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Player ratings and analysis: Union 1-0 Revolution

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

Well, that was cold.

For the second straight game, Philadelphia Union braved miserable weather conditions to eke out a 1-0 win. Sleet, frozen rain, and hail marred the match, and any fan who stayed deserves some applause along with the players.

Over the length of a season, many teams mark the games they expect to win and those they don’t. Union manager John Hackworth probably hoped for five points from the first three games: a home draw with Kansas City, a road draw with Colorado, and a home win over New England. He got six points, just not the way he probably expected.

Jeff Parke's defensive chalkboard. Courtesy of MLSsoccer.com.

Jeff Parke’s defensive chalkboard. Courtesy of MLSsoccer.com.

The league’s best center back pair?

Center back Jeff Parke didn’t make a wrong move all day, save for his late booking. He won seemingly every header he tried for and repeatedly put himself in New England’s passing lanes, recording six interceptions, five recoveries and 16 clearances. When left back Ray Gaddis pushed high up field, Parke filled the gap on the left flank to prevent counterattacks. He even opportunistically turned one takeaway into a push toward the Revs’ goal, on which he won a free kick in a dangerous position. And Parke did it all with such an economy of motion that it often looked effortless, as he intelligently read the game, stepped into passing lanes, and took the right angles in defensive recovery.

Combined with Amobi Okugo’s continued high level of play, it looks like the Union have two national teamers at center back. It’s easier to understand why Bakary Soumare can’t crack the starting lineup. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But … about that midfield fluidity

If something is broken, it’s the midfield. Outside of opening day’s first 40 minutes, it has lacked fluidity in possession. Some have simplistically blamed defensive midfielder Brian Carroll, but the situation seems more a team problem and may come down to personnel deployment and the interrelation among those personnel, including the wingbacks.

Of the four players who spent most of Saturday in midfield, only Michael Farfan is a natural attacker. There should be no surprise that the unit didn’t threaten New England’s back line most of the game. Keon Daniel shows good vision and ballhandling skills, but he rarely attacks the goal and is more of a steadying presence than anything. (And that’s a shame, because his left-footed shot is a cannon.) Michael Lahoud spent most of the game at right midfield, and while he put in a good performance, he is at heart a central holding midfielder.

Carroll’s role is to sit back, clean up messes defensively, and distribute to his teammates who then move the ball up field. His ability to drop deep defensively and read the game allows Sheanon Williams and Ray Gaddis to play in advanced roles as wingbacks, with the center backs covering the defensive flanks until the wingbacks can get recover. It’s easy to miss the little things Carroll does, like the moment in the 63rd minute when he plugged a defensive hole at right back because Williams was so far up field.

So what’s the answer? Probably the combination of personnel. Gabriel Farfan’s return from injury should help. So too might a return of Michael Farfan to one steady position. Okugo’s support for the attack would likely be superior to Carroll’s if Okugo moved to holding midfield, but … well, we’ve had that conversation before, haven’t we?

What’s wrong with Michael Farfan?

Michael Farfan was replaced in the 67th minute in the Saturday, and the move paid off. It wasn’t his best day.

Farfan was clearly trying too hard to find his teammates on long through balls in the first half, completing 11 of 26 passes in the first 45 minutes. To a degree, it was understandable. Philadelphia wasn’t doing anything else in attack, and Farfan was rightly seeing (but sometimes forcing) opportunities. New England clearly read the scouting report, however, and Revolution center backs Jose Goncalves and A.J. Soares repeatedly cut off his passes. (Click here for their shared first half defensive chalkboard.)

In the second half, the game plan clearly changed. Farfan only tried one long through ball and connected on 4 of 6 passes before leaving the match in the 67th minute.

Marfan first half passing: successful (left), unsuccessful (right)

Michael Farfan’s first half distribution: successful passes (left) and unsuccessful passes (right).

So what’s wrong with Farfan? Probably nothing, intrinsically. He played three different positions in three games, and that likely hasn’t helped.

