Player ratings

Analysis & player ratings: Union 1-1 Toronto

Photo: Paul Rudderow

The Union summed up their tactical outlook for Saturday’s match in less than ten seconds.

Five passes, four of them backward, before Brian Carroll hoofed an aimless punt forward to concede possession.

After dusting off the Sebastien Le Toux as midfielder experiment to bookend the already positionally-challenged Danny Cruz, the Philadelphia Union defaulted into a game of dump and chase.

Punt and pray

On paper, 63.4 percent of possession looks good. Even in spite of the putrid display Toronto received from their attacking midfielders Hogan Ephraim, Luis Silva and Reggie Lambe, those numbers still sound positive. Yet on the field, rather than paper, the Union midfield were lacking in shape, organization, and understanding and showed no improvement from recent poor showings.

With Le Toux and Cruz looking to play high and seeking balls over the top, Carroll and central midfield partner Keon Daniel often found themselves without even the most basic of outlets to move the ball forward. Simple triangles evaporated as the pair were forced to play catch with the back four before succumbing to the eventual Toronto pressure and resorting to hacking the ball up field.

On multiple occasions, both central midfielders turned over carelessly or were unceremoniously stripped of possession. Still, while it is tempting to focus criticism on Carroll and Daniel, it must also be remembered that they simply had no options available to them out wide. Despite playing 73 minutes against Toronto, Le Toux amassed a total of only 13 passes completed. For a striker, those numbers are poor but excusable; in midfield they are not. On the opposite side of the park, Cruz was only marginally better, but persisted in floating between central locations and a high line against left back Ashtone Morgan, a player who, try as he might, Cruz could not beat in a foot race.

Union find their strike partnership

After only two appearances playing in tandem, it appears that Jack McInerney and Conor Casey have found the type of chemistry it takes most duos far longer to acquire. With Casey banging against the center backs, McInerney has used his newly found freedom to drop into the midfield to show for the ball, and to slide out into wide areas. Both with the ball and without, McInerney has also relished having less than the entire backline focused on him. His goal may have been down to Ashtone Morgan’s red card leaving a void on the pitch, but his ability to drift inside to nearly flick his header past Joe Bednik or redirect Kleberson’s volley home came from the extra space Casey’s presence now affords him.

On any other day, and with any other official, Casey would have earned a handful of fouls. No wonder the Union’s big forward almost blew his top when he was not awarded a single decision despite the constant hacking of Darren O’Dea and Gale Agbossoumonde. But Casey did well not to let his frustration prove a distraction and it was all Toronto could do to keep him out of dangerous areas. Despite Toronto’s efforts, he registered three shots on goal before providing the final ball in to his young partner at the back post.

Statement game

Many have asked the Union manager what type of team the Union will be, how they will line up and what type of players he values. On Saturday, Hackworth’s side showed plenty of running and hustle, but was largely devoid of creativity. While the PPL Park faithful watched a first half in which the Union struggled to find their targets, let alone build a cohesive attack, the likes of Kleberson, Michael Farfan, Gabriel Farfan and Roger Torres looked on from the bench.

Hustle over technique; hard-running over smart-positioning—those were the core values of the most recent edition of the Union midfield. Judging by the results over the first hour of the match, those values need to be reconsidered.

Player Ratings

Zac MacMath – 4

After showing strong hands to catch a low cross early in the match, MacMath regressed to the timid keeper that Union fans have seen too frequently of late. O’Dea should have buried his header when MacMath found himself in no-man’s-land in the first half and Earnshaw had the ball in the back of the net far too easily on the play that was waved off for offsides. In his current form, every ball played into the Union box feels like an emergency. All that said, MacMath should not be targeted for criticism on the goal, considering there was no way he could have come out far enough to claim it ahead of Earnshaw. Once the shot came, he dove right, correctly protecting his near post. When a striker of Earnshaw’s quality has that much time and space, there is only going to be one outcome.

Sheanon Williams – 5

If he can’t dial down the rough stuff, Williams may be the first Union player of 2013 to see red after getting away with two over the top tackles in as many weeks. Got forward more frequently than in recent weeks, though the only service he provided that gave his team real benefit came from his long throw-ins.

Amobi Okugo – 6

In addition to his usual composed performance at the back, Okugo worked his way forward with regularity in the second half. Looking to kickstart his listless team, Okugo displayed the vision and passing arsenal that made him such a highly regarded prospect.

Jeff Parke – 5

While it certainly was a circumstance of the strangest variety that allowed Earnshaw to open the scoring, it is Parke who must raise his hand in apology for losing track of one of MLS’ most dangerous marksmen of the young season. Otherwise, he was rarely called upon to provide any heroics against Toronto’s anemic attack and moved the ball comfortably around the back line when the Union looked to start forward.

Ray Gaddis – 5

Did his best to build out of the back, but struggled given Le Toux’s disappearing act in midfield. For Gaddis to improve at left back, his manager must put him in a better position to succeed by teaming him with a player who will get chalk on his boots and provide a consistent option for the young fullback. It is not surprising that Gaddis has looked the most comfortable with Gabe Farfan offering protection and an outlet up the touch line.

