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Analysis & player ratings: Union 4-0 Sporting KC

Photo: Earl Gardner

Talk about a reversal of fortunes.

At this time last week, positives were taken from a losing performance. The Union had played well, just not well enough. Despite controlling the match against DC United, the visitors had stolen a late goal, and three points, at PPL Park.

Not this week.

Inside of a minute, the Union answered their critics, scoring an all important early goal and leading the 18,207 fans at PPL Park to breathe a sigh of relief as Jack McInerney repaid his manager for the faith he showed in the teenager.

Back the Hack

Whether it was opening up practice to fans, doing the media circuit giving candid interviews, or boldly and specifically outlining the style and attitude he wants to see from his players, John Hackworth has made all the right moves in the early days of his head coaching tenure for the Union.

And that’s all before his team takes the field.

Once on the pitch, Hackworth has made all the right moves, as well. Tactically, his 4-3-3 is working, and his players have bought into the attacking, positive-thinking approach that does a 180 on his predecessor’s reactionary, negative tactics. On personnel issues, the inclusion of McInerney in both of his starting lineups is most obvious, along with handing Amobi Okugo successive starts in central defense. Hackworth has instilled confidence in his players. Against Kansas City, they finally got a result, breaking a six-game winless streak.

The Union can finish

After showing his ability to stretch defenses and get in behind against DC, Jack McInerney finally did the thing that all strikers must do: He scored. Both goals came from that instinctual place every striker must have: To read play and arrive at the right time, ready to pounce. For the first, he delayed at the top of the box allowing Pajoy to make his run to the back post. Streaking in behind the play, McInerney was on the scene just in time to power home the opener after Pajoy had done the hard work of keeping the ball in play. From start to finish it was a beautiful move, yet one that Union fans have seen go uncompleted so many times this season.

Given the dearth of size across the Union’s roster, they will never be a side that dominates in the air, and under John Hackworth, they are beginning to play like they know it. Long balls from Okugo and Michael Farfan are played not to a body, but into space, allowing fast players like Ray Gaddis and Antoine Hoppenot to chase down the ball, losing their defender in the process. All four goals were built with a long pass, yet none required a Union player to attempt a header. For Hackworth and his staff, it is a positive sign that unlike in past years, or even earlier this season, the players have a strong grasp of their own strengths and how best to create chances for their teammates.

What a pair

Carlos Valdes finally has a real partner. No disrespect to Sheanon Williams, one of the elite MLS fullbacks, but each match he deputized at center back looked like a struggle. The physicality of the position, his lack of size, and his clear desire to stretch his legs made the Union man always look a little out of sorts in the center of the park.

In Amobi Okugo, the Union have a player with the speed, technique and vision to ably partner with Valdes, leaving William to maraud on the flanks when healthy. With the Union on the front foot against DC, Okugo played the game as if it was a two-touch passing drill. His quick distribution kept the ball moving and kept United chasing. On the day, it was exactly what was needed. Against the consistent, high pressure from Kansas City, something else was needed, and Okugo adapted.

Rather than look to play quick, short balls at every opportunity, Okugo turned his eyes up field and shredded that aggressively advancing Sporting back line with pinpoint through balls. First, he set Gaddis loose on the right to set up the Union’s opening goal. Later, his pass to Hoppenot allowed the striker to earn the penalty for the Union’s third. It was a display full of confidence from a young player who, despite attempting so many seemingly speculative long balls, retained his passing accuracy through the air (83%).

While Okugo dictated play going forward, Valdes did everything else for the Union back line. Great defenders have the positional awareness to be in the right place at the right time, and Valdes is one of those defenders. At times, he looked effortless in swatting away four, five, six consecutive Sporting crosses into the box. It was a master class in positional defending. Whenever Kansas City hooked the ball into the Union box, it seemed a given that Valdes would be there to intercept. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy, just textbook field and player coverage by a man who carried himself like a true leader.

Player Ratings

Zac MacMath – 6

Despite Kansas City’s long spells of pressure, MacMath faced only 3 shots. Sporting did pump in an impressive 30 crosses from open play, which kept the young keeper on his toes. He batted the ball away when required, but his defense did the heavy lifting in clearing the box. MacMath must tighten up his distribution out of the back, however. Too frequently, MacMath looked to alleviate pressure by bombing the ball up field, essentially turning it over.

