Player ratings

Analysis & player ratings: Union 3-3 Rapids


Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

So, as it turns out, that’s what dropping points looks like.

From the moment when Michael Lahoud karate-kicked Jared Watts square in the face to the final whistle, the Union were panicked, confused, and ultimately, exposed.

Substitution confusion

After Dillon Powers’ 76th minute penalty kick reduced the Union’s lead to one goal, Philadelphia needed to make a change. With Colorado back to within a goal and Philadelphia up a man, Jim Curtin needed to reshape his team in a manner that would allow them to see out the final 10 minutes, plus stoppage time. With Andrew Wenger representing the first sub, Curtin had four full-time attackers on the pitch, including Sebastien Le Toux, Conor Casey and Cristian Maidana.

With the Union in need of a player who could help kill the clock and keep the match from becoming a one-way, full time shooting gallery for the Rapids, Vincent Nogueira was the natural choice. Slotting him alongside Amobi Okugo would give the Union not only a pair of eager ballwinners, but also a duo whose distribution could help the hosts maintain possession and stem Colorado’s attacking tide.

Instead though, Curtin went with Brian Carroll, a purely defensive option. Rather than try to compete and hold the ball, the Union chose to sit deep — too deep — and absorb all of Colorado’s pressure. Considering three-quarters of the Union backline were playing either out of position (Williams), in their first minutes all year (White), or just struggling (Fabinho), the decision to close down shop and accept whatever the Rapids threw at them was a strange choice and ultimately one that cost them two points.

Serna's opener

Serna’s opener (click to play)

Time to rest Fabinho

While it is true that Sheanon Williams has been asked to play out of position, Ethan White was asked to come up big in his first appearance for the Union, and Austin Berry’s continued health problems have kept him from finding any form, the largest issue in the Union defense does not come at the centerback position. Ever since Jordan Harvey was jettisoned back in the Nowak era, the Union have struggled to replace his defensive quality at left back.

Fabinho has been billed as a two-way defender, but his qualities have failed to pan out at either end of the pitch. Dillon Serna was only the latest winger to fly past him with ease on the dribble, and the Brazilian remains far too likely to concede fouls in dangerous areas and collect cards (6 yellows in 15 matches). His inability to track runners and support his teammates continues to leave the Union vulnerable on the left flank and, while the world is full of wingers masquerading as fullbacks, a meager one assist in 15 starts hardly justifies his continued inclusion.

With Maurice Edu returning from suspension and White proving that he can get the job done, Williams has earned the chance to slide back out to fullback, replacing Fabinho opposite Ray Gaddis, whose play has made him the incumbent at right back. While the Union will lose a player who loves to run up the flank, they will gain defensive solidity and better decision making, a long-term benefit for a team that has conceded the second most goals in MLS.

Maidana emerging

When he landed a 31st minute corner kick on Williams head, Maidana picked up his 6th assist in his last 5 games. Not too shabby for a player who looked out of sorts while being flip-flopped from wing to wing for the first portion of the season. Unlike his predecessor, Curtin has identified Maidana as his central playmaker and by deploying him front of two primarily defensive midfielders, has given him the freedom to dictate play and find space all over the pitch.

While he favors his left foot, the Argentine is content working from any part of the field, and with two direct runners in Danny Cruz and Le Toux out wide, he feasts on the space they leave behind. With suspensions to Okugo and Lahoud looming for Philadelphia when they face off with New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, Union fans may finally get to see the combination of Maidana and Nogueira, with each playing in their natural positions. Nogueira’s industry and quality on the ball can only improve the attacking situation for Maidana, as he will have to do even less work near the midfield stripe and can instead focus his efforts higher up the pitch. This opportunity to advance higher will likely bring him within range to slide in dangerous through balls in addition to the well-measured crosses that have become a staple of his best showings.

Player Ratings

Zac MacMath – 5

Couldn’t have done much better on any of the three goals, as he was left high and dry by his defense.

Ray Gaddis – 7

If the cross he played in for Conor Casey’s opener becomes a bigger and more consistent part of his game, Gaddis will continue his ascent as one of most promising young fullbacks in MLS.

Ethan White – 6

Earning his first MLS minutes for the Union, White played with poise and composure and very little rust. Had no fault in any of Colorado’s three goals.