Ray Gaddis’ left-footed deficiency also decreases the overlap threat on the left side, which probably limited Farfan’s options Saturday. On the day, Philadelphia leaned heavily to the right side of the field before shifting to a 4-3-3. Williams led the team with 150 touches on the day, to 96 for Gaddis. The Gaddis experiment is worthwhile because he’s so talented, but it’s a conundrum: He’s too good a right back to sit the bench and too weak on his left foot to flourish at left back. The Union just have to deal with the growing pains as Gaddis progresses, Michael Farfan included.

4-3-3 + Hoppenot = game change

Antoine Hoppenot’s 67th minute entry and Hackworth’s shift to a 4-3-3 changed the game. Hoppenot repeatedly broke down defenders who looked like they were running half speed opposite him. He won multiple corner kicks and created the situation that led to the winner.

The formation change allowed several players to drop back into their comfort zones. Jack McInerney moved to center forward. Hoppenot moved wide, where he could run at defenders in space. Lahoud dropped to the base of a narrow midfield triangle with Carroll. Daniel maintained his central position but now had less obligation to drive deep into the defense. Sebastien Le Toux also moved wide, a role he can play even if it’s not his best. Each player flourished. It was a result few might have expected upon Farfan’s removal, but it’s hard to question Hackworth’s moves considering the result.

Random notes and thoughts
  • The Union’s defensive walls on free kicks were terrific.
  • Carroll, Okugo and Parke successfully slowed counterattacks by adeptly filling spaces left when the wingbacks pushed high in the attack.
  • Danny Cruz has so many traits we prize in American athletes: Toughness, grit, hustle, speed, strength. But in soccer, we prefer those most in our defenders, and he lacks key traits prized in wingers, notably a good first touch. Has anyone ever noticed he might make a great right back?
  • Are the Union a Danny Cruz sort of team or a Roger Torres sort of team?
  • Earning points the ugly way early in the season could allow the Union to “risk” a more fluid lineup later in the season. The Union are in second place. If they were in eighth place, Philadelphians would be calling for Hackworth’s head. (Some of you already are.)
Player ratings

Zac MacMath — 6

MacMath made the game’s key save and played more aggressively coming off his line. He got away with muffing a couple of catches, but that was likely a function of the freezing cold. MacMath also benefited from poor finishing by Juan Toja and Jerry Bengston.

Sheanon Williams — 5

Williams led the Union in touches Saturday, but he seldom did much with them. His crosses threatened but failed to connect. His failed 78th minute gamble for a steal opened the left flank for Lee Nguyen to set up Toja’s open shot that curled just wide right. Still, Williams played adequate defense overall and can’t be expected to combine with Lahoud on the right sideline the same as he might with someone named Farfan. Put a Farfan on his side, and Williams will return to form.

Amobi Okugo — 7

Hello, Jurgen Klinsmann. We hear you have a center back problem. Okugo continued to show great range and completed all but two of his passes.

Jeff Parke — 9

See above. He played a complete game.

Ray Gaddis — 5

Gaddis looked better, but he’s not comfortable on the left yet. New England forced Gaddis left, and to his credit, he took the openings a few times but failed to connect on crosses. Defensively, he’s getting outmuscled by opponents. The experiment hasn’t paid off yet, but it could.

Brian Carroll — 5

Critics may focus on his left-footed mishit early in the game that sliced a clearance up and back toward his own end. Others may notice that he steadied himself after that and consistently put himself in the right defensive positions. Definitely an improvement over his first two games.

Danny Cruz — 5

Cruz broke his nose against Colorado. He stopped a free kick with his face against New England. Roar.

Keon Daniel — 5

Once again, Daniel was steady in possession and covered a lot of ground. He has to start looking at goal though.

Michael Farfan — 4

See above. This too shall pass.