Danny Cruz – 3

The criticism of Danny Cruz may be becoming stale from overuse, but following another disappointing showing such criticism remains appropriate. Should MLS step in and retroactively suspend Cruz for his crunching hit on Ashtone Morgan, some Union fans will rejoice in seeing the league do that which Hackworth has so far refused to do: bench the ineffective winger.

Brian Carroll – 3

Carroll should buy the assistant referee dinner, as the offsides flag saved the captain’s bacon on two different occasions. Sitting directly in front of the back four as he does, Carroll’s job in possession is to move the ball quickly and smartly. On Saturday, he didn’t do much of either, putting his teammates under pressure with both his passing and his turnovers.

Keon Daniel – 4

Noses out his midfield teammates only because of the decent quality of his free kicks. From open play, Daniel was a lost cause, turning the ball over recklessly and regularly conceding possession after taking too many touches on the ball. Tasked to lead the midfield attack, he did not succeed.

Sebastien Le Toux – 2

As mentioned above, Le Toux again reminded Union supporters how insufficient his skill set is to the midfield. With his eyes only on the goal, Le Toux was found wanting when it came to tracking back to help his fullback and provide options for the back line and center midfielders. He needs to play in the front line, but if his badly mishit shot over the bar is any indication of his current finishing ability, he may soon fall to fourth on the striker’s depth chart.

Conor Casey – 6

Other than score a goal, the big man gave the Union everything they could have hoped for when he was signed in December. Took an absolute pounding, but kept coming back for more despite referee Stoica’s refusal to grant Casey the fouls he was earning. Created his own shots, as well as picking out others, and even threw in a bicycle kick for good measure. And then at the moment of truth, it was Casey who came through with the quick turn to find McInerney lurking at the back post.

Jack McInerney – 7

On a day when his midfield was in shambles, McInerney still put in a complete effort before bagging the late equalizer. On six of the Union’s best chances, McInerney was either on the end of the effort: the goal, the called-back goal, the deflected Kleberson shot, and the early header that Bednik touched over the bar; or was the creator: the point-blank effort Le Toux blazed over the crossbar and Casey’s bicycle kick. Hard to ask much more out of the 20 year-old, who now sits tied for third on the league goal-scorer’s table.


Michael Farfan – 5

Helped to turn the tide for the Union as he managed to hold possession and find players in dangerous locations. Twice combined with McInerney to set up goal-scoring chances. If he is granted a return to the starting XI against DC United, Farfan must step his game up and prove that he can provide the offensive spark the Union have expected from him.

Antoine Hoppenot – 4

As annoying to the opposition as ever, Hoppenot quickly drew a yellow card on O’Dea before setting up Kleberson’s chance. All that anyone will be talking about, though, is the breakaway miss in the dying moments of the match.

Kleberson – 5

The debutante only took a few minutes in his first MLS appearance to find his feet and he could have easily been responsible for the assists on both the equalizer and winner. Given the dour performance from Keon Daniel, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kleberson leading the Union attack at RFK on Sunday.

Geiger Counter

Sorin Stoica – 1

Set a terrible precedent by failing to admonish Toronto for their early violent play, allowing for the escalation of tempers throughout the match. Called fouls so erratically that neither side could be faulted for their confusion and frustration over what was and was not a foul. Made matters worse by attempting to stamp his authority on the match by constantly calling players over to him, further slowing down an already choppy affair.

After allowing too much aggressive, dangerous play for too long, once the cards started flowing, Stoica was unable to turn off the tap. Both teams have very reasonable gripes about the manner in which the match was handled and if the league takes the betterment of their officials seriously, someone will spend time reviewing this tape.

The fact that Stoica failed to award Conor Casey a single foul decision over 90 minutes is mind-blowing.

Preferred lineup for Saturday’s match at DC United


MacMath; Williams, Okugo, Parke, G. Farfan; M. Farfan, Kleberson, Carroll, Daniel; McInerney, Casey



  1. Bull-in-a-China-Shop Barometer:
    Danny Cruz – 11

  2. I agree with the majority of the ratings, but it is a MAJOR concern when our 2 strikers get the best rating yet we only score 1 goal. The midfield in this game was dreadful. Hack continues to say the Union have a lot of “depth” and his decisions each week are difficult, but there is NO way Cruz is one of the best XI players on the team, and there were at least 4 players on the bench who would be a better choice than both him and Le Toux (at least at midfield). Hackworth has yet to put this team in the best position to win with questionable lineup choices and even more questionable tactics.

  3. Jeremy Lane says:

    Gaddis isn’t being pulled from LB at this point, so the one change I’d make to your roster is to push Garfan into midfield and pull Keon to the bench. Farfans on the wings!

