Player ratings

Player ratings & analysis: Union 0-1 DC United

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

So maybe the 4-3-1-2 wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Fast forward one week from when Philadelphia Union found space and time against a Seattle side whose mission was to get forward at all costs, and the Union were back to looking ponderously slow and uncertain in the face of DC’s defensive organization.

Of course, conceding within six minutes was never going to make the task easier for the Union. Chris Rolfe’s early strike afforded DC the ability to sit back and defend their lead on the road. Outside of Andrew Wenger’s superb turn in the 64th minute (a chance that developed through a DC turnover rather than Union build-up play), the Union rarely looked capable of finding a breakthrough.

Fourth runners

A major cause of this lack of threat comes from the fact that the runners from midfield simply never arrived. This is a larger concern of the system rather than a direct criticism of Maurice Edu or Vincent Nogueira, the ersatz wide men in the Union’s narrow 4-3-1-2 look.

Both of those players are what, for a lack of a better term, can be called “fourth runners”.

Both have made their careers by sitting deep, spreading the ball and only arriving at the top of the 18 when the play has already advanced into the box. And they are both good at it.

However, with Wenger and Conor Casey each individually marked by Jeff Parke and Bobby Boswell, respectively, the Union desperately needed one of the four midfield players to commit to the barnstorming run that destabilizes defenses and gives Cristian Maidana more to aim for than two completely covered forwards.

Think Lee Nguyen, Shea Salinas, Marvin Chavez, Justin Mapp, or Lloyd Sam.

For all the talk that has surrounded Edu’s arrival in Philadelphia and his ostensible ability to burst forward and join the attack, he has not occupied a role anything like those players who can both push midfield play directly into attack and create the kinds of havoc with their off-the-ball runs that require defenses to always know where they are. Edu’s offensive contributions, much like Nogueira’s, will always come from being the late man into the play, whether they were the one who made the critical pass forward or not.

It is why Danny Cruz was able to provide such an immediate impact in the second half and why John Hackworth has some serious decision-making to do going forward. The fact is, Brian Carroll, Nogueira, Edu, and even Maidana, to a certain extent, prefer playing behind the ball. None of them show the natural instinct to make runs into the attacking third without the ball. Thus, whether it is Maidana or Nogueira standing in possession just inside the attacking half, the options in front of them will always be limited.

While there was some justification for playing, Carroll, Edu and Nogueira together in a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 when there were at least three dedicated attackers in front of them, that logic falls apart when the team switched back to a 4-4-2 with Maidana dropping into essentially the fourth central midfield role. In the short term, with Carroll dealing with a minor groin injury and Edu likely to head off to pre-World Cup camp, the Union will be able to rotate their squad around this dilemma. However, this will eventually have to be addressed if the Union want to start scoring goals.

Moving center backs

While the issue of numbers getting forward is the main problem facing the Union, the inability of their forwards to create much sense of danger for an opposition back line is likely next in line.

When the Union parted ways with Jack McInerney, they found themselves lacking a player who can truly play on the back shoulder. The threat that McInerney would get lost in center back’s blind post was constant. True, the young forward was not burying the chances he created by playing in this manner, but he was still creating opportunities for himself and opening up space for his teammates.

With the more static figures of Wenger and Casey lining up against DC on Saturday, Parke and Boswell faced no such threat. Thus, they walked as high up the pitch as they chose, never fearing that the Union had the ability to run beyond them. Despite his recent stutters in front of goal prior to the trade, McInerney’s presence on the back shoulder of defenders and his willingness to drop into midfield from that advanced position kept the players marking him from finding their comfort zone.

Presently, the Union find themselves with both Casey and Wenger, who are far more inclined to back into a striker, rather than run behind him, and Sebastien Le Toux and Antoine Hoppenot, who are most effective running either onto a ball or with the ball, respectively, from depth.

If, as John Hackworth suggested in his post-game press conference, the Union are indeed in the market for a new striker to help with their goal-scoring woes, finding a forward who can replicate McInerney’s ability to play on the last shoulder and keep opposing defenders pinned deep will be critical for opening up more space in the truly dangerous parts of the field and creating the higher-quality types of scoring chances that result in goals.

Player Ratings

Zac MacMath – 5

Was left with no chance on Rolfe’s goal and had little else to do the rest of the match.