Sebastien Le Toux — 6

Look who’s been practicing his corner kicks! Le Toux has improved vastly in that department. His partnership with McInerney is a work in progress, as he acknowledged after the game, but Le Toux doesn’t need to score goals to be viewed as a success. Assists will do just fine.

Jack McInerney — 7

Stone cold killer.

Substitutes

Michael Lahoud — 6

Put a bullet shot on goal. Barely missed another. Connected on his passes. Played a solid defensive game. No, he doesn’t offer as much in attack on the wing as the Farfans, but he showed his value to the team once again with his versatility and team play. It says volumes about several people that Hackworth opted for him over Roger Torres when Cruz left the game. To Lahoud’s credit, it speaks well for him, and he answered the call as best as one could ask. The ultimate team player.

Antoine Hoppenot — 8

Changed the game. Could not be defended.

Chris Albright — 5

Showed his versatility entering late at left midfield to help close the game out defensively.

Geiger Counter

Jose Carlos Rivero — 4

At what point do you shift the blame from the referee who misses a player’s dives to the player who makes them? Juan Toja made Rivero bite on questionable fouls at least twice. If not for the Union’s good defensive walls, that could have been a very different match because of Toja’s dives.

Preferred lineup for March 30 game against New York Red Bulls

4-1-3-2

MacMath; Williams, Soumare, Parke, Gaddis; Okugo; M. Farfan, Daniel, G. Farfan; Le Toux, McInerney

Count me among those who see Okugo as a national team center back, but at some point, Philadelphia’s best 11 need to play, even if it’s only so the rest of the league can determine Bakary Soumare’s trade value. This lineup may be the Union’s best starting 11, with concessions for the regrettable fact that Torres can’t get any minutes.

66 Comments

  1. Pretty good notes overall.
    Totally agree with midfield. If Hackworth still wants to play Carrol, it’s obvious why. He is a stone cold 100% anchor man. He does all the defensive stuff and NONE of the offensive stuff. So why play mediocre players like Lahoud and Daniel who offer average play both ways? Is it THAT hard to play someone like Torres or Marfan (as a CAM) who compliments the middle of the park with the skills Carrol doesn’t have?
    Why continue to stuff up the park with average midfielders who do not compliment each other?
    It’s annoying to watch.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Keon has out-shown Michael Farfan. They have each been shuffled around, but only Keon has been able to adapt. Farfan has looked to be in very poor form, while Keon is playing nice football. Lahoud outplayed Farfan against NE, as well. Who are the mediocre ones?

  2. A few points. I think williams does what he has to do. Between being left out to dry by cruz and connecting with a giveaway prone player in daniel and a player who lacks a little offensive vision in lahoud he has had a tough time creating down the right side. Also he has to provide a lot of right/central cover when gaddis takes off up field. all in all he is adapting and learning.
    gaddis could be special if given time and cover to grow. he has make up speed to burn and has some good ball movement.
    roger torres needs to find a way into the game if for nothing else than to wake up our midfield.
    hoppenot is the perfect 65-70 minute sub. lets not change that anytime soon.
    otherwise the best XI need a run out. heres mine.
    MacMath; Williams, Okugo, Parke, Gaddis; Carroll; M. Farfan, Torres, G. Farfan; Le Toux, McInerney

    • Good points! Agreed. I like your lineup as much as mine too.

      • Garfan is one of THE sloppiest players on the Union. He really shouldn’t be part of the starting XI. I would take Daniel over him any day of the week. Keon makes mistakes like every other player, but he has incredible vision and manages to shield the ball from multiple defenders game in and game out. Not to mention Daniel’s placement on free kicks and crosses.

      • Garfan may be a bit aggressive and end up in bad spots at times but I can’t say he has had enough time on the wing to tell me what he can do there. You and I see a different keon out there. The one I see holds up the ball then passes it back to williams or loses it after three or four steps. The one I see takes a half second longer than he has and watches passing lanes close on him. I like keon and feel he is tall and strong and has good technical skills but I would rather give gabe a go and see what he has to offer.