    • Totally agree. I want to see Gaddis keep playing as I think he has a ton of upside. Putting Gabe at LM will give Gaddis the support he so badly needs.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      if gaddis is at LB, and I agree he will be, I’d take Garfan over Daniel. Only reason for Keon is that with Casey rounding into form, daniel’s service from the wing could be helpful

      • Daniel’s service on free kicks has been pretty stellar this year as well. Would really like to see what Kleberson can do off the set-piece as well.

    • So glad some one else is saying this, been saying for awhile now if Gaddis is to be the LB you need to put Garfan on the left to help him out.

  4. It’s kind of like Union groundhogs day. Same complaints over and over again. No end in sight. You just get burned out.

    I am putting a lot of hope in Klebberson to help sort out this mess. If we can get someone to get the ball to the forwards we might have a soccer team.

    • Agree completely. Help us, Kleberson — you’re our only hope.

      I like the back line. I like the forwards. What’s in between is an issue (and oh yeah — MacMath isn’t terrific, either.) Something tells me having Soumare paired with Parke and Okugo in place of Carroll might have been more effective than the current setup. Even though Okugo is better with the ball than Carroll, we still see a lot of Carroll trying to distrbute, which is cringe-worthy. Guess we’ll never know.

      Saturday was “classic Keon and Cruz,” which is to say “where sophisticated ball movement goes to die.” Le Toux was even worse.

      My one quibble with the ratings is that Casey looked to me like the best player on the field for the Union. Obviously Jack gets credit for his goals-er, goal . . . which brings me to Stoica . . . His inconsis–nah, I want to spend as little time there as possible.

      Why does Kleberson get a 5? Seemed like he had a nice run, but just wasn’t out there long enough for a rating to crystallize.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        He clanked his first few touches. He was encouraging after, but those two nice touched weren’t enough to elevate him in my opinion based on only 10 minutes. In no way did I mean that to imply that he didn’t show promise.

      • Gotcha. Thanks. I think I was distracted by all of the TFC players lying around, writhing in simulated discomfort.

  5. Did it bother anyone else when the ref backed away from the fight in the 2nd half? It’s bad enough he missed it checking to see if a Toronto player was alright, he then backed away and watched. As a ref you should be in the middle of that breaking it up. He had already lost control of the match, and it was clear he understood that.

  6. The Black Hand says:

    Accurate ratings. I would have swapped Mac’s 7 with Casey’s 6. I felt like all of our pressure worked through Casey. He is a beast.
    It’s troubling that our highest midfield score is Daniel’s 4, and that may have been a little generous. They were awful.
    Cruz’ selection continues to baffle me but what troubled me most was, the fact that Hackworth did not sub him out at half.
    Carroll again did what Carroll does…not much. Poor defense almost cost us two goals. The best thing he has contributed is a misplayed kick, which led to our goal. #7 needs to sit.
    Kleberson looked a bit shellshocked, at first, to me. He seemed a bit out of sync, with our out of sync midfield. Maybe he was still trying to process how Cruz started and he warmed up for most of the match. Once he got a couple touches, he looked to create. I hope we see him regularly.
    Back line looked tough, aside from the snooze on the quick counter. I thought that Gaddis played well. We are relying far too heavily on our outside backs, to generate offense.
    MacMath was bad…really bad. I am tiring of his ‘Matrix-like’ avoidance of the ball. I think it is time to move on from young Zac. He is not the one.
    The official was God-awful. So many BS stoppages, followed by way too much TFC time wasting. It’s wild to see a game, so heavily penalized, get as out of hand as it did.
    The weather was fantastic!

    • Agree with all of it — especially the bit on the ref and TFC’s bush league timewasting. I will say that Zac is young enough that he could sit for a decade and still have a decent career, but he’s a liability right now. Not a lot of confidence. At the time, it looked to me like he could have come out more forcefully on Earnshaw before the goal, but then he’d probably have been easily rounded and ended up looking stupid.

      • The Black Hand says:

        MacMath looks like he is breakdancing on a lot of his 1 on 1 challenges. He is definitely questioning himself and I believe his confidence is completely shook, at this point. Continuing to march him out there is detrimental to further development, if there is any to speak of. Keeper is going to be a problem for us…again…and again…and again.

      • I have been a big proponent of letting macmath improve between the pipes but now I am starting to agree with those who saw it better than I that a little time on the bench could be good for him.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I agree. Unfortunately, unproven options are all we have. Did Hackworth really think that MacMath was THE GUY? A veteran, like Hartman, should have been brought in. MacMath’s lack of form lies solely on Hackworth. The writing was on the wall for the entirety of 2012.

      • MacMath is starting to remind me of another young goalkeeper that played for the Union that was tossed between the pipes before he was ready.

  7. We need possession and creativity out of the midfield, we all know this. How about a bit of an unorthodox lineup?
    Gaddis-Okugo-Parke-Williams, Garfan-Kleberson(CAM)-Keon(CDM)-Marfan, Jack-Casey.

