Player ratings

Player ratings & analysis: LA Galaxy 4-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

What is there to say any more?

Thanks to my friends Bennett and Julia for turning the game on for me to watch during their BBQ on Sunday. Bigger thanks for the beers after the match.

Forwards on an island

The switch from starting Andrew Wenger and Leo Fernandes to Antoine Hoppenot and Leo Fernandes had little impact on the match. Like Wenger in most games, Hoppenot was completely isolated in the Union’s attack. Whether it is the inability to make the right runs in behind, or drop into the midfield for touches to allow runners to get ahead of them, the Union’s forward line has been completely disconnected from most of the team all season. Sunday was no different.


Captain Brian Carroll returned to the lineup and did little to slow the Galaxy attack. Amobi Okugo, who had been wearing the armband in Carroll’s absence, had one of his worst games in a Union shirt. US International Maurice Edu, who was supposed to be playing with a chip on his shoulder after missing out on a trip to Brazil, put in one of his most toothless performances of the season. Long serving defender Sheanon Williams looked uncomfortable and uncommitted in 90 minutes at center back.

At some point, no matter what we think of the tactics or the lineup, someone on the field has to step up and lead by example. The guys that are expected to do so haven’t for the most part this season. If you want to look for someone who played with a purpose while also playing smart, technically sound soccer, look to teenage midfielder Zach Pfeffer, playing in his second game all season.

Set pieces

The Union are not good at them. On offense. On defense. The marking was atrocious on the Galaxy’s first goal. Could MacMath have come for the ball? Sure. But Amobi Okugo simply lets Leonardo coast in behind him for a free header from 5 yards.

Offensively, the Union weren’t any better. The Union had 9 corner kicks and the only chances that came from any of them were half clearances from LA that fell to Carroll and Nogueria. Both took shots were at least 10 yards over the crossbar. The Sheanon Williams long throw-ins were even less effective. They basically turned into 60-second breathers for both teams with the Galaxy defense getting to every throw before a Union player.

Ethan White

The list of center backs who have had terrible games in the past week includes: Amobi Okugo, Sheanon Williams, Aaron Wheeler, and Austin Berry. We deserve to know just how bad/good White is.

Player Ratings

Zac MacMath – 4

Could he have come for the ball on the first goal? Probably. Were any of the others his fault? Not really.

Ray Gaddis – 3

Has been the Union’s most reliable defender this season, but not on Sunday. Allowed Donovan to coast in behind to score the Galaxy’s second goal. Struggled to clamp down on Zardes, Husidic, or Ishizaki.

Amobi Okugo – 3

One of the worst matches I can recall Okugo playing in a Union shirt. Allowed Leonardo an open header on L.A.’s first goal. Was of no help to Sheanon Williams closing down Keane on the Galaxy’s second.

Sheanon Williams – 3

Was having a pretty terrible outing in the center of defense even before he assisted on Robbie Keane’s goal. Keane beat him easily to assist on Donovan’s first goal. And his long throws came to absolutely nothing.

Fabinho – 3

Will have nightmares all week of Gyasi Zardes’ blonde hair streaking past him, which happened early and often. Contributed almost nothing offensively — had two crosses, both unsuccessful.

Brian Carroll – 3

Returned from injury but did not look ready for the match. The Galaxy streaked through the central midfield all match through Donovan, Keane, and Juninho and Carroll did little to slow the attack. Dispossessed easily in the build up to the Galaxy’s fourth goal.

Vincent Nogueira – 4

Quietest match so far for Nogueria, who couldn’t find a way to get involved.

Maurice Edu – 3

Not sure if the stoppage time PK even affects the rating. Came across as disinterested and frustrated for almost the entire match. Had more uncharacteristic midfielder turnovers than we expect to see.

Danny Cruz – 3

Worked hard, but that was about it. Saw very little of the ball. Had very few opportunities to run at players, his biggest strength.

Leo Fernandes – 2

Went for long stretches of the match without any involvement. When he did have a chance to make his mark, he pulled up on a run that saw him in on goal in the first half, and shot straight at Jamie Penedo in the second.

Antoine Hoppenot – 3

Completely set apart from the rest of the team. Completed only 6 passes in the 52 minutes he played (not entirely his fault, he had so little help most of the time). Had one of the best chances to score from open play with a shot from close range.