Ray Gaddis – 6

Enjoyed his return to the right side of defense with another strong showing as a man-marker. Will be frustrated to have been sucked in too easily on DC’s goal. Had he held his ground outside, he likely heads Arnaud’s cross away before it can fall to Cristian.

Amobi Okugo – 6

Reveled in the return of a more stay at home partner in Austin Berry, turning in a sharp, confident performance, despite swapping to the left side of central defense. Marked Eddie Johnson out of the game with consistent physicality and was crisp and deliberate with his passing, completing 31 of 33 passes. Showed leadership as an organizer out of the back and was constantly imploring his side to get forward.

Austin Berry – 5

Outside of one nearly very costly bobble against Espindola, Berry made the most of his opportunity to reclaim his starting spot. Played with a calm and simplicity that had been lacking in the back line and nearly grabbed an equalizer on the attacking end, with only the slightest flick from Boswell keeping him from burying his back post header.

Fabinho – 4

Did well to get forward late in the match, but was guilty of two more defensive lapses in the first half that could have seen his team behind by two goals. First, he was caught ball-watching on DC’s goal, when he drifted casually towards his own net, failing to mark Rolfe or anyone for that matter. Later, he allowed Johnson to get inside of him, and only an incorrectly raised offsides flag kept him from being left blushing again.

Vincent Nogueira – 6

With the Union rotating their midfield, Nogueira was back covering all corners of the pitch on Saturday. And his performance was again as consistent and forward-thinking as Union fans have come to expect from the dynamic Frenchman. The look that has become etched onto his face is one of bitter frustration at the lack of his teammates who are willing to join him in energetically searching for space and running lanes.

Cristian Maidana – 5

With very little motion in front of him, Maidana struggled to impose himself on the match, turning to crossing too frequently as he had few options to look for on the deck. Even though he connected on only a paltry 2 of his 18 crosses, Maidana was still the most dynamic in the Union attack, registering 3 key passes. Lacking the speed to beat defenders on the dribble, Maidana’s effectiveness will rise and fall with the options he has around him. On Saturday, they were lacking.

Brian Carroll – 6

Asked again to control the center of midfield with Edu and Nogueira deployed wide of him, Carroll did that and more, as he was always the first man to slide over to protect Fabinho against Espindola. Had he not suffered a minor injury, it would have been interesting to see if Hackworth would have made the Cruz sub to begin the second half.

Maurice Edu – 4

Continues to look miscast slid out to the left and struggled to have an influence on the match. Joined Fabinho in focusing too intently on Cristian’s volley rather than tracking Rolfe’s run into the box for DC’s goal. Whatever the reason, be it positioning (not an excuse in the second half), midfield chemistry or his own inability to find the game, Edu has not looked sharp since he distinguished himself with a few quality performances early in the season that raised expectations.

Andrew Wenger – 4

Made the play of the match, at least from a Union perspective, with a stunning turn that left Parke clutching at air. Aside from that moment, one that Wenger was still unable to finish, the striker was thoroughly controlled by the DC backline, as he was too willing to play with his back to goal far too deep in midfield. When he has able to get the ball in the final third, aside from the aforementioned turn, his touch let him down frequently.

Conor Casey – 3

After being such a critical player for the Union in 2013, Casey has yet to show the quality, aggressiveness, or hustle that led to him being a double digit goal scorer last year. With the Union in need of a player to keep central defenders pinned deep in their own box, Casey has been too comfortable exchanging simple passes in midfield and not challenging for balls in the box. Should never been kept on the field as long as he was.


Danny Cruz – 6

Brought on to add a spark and give DC something new to think about, Cruz did just that. Whether he was pinning Cristian back inside his defensive third or pulling Boswell and Parke around more than they had in the first 45 minutes, Cruz’s pressure brought a different dimension to the Union attack.

Sebastien Le Toux – 4

With the Union in dire need of energy and quality through the middle, Le Toux was able to bring the former, though not the latter.

Leo Fernandes – 4

With the Union launching everything into the box, they were in need of a finisher, not another creator. Fernandes’ inclusion was an odd choice.

Geiger Counter

Geoff Gamble – 5

Handled himself reasonably well considering both sets of forwards took alternating turns falling theatrically to the ground. Did well to both allow play to go on when Perry Kitchen mugged Edu, and then come back and caution the DC midfielder. Gamble could certainly stand to call the game with more conviction, but considering the standard around the league, it could have been a lot worse.