    Carroll could use a game on the bench to get his head right. Keon is capable of playing the CDM role. And that gives us creativity and flexibility out on the wings with the Farfans, and Kleberson linking up front.

    Just a thought…

    • My only worry with this is Keon, he would either be brilliant next to kleberson or he would bring the whole thing down like a house of cards. Not that I don’t think he has quality, he does. The problem is he always thinks he can stand on the ball for far to long, with his size he should be able to, but for some reason he gets pushed off the ball far to easily after aging taken 3 too many touches and gives it away in a bad spot.

      • To me Keon is much like Hoppenot; very useful off of the bench, but disappears when he plays the whole game. He is good as a change of pace, not as a starter.

    • I wanna see Okugo play his natural position and Carrol on the bench. Also, lets see what Soumare has before we ship him off.

  8. Buzzkill_Ed says:

    Does anyone know what Torres has to do to see the field at this point?

    • you mean other than kill at least 3 Union midfielders?

    • The Black Hand says:


    • Honestly I believe the way torres gets on the field is to get carroll off. With a liability like him at CDM we honestly can’t afford anyone else in the midfield who can’t play defense when called upon. I like BC and have tried to be patient but now hes not even making the smart defensive plays and positioning he has displayed over the years. I like roger but he has to be given space and defensive cover to allow him to be effective. Tackling is not his strong suit.

      • Buzzkill_Ed says:

        I agree with you for the most part, but at this point I don’t think Hack will admit the mistake and bench the captain.

  9. I feel like a 2 for seba is a little harsh. He is who he is and we asked him to play in a position very poorly suited to his skills in front of a developing right footed left back. did he play well no. did he do what he always does. yes. would he have buried the easy shot hop had, probably. Again everywhere including philly that seba has payed mid he has been dissappointing. why would hack think sticking him out on the left wing would work now. if cruz is a 3 so is seba.

    • The Black Hand says:

      LeToux struggled to factor, in the match. That said, I have to agree. Cruz deserved the lowest rating…well earned in fact.

      • I have lost my patience with Cruz. He shows zero soccer skills. No touch, no shot. He can run, and block a ball with his head. Nuff said.

  10. Kleberson demonstrated the kind of touch and vision that I have seen from basically no one on the Union. My hopes are high.
    Not a word about Ray’s defense? I thought he defended well. That is his primary job, no?

    • The Black Hand says:

      I agree on both. Kleberson is a good player. He needs to be in the XI.
      I thought that Gaddis performed admirably, at LB. He is a good player, that will only get better.

    • To go beyond your point no one born in the US has the type of skills klebberson has. Its the type of skill born of a ball at your feet since 12 months. Its a similiar phenomenon to canadians and ice skating. Best part is hopefully it will inspire the team to have him in practice and on the pitch on game days.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      No mention of Ray’s defense because it was unremarkable, which is a good thing. He’s always been a quality man-marker. his left foot development, work on the ball and running the right lines will decide whether he can be a viable left back in MLS.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Ray made a couple of very nice defensive stops, in the first half. Got to give the guy a little credit.

      • Thought there were a couple of dodged bullets where he let guys drift behind him, but hey — no harm, no foul.

      • The Black Hand says:

        That was true for our whole back line. On a couple of those, Ray actually intercepted the pass that would have led to his demise. He was a bit more effective than Williams, but that could be attributed to Toronto focussing attack on Gaddis. I thought that he held up well and that his presence was positive.

  11. One thing is for certain… Cruz cannot start Sunday, he just can’t (can he?)
    Also, I find it interesting/questionable that your ratings include a 4 and 5 for Carroll and Daniel respectively, yet you include them in the midfield for next week. Is this due to you thinkig they are good options? Or just that we have nothing else of any worth in those spots?
    Personally I’d like to see Garfan out left rather than Daniel.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      It was worse than that actually, a 3 and 4 respectively.

      I would still like to see Garfan at left back and I believe that with Casey proving his dominance, Keon might be better suited to whipping balls in from the left and not having to do much creation.

      As for Carroll, he’s going to play, you know it, I know it. Just call it the acceptance of the inevitable.

      • Unfortunately we know Brian Carroll will be playing. Not even saying he is bad or a bad option, but lets at least find out if someone else can do it! But thats been discussed many many times as we know.

  12. I would like to see 4-3-3, soon.
    Williams – Okugo – Parke – Gaddis
    Farfan – Kleberson – Farfan
    Le Toux – Casey – JM

    (sorry BC)

    • The Black Hand says:

      I like it.

    • I too think this is closer to our best XI. Though I would like to see Torres subbed for whoever has been least impresive of the front three as we are close to a fish or cut bait on him at this point.

    • I like this lineup, although there are 2 problems. 1. Hackworth will NEVER sit Carroll, and 2. Hackworth loves the 4-4-2 too much.
      If we go 4-4-2 just replace Letoux with Torres at CAM and you have the closest thing to our best 11

    • I love this line up, but don’t see it happening unless half the team comes down with food poisoning.