Conor Casey – 3

Failed to provide the two things you’d expect from the big forward: a physical presence and the ability to hold the ball.

Andrew Wenger – 3

Only had two touches within 20 yards of the Los Angeles goal according to the official MLS stats. Needs to find more ways to involve himself in the offense.

Zach Pfeffer – 6

Showed some heart in his 15 minutes of playing time. Drew the penalty that resulted in the Union’s only goal. It’s time to see what he can offer when Philadelphia isn’t already trailing by three goals when he enters.

Geiger Counter

Jorge Gonzalez – 5

With the Union basically not showing up, Gonzalez didn’t have a whole lot to do. Looking at the replay, seemed to get the PK call right.

Preferred lineup against Chivas:


MacMath, Williams, Okugo, White, Gaddis, Carroll, Edu, Nogueira, Pfeffer, Maidana, Hoppenot



  1. These numbers are too kind.

    • Agreed. we are talking the opposite side of the number line IMO- you know the land of irrational numbers.

  2. Now that the World Cup roster has been set, is the Union allowed to play Edu at CB?

  3. You left out your grade of zero for Hackworth

  4. The Black Hand says:

    This lineup gets beat by Chivas!

  5. recall everyone from harrisburg and play all of them. it is almost not possible to be worse

  6. John Ling says:

    Mike – I’m curious why that would be your preferred lineup? For example, is Carroll included because it’s a foregone conclusion he’s going to play, so may as well shoehorn him in? Or do you really think Carroll in the middle is the best choice the Union can make?

    • Mike Servedio says:

      My lineup is partially based on who I think will play and partially on who I’d like to play. Carroll was terrible on Sunday, but I think he still starts this coming weekend, which is why I included him here.
      Generally, I don’t mind him playing on the road. I think he is redundant to Edu at home at this point though.

      • John Ling says:

        Thanks for the reply. So let me follow up with this question: If Nicky Sak called you up and made you coach today, who would be your starting 11? Or in other words, if you removed the “who I think will play” piece, what do you come up with as a lineup?

  7. Es una lastima como viene jugando el equipo, y mas aun con la insistencia de jugar con niños, hay que buscar un jugador en cada linea y se deberia salir de otros que no estan para esta liga,si el club quiere avanzar deberá tambien cambiar el tecnico,no hay motivación, no hay un plantel definido y cada encuntro es una prueba al vacio.como redactor deportivo no me llamo a engaño y conel cariño que le tengo al Union,menos aun,cada partido de local me llena de agonia al ver como no se juega a nada.

  8. Here’s my preferred line up:

    Hopp., Pfeffer




    • I will never understand the cult of Hoppenot.

      • +1 Sieve! While there’s no obvious choice up there, give me Wenger or LeToux starting for a few games up top.

      • John Ling says:

        Really? Because I totally get it. A supplemenal draft pick who wasn’t even supposed to make the team; a dude who goes out and busts his ass and gets the most from his meager talents; a guy you can typically point to and say, “He just went and did his job even if it’s not flashy.”
        He’s Jim Eisenreich. Dave Brown. Aaron McKie.

      • Yea but on a team of Jim Eisenreichs, Dave Browns, Aaron McKies you have to ask “Why him?”

      • John Ling says:

        The general storyline for Hoppenot so far has been, “Dude busts his ass for the 20 or so minutes he’s in the game! He should get a chance to start!”
        One start is a small sample size. So people who are in the “Hopp Camp” want more.
        I’ll also argue this isn’t a team of Eisenreichs etc. If that were the case, we’d be sitting here post game saying, “Damn I love their effort! I just wish they had a bit more talent to go with that work ethic! Then we’d really have something here!!!”
        I can point to a whole lot of players who have under-achieved this year *and* done so while not looking like they’ve busted their ass. Maidana. Edu. Williams. Casey. Le Toux. (Yeah, I said it.) That’s why people want Hoppenot and Cruz. That’s why we get calls for Pfeffer (even before his good showing the last two games). That’s why we get comments like, “bring up all the kids at HCI.”
        Or in other words: We *don’t* have a team of Jim Eisenreichs. We have a team of David Bells.