Preferred starting XI vs Sporting Kansas City


MacMath; Gaddis, Berry, Okugo, Williams (I’m finally on board with putting him at LB for a stretch); Edu, Nogueira; Cruz, Maidana, Fernandez; Le Toux

This is largely based on a guess that given the short turn around, Carroll will be rested with the coaching staff fully aware that he needs to heal and be 100 percent should Edu head off to USMNT camp.


  1. Man …. I just knew the Jack for Wenger trade was the final nail in the coffin for Hack. We traded a youngster with a clearly defined soccer skill that isn’t that common for a talentless “grit” player.

    It was just horrible.

    With the season gone, I want to start playing the young guys. I want to see players like Pfeffer, Riberio and Marquez.

    • might as well right?
      I mean who does the eventual new coach have to spark this team? Hack work had Mac and Okugo, Torres on the bench, the Farfans ect ect ect. Who does the new guy gonna have? Fernandez?

    • Southside Johnny says:

      The irony in all this is too much. I totally agree about the nail in the coffin and, of course, Jack’s success when Hack put him on the field was a huge factor in Hack’s promotion not looking like complete idiocy. Karma, man.

    • I agree with you on trying Pfeffer, Riberio and Marquez but Jack Mack isn’t better or worse than Wenger. Jack wasn’t scoring for us either, and his skill is very poor.

    • I would like to see the young guys out there too, but I don’t agree with the Jack comment. I believe we traded trash for trash. Eli is correct about Jack’s runs and what it brings to the team, but Jack is a terrible finisher. Kind of important when you are supposed to be the teams leading goal scorer. Until he fixes that major problem, I don’t want him on my team as a starter. That Rolfe strike was beautiful! We need someone who can finish like that more often than not.

  2. Edu was awful. That was a 2 not a 4. Bad decision after bad decision.

    • Edu had some really nice through balls that the Union players had no idea what to do with… 4 is fine.

    • Edu is being played out of position and he is starting to show it is bothering him. If Carroll sits midweek to recover I guarantee we see a re-engergized Edu playing the spot he is best suited for.

    • I am glad others see it. I have been riding Edu all season and for good reason. I grant the fact that he may be miscast- but he is still playing midfield and if he is this incapable of positively affecting games, even in a ‘different’ role than it just highlights his lack of quality.
      Go to Brazil sir. Frankly I will be stunned if Jurgen gives you a call.

      • Edu was called up. Though I’m sure it has to do with his versatility and not his proficiency (or lack thereof) at any one position.

  3. I’d like to see a new face or two in the XI. Rotating the same group of midfielders and forwards to different positions hasn’t worked — they’re all snakebit. Let’s give someone like Pfeffer a shot. What is there to lose at this point?

  4. Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

    you’re absolutely right, and I would love to see it, however, it’s so hard to speculate on new players considering Pfeffer(away last year), McLaughlin and Hernandez, for example, haven’t seen a minute since 2012. It would be even more guesswork than usual.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    I think a 4 was generous for Fabhino. It seemed like time after time he was turning the ball over, including a hand ball when he misjudged how to trap it in wide open space.

  6. Southside Johnny says:

    Thank you, Dan, for pointing out the folly of the McInerney trade. I am admittedly a big JackMac fan, but I have had no reason to get over my outrage. I like Wenger. He could be a big addition, but not even remotely worth giving up Jack. What we needed was last year’s Casey before he was totally overplayed or, a guy like Wenger. Jack was only appreciated by most folk when he was on a scoring tear, but his contributions went well beyond finishing. I’m not over the trade, but I am over this organization.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Credit Eli for this one. I haven’t written that column yet. 😉

    • If we traded Carroll for Wenger both teams would have gotten instantly better.

      • I’m completely agree. I’m a Carroll fan but I see his time with the Union has run its course. He is a classic CDM, a guy who breaks up passing lanes and frustrates playmakers, not a box-to-box guy like Edu, Beckerman, or even Okugo. He would be a boost for several teams, notable NE (especially before they started scoring), Montreal and others. The Jack-Wenger trade only makes sense for a re-building team. This team now has an overabundance of Central Midfielders and strikers who can hold the ball up.

