Player ratings / US Open Cup

Player Ratings and Analysis: Philadelphia Union 2-1 Ocean City Nor’easters

Photo: Paul Rudderow

It took a goal from Brian Carroll in stoppage time to knock off a team from three divisions below the Union. With the Union looking lethargic and uninspired, it begs the question: Why was this game so difficult for Philadelphia Union?

Weren’t we just told the team is deep?

Matt Kassel and Don Anding made the 18 but didn’t see the field. Greg Jordan, Aaron Wheeler, Cristhian Hernandez, and Roger Torres weren’t available for selection. (Hernandez, Jordan and Jimmy McLaughlin were cup-tied with Harrisburg.) Chris Konopka only stopped shots in warm ups. Union coach John Hackworth can play the “We’re taking the competition seriously” card, but Ocean City is a team made almost exclusively of college students. The time to rotate some of the squad was this game.

Playing three games in a week for the second time within a month, the very small pool of Union players seemingly available for selection must be getting tired — and they looked it. Amobi Okugo and Brian Carroll have played every minute of every game this season. Jeff Parke is only a week removed from a hamstring injury and played 90 minutes on a slick surface chasing speedy college kids.

On some level, the players that are seeing the field regularly will start developing a complacency in keeping their jobs. And on another level, the fringe players in the game day 18 have to start wondering if they’ll ever see the pitch this season.

Fatigue, competition for places,¬†entertainment¬†for the fans. There was every reason to rotate the squad for this match, and yet we saw the same group we’ve seen all season.

The Union need a great 1 vs 1 player

Facing 10 men behind the ball and a team willing to concede possession, Philly needed a player to step up and be able to consistently beat his man. That didn’t happen. We’ve seen Michael Farfan pull out some nice tricks from time to time and Danny Cruz theoretically has the speed to push the ball past defenders, but the Union really lack a player with great one-on-one ball skills.

If you watched the FA Cup Final this year, you saw Wigan winger Callum McManaman put on a clinic of dangerous one-on-one play, consistently beating Gael Clichy, serving balls into the box, running at defenders, and taking shots from distance. Philly lacks a player like this right now. With Ivorian Abdul Kader Keita training with the team, could he be the answer?

Player Ratings

Zac MacMath – 3

Not tested for almost the entire match, MacMath failed to make a play on the ball that was played into the box and ended up in the Union goal. He’s put in a few solid matches and a Man of the Match performance in Chicago, but largely when the Union have needed MacMath to make an important save, it hasn’t come.

Ray Gaddis – 3

When Ocean City did attack, they found some luck running at the Union’s left side. Gaddis also had a few opportunities to push forward but did so with little result. The young defender’s left-footed crosses are still a work in progress, and his overlapping runs rarely end with a Union scoring chance.

Amobi Okugo – 4

It has seemed Amobi’s last few performances were average at best, and Tuesday felt very similar. His distribution from the back was mediocre. Against a team like OC, you’d like to see your center back dominate the opposing forwards, but that did not happen on Tuesday.

Jeff Parke – 5

Parke looked as physically tired as anyone on the field but seemed to be one of the few Union players emotionally invested in the match. On multiple occasions, he could be heard yelling at other players from the press box (partially due to the small crowd, I know). Like Okugo though, was not as dominant as you’d think a fringe USMNT player would be against opposition from a lower division.

Sheanon Williams – 3

Once again, it seemed that Williams’ biggest contribution to the match was his long throw. He found space out on the wing a few times, but his delivery was erratic. He also had a decent scoring chance in the first half that was well saved.

Brian Carroll – 6

Difficult game to gauge Carroll’s performance. With Ocean City playing almost exclusively through the counter, Carroll wasn’t counted on to break up play as much. His last minute header was a well timed run and good technique to at least flick the ball goal bound. It was a big goal for a tired team from the captain.