Ray Gaddis – 5.5

Fought hard for the full 90 minutes against both Sapong and Kamara, though he is still learning the ropes as a professional fullback. Got rounded more frequently than he would have liked, but against such stiff competition it was always going to be a tough task for Gaddis filling in for the injured Williams. Kept his composure in a chippy game despite picking up a first half booking for a crunching tackle on Roger Espinoza. His run in the first minute to set up the first Union goal was of the highest quality, and Gaddis consistently showed that while he is still inexperienced, he has no fear of playing against the best MLS has to offer.

Amobi Okugo – 7.5

He may still be learning his positioning at the center back, but what Okugo lacks in defensive experience, he more than makes up for with his quality and vision out of the back. As mentioned above, did well to read not only situations, but the game itself, swapping out his typical quick passing game, for a more-probing, long ball approach.

Defensively, he threw his body around well against Teal Bunbury and made some vital interceptions, but he still needs to tighten up his man marking to give forwards less time to turn and run at him.

Carlos Valdes – 9

In the 17th minute, Valdes went on one of his typical, ill-advised runs forward and was promptly dispossessed, forcing Brian Carroll into a professional foul and a yellow card.

It was the only mistake Valdes made all night.

As mentioned above, Valdes was a colossus in defense for the Union both on the ground and in the air. He limited Bunbury’s influence on the game all while tidying up the scraps left by his fellow defenders. Valdes marshaled his back line with authority and even got forward for the Union’s second goal. Kansas City failed to track his late run, allowing him the touch that jarred the ball loose for McInerney to pound home.

Valdes led by example on Saturday. He did not need an armband to let everyone know he was the captain. He bossed the game for 90 minutes.

Gabe Farfan – 7.5

Not as sharp with the ball as he was against DC, Farfan made up for it in his heavyweight battle with Kamara. He showed tremendous composure to keep up his physicality without resorting to dirty tactics against the cheap, violent Kansas City forward. Despite giving away four inches, Farfan took Kamara out of the game, to the point where Peter Vermes was forced to switch his strikers, sending Kamara to do battle with Gaddis just to get away from the rough treatment he was receiving at the hands of Philadelphia’s best coiffed player.

Michael Lahoud – 5

As full of running as ever, Lahoud struggled to recreate his performance against DC United as he was pinned back by Kansas City’s pressure. Lahoud is at his best playing quick passes and moving to support his teammates. On Saturday, he dallied on the ball too long and failed to find the sharpness he will need to hold off Gabriel Gomez for a starting spot once the Panamanian returns to full fitness. Lahoud must find something he can contribute to the offense, because too often he falls into a purely defensive mode.

Brian Carroll – 5.5

Carroll simply didn’t get on the ball as often as Union fans have come to expect out of him. He dropped too deep at times in the center of the park, granting Zusi and Espinoza the time they needed to comfortably move the ball through midfield.

Michael Farfan – 5.5

Another night where the Union playmaker was less than his mercurial best, though he always shows flashes of the quality that has the coaching staff so high on him. Should have had an assist on Hoppenot’s first chip, only to see the striker balloon the chance over the bar, but did pick up an assist on a nearly identical play when Hoppenot finally did get on the score sheet. Covered a lot of ground in midfield, but does not seem entirely comfortable with his positioning as the Union look for him to line up more often on the left side of midfield, rather than centrally, above Carroll. With Roger Torres nearly at full health, in the coming weeks Farfan will need to ratchet up his energy level to become the sharp, combative attacker Union fans know that he can be.

Lionard Pajoy – 7.5

With McInerney occupying both center backs up top, Pajoy was freed up to do the kind of work he enjoys, cutting in from the left flank. It was a deft touch on the opener that kept the ball alive, and he looked more eager to join in the attack and make runs towards the goal that in past weeks. Still, Pajoy spends too much time stationary and directing traffic rather than making himself available to receive the ball. He dispatched his penalty with a veteran cool and calm. Pajoy deserves praise for his defensive effort on the night, not just for tracking back into the midfield, but for the handful of times he rose highest to win a header in his own box, clearing the danger in support of his defense.