  7. Berry should get a 4 IMHO. Not only the missed header, not only that he played a ball off his chest right to DCU at the top of the box that they should have scored on, but for his kicking. Something should have been put in his recap about his atrocious ball distribution/clearances/Hoofs to Row 23. It’s funny Pappas said that Okugo was playing left because he’s got a better left foot than Berry. After watching that display I have to wonder how Berry’s left could possibly be any worse than his right. He looked like a kid playing kickball for the first time in his life with all of his shanks.

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Pappas was probably wrong.

      In all likelihood, Okugo was playing the left side because he has ridiculously good defensive range, which is what you need to cover for Fabinho. Likewise, Gaddis has great range and recovery speed on the right, which means it makes sense to put him next to the center back with less range (Berry).

    • I think a 4-5 for Berry is an okay rating, since he mostly did what he had to do. But I have to agree with you, Shane. Every time he had the ball he shanked it out of bounds or made a horrendous pass. He looked so panicky back there when someone passed it to him.

  8. John Ling says:

    I’d like to see Le Toux and Wenger paired together up top for a decent stretch. Now through to Chivas should be plenty of time. Le Toux can be that “hang the back shoulder” guy that makes defenders think. Wenger can be Moreno 2.0 – physical, some skill, ability to find space for his partner, but with younger legs. Let them work together for the next 2 1/2 weeks and see what develops there.
    Preferred lineup for Wednesday against KC (right to left): Macmath; Williams, Berry, Okugo, Gaddis; Edu; Cruz, Maidana, Nog; Wenger, Le Toux.
    Preferred lineup for Saturday through to the WC break: Macmath; Williams, Berry, Okugo, Gaddis; Carrol; Cruz, Maidana, Nog; Wenger, Le Toux.
    If Carroll can’t go, Lahoud slides into his spot until he can play.
    After that? Find a trade partner to move BC. He’s playing well, and his style will work for somebody in this league. I don’t care if you get back $1 of allocation money, or a 90th round supplemental pick, or whatever. Treat him right – find a good fit for him, with a good chance of playing in November. This move is far more about respectfully moving on from Brian Carroll that it is an indictment on him. I’ve been a Carroll supporter, but I just don’t think his skill set fits this team any longer. Ride him until the WC break, then move him for whatever you can get. Okugo is my captain going forward.
    Whether Wenger and Le Toux develop chemistry or not, they need another forward. I prefer the idea of a speed guy with on-the-ball skills rather than a poacher or back-to-the-goal sort of guy. I want a guy who can take a Maidana or Nog through ball and burst down the flank and into the box; I want a guy who has the skill to work in tight spaces once the box gets crowded; I want a guy who can put the damn ball into the net. Whether that guy replaces Wenger or Le Toux, or we go back to a 4-3-3, or something else I don’t really care. That’s for the next coach to figure out.
    Next coach? Yep. I’m off the Hackworth wagon. It’s time to pull the plug. With the short turn-around, I don’t think you can do it until after Saturday, though. But Nicky S. needs to have somebody lined up from outside the organization, and that person needs to be ready to take over immediately after Saturday’s match. (The only problem here is if Hackworth suddenly wins Wednesday and Saturday; frankly, I don’t see it happening and if it does, it’ll be a good problem to have. I’d still pull the plug in that scenario.)

    • Haha you want to bench Edu and replace him with Lahoud?!?! Or do you just mean while Edu is away for WC stuff?

      • John Ling says:

        I very much mean while Edu is away. I guess I never actually said my assumption was that Edu has a callup at least for the 30-man prelim squad. I think that’s a lock, really. Whether he makes the 23 is open for debate, given current form and such.

    • scottymac says:

      Lahoud is in Africa for Sierra Leone. He wont be here for KC/NER.

      • John Ling says:

        Thanks, forgot about that. So that would mean if BC can’t go on Saturday, and Edu is called up, the U would need to either slide Nog back there, or – *gasp* – move Okugo up to that spot and fill in somebody else at CB.

      • inconceivable

      • John Ling says:

        You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      • scottymac says:

        We could be Boned. Corben Bone.