      • I really think that Gabe’s only spot right now is on the reserves or as a sub. I just don’t see the quality. But to each his own

      • Totally disagree with your assessment of Garfan. In my view, he and his brother are the two most dynamic regulars for the Union. Daniel’s a good player. So is Garfan. Put them in the right roles surrounded by the right players, and they’ll both flourish.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Gabe has been offered up some simple put-aways and he has blown them royally. To some extent, the same could be said for his brother. The biggest factor I see working against the brothers Farfan is an overall lack of discipline. There are many dynamic players, who excel at lower levels but fail at the top level…ie:Freddy Adu. Being dynamic does not make you a quality player, if you have no ability to use those skills in a game setting. Keon Daniel has composure and, like many say if Jack Mac, appears to be getting better with game experience. As of now, I don’t see the Farfan’s anywhere near Keon’s form. That could, and probably will, change but Keon deserves a little credit for his play.

      • The Black Hand says:

        *of Jack, not if Jack

  3. my only beef here is thinking macmath is rated too highly. watching the replays it’s hard to say that those wiffs are weather related. they look mistimed to me. i’m often a macmath defender but i thought his game was poor and was bailed out by a good union defense and an inept rev attack.

  4. Luva Golazo says:

    Spot on analysis, I think. Finally somebody else sees Cruz at outside back, but I put him on the left. I can see lots of overlaps and push from him there. “Stone cold killer” for sure. Not pretty but amazing instincts and fearless approach. Oh, for some better service from the mids… Paul Kennedy today: “With goals in back-to-back wins, Jack McInerney is one of the most underrated young American players in MLS.”

    • Is his left foot good enough? If so, would be interesting. I think he’s a great athlete who seems like just the kind of guy you want on your team, much like Lahoud. Just a matter of where and how best to use him.

      • Not much like Lahoud, not at all. Lahoud is a footballer. Cruz has no touch and no vision. Lost in the discussion of who should sub in for the injured Cruz is the more important question, which is why was Cruz starting the match? He is not one of the best XI on the team, is not one of the top four midfielders, is not one of the top forward players. WTF was he doing in the starting XI? He does not make the match day 18 in my opinion.

      • Luva Golazo says:

        I agree at midfield, but he is pretty solid defensively, has excellent first step quickness, decent speed and plenty of tenacity. I’m still nervous about our other projects at LB.

  5. Keon is soft. He should not be in the center of the midfield. Poor choice playing him there.

    • Keon sometimes makes decisions too slowly, I think. But, he sees the game well, he has a good touch, he can play the ball with either foot, and he has a good shot. Too soft for center midfield? Not sure how you set up your match day squad, but if “soft” is the biggest problem you see, then the center of the midfield is EXACTLY where Keon belongs.

      • agreed. Keon is underrated. People mistake his “slow down and make an educated play” approach as “I just don’t have a nose for goal or I;m too slow/dumb to figure it out.” Arguably the toughest player in the midfield. THe Farfans just try to smash the ball past defenders, Keon -and Hoppenot btw – shield and protect the ball from them.

      • keon has wo sides to his play. sometimes it’s that vision/shot but other times its cheap giveaways and not offering coverage. he’s got an upside but he’s not complete.

  6. Also, are you guys the only people in the locker room doing video interviews?

    • Don’t think so. We just waited for other reporters to clear aside so we could get one-on-ones. I think I saw at least one camera in there Saturday, but it’s mostly print and radio journalists in there, I think. (Eli can probably speak to this better than me, since he’s in the locker room more often than I am.)

  7. Hackworth should have a rating on here too. Players win games and coaches lose them. Hack did a lot better against NE than CO to not lose. Still, I feel like he’s trying by leaving out Torres and Soumare.

    • Jeremy Lane says:

      This is a good idea, and syncs with the fact that, while we’ve won these last two games, many of us are unconvinced by the decisions Hackworth has been making. I like Hack a lot, but he’s not doing himself any favors by freezing out Torres or starting Cruz, etc.