Keon Daniel – 4

Consistently slowed down play to a standstill. His vision was lacking, and his final ball never seemed to find its intended target. Keon has struggled all season to make a big mark on a Union match, and the struggle continued even playing lower division Ocean City side.

Leo Fernandes – 6

The most positive of the midfield three. Seemed nervous for the first 10 minutes but settled down and was one of the only players driving at the Ocean City backline. Seemed to go missing as the game wore on though.

Sebastien Le Toux – 6

Le Toux gets a bonus point for having two assists in the match. Forced out on the right in first half, his touches were limited, and the rate at which he beat his defender was disappointing. With Ocean City sitting back deep, his tireless pressure was less of a factor.

Jack McInerney – 6

Forced out wide in the 4-3-3 in the first half, McInerney’s runs in behind Ocean City were few and far between. He dropped into the midfield to pick up the ball, but with little movement off the ball from the players around him, did little to distribute. But as we’ve come to expect, Jack popped up at the right time and the right place to find his goal.

Conor Casey – 4

Held up the ball well enough but seemed completely devoid of ideas with the ball at his feet near the Ocean City box. With little service coming from the wings, his aerial presence was essentially wasted.

Subs

Danny Cruz – 2

Cruz had two chances to play in Antoine Hoppenot late in the game, and he held the ball too long both times. He gave up the cheap foul that resulted in the Ocean City goal. His best contribution was having his late shot saved before being cleared, with the ensuing corner kick netting the Union’s game winning goal.

Antoine Hoppenot -5

In his 15 minutes on the field, Hoppenot was at least positive on the ball and willing to run at the Ocean City defense. He set the table for Danny Cruz’s late chance and made a few well timed runs down the right wing where the midfielder failed to pick him out.

Michael Farfan – n/a

Farfan entered the game late.

26 Comments

  1. I might get accused of being negative here, but a 4 is pretty kind to Daniel

  2. JediLos117 says:

    Another game, another need identified.
    .
    They’re should be no doubt after struggling against OC that we are absolutely overachieving in our own league.

    • So should we be happy that we are over achieving or pissed that after 4 years the only thing we have to route for is over achieving?

      I’m pissed we are in this situation personally

      • JediLos117 says:

        Come end to the season, Ill be happy if we make the playoffs but I wont be surprised should we not.
        .
        Im very much happy that we are overachieving and sitting in a playoff spot.
        .
        Im also happy I have a team to root for. 4 years ago…well ya know.

      • I’m also happy to have a team to support. Sorry. I admire some European clubs but I can’t really get behind any of them.

  3. Great One says:

    How can anyone argue that John Hackworth doesn’t get worse with each passing game. He is in over his head.

    • Southside Johnny says:

      And sinking fast. Sad to say, but this team is getting sketchier and sketchier by the week. I am rapidly losing my tenuous grasp on frail faith in this organization’s ability to run this team on any level. I am sensing a leadership group locked in some bizarre groupthink denial mode with desperation howling at the door. As painful as it is getting for me and others to watch the players struggle on the field, the bench and the locker room, it must be worse for many of the guys. I am sick of hoping there is some super secret master plan behind each apparently moronic move. Those guys were tired going to the game and fatigue will eventually bring injuries. The only thing keeping me going is the character and class of the players. Even when they suck, most of them give it their all.

  4. When OC scored, I had to just start laughing at the typical manner that we always to concede on a set piece. Ball gets floated in, MacMath approaches it without any conviction at all, no one takes control of the situation and havoc ensues.

    Even after the match, Parke still seemed very annoyed at what had just happened.

    If a group of college kids playing together for the summer can beat us on a set piece, that doesn’t bode to well for our ability to defend them against professional sides.

  5. lastguyoffthebench says:

    Farfan does not get N/A in my book. He should get a big fat ZERO. He came into the game on the restart and let his man, Kollie, slip by him in the box which led to the goal. After the ball hit the post, he was still ball watching.

    Casey is a load. I can’t believe that guy makes big money. While he may play decent with his back to the goal at times, he often gets dispossesed or can’t connect a pass in the final third.