      • John Ling says:

        OK. I’m fine with Bone getting playing time. Or Pfeiffer. Or Fred. Or another player. But if that happens, it shouldn’t be a cameo, like what Bone had earlier. Give whoever it is two games, minimum, to get the flow, timing, etc.
        The current players aren’t getting it done. Whether it’s because we overvalued some of our players, or because the game plan sucks the big one, or they’re suffering from bad luck, or we have a situation where we have good players but not a good team, or some combination of those doesn’t matter right now. The team needs a change, and that player needs to be given a fair chance. Getting 10 minutes as a sub isn’t a fair chance.

      • exactly, Players that come in 10 min left in the game never have enough time to show anything. Its not like anyone we have is like Messi.

    • O Captain! My Captain!

    • Nailed it with Carroll, his departure would be addition by subtraction. If Edu is in Brazil, then bring Okugo forward and find someone else to play CB.

      No more forcing Edu and Nogueira wide; those guys do their best work in the middle and we shouldn’t try to stand in their way. Eli’s got the right formation to maximize the talents of the team’s best assets (Edu, Nog, Okugo), but they’re still a few pieces (the wide mids come to mind) from making that work consistently.

  9. OneManWolfpack says:

    I am literally up for anything at this point. We are 1-5-5. Seriously, try whatever. I am beyond angry.

  10. I was going to write that the Union FO is penny-wise and pound-foolish: trading Jack Mac for Wenger so we don’t have to pay Jack, for example. Seemingly overlooking the fact that NO ONE ON THE CURRENT TEAM CAN SCORE GOALS.

    But now I’m not so sure… And not sure Hackworth is gone. The league just got $90 million from ESPN. Sack may not care about the STH’s. The team’s about to come into a windfall. We the fans are all suckers.

  11. funny how we are wishing for a striker. as if a striker is going to solve the problem. not too many 18 goal scorers gonna be available and with the furious lack of goal scoring that is what is necessary.
    too bad our midfielders are unable to create their own scoring chances to relieve the burden.

    • 2 of our 3 leading goalscorers are midfielders and all 3 are if you consider Le Toux a mid. We haven’t scored a goal in like 400 minutes so yea dude a striker would definitely help.

      • My point is I am wishing for two 9 goal strikers- not just one 18 goal striker- cause he isn’t coming here- whoever he could be.
        sorry if I masked that sarcasm too much.

    • Just like last year, we just don’t appear dangerous at all out on the wings, exacerbated by Williams not being at full health or as dangerous as normal getting forward. I felt great about the offseason acquisitions, though part of the buzz a few months ago was that Maidana would finally give us that left footed wing play we’ve been missing so badly. It turns out he’s better suited as a more centrally positioned set-up man. Most of our best players all tend to be condensed in the middle of the field now (Edu, Nogueira, Maidana), or if out wide, want to drift centrally (Le Toux, Maidana when stationed as LM). As skilled as Maidana is, it seems like he’s not really a wing player, and that’s one key reason the offseason vision didn’t play out as expected.

  12. I have been hesitant to get on the Sack Hack bandwagon. I liked his offseason moves and even though I haven’t always been on board with his tactics or substitutions, I thought he deserved enough time to get his and his players’ acts together.

    But after 9 winless games in a row, I am having all the hope sucked out of me. I’d have to say a 10th winless game in a row would be crossing the red line for me. Something would have to give at that point.

  13. Worst case scenario: we get a great striker in the summer window, win enough to miss playoffs by a point, and that justifies Hackworth staying.

  14. The Black Hand says:

    More middling and low ratings. Both are completely fitting. Noguiera, Gaddis and Okugo are the only ones deserving of a rating above “meh”. I didn’t get to see any of Cruz.
    It was nice to see a CB playing in the back line. The Wheeler experiment should be over. Gaddis played very well. Fabinho did not.
    The midfield has been Hacked. Aside from rare individual efforts, the middle provided very little meaningful play. Carroll had a typical game. Noguiera is struggling to make something out of nothing. Maidana…might be good. Edu…Edu…Edu… Maurice Edu’s play has been a letdown. I’m not sure the reasoning (Carroll taking his space? Out of position, on the outside? Lazy?…), but he looks to be carrying on the tradition of ‘big time’ signing bringing very little return. In this league, a player of Edu’s caliber should be providing impact resembling what YaYa Touré brings to City (very effective box-to-box play). Mo is WATCHING far too much football!
    The forwards are only as good as the buildup. They have been asked to make a meal out of garbage (badly timed through-balls to nowhere, nameless crosses, long balls to no one, etc…). Jack McInerney would have given us the same results…only with more pouting and finger-pointing. Wenger is actually a pretty good player. Casey should be brought in late, to beat up tired fullbacks. He no longer has the fitness to start. LeToux should get a look, with Fernandes on deck. OR…a look at Cruz as at striker. Wenger can hold up and the ‘wild man’ can run at goal. (The sight of Cruz’ crazed look bolting dead at them, could
    throw a keeper off). Probably not, but anything could look better than what we are seeing.
    This club’s play should be attributed to the complete lack of tactical direction that they are given by the manager. He should be relieved but, like others have pointed out, the front office will likely promote from within…giving us nothing.
    I think our hope lies with Amobi being given the armband and CDM. Pair him with Edu (box-to-box). Noguiera and Maidana take on the advanced midfield. Shop Carroll/Casey/Wheeler/LeToux/Lots of money and see if you can bring in a CB and striker, through summer transfer. Small tweaks aren’t going to do it because we are not really close to being good…right now.