  13. I would just add this, is there any of us that saw Le Toux line up in left Mid that thought was good idea? We established under Nowak that Le Toux plays best in a central forward position, not on the wing, not in mid-field. So either it is there or Seb is a sub. How can Hackworth not know what the rest of the crowd see? and while we are on that, what has Roger Torres done wrong exactly?

    • The Black Hand says:

      The infinite questions for John Hackworth.

    • Without a doubt, seeing Seba on the wing makes me cringe. He has been outplayed so far by Jack and Casey (something i predicted would happen earlier in the season). The “Seba must play because he is our face of the franchise” idea is going to sink the team. I’m chuffed Hack will bring off Seba, and didn’t start him in Columbus. Hopefully he sees less of the field because as a midfielder he is as useful as a paper boat, and up top, right now, Jack and Casey are the correct pairing.

      • The Black Hand says:

        The fact that he was completely ineffective, in the midfield, makes me fear that he will start every match at that position. Hack would be keeping it consistent.

      • I laughed when Union decided to bring Le Toux back. He is a very mediocre CF. Casey and Mac are well above him in talent and creativity. Le Toux’s saving grace is his speed and stamina.

      • Le toux’s productivity is directly related to how he is used. Put him in a place to succeed and he will put him in a situation where he will struggle and he will. he is not a lemonade from lemons guy. Though no matter what I feel he is good for our team. Everyone likes him, he is a team player, a good role model for sportmanship, a fan favorite. all these things make him a great player to be in the 18. all that being said if you are gonna play him out of position then why play him.

      • I agree that he should be in the 18. On the Sub list behind Mac, Casey, and Hop. I think he’s great to have on the team, just not in the starting 11.

    • Torres was a latino that was brought in by Nowak, That’s what he did wrong.

  14. JediLos117 says:

    I feel like everybody is being overly harsh…but maybe I’m still drunk from Saturday…n I haven’t re-watched game.
    TFC had a game plan in which their object was to keep us from gaining rythmn…they did that with fouls n fake injuries.
    We had plenty of scoring opportunities and possession…Bendik pretty much robbed us of 2 points himself…in the end for as good as our offense was they weren’t ruthless enough.

    • And let me guess, Brian Carroll was the best player on the field?

      • JediLos117 says:

        No way…I have never argued that Carroll is the best player on the field (ever)…I will always maintain that his role is greatly misunderstood by many fan and that a defensive midfielder’s primary responsibiity is defense (especially with a team like the Union).
        That said, without a doubt the best player on the field was Bendik.
        For the Union, it was #9, #6 and #14
        One of my concerns from this game is that now for two straight games Parke has had some responsibility for the oppositions goal.

      • I agree with you and posted else where that people need to pump the brakes a little. While I do see fault with this team I honestly do think they are a few tweaks from being a solid playoff team. And I know where you’re coming from on the Parke thing, but the guy played a solid 89.5 minute game( as did the rest of the D in my opinion) but had one brain fart that made my entire corner section yelling man on because it was obvious the D stopped thinking the TFC player was offside and not realizing there was another one inning through. So I won’t murder the guy too hard. And I also agree TFC came in with a game plan to make the game as slow and choppy as they could and the ref obliged them. That being said the union need to learn to over come that, but that comes with time and experience.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I hate to say it, but we are no where near being a solid playoff team. Goalkeeping alone will keep us away.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Parke definitely got caught napping. He, and the rest of the club, were not expecting a long ball counter. Aside from that, Parke was solid (as usual). He is our best defender. Amobi played well, but Parke is the one holding it down. I wouldn’t be overly concerned.
        Would you say that it may be time for Carroll to sit down? It would allow the club to explore realistic alternatives, such as a 4-3-3. The five defender scheme, that we have been running for years, is just not working.

      • JediLos117 says:

        I dont think 4-3-3 is realistic for this squad/roster/team.
        Kleberson is only realistic option in place of Carroll at this time.
        So if Carroll is out of lineup, I think it should look like this:
        -M. Farfan-Daniel-G. Farfan-
        I would rather see Carroll keep his spot while Kleberson take Daniel’s spot…I feel Daniel slows down the game.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think that the 4-3-3 is doable. Kleberson would handle center midfield, with the Farfan’s flanking. Okugo and Park are solid enough to not need the CDM. Mac, Casey and LeToux could have effect up top.
        If we stay with the 4-4-2, than Carroll must come out. That would bring us back to the Soumare/Okugo affair. This would be my lineup/formation of choice, but Hackworth will not give Bakary a go.
        In reality, Hackworth will never take Carroll out and we will suffer because of it.

  15. The Black Hand says:

    Harsh, but accurate.
    Toronto’s game plan made me embarrassed for Toronto.
    Bendik played well. We made him look superb.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      re toronto’s play, I thought a Toronto team under Nelsen would be rough and chippy like their manager, but they play-acting was unexpected and very embarrassing. O’Dea reminds me of Mark van Bommel, always fouling yet somehow furious at the ref and always holding his face. Someone needs to get Justin Braun some acting lessons, his attempted dives were hilarious.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I thought that O’Dea (48?) was comical. I expected to see an improved TFC, as well.

