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Union 3-2 DC United: Player ratings and analysis

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Le Toux on the double

It was a tremendous game from Seba. He stretched the DC defense all night, even if he found himself offsides a little more than he would have liked. But the two goals were well taken and whatever confidence it looked like he was lacking at the beginning of the season has returned and then some. With 9 goals in his last 8 games, Le Toux is coming into form at the perfect time as Philly looks to clinch a playoff spot in only their second season in the league.

When asked what the difference in Le Toux was from the beginning of the season to how the striker is playing now, Nowak said, “He joined the twitter.” Whatever it takes for the Frenchman to keep scoring. #theflashmobdancewassweettoo

Okugo – Carroll – The answer in the center of the pitch?

Amobi Okugo played one of his best halves as a Union player on Thursday night. His spacing was good. His distribution better. His tackling strong. And better still, he found a way to stay of out of Carroll’s space. Too often when we’ve seen Migs in a second holding midfield role, he’s been standing right next to Carroll, limiting what Carroll can do. But Okugo stayed out of Carroll’s way and found his own space to limit the DC attack.

Okugo also showed off his passing range with two tremendous balls to Sheanon Williams down the right wing. None of the other central midfielders, not even Carroll, has shown the ability to make passes like those. Okugo said afterward “Sheanon does a great job of opening up the lanes, I saw him open and I played it…The forwards did a good job of sucking the defense in and gave Sheanon room down the right and I was just able to hit him.” Now the question is, why did he only get 45 minutes?

De Ro’s injury sucks the life out of the DC attack

When Dwayne De Rosario went off on 62 minutes, most of the DC attack went with him. Outside of Najar’s miss on a wide open header, DC failed to threaten the Union net much. Even though the creative Canadian did not see a ton of the ball throughout the game, he drew the attention of Califf and Valdes when he was on the pitch. After he was off, the Union defense was able to sit deep and absorb what little pressure DC could muster without having to man-mark the danger man.

Magnificent Marfan

I tackle his defensive deficiencies below, but his offensive contributions cannot be overstated. The ball in to Le Toux was top notch. And how about that finish on the game winner? Calm, cool, collected (and even left footed). Michael seems to have a million tricks in his bag and many of them lead to opportunities for the Union. Has he played himself into a starting role yet? I hope so.

Player Ratings

Zac MacMath – 6

Not a ton of work for the young keeper. Probably should have done better to stop Najar’s effort at the near post, but got no help from his defense on the play. Caught in a bad spot on De Rosario’s goal, but hard to find too much fault when DC’s best player gets an open header from 6 yards. His distribution continues to be strong out of the back.

Sheanon Williams – 7

Good to see Sheanon back on the pitch after missing out in KC with a concussion. Made a few great runs in the first half and was picked out well by Okugo. Found Le Toux on one of those runs but the Frenchman couldn’t finish and another time had his cross tipped away by Hamid. His defense was solid outside of the Najar goal when both he and Marfan failed to close down.

Carlos Valdes – 7

Strong stuff from the center back in the defensive end of the pitch. Did well to shut down to De Rosario for most of the match. Was strong in the air all night and even distributed well out of the back. Missed two quality chances with his head going forward though, including a wide open header from 7 yards.

Danny Califf – 8

I read before the match that some people are considering Califf for another call up to the USMNT and with performances like Thursday night, it’s easy to see why. Strong in the air all night. Picked off passes and shut down lanes. Hard to think of a bad touch from Califf all evening.

Gabriel Farfan – 7

Quiet game for the left back. Struggled with the pace of Najar a little bit, but got help for much of the evening and did not have to deal too much with the dangerous winger on his own.

Amobi Okugo – 8

One of the best performances we’ve seen from Okugo this season. Did well to break up the DC attack with good pressure on the ball and by clogging up passing lanes. His distribution was fantastic, twice picking out long balls to Williams streaking down the right. Curious that he came off after only 45 minutes.

Brian Carroll – 7

Nothing flashy from the holding mid but, as he usually does, did all the little things right. Like Okugo, clogged the passing lanes and pressured well. His passing range isn’t as big as Okugo’s but it’s hard to think of many times where he didn’t find a teammate with the ball when he had it.

Michael Farfan – 7

Disappointing game defensively again for Marfan. Did nothing to hold off Najar when he scored. And he could not follow De Rosario as his mark on the corner kick. But his offensive contributions nearly make up for all of it. He played a lovely chip to Le Toux for his second goal. And the winner was absolutely fabulous, from the one-two with Torres to the left footed rip into the top corner of the net.

Roger Torres – 5

Disappointing night for Torres. Couldn’t seem to get on the ball for long stretches of the evening. Had few chances to get in service. Did well to track back, but that’s not the reason he’s on the pitch.

Sebastien Le Toux – 9

Two very well taken goals in the first half. His finishes were confident and precise and Hamid had little chance on either. His movement was superb all night, finding space behind the DC back line and stretching the defense. Probably could have had a few more opportunities in the second half but neither Mapp nor Adu could pick him out on his well timed runs.

Veljko Paunovic – 6

More of what we’ve come to expect from the big Serb. Was involved for stretches (without his run on Le Toux’s first goal, that ball probably doesn’t get played). But he disappeared for periods as well, unable to find the ball. Was it just me or did he whiff on a number of flicked on headers?

Subs

Justin Mapp – 3

Replaced the impressive Okugo at half time for reasons that are beyond me. He had one decent run with the ball down the left side, but he failed to pick out Le Toux, who was on a good run in the box. Had his night summed up when a cross-field ball slipped straight under his boot and went out for a throw in.

Freddy Adu – 4

Had plenty of opportunities to make an impact against his former team but failed to do so. He still looks a step slow—whether that is a fitness issue or an injury is unknown. He did not combine well with Le Toux and he failed to pick out the Frenchman’s runs a few times. Had at least three quality shots blocked by taking too long to pull the trigger.

Kyle Nakazawa n/a

Came on late to shore things up and had little impact on the game.

7 Comments

  1. Good stuff as usual. I too am perplexed why Mapp came in. And Adu did not have another good game. Is his injury still lingering?
    But I love what I’ve seen recently and I feel like we’re close to settling on a starting 11.
    It’s just, I still would rather Mwanga or Jack start for Pauno. I understand he gives us height, but as a striker he is slow and can’t challenge the defense. In fact, I thought Pauno’s best position is midfield. He seems to like to spray passes around.
    But put it on record that I think our best starting lineup is what we had start this game, with either Mwanga or Jack next to Le Toux.

  2. i think you rate okugu too high. for all the good stuff he did there were a number of terrible passes that i think bring his rating down. valdes i think deserves at least as high as califf. he was a beast constantly shutting things down.

    • Mike Servedio says:

      Valdes gets a lower rating for missing two quality headers when he was forward. A wide open header from 7 yards and he pushes it 5 yards wide of the goal? That’s not good enough.

      We’ll have to agree to disagree on Okugo. Even when I rewatched the game, I thought he was outstanding.

      • Valdes is not a quality finisher, granted. He is, however, a great defender who clears everything. Califf is having a great year, but make no mistake, the difference between last year and this year for Califf is Valdes next to him.

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