      • I agree with the new rating. my feeling about hack is he is a great judge of talent and may even be good at fostering it but the actual managing of the game and the players in imeddiate pre-game, during the game and immediate post-game leaves quite a bit to be desired. Although as long as we are winning just like gaddis I am happy to watch him grow.

    • Can we call it the “Nowak Counter”…or bettery yet, the “Peter Meter?”

    • JediLos117 says:

      Hackworth: 7.
      .
      Displays a willingness to adhere to consistency having trotted out the exact starting 11 that won in Colorado.
      .
      Cruz’s injury forced his hand early. Lahoud’s introduction was a head scratcher and fan unfriendly but proved right with fans now rating #13.
      .
      Having recognized M. Farfan’s below average performance, Hackworth introduced Hoppenot after 67mins, moved Lahoud and switched to a 4-3-3 that forced the Revs to adjust.
      .
      With three minutes left and three points within reach, Hackworth introduced Albright instead of Soumare to focus on sealing the points.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Would the choice to start Cruz also factor in to the Hackworth rating? Cruz, in my eyes, had his best game yet. I can’t see how Hackworth’s decision, to muddle the pitch with Cruz, would give you confidence in your manager. Lahoud was a good sub, but Cruz’ start was a bad decision by the boss. 7?

      • JediLos117 says:

        Yup addressed in first sentence. We won in Colorado and all last year we complained about the lack of and need for consistent lineups.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I agree we need a consistent XI but shudder to think that that XI should be the inept lineup from the CO match. There was nothing, but a completely undeserved win, to suggest that that lineup should be revisited.

  8. The Black Hand says:

    I thought that our back line played well. Parke is a superb CB. I thought Amobi looked off at times but overall had a decent game. Gaddis and Williams played well on the flanks.

    A 5 for Keon? Really? From what I saw, Keon was the only source of creation out of the midfield. He was composed and smart with his distribution. He even challenged well defensively.

    Super forgiving, in regards to Michael Farfan. All excuses aside, he has been poor for the Union. He was a turnover machine and his only defense was grabbing at the opposition (and getting called for it).

    I love the goals from Mac. They have been huge. That said, he has had a tough time getting himself involved over the full 90′. There were a lot of well played balls sent in to the area, that McInerney was nowhere near. He has to do a better job being a NINETY MINUTE striker. His size is also a disadvantage. It’s great to get scoring from Mac but we cannot overlook his areas of weakness.

    Oh yeah…MacMath. Two steps back, for our young keeper. Came up big the one time he was tested, but mishandled way too often. The Fall-Back-Kick-Save has to go. If the NE shot was well placed, MacMath wouldn’t have had a prayer because he made himself too small, exposing too much of the goal. But, NE didn’t place the shot and MacMath got the save. Good on him for that.

    Overall, huge win for the Union!!!

    • Keon could have been a 6. It was a coin toss. (I don’t do half points in ratings. We have 10 numbers — 11, if you count zero! So … yeah, coin toss. I thought he had a fair game.)

      As for Marfan … he wasn’t connecting, but I thought he posed the only attacking threat for the Union in the first half. And the fact that he alone threatened was part of why he wasn’t connecting. NE just keyed on him and watched for long through balls.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I didn’t see it as attacking. I thought that it was more; a player, with rather poor vision, trying to force something that wasn’t there. I am not seeing the visionary virtuoso, that Michael Farfan has been billed as. The quality simply has not been there. Michael Farfan was detrimental to the club on Saturday. I do believe that he has above average skills but he needs to display them, in a constructive nature, to merit the adoration. That chip against Real was a long time ago.