Jack McInerney – 8.5

Now that McInerney has a brace under his belt, there’s no telling what the young Union striker can do. Add to that Pajoy’s comfort on the left and Hoppenot’s emergence as an impact sub, and McInerney’s place in the starting lineup seems assured for the immediate future. Despite being the smallest player to occupy the center forward berth for the Union in 2012, McInerney caused the most problems for Collin and Olum not only with his lines of running, but also his physicality.

By the time he was replaced, McInerney was exhausted, having run himself ragged. He is still working his way back to full match fitness after his time in Nowak’s wilderness. As he gets his legs under him more and more, there’s no reason to believe his performances will not continue to improve, a welcome thought for the Union.

Freddy Adu – 2

An absolutely terrible showing from Adu, who struggled to connect on his passes (53%), lost the ball on the dribble and powered crosses to no one in particular. Hopefully, Adu can shake off this performance, because with the Union strikers rounding into form, they will need a constant supply of chances to finish and Adu must be one of the primary providers.


Antoine Hoppenot – 8

“Live wire.” “Spark plug.” “Super sub.” What more can be said about Hoppenot? In what was an excellent move from Hackworth to introduce the electric rookie into a stretched match replete with tired legs, Hoppenot took his chances well and killed off the game for the Union. His audacious chip minutes after entering nearly put the final nail in Kansas City’s chances, but when it flew over the bar, Hoppenot was undeterred. Hoppenot offered pace, presence and strength on the ball with which a tired Aurelien Collin and Lawrence Olum simply could not deal. He also did a great job of staying onside, not a strength of some of his other teammates, for both the run that earned the penalty and his own goal. If the Union need a goal late in a game, expect to see Hoppenot pop off the bench.

Keon Daniel – 5

Brought on to help the Union kill off the game, Daniel added another big body to counter Kansas City’s physical superiority. He struggled to catch up with the speed of the game, however, and was not his usual calming influence in midfield. Fortunately, the third and fourth Union goals were timely in arriving, as the Union continued to struggle to possess the ball through the midfield. In the Union’s new 4-3-3, Daniel might be in for a long spell on the bench, with Carroll a consistent starter and Lahoud and Gomez both higher up the pecking order for the spot next to Carroll. Roger Torres’ return further muddies the water for Daniel, as the young Colombian will likely share some of Michael Farfan’s minutes, leaving even fewer to go around.

Geiger Counter

Terry Vaughn – 0

This rating is not for any particular call, rather for the entire performance. Terry Vaughn simply is not capable of officiating MLS matches. He was equally incorrect for both teams on Saturday. Whether it was his inability to read deflections, follow the play or understand what constitutes advantage, this match could have easily boiled over into chaos were it not for the level heads of certain players. When it comes to interacting with players Vaughn has it all wrong, whether its being casually chatty with a player who nearly injured someone on the most recent play or brandishing his yellow card like a Spanish bullfighter trying to win the crowd. His performance wire to wire smacked of an amateur trying to keep up with professionals.

Preferred lineup for Saturday’s match in Houston


MacMath; Williams, Okugo, Valdes, G. Farfan; Gomez, Carroll, M. Farfan; Pajoy, McInerney, Adu


  1. James "4-3-3" Forever says:

    Tactical idea: put Marfan in Adus spot, put Torres in Marfans midfield role, and replace Lahoud with Gomez?
    I look at it like (besides Adu’s up and down form) Marfan works best running at players and being free to attack. While he has vision to make great passes, his ball handling strength is more the direct dribble and less the clam presence on the ball to escape pressure. Putting Marfan + his speed + his skill on the wing that is usually invisible will help out our attack.
    In the midfield, Torres seems better at playing out of pressure and finding open spaces in the midfield. Gomez is just a better player, and will help Carroll on the defensive end as well.

    • Torres is nowhere near ready to start and play lengthy minutes, he’ll need time and games coming off the bench to get back to full fitness. I like Gomez in the role Daniel played this week, coming in sometime soon after half to provide some new legs/ideas, plus he is skilled defensively while providing great dead ball ability. Lehoud is perfect to start a match in a 4-3-3 bc he is so fast and can cover so much space, he just isn’t too creative going forward. Freddy needs to be played, he and Marfan are probably our 2 most creative players. You cannot take him off just bc you don’t like him and he is inconsistent, if only bc he has the most chance to succeed. Most other players have been equally inconsistent, they just don’t have quite the highs and lows, if only bc they don’t have the ability. He is frustrating, but they need to play him. Torres can hopefully be used as a sub for Pajoy or Marfan later on and can play either that LW or LM position.