      • I don’t know between Wenger, Letoux, Cruz, Hoppenot, Wheeler, Fernandes and Bone we have more than our share of gawsh darnit scrappy hardworkers with hearts of a champion and feet of clay. On any goven day that could be half of our line up. So I think my comment still stands.

      • John Ling says:

        Bone certainly isn’t in the Jim Eisenreich model. Maybe he could’ve been, but two appearances, with one yellow and one red to show for it, sealed his fate.
        I would also argue that Le Toux is not in that model any longer, at least in this town. His first tour with the team, he was simply The Man – mostly by default. Sure, everybody loved his motor and the way he ran hard for all 90, even when things weren’t right for him. But he was also expected to put all-star level numbers. After he was Nowaked, he took the role of “jilted hometown hero returned” instead. He had too much success early on, and too much baggage with Nowak later, to fall into that “guy who works hard that we love because of it” category.
        Danny Cruz is somebody who should be in that category, I agree. Especially since we got him by getting rid of Lio Pajoy. Danny Cruz should be in that category; my hunch as to why he’s not is because he spent all of last year as a starter and so his weaknesses were laid bare. He was no longer a guy who works his ass off, bleeds for his team, crashes around like a human pinball, and knocks in a few goals (and maybe knocks out a few teeth in the process). We saw too much of him, week after week through a frustrating season, for Cruz to get that tag. (Though this year he seems to be getting it, and I think it’s precisely because he’s not starting every game.)
        Leo Fernandes? No, I don’t think he fits that mold either. he’s flashy. Especially last year when he thought step-overs were the best thing since sliced bread, Leo has shown too much “flash” to be a lunchpail kinda guy.
        Wenger? yeah, he should maybe be in that category. Especially when you throw in the “he’s one of us” mantra too. I think if Wenger gets a run of games where he can show his work rate, rather than being put in a position to show his impersonation of a deserted island, that he could move into this category.
        Don’t get me wrong. I get what you’re saying. But Hoppenot just has a confluence of events and circumstances that make him an underdog, and that’s why he gets the love. Princeton; 3rd round supplemental pick; success when played in a limited role; appears to work hard when given his limited chances. He’s a blue collar underdog in a city that loves blue collar underdogs. Those other players you mentioned – except maybe Danny Cruz – either aren’t blue collar (Fernandes), or aren’t underdogs (Le Toux, Cruz). If you want to be “that guy” in this city, you need to hit both of those check boxes (and not be a perceived liability, like Bone at this point).
        I’m OK with Hoppenot getting a spot start and being the guy that comes on and runs around like he was just shot in the ass with a BB gun. But I’ve said since the off-season: the Union really need to pick one between Danny Cruz and Hoppenot. They’re the same player, and they just don’t need both. One fo the two – whoever provides the biggest return – should be moved.

      • -nickt.- says:

        this might be the first time someone has ever used “princeton” in assocciation with “underdog” and “blue collar”

      • Thank you. Someone who makes some sense haha.

      • John Ling says:

        If I’m the one making sense around here, the world has gone upside down. 😉

      • Southside Johnny says:

        It seems to me that the utter agony of this this season is wreaking havoc on the ability of many of us to approach this team rationally. If Antoine is the right choice to start, either: A. We are totally doomed B. I have completely lost it. C. The McInerney trade was Hack’s greatest folly ever, or D. All of the above. I’m leaning toward D.

      • First off who else do we have to put up top? please tell me. Second I am really sick and tired of hearing how Hack made a total wrong decision in the Jack and Wenger trade. How many goals has Jack scored so far like 4 or so. He still is not a striker who has the ability to change games and he has so many problems in his game like his skill set.

      • John Ling says:

        This question is easy. The Union should have been employing Wenger and Le Toux up top, with Maidana playing underneath them. They should have been paired together up top the moment Wenger arrived. They should have been required to have breakfast, lunch, and dinner together. Watch Netflix together. Brush their teeth together.
        Instead, they asked Wenger to play Survivor by dropping him on a deserted island; they asked Maidana to play a running game that doesn’t fit his skill set; and they asked Le Toux to try and recapture whatever it was that he had last year that made him look good from that wing position for the first half of the year. And that was never going to work, not given the skill set of those three players.
        But hey, what do I know…

      • Southside Johnny says:

        Well put. Thx.

