Player of the Week

Player of the Week: Vincent Nogueira

Photo: Paul Rudderow

There are a lot of adjectives one could use to describe the play of many on the Union squad this past week.

Insipid. Lifeless. Toothless. Belabored. Unimaginative.

It doesn’t paint a pretty picture. However, there’s one player, at least, who deserves much brighter and bolder terms.

Driven. Energetic. Positive. Adept. Forceful.

It doesn’t take three guesses to know whom that describes: Vincent Nogueira.

Since arriving from Sochaux, the diminutive Frenchman has played every game in almost exactly the same way. That is to say he attacks it. A true box-to-box midfielder in the old mold, Nogueira seeks out the ball with relentless energy, closing down the opposition, hounding them until a turnover is made, regardless of field position.

Once in possession, he becomes almost impossible to dispossess, with quick feet and a quicker mind fooling defenders into thinking they know where the ball will be next, then removing it, like a middle-schooler pulling a chair out from under someone in the cafeteria, spilling their lunch tray on the floor.

After leaving the first man in his dust, Nogueira’s instinct is always to look up, to find allies in attack, for quick one-twos, or searching cross-field balls. His play is so quick that he actually has time not only to tell his teammates where to go, but to ask them why they didn’t go there after he’s been forced to move on.

And there’s been a lot of that, this week. Nogueira has looked like he’s playing on a different level since coming into MLS, and this week the difference in technical ability between him and just about everyone on the pitch was at its most stark. If only his teammates could catch up—even a little bit—the Union would have several more wins.

With the ballyhooed arrivals of both Maurice Edu and Chaco Maidana in the offseason, Nogueira could have been forgiven for easing his way into the league. But being in midseason form and fitness, he decided instead to simply own the pitch wherever he was. The only pity is that the rest of the Union still seems stuck in preseason.

If the Union had 10 Nogueiras—heck, perhaps even just two—they’d be undefeated. As it stands, there is only one, and he’s PSP’s Player of the Week.


  1. This guy is fantastic. Clearly above and beyond the rest of the team. In every way. Tactically, Mentally, Technically.

    I’ll go farther. This is the kind of players the MLS needs to be courting. And needs to be aiming for. Quality players plucked from top leagues. Not good enough to truly move on to the great teams, but damn good enough to play attractive, positive soccer.

    • More importantly the true question is what can our administrators and leaders learn about and from him. What can the youth coach watching the game learn about and from him.
      How can we learn from Henry. How can we learn from Robbie Keane.

      Vincent Noguiera is a harbinger of what needs to be and what should be regarding the arc of the game’s evolution in our country.
      A Portuguese midfielder playing in France now MLS with an understanding and grace that is well beyond most of the players around him. Teach us Vincent. Please just be patent.

  2. i hope he likes philly as much as we like him

  3. Pure class on the field.

  4. I have heard him described as “omnipresent” and a more fitting description I can not come up with.

  5. I wonder if, when he’s talking to friends and former team mates, he’s telling them coming to MLS (and by extension the Union) was a great decision, or if he’s second guessing himself.

    • you’d have to think there is a certain amount of satisfaction from being the consistent top performer on your team

      • I imagine he is quite frustrated actually. I walked away from a pick up game last week from being uninspired and frustrated with the slow play, mis-touch, wrong decision making. I hope he is much more patient than me.

  6. If I were GM, I’d be asking Nogueria to draw up a list of guys he played with and against in Ligue 2 that he thinks would improve the team and get over to France before the season ends and the summer transfer window opens. After playing 10+ years over there I have no doubts he knows about some diamonds in the rough that would be major upgrades. One International spot open with Keon gone, but I’m sure a few more could be opened up without hurting the team!

  7. Noguiera has a first class soccer IQ which makes Hackworth look like an even bigger imbecile as a coach. If Hackworth was the one to actually discovered and brought Noguiera to Philly then that is the only credit I’ll give him. Maidana , Edu and Wenger I’ll hold judgement on. However Edu needs to pick it up and Maidana may still be adjusting. I just hope Hackworth leaves Maidana alone to play where he is most effective. The rest of the team are all posers who are sadly in need of a no nonsense ass kicking coach who has the tenacity and soccer IQ of Noguiera. It’s really pathetic that the players on this team have Noguiera pleading with them to make runs and plays.

  8. What has impressed me about Nogueira when you see him in person is that his passes, especially the long range ones, are so accurate and always easy for the receiving player to settle. It lands softly with some backspin and check up perfectly…just impeccable.

    • Nuance George. You and I see the similar traits. Notice how he passes to the receivers’ strong foot in proper stride. There is no waste. There is no calculation left unfigured. This is an average to above average French first division player with Iberian heritage. He is the archetype for youth development to someday first teamer.

  9. You guys might want to go ahead and retire this post. Nogs will own it every week.

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