      • +1 on freddy and torres

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        “You cannot take [Adu] off just bc you don’t like him and he is inconsistent, if only bc he has the most chance to succeed.”

        Sorry, but what? His inconsistency is absolutely a reason to take him off. I mean, I want him to develop as much as the next guy, but Adu has had more and better opportunities than almost any other US field player in his age range to develop and, frankly, he really hasn’t taken it. We need to deploy a lineup to win, not a lineup as a favor to Freddy, no offense (no pun intended).

        Torres will still be raw, but if he’s back to capacity he could fill that quarterback role well.

      • After I typed that I realized it wasn’t coming out how I meant it. He is inconsistent, and frustrating… but he is no more inconsistent than pretty much everyone else on the team except for a few players, but his ability to change a game can’t just be overlooked. I like Torres, a lot actually, but how has he shown more consistency? Especially coming off a knee injury.

    • WilkersonMcLaser says:

      I like it. I also am really liking this team. Having JackMac-back has been such a revelation.

      And Okugo! OMG! A future USMNT center back? Lord knows we need strong defenders with distribution …

      • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

        Whoa, I didn’t know Okugo is listed at 6 feet! Now him staying at CB makes more sense to me. Lord knows he would face less NT competition there than at DM.

    • I’d love to see Gomez re-inserted, but unfortunately with the 4-3-3 I don’t see a spot for him. I don’t wanna mess with what’s working, but Gomez would provide a more calming influence in the middle and provide a big target to go at some of the bigger d-mids and defenders (i.e. Geoff Cameron from Houston), but he needs to be parked in the middle, preferably in front of Carroll. If we could put him there, then flank him with Adu & Marfan and put McInerney and Pajoy in front of him I think we’d be in business. It would take the defensive pressure off of Caroll, because although he can handle it, his specialty is two-touch distribution.

  2. I say we let it ride and let the lineup get used to each other. If gomez is healthy and comes in to replace lahoud fine but other than getting sheanon in when he is fully fit I leave it alone. Lets stop the NOWAK (defined as changing at least three players every week no matter what the result was the prior week) We are all conditioned to change so we want to tweak. Sometimes if its not broke then don’t fix it. Let torres work his way back in.
    reward those who are playing with time to show what they can do. There is nothing wrong with letting a playmaker like adu see what impact he can have and subbing him if its not his game to impact and bringing on hoppenot. Don’t forget that some of the reason why some players are open is because freddy was drawing/dribbling onto triple coverage. I agree its was not a good performance for adu but this is no reason to change the lineup every week.

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      I think there’s a big difference between tweaking the lineup and taking a hammer to it like Nowak did. There is nothing wrong with making a change or two based on form – we would still play a 4-3-3, we would still play with the same style, we would still look to attack the game.
      The problem with Nowak was the constant changes in formation, tactics, style, AND the lineup changes.

    • Freddy may not have had his best game as a Union player (I think the 2 rating is too low), but it was far from his worst. He is an extremely frustrating player to watch, in my opinion, because his top games are incredible while his lowest performances are dreadful. As has been said, lots of teams double- and triple-team him, so it’s near impossible for him to work his magic. He was fouled at one point, only because he saw a player (Zusi maybe?) coming in on the periphery, tapped the ball away with the outside of hit foot, and took a beating. When he has 2-3 guys on him, that means there’s 1 or 2 Union players in the open.

  3. AM I the only one that thinks Garfar hurts the team? When he’s not getting called for bad fouls in bad places, he’s losing the ball or just clearing it up the field to nobody (very nowak-esk). I just feel like he doesn’t have a very good read for the game.

    • Yeah, you’re the only one. 😉 I think Garfan is part of the core of players around whom the Union should be built for years to come. (Others include Mac, Okugo, Williams, and Marfan.)

      Keep in mind he has only been playing defender for a year and is still a natural midfielder. In the one game he started in midfield this year, he may have had the best game of any Union player.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Can’t agree with you on that one.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      You’re on your own there. In this game where the midfield gave very few options for outlets, he was forced to play long more than he wanted. When the midfield plays well, like last week, he was vital in the build up play.