      • I was laughing after only a few minutes in. TFC had more guys on the ground then standing! NOT what I thought I would see! Also I was quite surprised to see the Union have no one want to play the touch lines. The team had no width at all.I hope it was just one of those games!

  16. Kenso Josh says:

    You’ve got to say we produced shots. I’m not on the Carroll hatorade though. Who is he supposed to pass to, when Jack Mac’s checking run is marked? You guess it, Okugo!

    Eli, your most trenchant point is that this is our coach. Run, run, and run, but technique? It’s overrated.

    I think that Lahoud and Cruz were brought in at Hack’s behest. And the losing Danny Mwanga, a player who is the opposite (weak work ethic, strong technique) makes more sense. This is not the direction in which I desire American soccer, MLS, or the U to go. So I’m hoping on the, re-think this Hack, wagon. Rethink this style of play, or this coach.

    • problem is that I feel like we are in relegation battle but the team seems happy with the production of shots but not production of goals. That feeling has to be coming from Hack and his come day go day attitude. If I was that coach I would have no idea what I was doing but I certainly wouldn’t stand for a lack of execution without blood,sweat and tears out on the pitch. I don’t feel the grit associated with the style of play hack has chosen. I feel no identity with the team the way I did the first two seasons.

      • I think it must be baffling to the front office. They have this checklist grit aka Philly Tough (check), Homegrown players (check), LeToux (check), hard work (check)… So why so many empty seats? why don’t the fans react the same way?

        I don’t think they will ever figure it out.

      • Yeah, except, Kléberson.
        So, like, maybe.

  17. Jim Presti says:

    Based on the numbers that I pulled from this game that Dan and I use for the infographic, these ratings are pretty solid.
    I just have two minor disagreements:
    Casey – 7 [Eli had a 6]
    7 shots, 3 on target, 2 off, and 2 blocked. 1 assist [possibly unintentional – may have been trying to get another shot on frame]. Spent the entire match banging around O’Dea and Agbossoumonde. BUT most importantly, he lit a fire under everyone’s ass in the last ten minutes of play. He brought some serious intensity that I have rarely seen from a Union player. At the half, Casey walked off the field angry, and came back on with some serious fight and determination.
    Michael Farfan – 3 [Eli had 5]
    Marfan spent 25+ minutes on the pitch out wide on the right. He was 8/14 [57.14%] passing, contributed defensively just once [at least it was positive], and had a whopping -11 possession differential [by far the worst out of all midfield players]. Marfan was 0/3 on dribbles, mostly because he attempts to barrel through defenders in the hopes of drawing a foul. Lately, his play has been lacking and that creative spark is missing.
    Based on the data, I would suggest the following for the next match:
    Macmath, Williams, Okugo, Parke, Gaddis, Cruz, Carroll, Daniel, G. Farfan, McInerney, Casey [Subs: Hoppenot, Lahoud, Le Toux].
    In reality, Kleberson and Torres have better data than any midfielder above. However, I can’t reasonably place them on the squad with such a low sample size [10 minutes on the pitch a piece]. Lahoud, surprisingly, has some of the best possession and defensive data in the midfield, and unfortunately, M. Farfan has been suffering on the possession end. He has a -6.4 Possession Diff. per 90 minutes – the lowest in the midfield [Kleberson and Torres once again removed]. There is a plus side, he is second in Defensive Play Rating per 90 minutes – barely behind Carroll. Not bad, considering last game’s data and that he’s spent most of this season out wide.

  18. Eli, pretty decent rating this time. I have but 3 comments about them.
    1. Totally spot on with the 2 for seba. Was essentially invisible during the game and had nowhere near enough touches on the ball considering his game time. Honestly, I was disappointed to not see gabe rewarded for his solid performance last week with a start on the left. Seba should really be a sub, if that, with this lineup. The earnshaw goal also came from le toux’s sad excuse for a jump on macmath’s clearance. I remember saying when he went up for it “what the hell was that supposed to be?”

    2. Marfan’s rating, per usual, is far too high. He was definitely very bad in possession, and I would bet that he coughed up the ball way more than he retained it, and only made one positive play to fuel the attack. Was dropping far too close to Williams instead of taking the forward space that everyone was on Cruz’s case about not taking.

    3. This is more of a general comment, but Keon’s service was great. IMO, that should have earned him a 5. Minus the bad pass within the first few minutes, he had a pretty solid game and had a few nice balls even during the run of play like the ball into the box for jack. There was one or two times where Carroll just kind of stood in the lane that he was running in, so that must have been frustrating. Would love to see his chemistry with kleberson, not to mention the magic those two could create on set pieces.

  19. Sub Soumare for Carroll and your lineup will win some games. This league has moved on from BC type players.

  20. Jim Presti says:

    Not entirely sure why you gave Marfan a 5 based on possession. The data that I have that we use for the infographic has his Possession Diff. at -11.