    • Of course you never overlook a players disadvantages, everyone has them. However, he is producing so why complain. His size is not something that will change so adapting other aspects of his game, which he is doing, is the answer. Everyone has room for improvement but at the age of 20, two game winning goals in two games deserves praise. With more experience and confidence JackMac will improve and become the solid 90 minute player you are asking for and I believe his development over the end of last season to this season has shown that.
      Cruz brings a different element to the game. He is tenacious, high energy and leaves everything on the field. Agreed he is not in the best XI technically, but with the players we do have he fits into the puzzle. We are not a slow-paced, long-ball team and Cruz plays the quick, Philly-tough style that we create with who we currently have.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I can’t argue with your points about Mac. He has produced some big goals for the Union. I think he has the killer instinct, that a striker needs to have. I want to see that develop.

        As for Cruz, he is easily the most intense player on the team. Unfortunately, there has been no quality shown to mirror his efforts. Outside of tiring opponents, I see little value from his inclusion.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Cruz does not tire out opponents. He runs away from the play and has poor ball skills. he doesn’t drag a defender to his side. He is not a threat with the ball at his feet, whether on the dribble or passing it. Keon should play on the left, Michael Farfan should play on the right and Torres should slot into the middle. in my eyes, that is the union’s best chance of creating offense with the currently available options. Black hand, i think you tend to overvalue keon and undervalue marfan. This time though, farfan was awful, well off the pace. he was trying things, but on the wrong side of the field and with those conditions, they were never going to come off, resulting in a terrible turnover rate. Keon ran harder than I can remember against NE but his poor pass selection and overdribbling offset his defensive energy.

      • I was actually thinking the same thing, and discussed the Daniel-Torres-Marfan pairing with a buddy of mine the other week.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I agree. Cruz has no real use and have no idea why Hack turns to him. I can also admit that my bias leans towards Keon. It’s just that, I have never really seen Michael Farfan deliver anything close to the hype. He is overrated and always given a benefit of the doubt. Keon is Keon. I admit, he has his faults but I think that he is making the best of the decisions that are coming out of our midfield. The measuring sticks are not equal when assessing both players. Critics are very hard on Keon, while very, very soft on Farfan.
        I completely agree with your midfield selection. I would even consider a look at Hoppenot at CAM, if Hackworth continues to deny Torres.

      • fully agree with this, eli

      • Eli, there is no longer such a thing as “undervaluing” Marfan anymore based on his play this far in the season and especially the game against the Revs. He was abysmal. That said, I actually agree with you on the Daniel – Torres – Marfan across the mid(not counting the Dmid spot).

  9. I like the ratings here and also the analysis. I do not agree with the comments that some have made about ugly football. Conditions were rough on Saturday. I saw several mis-hits, many more by NE than by PHI. I saw lots of slips and falls, not sure why the studs weren’t longer. But overall, it was better football than we’ve seen from the Union over 90 (OK, 80) minutes (the last 10 were breathlessly off-balance). Ball movement was better. There appeared to be better tactical awareness on offense, and the defense was for the most part more cohesive. The second half against SKC was poor, and nearly the entire match against CO was poor. NE came in much overhyped on the basis of exactly one win, and they mostly played like shit. Still, 2012 was a very bad year for our team, and they have to start somewhere. In CO they got lucky and won, and they followed it up by playing better and winning again.

    • The Black Hand says:

      New England played a terrible game. They failed to capitalize and looked like an inferior team. My question is: Did NE play SO bad, that it made us look that much better? Overall, we played a better match, than that against Colorado but that is not saying much. We have a very strong back line and a capable corp of forwards. The trouble, again, is the Union midfield and I don’t see Hackworth addressing that. The start of Cruz/Daniel/Marfan/Carroll again was baffling to me. What did he see in the CO match, that would lead him to start the same grouping? The simple answer is ‘We won’, but I’m not sure that it is that easy. A better team would have trounced us.