    • Ditto, he makes a couple dumb fouls, but no way should he not be playing. He’s only gotten better.

    • My only problem with Garfan is one that can’t be helped right now. My problem is with him and Gaddis out there that is one too many loose cannons in the back. I know both are coming along but at this moment having them both back there is a bit.

    • I said to my friend last week he has to be the toughest, right footed, midfielder turned left back the MLS has seen. Yes he has stupid fouls but none of it is selfish or vindictive. His whole persona is do what it takes the whole game, no plays off. now that califf is gone and with sheanon out we need garfan more than ever to be an enforcer on the back line. If he stays at the LB spot and I think he should he will grow and mature into a fine LB.

      • I just feel as though he hasn’t stepped well into the role. While he is a skilled player, he really goes against the momentum of the team sometimes. Even if you don’t agree with me completely watch a replay of a game sometime and just watch him and see what you think. I know he is one of the few “union” names left that people love but I just don’t think he is all that great. That being said, he’s infinately better at LB than Lopez.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    I’m still not sold on Pajoy. Yes, he kept the ball in play on the first goal, but I thought he should have been able to put it home himself. Also, there were a couple of times where Hoppenot got control of the ball in the middle of the KC half of the field only to look up and see no teammates on that half of the field. Pajoy needed to be further forward so there would be someone to try to pass to.

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      I think he needs to do a lot for us to believe in him after how bad he was at first. But the wing seems more his natural spot, and if he plays defense as hard as he did this game I wouldn’t mind having him out there at all.

    • I agree, Pajoy did play light years better than he had in the past. He just stands stationary much too often for my taste. However his play in this game still has bought him a couple more games with our new coach/lineup to see if he can be effective.

      • I was in favor of giving him a chance to see what he could do with some help and team direction(read coaching), and still am. While he didn’t look great, there were a lot of off passes, and I think that will get better with some time and consistent line-ups. I was down on him during the Novak era, but I want to see what we have under the new era. I think I may still like martinez better, but I’m open to being proved wrong. And if he improves as he’s did last game, we cane use some size up front(lets face it Jack freddy and the other guys don’t look like they are getting any taller)

    • Still Not There on Pajoy says:

      Way too often in the first half Pajoy was late hustling back and led to offsides whistles and/or guys having to hold the ball a tick too long.

      And that’s incredibly frustrating from the “professional.” He’s still probably a guy who should start, but he needs to hustle a LOT more.

  5. The Black Hand says:

    Good analysis and rankings. Saturday’s match was just what the Dr. ordered. Our club looked strong on both sides of the ball. Amobi deserves a lot of credit. Sporting’s forwards are very physical and extremely effective on crosses into the area. He, and Valdez, handled them well and our outside backs did a great job preventing service. Our midfield played OK. Michael Farfan’s lack of involvement was concerning. I thought that Lahoud left a bit to be desired, on the pitch. I wouldn’t object to seeing Gabriel Gomez in the center spot, going forward. Our forwards were very good, with the giant exception of himself (Freddy Adu). I am tiring of his disappearing act. Lionard worked his ass off. He did a great job aiding our defenders, especially on the dreaded set pieces. I would have liked to see him transition, to attack, a bit quicker, but I’ll take his efforts every week. I hope he keeps it up. Jack Mac…what can I say? I have been a huge anti-Jack guy. His performances, over the past two weeks, have shut me right up. He has given us a very serious threat up top. I love the one two punch we now have, with Hoppenot subbing in for Mac and bringing the same, if not greater, intensity and threat up top. They will demand fitness from opposing backs, for the full 90. I love these guys going forward. Overall, I was proud of our club and fellow fans at PPL. It was a great atmosphere. New life has been breathed in, both on the pitch and in the stands. Thank you very much, FOR ABSOLUTELY NOTHING, Peter Nowak! Come on the U!