    Lineups based on data [excluding Torres and Kleberson due to low sample size]:

    Macmath, Williams, Okugo, Parke, Gaddis, Cruz, Carroll, Daniel, G. Farfan, McInerney, Casey

    Subs: Hoppenot, Lahoud, Le Toux

    • Jim Presti says:

      Based on the numbers that I pulled from this game that Dan and I use for the infographic, these ratings are pretty solid.
      I just have two minor disagreements:
      Casey – 7 [Eli had a 6]
      7 shots, 3 on target, 2 off, and 2 blocked. 1 assist [possibly unintentional – may have been trying to get another shot on frame]. Spent the entire match banging around O’Dea and Agbossoumonde. BUT most importantly, he lit a fire under everyone’s a$$ in the last ten minutes of play. He brought some serious intensity that I have rarely seen from a Union player. At the half, Casey walked off the field angry, and came back on with some serious fight and determination.
      Michael Farfan – 3 [Eli had 5]
      Marfan spent 25+ minutes on the pitch out wide on the right. He was 8/14 [57.14%] passing, contributed defensively just once [at least it was positive], and had a whopping -11 possession differential [by far the worst out of all midfield players]. Marfan was 0/3 on dribbles, mostly because he attempts to barrel through defenders in the hopes of drawing a foul. Lately, his play has been lacking and that creative spark is missing.
      Based on the data, I would suggest the following for the next match:
      Macmath, Williams, Okugo, Parke, Gaddis, Cruz, Carroll, Daniel, G. Farfan, McInerney, Casey [Subs: Hoppenot, Lahoud, Le Toux].
      In reality, Kleberson and Torres have better data than any midfielder above. However, I can’t reasonably place them on the squad with such a low sample size [10 minutes on the pitch a piece]. Lahoud, surprisingly, has some of the best possession and defensive data in the midfield, and unfortunately, M. Farfan has been suffering on the possession end. He has a -6.4 Possession Diff. per 90 minutes – the lowest in the midfield [Kleberson and Torres once again removed]. There is a plus side, he is second in Defensive Play Rating per 90 minutes – barely behind Carroll. Not bad, considering last game’s data and that he’s spent most of this season out wide.
      For some reason my original post from last night didn’t make it.

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      Perhaps possession was the wrong word. He created two goalscoring chances by showing good touch to keep the ball and pick out McInerney who set the table for Casey and Le Toux. Unlike the player he replaced, Farfan showed interest in sparking the offense rather than simply running into his defender.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        This is one place where I, and I imagine most people, will disagree with the data. Danny Cruz cannot be selected over Michael Farfan, or Gabe Farfan, or Kleberson. Also, the numbers fail to take into account that when Farfan entered the game the Union were pressing higher and higher for a goal. There was less defense to play (aside from the freak goal) and his goal was to create a spark, trying to make things happen. Creative players always have poorer pass completion percentages because they are trying to make the tough pass, not the simple one. I know I may take a hit for standing up for Farfan, but I did give him a 5 because he created chances and tried to spark things, he was in no way stellar, but in absolutely no way does he deserve a 3 as you suggest.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Based on what I’ve seen this season, M. Farfan is having a poor season in general. The IX I put forward was merely based on numbers – part of the reason I didn’t include Kleberson was his lack of minutes. Furthermore, I 100% agree that Cruz should sit. I always have.
        I would personally suggest the following midfield:
        G. Farfan, Kleberson, Daniel.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I agree with your assessment, on Farfan.
        I think that Carroll has to come out of your four-man midfield.
        As mediocre as Michael Farfan has been this year, I don’t know if I give Gabe the nod over him.
        I think we should abandon the four-man mid and try out: Marfan-Kleb-Garfan/Daniel.

      • Eli, whilst I certainly agree that Cruz should not be starting, that doesn’t mean that Mike has to start.

        I understand the logic behind the more creative players having lower passing and possibly possession statistics based on what they are called on to do, but I don’t think I necessarily buy into that in the case of Marfan. From what I’ve seen of him on the field, strictly talking about this year, is a real lack of possession and creativity in general. If he is supposed to be the creator, then where are the assists/goals? His passing percentage and possession, not to mention his bad +/- rating (which I do believe is fairly telling) are very sub-par when compared to other players. For instance, Keon is a player who has been slotted into the CAM role (for as much or more time than Mike has spent there thus far in the season), and Keon’s possession and passing stats are pretty much the best for the midfield. How come there is such a divide between the stats on these two who play somewhat similar roles? It certainly isn’t for lack of trying, as it would be tough for anyone to say that Keon hasn’t offered routinely good service.

        With that said, Marfan is still above Cruz in my book, but he is definitely below other players, one of them being his brother. I was actually shocked at how well Gabe had played in the Columbus game and was disappointed to not see him start the Toronto game.