    • If this from The Black Hand is not the solution-then we are doomed:
      “I think our hope lies with Amobi being given the armband and CDM. Pair him with Edu (box-to-box). Noguiera and Maidana take on the advanced midfield. Shop Carroll/Casey/Wheeler/LeToux/Lots of money and see if you can bring in a CB and striker, through summer transfer. Small tweaks aren’t going to do it because we are not really close to being good…right now.”

    • Southside Johnny says:

      C’mon. These forwards are blameless due to lack of/poor service? As I recall, Jack got even worse balls from arguably the worst midfield in the league and managed to rack up 14 over a season shortened by a month due to his call-up. His “pouting and finger pointing” came at times when he was clearly open and in good spots — something rare in the attack since his departure –and were well deserved by his ineffective mates.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Blameless? No. Casey should have buried, at least, two of his four point-blank looks at goal. (Jack would have) Casey is very much out of shape and he cannot get ‘his’ game going. I don’t think that he should be in the XI.
        Wenger has had a tough time acclimatizing to the Union. There are times when he should make his run and he holds up. He needs to do a better job of being aware of players running off of him. However, he has also done some very nice things and could very easily have 4 or 5 goals…that he helped create.
        The trouble that we are showing is; we do not initiate play, in the attacking third, from the middle. We push to the wing and send a cross into the box. Very little chances to link play through a well timed through ball or give/goes, because we seem heart-pressed to work the wings. When our forwards do get the ball, in possession, the midfield is not there to support.
        Jack would (and did) struggle mightily with this offensive ineptitude. Take away the hot start (last year) and you have what we have now…a lack of goals.
        This all said, I have been going easy on our forwards. I just feel that good clubs are the result of good midfields. Strikers are icing.

      • i think you kind of nailed it here. it is crazy how obsessed we are with attacking using only our totally ineffective wing play.

      • The Black Hand says:

        It might work better with wings, instead of fullbacks. The wingback approach is stretching our defense too much, as well as making our attack predictable and easier to defend against.

      • Philly Cheese says:

        Good teams have forward and midfielder movement across the attack. That is what causes confusion in defenses and scoring opportunities that we are missing. Usually only playing one pass at a time. As others have pointed out, we don’t even show movement off the ball on throw ins.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Agree. Midfield opens the lane, forwards make the move.

      • The Black Hand says:

        *hard pressed…always thought it was heart-pressed…sumabitch!

    • Great One says:

      I LOL’d at ur Cruz description

      • LOL–Very true:–“The sight of Cruz’ crazed look bolting dead at them, could
        throw a keeper off”.

  15. I have only one thing to say. The ownership needs to open the pocketbook and bring in a proven, speedy, skilled goal-scorer. If that doesn’t happen soon, things are going to collapse and we can say goodbye to our one true invaluable asset–Nogueira. This is a club on the brink, but we have most of the pieces to recover…we’re just lacking the most important piece. Wenger’s turn was world-class, but the finish wasn’t. He obviously has a huge potential upside, but it could be a year or more before he really starts burning up the nets.

    • Philly Cheese says:

      I’ve heard a rumor about a great finishing striker from South America being available……….I think it was Majoy or Rajoy……..