  10. Would love to see some clever combination play in attack to get passed DMFs and back line.

    (Horrid stat on M Faran: 11 of 26 in 1st 45)

    (I love PPL)

  11. Can I just say again how freaking freezing it was! I really don’t think we can put too much stock in anyone’s performance. Good for Hack for taking Marfan out. Keon was a 6 at least in my opinion. Jack- again, killer finish, but I can’t justify a 7. He was invisible for about 80 minutes of the game. Needs to do better to create for himself. My own fan rating is a 5 – would have been at least a 7 for just sticking out the whole game, but I bobbled a beer in the 37th minute and lost at least two quality sips from shivering so hard. At the 90′ mark, I was contemplating urinating in my pants just to remind myself what warmth felt like. Have to say that was equally one of my most and least favorite Union games ever. If we hadn’t come away with the points, I’d be scalping my tickets today. Instead I was doing an Irish jig. It’s a funny game…

  12. Pretty fair ratings minus Keon needs to be at least a 6 as he did well coming back a few times to cover up in defense as well as created what could have been another goal for Jack. The only other rating that I thought was a bit off was Marfan’s. He was a 3 at best if we’re being honest, and I think thats probably the worst outing for him to date in a U kit. The Black Hand said it best in another article when someone asked what Marfan’s deal was: Same Marfan, just everyone is really getting a better look at both the Farfans now so the love affair is quickly ending. Bit of paraphrasing, but you get the gist. Couldnt find the actual wordage but it was well said.

    • Marfan has some potential and flashes of brilliance. Garfan is the B- version.

      • Ehh, B- is a little bit too generous man. Unless you mean compared to Mike. Sure Gabe is a B- version of Mike, but in general he barely breaks C-

  13. Any thoughts on where Kleberson will fit in?

    • He will fill our desperate need for a central holding midfielder.

    • The Black Hand says:

      While I would love to the Adu/Kleberson swap happen, I don’t see it coming to fruition. If Bahia agrees, we still have to get Kleberson to agree on a deal. I think he will be looking for more than we can offer.

  14. The Black Hand says:

    Does Conor Casey not warrant a look? Maybe the hamstring is more of an issue than is being let on, I don’t know, but it would seem to me that he should get a look. No? He came on against SKC and instantly made his presence known. He is a pretty established pro. I don’t know why he has no inclusion in any of the Union plans, being discussed. Am I missing something?

    • Luva Golazo says:

      It sure is hard to figure. I guess it’s a long season and he is not known for his durability. Hamstrings can really nag if not cared for and cold weather is probably the worst condition for a pull or strain. As I think about it, it doesn’t make much sense to take a chance right now. Of course applying logic to these decisions has failed before.

      • The only scenario I can come up with is that Hack doesn’t want to risk exacerbating the hamstring injury, especially when we can use a player like Casey mid-season and down the stretch. I expect him to come on as a sub for Mcinerney or Le Toux fairly often, depending on the score and the opposing team. The other benefit of having him at the club is the amount of knowledge he can share with some of the younger guys. Mcinerney can only get better by practicing and playing alongside him.

  15. Kenso Josh says:

    Thanks for the article, Dan. The “is the union a Cruz or Torres style of team” question really is burning right now. We’ve won, but it’s been choppy and lucky and gritty. And you need grit to play, but . . . can we have a little style? Just some?

  16. There is a lot of optimism here on the board. The second we play a team that can finish it’s gonna look likr the insides of my black black heart.

  17. Legitimately we shouldn’t stand a chance against the pink cows but this team is growing. Right now it’s not about being the best it’s about winning the games you should, stealing a few points through sheer will, and improving. The winner of mls cup is not usually the best team at the start of the season but the best down the stretch and we could do well in the playoffs if a few things fall together. Optimism tempered with reality is the name of the game right now.

  18. Hard to judge this team after dealing with altitude and poor weather in general. It’s been a mixed bag for sure. Their best play came in the first 45 vs. KC and yet they ultimately lost. That being said, I think if this team wants to contend for a playoff spot, beating teams like New England and Colorado is a must. Getting a win at New York next week would be a great way to kick them while they’re down.

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