      • The Black Hand says:

        In my opinion, Keon has greatly outplayed Farfan at the CAM. Farfan seems most suited for the right wing.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Keon, Keon, Keon… As much as I had touted his play, his streaky performances leave me questioning his true value. I do think he does a lot of things well and he is one of our smarter player, but he puts in performances like Saturday and they cannot be overlooked. I think Keon is a valuable player, but don’t think we can place any weight on his shoulders.
        Because I am overly critical of Farfan, does not mean I don’t value him. He is a skilled player, that has good technique and a soft touch. He has shown glimpses, but has mostly underperformed. He needs to focus more on playing smarter, and less on being tricky. He proves useful on the right wing, where he has space to operate. I would like him to focus more on being an effective footballer, rather than try to force a low percentage play. (Same could be said about Gabriel.)
        As for the players I rate the highest, Parke is my #1. Casey is my top forward, as far as being influential over the course of a full match. McInerney is putting the ball in the net and that is the name of the game. I would like to see him develop into a more rounded striker, before he is crowned.. Hopenot is incredibly unsung. He makes things happen, almost every time he is on the pitch. Okugo is a fantastic player. I think that he would be even more of a force, backstopping our midfield. Gaddis is very good and probably the most harshly criticized. I agree that he has had a rough transition to LB, but I think that he will find his way. Williams is getting better, after a very slow start this campaign. Kleberson will show that he is above the rest, if he is incorporated correctly by Hackworth. Gabriel is a good player but terribly undisciplined. These are the players that hold the most value to me. The rest of the club is drowning in mediocrity, in my opinion.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I forgot Roger. I think that, given a little confidence, he could be a very crafty playmaker.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I have yet to see any kind of superior play out of Michael Farfan, this season. Quality, creative players make those passes. Farfan seems to have the right idea, he just doesn’t execute. A lot of players have the right idea, the good ones execute. Michael Farfan is an overrated player.

      • Jim Presti says:

        The only reason that I have Carroll still in the midfield is that Hack made the decision to make him Captain and because of that, there is not way he’s not in the XI. For better or for worse [mostly worse] we all have to live with it. And I gave G. Farfan the nod over his brother mostly based on his play in Columbus two weeks ago.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Is there anyone on this Union team that you do rate? And please don’t give me Keon Daniel. Keon does some things well and others he is severely limited. truth is neither daniel or farfan are suited to play CAM.

        I’ve mentioned before that I think Keon would be better suited to a box-to-box guy in a 4-3-3 or as the more creative holder in a 4-2-3-1. he doesnt have the spark to run a 4 man midfield.

        I feel like there is nothing I can say about Michael Farfan that doesn’t result in a comment about my bias and overrating of his skills.

        He has been bounced all over this midfield, playing left, center and right. never featuring in the same position for very long and I believe that has been one of the major reasons he has had such a poor start to the season. I believe that if he is put at right mid and allowed to work with Sheanon Williams for 2-3 games in a row, he will come good.

      • JediLos117 says:

        Eli,I think your right on about M. Farfan and would also like to see him get an extended run at right mid…let a William/M. Farfan connection develop.
        I’m holding out for a mid 4 of Carroll, M. Fafan, Kleberson and G. Farfan this weekend.

      • Jim Presti says:

        @Eli was the rate comment directed at me or Hand? Top midfield player is Okugo. BAM.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think my reply posted above for some reason.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Hmm. Wonder it did that. I appreciate your comments on the Union players. As I said above, I think with the burgeoning Casey/McInerney partnership, there is certainly a place in this roster for Daniel. It concerns me how little defense he plays when out on the wing though. New York was a prime example of where he left Ray high and dry. After the way Gabe played against Columbus I think he is worthy of another chance on the wing, but a platoon btwn the pair wouldnt bother me.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Completely agreed. Le Toux really struggled last match as he danced between the midfield and the final third. It seemed like he was fighting his natural instincts to take off for the goal instead of connecting effectively with his teammates to move the ball through the midfield.
        I also need to correct an error in my previous post. Le Toux actually had the worst possession game out of the midfield players. I still had him coded as a forward on the data sheet.

  21. Jaap Staam says:

    Gaddis is gaining immense experience learning to play LB with “on the job training.” He’s looked shaky at times but long-term it will pay big dividends for him….and us.
    So….what’s new with Soumare? I suppose nobody is clamoring for his services? If parke or Okugo gets a little nicked up does Soumare play? Doubt it! Back would just move Williams over.
    Just once I’d like to see a midfield comprised of Kleb and Okugo with the Farfans on the wings. This would completely open up some flow for us. Our forwards might even see some oppertunities. Fancy that!!!

    • JediLos117 says:

      Soumare should have never ran his mouth and asked for a trade, he should have just shut up and fought for a spot…his mouth basically closed the door on his Union chapter.
      He hasnt even featured on the subs bench since New England (pre trade declaration).
      As for opportunities, there are only six teams in the MLS that have more SOG than us…I think we gotta be more ruthless with our opportunities.

  22. 100!!!!

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