    • Listen up Philly soccer fans. Adu played great… again. Please have a closer look at what you are watching on the field. For instance, Adu’s potency at free kicks makes it so that opposing defenses have to be very careful about fouling and clearing the ball over their own goal line. Also, his willingness to shoot from far out pulls the defenders off their lines. Also, his willingness to take guys on one-on-one tires them out. So much so that by the end of the game Sporting KCs defense was run ragged from double and triple teaming him all evening. They succeeded at keying in on Adu and making him look ineffective to the untrained eye, but Union succeeded at taking advantage. Adu is a gem of a soccer technician and play maker. Please learn the nuances of watching a game played with a ball at the feet. Adu is like a Lebron James, but this is not basketball. We are Philly fans. I expect more from you all.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Freddy, Is that you?

      • 3-8-2… That is the Union’s record. Close to the bottom of the list in a third rate league. In Adu, we have a player with much needed and apparent skill, but somehow cannot see it here other than to mock it… Oh I know probably because every time he touches the ball he doesn’t dribble past all 4 defenders and slam dunk the ball into the back of the net while kicking the goalie in the face. That would be interesting to see I admit, but that is not soccer my friends… not even MLS soccer.

        Please go to a Union game. Please watch the whole flow of the 90 minutes. Please look at the whole field. There are usually about 2 or 3 players that really stand out as “special” (on either side) and it is apparent that it is a privilege for you to be there to watch them play the beautiful game. Last week to me I got that feeling while watching Hoppenot, Valdes and Adu. We’ll see. Time will tell who has the quality, just get off the Adu hate train especially after 2 great team games. the real villain is Nowack and he is gone!

      • The Black Hand says:

        No doubt Adu is skilled. I would like to see him use those skills,to benefit his club, more regularly. He tends to disappear at times, allowing himself to become a non-factor. He is too good and, more importantly, too expensive to coast through a set of games…or two. I don’t know if I would go so far as to say that watching Adu is a privilege. There are many equally skilled players, in the “third rate” MLS, that execute far better than Adu. It’s one thing to be technically gifted, as Adu is, but being able to translate those skills on the pitch (in a way that benefits your club) is what separates elite players. Adu has shown his ability, just not as consistently as we need. It has been his main shortcoming, for his entire playing career.

      • the kid union says:


  6. Let Adu go. I think he could be a great player, but he just doesn’t want to be playing in the MLS. The guy has been trying to leave Philadelphia since he came. It seems like he doesn’t fit the new style of play. He is a good guy, but the Union have so much talent that they could deploy. Marfan could replace Adu and let Torres or Daniels control the attack from the mid.

    • Everyone is failing to realize that roger has not really contributed to the team in almost 8 months. He has great potential and I feel he will mature into a great player at least at the MLS level but he is still growing into that form. He will need a while to become confident and adapt to the way the team plays now. Also I like keon but he is not the player type we need running the attack in the middle. marfan is best when he is free to make an inprint on the game with runs from behind and play defense along the wing. Lets again not rush to replace someone who at this moment does not need replacement. If david silva or messi were available then sure 🙂 but for now Adu is who we have and until a proven player comes along or roger matures he is it.

      • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

        People said the same thing about Jack Mac … there can’t be much doubt that once he is fit and gets playing time Torres will contribute often.
        The reason why I want Adu gone is more for his sake. In the MLS, in Philly, with this kind of exposure, he is still the “failed wonder kid desperately trying to recreate his career.” It makes his off games 10 times worse. He clearly has skill, but still needs to grow.
        That is why he should go to a decent mid level Portuguese or Dutch team … an attacking team where he can get starts and learn the game away from the country where he failed to become the next Pele.
        For the Union, it would also mean a transfer fee for us and opening up a spot we have plenty of talent for.

      • We can agree on one aspect a move and a profitable one for the union would be beneficial for both adu and the union. Adu and his style were never made for the MLS but that said he has a lot to offer at practice and in games if Hack harnesses it well.

        I have been a freddy supporter since he was with DC and have followed him around the world. I was happy to see him come to philly but hoped and knew it would be for a year or two max.

        For now we have him and while we can we should play him and stay with him while he is playing well and sit him when he is struggling at least until roger is really ready to take the reigns. Also though freddy is small roger is smaller and needs to toughen up a bit as MLS more than many is a contact league.

      • I am a major Adu supporter. The problem with him is the preconcieved notion of his name. People want him to fail. He helps the flow of the team incredibly. The difference I see between him and Caroll is that people want to see freddy do something amazing everytime rather than just play as a smart center mid. Also, it has shown that he plays well WITH torres, and can play numerous positions.