  16. My thoughts below…maybe someone can help me piece them together and makes sense of them, because I’m too frustrated to fully compute.
    The Union have 4 guys that are most comfortable at the CDM position; Edu, Carroll, Nogueira, and Okugo. Granted, Nogueira, being the most offensive-minded, could play a little higher up, but that still leaves a log-jam at the position. I like Hack enough to keep him around a bit, but maybe he should take a page (read: only page) from Andy Reid’s notebook and “put his players in a better position to succeed.” If your players are not diverse in their strengths, then maybe your team isn’t assembled properly.
    I like Maidana’s creativity a lot, but I’d rather have Nogueira playing his role in the middle, setting up the plays and controlling the attack. He doesn’t get flustered on the ball ever. Slide Chaco to the left, and put Cruz or Edu on the right.
    We’re obviously beyond just changing line-ups, but here’s what I would try if I were the manager…just to switch it up and see what works. D: Gaddis, Berry, White (or Carroll, or Wheeler, or Dellecamra, or the Bimbo Bear…I don’t care. Just not Amobi.), Williams; CDM: Okugo; RM: Edu; LM: Maidana; CAM: Nogueira; FWD: Le Toux and Wenger
    Whenever the technology to read people’s thoughts is invented, they need to immediately apply it to soccer players and give everyone a red card who conciously takes a dive.

    • John Ling says:

      The problem is that Chaco wants to wander. He’s the reason he and Le Toux were switching sides so much earlier in the year. Playing him at the CAM allows him the freedom to roam and make plays from where he thinks there’s space.

  17. The Chopper says:

    I was of the mindset that Hackworth deserved to see this season through. But I now see a team without direction or purpose. They are clearly grasping at straws trying to find anything that works. And despite the obvious desperation, they still come out onto the pitch playing with less than maximum intensity. I just don’t see how the current coach can right this ship. They are aimless, and once you hit that point, it is almost impossible to come back.

    The issue is what next? Is the man you want to be the coach/GM Of this franchise available today? Hackworth serves both roles. The likelihood is that the guy you want is currently under contract somewhere else. I am sure Mike Sorber can put the team on the field for the remainder of the season, but I have no idea if he can sign players and deal with contracts and salary caps. Does Sorber coach and Nick Sak temporarily act as GM? Do you kick Hackworth upstairs into. director of football operations role? There needs to be a thought out plan before the you drop the ax.

  18. Murphthesurf says:

    Best comment in weeks ~

  19. philpill says:

    Sak isn’t about to let the franchise do a death spiral or even write off the season yet. In this conference, they’re still not out of it (look at NER). Hackworth either stays or quits (why would he?). He coaches until the deal with his successor is done & those terms. They sign a striker in the transfer window. Meanwhile shake it up a lit at bay (Okugo to CDM while Edu is in Brazil would be a welcome distraction). Get value for BC & ship him to a contender. If the U goes into WC break in last, the script changes to “building a better tomorrow” & “Here come the HCI puppies! Awww! So cute!”

  20. Your ratings are pretty good as usual, but I would actually rate Fabinho higher since yes he must work on his defense I agree, but he actually was moving with the ball and creating chances and executing most of his passes and plays. Most importantly he is so comfortable going at players and beating them and still shows his critical skill level, with his touch and decision making that most of the Union players have yet to achieve. I agree that Carroll did not have his worse game but he is still easy to disrupt and take the ball from if you’re the opposition. He also has been defending in a lazy manner. What i mean is that he does not apply enough pressure in my opinion. He applies just enough pressure to allow the opposing player to get a pass off going forward or to the side. This is hard to explain without seeing it, so i suggest watching how he covers on tape. Carroll’s rating is fair but again he causes no threat and he is fairly easy to get through, this has been my problem with Carroll because you need someone that can hold his ground as the last defensive mid. and he just doesn’t have it.

    • John Ling says:

      If Wenger or Casey score that goal, we’re all saying what a fantastic job Fabinho did to pick off the pass and force play into the box.
      I still prefer Gaddis over Fabinho as my LB, though. Call me old fashioned, but I want defenders to, well, defend. Slide him into the left mid spot, though? I’m down with that idea.

      • Yea I definitely hear what you’re saying John. I think Gaddis has been getting caught losing his mark and getting caught off guard sometimes too. but yes he has been playing well with going forward and creating plays

  21. Berry’s rating could have been lower since he should have scored easily off the header but failed to.

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