      • By they, you mean Hackworth?

      • John Ling says:

        Hackworth and his staff.

      • John Ling says:

        I didn’t say I thought Hoppenot was the right choice to start. (I do think he’s an OK choice for 3 or so starts a year, as a fill-in for injury or whatever.)
        What I said here was simply that I understood the general lovefest aimed at Hoppenot. He fits this city’s love affair with blue collar, underdog, over-achieving fan-favorites. Yes, it’s surprising the love affair has lasted this long; no, it’s not at all surprising that it happened.

      • On Hopp., I Like his play because he actually can take on defenders with the ball at his feet and he has been 99% of the time successful in doing so. On this team he has done the most in the offense or close to that then any other player so far in keeping the ball up top and really disrupting opposing defenses. Yea he has a lot to work on but he needs to start up top more to get comfortable and to gel with the team. His passing has been pretty smart as well. Just give him some damn time.

      • Remember Hopp. and Wheeler? They always had a great chemistry.

      • -nickt.- says:

        hopp is 99% successful at taking on the turf with the ball at his feet.

      • PainDon'tHurt says:

        Very humorous. I laughed out loud, as the kids say. And that’s pretty much what my man does.

  9. It looked like the team was more interested in having a week-long vacation in LA then actually playing a soccer game. That game could have easily been 8-1.

    • phew you aren’t kidding. i think i actually saw a bit of pity on keane’s face after his flip dive. Nah.

  10. Win or Lose with this line up (my line up above), no matter what, Hack has to stay with this line up for at least 3 or 4 matches in a row to see if it will develop into something successful. Will he do this?…….absolutely not.

  11. All sports fans and commenters should learn the difference between uninterested and disinterested. The official should be disinterested. The players who look like they don’t care may be described as uninterested.

  12. Agree with the ratings. There was nothing to like about this game, other than some signs of life when Pfeffer came on late. I honestly don’t get the Hoppenot thing – his role should be as a late sub. If we’re not connecting forwards to midfield properly, at least give me a forward who offers up some hold-up play (given what we have, Wenger would be the choice).

    White seems to be buried so far down the depth chart, I’m slightly afraid to see it happen, but what do we have to lose by giving him a shot?

    • Hoppenot has been playing the late sub role and look how that has been playing out.

      • I agree he has been mostly ineffective as a late game sub since his rookie year. So the answer isn’t turning him a 60-70 minute starter.

  13. Give them all zeros except Pfeffer and MacMath. They get 6’s. Next.

  14. I actually miss Carlos Ruiz…

  15. Hezekiah Ezekiel Schmitz says:

    So they have to fire the bum when Chivas wins 5-1, right?

    • That can’t happen… RIGHT?!?!?!?

      • John Ling says:

        I dunno. We all thought there was no way they could win at SKC. Then we all thought there was no way they could get blown out by NE. *Then* we all thought they’d at least be awake and interested in playing LAG…

      • sieve!!! says:

        KC were looking past the Union. No team no matter how good is gonna do that again. So we are never gonna get a start our best players on the bench game again.

  16. This game was absolutely embarrassing, especially in the second half when the wheels just came off. Just shocking. I don’t think I have ever been so disgusted with this team, and I am not a perpetual Negadelphian. All teams have letdown games sometime, but that was supposed to be last week’s New England match. This was just excuseless.

    I was stunned that Hackworth started Hoppenot up top. Asking Antoine Hoppenot to be the lone center forward is like asking a fish to climb a tree. If John Hackworth should be fired for any reason, it’s the Jack McInerney trade, which looks so much worse with each passing week.

    Despite that, I’m starting to wonder if the first step in fixing this team is not to find a striker, but to find a center back. Maybe two.

  17. The paragraph about leadership is dead on. Regardless of whether or not Hackworth should be fired, the lack of leadership on the field is very troubling. Carroll has never been a vocal leader, Okugo was when he had the armband but doesn’t seem to be the same without it, and Edu looked distracted by his exclusion from the final 23. Nogueria is the only player who is visually frustrated week in and week out, and no one seems to possess that killer instinct to step it up and get it done. Hopefully a new manager can bring that out of this team.