  6. “Danny Cruz theoretically has the speed:” interesting choice of words, because his velocity is increasingly a theoretical construct. On Tuesday night, I counted four OC players who were faster. I officially call bullshit on this idea that Cruz “stretches defenses.” Anyone who spends his game running at top speed down the flank will occasionally bring a fullback scrambling along with him. The best possible outcome is a corner kick, and yes, rarely, the team actually scores on the corner. That doesn’t mean it’s a good tactic, or an enviable skill. It’s usually ineffective, and it’s boring.

    • He could “theoretically” stretch the defense if he was deployed properly and the formation and tactics fit his style. For example, if he was a true winger in a natural 4-3-3 (CDM-RAM-LAM, LW-ST-RW). He was better (not great, just better) last year in the 4-3-3, and the [very few] times where we’ve been able to press high and keep possession in the offensive half he’s been effective, but if Hackworth maintains status quo moving forward then I completely agree with you. Cruz is running aimlessly, doesn’t play defense, can’t dribble the ball, tries to dribble the ball and loses it, keeps the ball too long and doesn’t check back for outlet passes. He’s a nice person and he’s got some talent, but he’s not one of the Union’s Best XI, and I could argue he’s not even in the top 14.

    • He stretched defenses because he wasn’t really defended. He would get the ball and run straight at the hunkered down defense. He was given so much because nobody rated him.

  7. Is it sad that the group of college guys they were playing against were more willing to take guys 1on1 then the Union?

    • That’s why you rotate your team, and let some of the bench guys play the minor leaguers in the third round. They’ve got something to prove. The regular starters didn’t want to be there; it’s a no-win situation for them.

  8. Basically the Union is made up of foreign players past their prime and a select chosen Americans . The coach is more worried about looking the part than putting a solid 11 on the field or he is in way to deep.Ocean City has solid D1 players that looked more hungry than the Union on Tuesday.Ocean City is a group of young players that are ready to prove they belong.Our country is full of those type of players most do not get a chance based on the scouting structure in the US.Players develop at different stages some you know at 15 and other at 21-23 .Soccer is a team sport it showed Tuesday night!Based off my scouting report there were 3-4 players on Ocean City that could start for the Union. The Goalie, #5 the center back, #2 the fast outside winger that trashed the Union all night.It is sad since I am a Union supporter and have gone to many games but unless they scout better and have true open tryouts to put the best 11 on the field I have gone to my last game. I would rather watch young american kids with a hunger to achieve than what the Union has sold the public this year.

    • You might get your wish. I don’t disagree that we might find a gem, but why can’t we get a proven player?

    • Their goalie will be a pro he made at least three saves that were MLS worthy. The Union could have been in a much different position if it weren’t for him. That being said we did look lethargic. Totally agree with the other 2 being studs as well. But that is why USL PDL is around, to groom elite college players for the professional ranks.

  9. Apparently the Union will take on a couple of their players in trial. Cuz, we don’t need DPs, we need more ametuer players.

  10. Fern gully says:

    Fire Hack now. The answers he gives with respect to Torres are ridiculous. Why doesn’t someone force the issue. “Hack, do u agree that roger was the best player in training camp. If yes, please explain in detail how his play has dropped off, or how the other players have surpassed him with respect to ball control, passin, shooting, and creation of scoring chances.”

    • I suspect that the media that cover the Union are afraid of not getting access if they turn the screws on this organization(dog and pony show)or they are just plain indifferent. If this was the Eagles, Flyers,or Phillies– Hackworth, Sakaiwicz, and the so called ownership wouldn’t be able to get away with half of the cheap 2nd rate crap they’ve turned this team into.

  11. There are no positives from this game. It was just poor. It was also a golden opportunity to give the young guys (who might actually play with some urgency) a chance to get us a result.
    .
    Now with fatigue becoming an issue, dropping points at Toronto is a real possibility.

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