  7. Second disappointing week in a row from Marfan for me. Just as you pointed out the one mistake Valdes made, I would submit the assist was the only thing Marfan did right. They need him to get back to the stellar form he’s shown previously.

    That said, it was an awesome win. The crowd was fired up too. Congrats to the SOBs for coming up huge. The DC supporters raised the bar at the last game but the River End came out strong Saturday and pulled the rest of us right along. That is what I call atmosphere.

    • I personally think he’s a selfish player, or doesn’t know when to get rid of the ball. Not sure which but I’ve picked up on it. He has skill though so it’ll be interesting to see which aspect comes out on top

  8. Andrew Grenade says:

    Why cant Torres and Daniel be given the chance to learn? Adu would save the team a lot of money if he left and I think he would enjoy playing in another league. Philly has never really connected to Adu, but he seems to also not connect with Philly. With Torres and Daniel, neither has seen consist playing time. Also, I like to think the Union can make the playoffs, but it seems close to impossible. Im not saying we should abandon this season, but it would be fun to see how these guys work in a consistent lineup. Luckily, for you and everyone else, im not the coach and my opinion means nothing.

    • WilkersonMcLaser says:

      This is a good point. Torres, at least, seems to have enough upside that risking his inclusion over Adu isn’t likely to be much more a threat to our playoff chances than they are right now. Add the money variable and it’s kind of a no-brainer.

      That said, if we’re set on keeping Adu, can we at least get him to actually compete for his playing time? I like consistency too (OK, a lot), but that’s not an excuse to play guys who are consistently under-performing (wrong kind of consistency!).

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      At the very least maybe they should try to flip Marfan and Adu around. Give Adu the pass to pull the strings in the midfield, where he will either have space or be able to pass out of trouble/dribble out of trouble, then on the wings where Adu feels like dribbling at 1,2 defenders because he is playing so high up.
      Marfan seems to be the better dribbler to me and plus Marfan will play harder and isn’t stubborn enough to constantly dribble into defenders like Adu is.

  9. WilkersonMcLaser says:

    By the way, when are you guys going to do a piece on why the singing (at least as its broadcast) at Jeld-Wen is better than PPL? We really need to step up our game. More songs and more people singing them!

    • Union does need a song. Kind of like Liverpool’s “Never Walk Alone” etc…

      • Il,
        Agreed when we were up 4 nil to KC in the closing minutes we should have been chanting The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” all the way to the parking lot.

  10. Sean Doyle says:

    Mark it down, April 9th was the day I started driving the Antoine Hoppenot bandwagon. The kid was a handful vs. the Revs reserve team. The thing that I most remember was being so impressed with his work rate and energy. He was always on the move, making runs at defenders both on and off the ball. Hack has found the perfect role for Antoine and we all get to benefit from his boundless energy!

    • James "4-3-3" Forever says:

      Wow, a good personnel move by the union!?!? what a weird feeling!

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        I know! Brilliant!

        I love me some depth.

        That said, I just jumping on the Okugo-as-CB bandwagon and loving it. He clearly has that Geoff Cameron-kind of upside to his game in the CB role. I guess we’ll never know?

      • He should get plenty of starts since it should take at least 3-4 weeks till Soumare is anywhere near match fit enough to go 90 unless he has been doing something i don’t know about the last two months. At least 3 mls games and hopefully 3 open cup games.

      • Would keep Okugo out there at all costs. His passing is great. Maybe for Lahoud or Carroll.

      • Maybe Lahoud, but Carroll needs to stay, there is something to be said about a guy who can make the other teams star disappear. He gets under rated a lot, but sometimes when you don’t notice a guy it’s a good or bad thing, and in Carroll’s case I believe it’s a good

      • WilkersonMcLaser says:

        We may have to credit Nowak for this one, actually.

      • I agree that nowak desrves a lot of credit for the team we saw on saturday and the moves to come. He was a good talent spotter and saw ability others including the players themselves did not see. he just was a terrible coach when it came to applying the game to those players.

      • Which is a sad statement because the proper role for him may have been the more senior role while leaving Hack to manage the team. It could have worked nicely but he clearly had worn out his welcome.

        Heres to hoping Hack has the same eye but is a better in-game and pre-game manager.

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