    • Southside Johnny says:

      I believe this is not a new problem. I maintain that there has been little if any effective leadership on the field since Carlos left — except for Parke and Soumare in the back.

  18. No team is the exact sum of its parts, but that sum looks to be decreasing weekly. Sheanon Williams is simply not the player he was in years past, and it doesn’t seem to be about age or injury. I only pick on him because he’s been a terrific player in the past and couldd be in the future. I don’t know whether it’s — to quote Bill Walsh — “orchestration”, or whether they simply can’t make up for having no real attacking playmakers anywhere on the roster.

    Hackworth also has to make some hard choices. If we have three guys who seem to be among our best 10 field players, but play the same position, we can’t play all of them. I think a Nogueira/Edu pairing with Okugo as a CB could be the (lumbar?) spine of an effective 4-2-3-1. The strikers are unspectacular, but the real yawning gap is at 10, especially when our wingers have limited ability on the ball and basically just make vertical runs. At this point, you basically have only Pfeffer or an out of position Nogueria. Why not try the former? I’d actually use Wenger up front and any of the wings, but witht he understanding that their primary assignment is to pressure the heck out of the ball. For that Fabinho, Cruz, or Le Toux could be serviceable. Maybe we get some turnovers and counters that way — something other than basing our offense around long throw-ins.

  19. The Chopper says:

    Football is a cruel game. John Hackworth will be relieved of his duties soon. If the team returned home following the Galaxy match as opposed to staying West,,it may have already happened.

    No tears to shed. He had a fair opportunity and his club is collapsing around him. Funny thing is, last year he kept his team competitive but unable to generate results, he stubbornly trotted out the same lineup and tactics week after week steadfast in his confidence that that was his best chance to get a result.

    This year, despite some stretches of inspired play, the results did not come. He has chanced lineups, formations, tactics and tried just about everything possible to make something happen and he now has a team that is far worse than his 2013 club.

    Au Revoir John.

    • UnionDues says:

      I hope you are right, and @ Chivas is his last game in charge. The same was said about the NER game. Even if he is canned, ownership still has to clean house on the staff he brought in. I’m highly skeptical that both will happen.

      • The Chopper says:

        Not sure they can clean house on the staff unless there is a suitable head coach out there who they are ready to hire immediately. If you are going the interim coach route, the the current staff probably stays on.

        Many coaches who are not coaching at the moment probably have some World Cup related commitments to attend to It may be awhile before you find the right guy to go forward with, so an interim is a strong possibility.

  20. kingkowboys says:

    At this point I think bringing in this big time pacey striker is pointless. Unless he can score 4 goals a game we aren’t going to get anything in terms of results.
    Instead we should take that money and pay the fee to terminate the Valdes loan. Tell him he made the Colombian team, we’ll pay you DP money to come here and be a leader. We need a quality veteran CB to lead this defense. A striker does nothing for us.
    If Valdes happens then I’m probably making Le Toux a striker again. He can pair with Wenger or Casey and run off him. Chaco at LM, Cruz RM, Nogs in middle, Okugo at CDM. Don’t care what you do with Edu because I don’t see a reason to get him after the loan expires.

  21. Murphthesurf says:

    Le Toux should be up top, that is his position.
    OKugo should be cdm.
    work out the rest…No gs will feed Le Toux,
    good things will happen again.

    I concur with the rest.

  22. Not to nit pick – but Gaddis wasn’t to blame on Donovan’s first….it was Okugo. He just gravitated toward Keane, when he should have picked up Donovan. Coupled with the first goal, it was easily his worst effort.

    The game vs the Revs was bad, but it felt like they were at least trying. This game, LA scored 4 of the easiest goals they will ever score. If they do indeed care about their manager, they had better show up this week and next, or I’m afraid there will be a change at the top before the 2nd half begins.

  23. 700 chopper says:

    Pitiful and embarrassing, change the line up all you want and we still just plain suck thank god we watched this game drinking at a party it made it a little more livable

  24. Tracy Kuntzler says:

    Let’s be real. The FO will NOT fire John Hackworth. He will be here the entire season. Period. Can you really imagine Sak shelling out all that dough to pay a new coach and staff? Nope! Never gonna happen y’all. Stay the course Sak. Just stay the course…

  25. Winning 4-3-3 combination rest of the season:




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