impressed just about every time he’s gone out there (until Nowak decided to put him at LB..) and I’d love to see him more. I’d also like to see more Naka, a bit more Daniel, less Paun, and a bit less Mapp, for what it’s worth.

    While throwing my two cents in, I don’t get the hype over Torres. I get that he’s adorable, and runs around a lot, but it never seems effective. He has Mapp’s tendency to run at people, without Mapp’s ability to at least sometimes get by them (more on this later..). He has Paunovic’s deep love of the longball, but without Paunovic’s vision.

    Best player: Brian Carroll. I’d go with Sheannon Williams, but I feel like you guys have it covered. Carroll’s been a rock in his position, and I think his great play really helped get rid of Miglioranzi and the two DM formation. Not much gets past him, and he’s made up for the poor performances by those behind him more than once.

    Added awards:
    Most Confusing Player: Justin Mapp. He absolutely kills me. Every game, there’s at least two or three times where I watch him dribble by two players, have a pass to someone in front of the net open, but wait.. he’s still dribbling. When he’s on, the entire offense seems to click, but when he’s off, it’s just an ugly mess of dispossession and aimless running.

    Most Likely On The Ground Complaining: Sebastien Le Toux. This one’s a bit of a dark horse, given the signing of El Pescadito, but it’s been killing me to watch Le Toux falling all over the place. Watch for it in the next game — Le Toux does it far more than Ruiz, which baffles me.

  3. Best Offseason Move — Mondragon. Valdes has been the better player but Mondragon gave the entire team a new tone.

    Worst Offseason Move – Not sure if this counts but passing on Benny Feilhaber. He would have been great at the top of the diamond.

    Best Moment of the First Half— Roger Torres. No doubt.

    Worst Moment of the First Half— For me, it was the Kansas City game. The feeling of frustration lasted the entire game.

    Favorite Thing Heard at PPL Park— “He’s big, he’s quick” Mondragon chant

    Best New Enemy – Cristiano Ronaldo (too excited for the real game)

    Manager’s Rating— 8. His starting lineups never make sense but he usually adjusts well and he brought in a bunch of good players.

    Player Most Deserving of More Playing Time— Keon Daniel should start every game.

    Best Player – Valdes. Dude is a rock and made Califf good (he sucked last year).

    Player I love – Ohhh Danny Mwanga

  4. ■Best Offseason Move—The defensive pick-up of Valdez and Mondragon. Valdez is an excellent defender and should be recongnized as such. As for Montrgagon, although he is getting slow he has clearly added much needed stability to the back line.

    ■Worst Offseason Move— Hard to say, don’t think that they did anything necessarily extermely wrong. But I would have liked to see a DP signing.

    ■Best Moment of the First Half— No one moment stands out thus far, unfortunately.

    ■Worst Moment of the First Half— There were a few. Mostly, it comes down to the overall lack luster offensive performance.

    ■Favorite Thing Heard at PPL Park—A chant? Not the favorite, but defenitely it was interesting hearing the boos.

    ■Best New Enemy—De Ro definitely needs to eat a bit of humble pie, but nothing really stands out either.

    ■Manager’s Rating— A 6. Slightly above average for keeping it together. The ownership group has clearly indicated a lack of desire to spend money. Nowak has done a good job keeping things together with the tools that he has at his disposal.

    ■Player Most Deserving of More Playing Time—The Farfans need to be out there more. There is definite potential there.

    ■Best Player—Valdez, no question.

  5. Best Offseason Move — It’s gotta be bringing in Valdes. The team’s defense immediately improved with the addition of Sheanon last year. Adding Valdes helped more. Mondragon hasn’t been much of a shotstopper, but he hasn’t needed to be.
    Worst Offseason Move — How nice would it be to have MOF at LB right now? I don’t know what happened, but it wasn’t good.
    Best Moment of the First Half — Notching a shutout victory on the road in the first game of the season. Set the tone for the whole season.
    Worst Moment of the First Half — I think there’s been some bad, but it’s hard to pick one as the absolute worst.
    Favorite Thing Heard at PPL Park — Over the Limit-Under Arrest a year later
    Best New Enemy — New England’s security staff
    Manager’s Rating — 5. Moments of brilliance and moments of serious headscratching. I know injuries have played some role, but he’s gotta pick a lineup and a formation and stick with it for more than two games. Also, he’s still playing Le Toux.
    Player Most Deserving of More Playing Time — Danny Mwanga. He’s got a great shot, and unlike Le Toux, his actually forces the keeper to move sometimes.
    Best Player — Tight race between Sheanon and Valdes, but I’m going with Valdes. He’s been unbelieveable this year.
    Worst player: Sebastian Le Toux. I know he gets lots of assists. He also plays every minute, most up top. And he can’t score. Or shoot. Or cross. Or really handle the ball. I get it, he plays hard, and he was really good last year. But 10 games ago, we were saying “it’s only a matter of time until one finds the back”. Still waiting. And he complains more than Andre Iguodala. Which is impressive in its own right.

  6. Best Offseason Move: anyone player born in Colombia
    Worst Offseason Move: trading away Jacobson for 2 reasons, my man-crush on him and that he’s playing so well at FCD
    Best Moment of the First Half: Califf’s goal celebration in Houston … awkward!
    Worst Moment of the First Half: has to be both the weather AND the result of the Sounders match
    Favorite Thing Heard at PPL Park: “Get your cold beer here!”
    Best New Enemy: I absolutely despise Fabian Espindola, and his goal was shades of 2010. Since it’s so fresh in my mind, FAILhaber’s fouls and bitching to Garfan and Ruiz also stand out (but that’s 2nd half of the season, right?)
    Manager’s Rating: I’ll give Nowak a solid 7 … sometimes he looks like a genius, other times I’m left scratching my head.
    Player Most Deserving of More Playing Time: King Keon, period.
    Best Player: Although we have 2 studs in newer acquisitions (Mondi and Valdes), I think Califf has stepped up his game immensely and is an absolute beast. Simultaneously, he’s officially taken over the man-crush void left by Jacobson.

  7. Best Offseason Move: Short-term, Mondragon. Long term? I think Daniel, Valdes, and G. Farfan have huge ceilings.
    Worst Offseason Move: The late departure of MOF. Not sold on the fact that had to stay, but not knowing in advance that he needed to be replaced has left us hoping that no one comes up injured.
    Best Moment of the First Half: Torres v. NYRB.
    Worst Moment of the First Half: 90 minutes of Union at Vancouver.
    Favorite Thing Heard at PPL Park: Biz Markie covers courtesy of @phillysongs
    Best New Enemy: Shea Salinas? Too cynical?
    Manager’s Rating: 7 – I don’t buy all the stuff about young players and keeping them fresh by changing everything but the defense every week. Would like to have seen a consistent formation and player rotation earlier in the season.
    Player Most Deserving of More Playing Time: Daniel.
    Best Player: Valdes

  8. ■Best Offseason Move—Letting go of Chris Seitz.

    ■Worst Offseason Move—Letting Fred go.

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