Sheanon Williams – 5

Will be kicking himself for hthe ill-fated lunge late in the match that allowed Deshorn Brown to equalize. While he continues to appear uncomfortable at centerback, Williams gave his full effort throughout Saturday’s match. Chipped in offensively with a powerful header from a deep run off of a perfectly placed Maidana corner kick.

Fabinho – 3

Turned far too easily by Dillon Serna on the Rapids opener, Fabinho’s defensive positioning continues to be suspect at best. When Williams was caught lunging on the Rapids’ third, Fabinho never pinched in to help his centerback, instead turning to mark empty space on the left side of defense.

Amobi Okugo – 5

Struggled to find chemistry with Michael Lahoud in the first half before cranking up his activity level after the break. Did very well to harass Watts into a turnover and drive to the endline, creating the Union’s third goal. As the captain of the Union, Okugo must do a better job of containing his emotions: No matter what was said between he and Stoica, Okugo allowed a poor referee to make a call out of anger, and now the Union will be without his services against New York on Wednesday.

Michael Lahoud – 3

Too casual throughout the match, Lahoud lost position, setting the table for the Rapids to race away in the build up to their first. Sitting on a yellow card, his decision to attempt a wild, blind-side, head-high clearance in his own box was an enormous mental mistake that hurt his team.

Danny Cruz – 5

Lucky to walk away from Shane O’Neill’s shocking tackle with his leg still attached, Cruz played angry for the rest of the night. Nearly slammed home the Union’s second from close range, only for Clint Irwin to push the ball behind for the corner that Williams’ would bury. While his high pressure is often helpful in hassling defenders, his defensive chasing often leaves him and his wing exposed.

Cristhian Maidana – 7

Grows in confidence and stature with each passing match. As mentioned above, the freedom he is afforded at the top of the central midfield triangle has allowed Maidana to become a danger to opponents at a moment’s notice anywhere in the attacking half.

Sebastien Le Toux – 4

Did a whole lot of running, though very little product came of his efforts. Rarely involved offensively, Le Toux’s movement was erratic and ineffective.

Conor Casey – 6

Continued his late tear as he looted, plundered and told off referees like the Conor Casey from back in his Rapids days. Took his volley well when he crashed onto Gaddis’ low cross. Faded badly down the stretch and had little impact in the box, with his tally standing as the only bit of business he did from within 25 yards of goal all night.

Substitutes

Andrew Wenger  – 6

Did well to poke home Okugo’s cut back following a smart late run. Remains unsure defensively and made the least of two other very good chances in the box. The goal will certainly help his confidence, but Wenger must still improve his level considerably to be a consistent contributor.

Brian Carroll – 3

Came into the match with a one-goal lead and took up an impossibly deep position, making it clear that the Union planned to bunker down to see out the match. Unfortunately, Carroll failed to track runners or help his team maintain possession, with the center of the pitch becoming a Rapids-only zone.

Aaron Wheeler – 4

Asked to hold up the ball and kill the clock high up the pitch, Wheeler looked clumsy and out of touch with his teammates and rarely caused any delay for the Rapids’ defenders as they quickly brought the ball back up the pitch at the Union.

Not a red?

Not a red? (Click to play)

Geiger Counter

Sorin Stoica – 3

Completely blew the O’Neill call, as he should have sent the defender off without a second’s hesitation. As for the Lahoud call, while a red was harsh, a yellow card — which would have been Lahoud’s second — and a penalty kick was likely correct. Stoica certainly failed to cover himself in glory, but the manner by which the Union confronted him, both during the match and after the game, was out of bounds and has become a worryingly growing trend for this team.

Preferred Starting XI for Wednesday’s match vs. New York Red Bulls

4-2-3-1

MacMath; Gaddis, White, Edu, Williams; Carroll, Nogueira; Cruz, Maidana, Le Toux; Casey

86 Comments

  1. I have no problem with thee Carroll Sub… Bringing in Wheeler was a problem for me. That is where the Nogs sub should have happened.

    • In theory, the Wheeler sub made sense to me. Expecting Colorado to come at you in waves, down a man, having someone who should be able to pull down some long balls being hoofed out of the back and hold things up for few seconds isn’t a bad idea. I agree with Nogueira instead of Carroll given the need to posess the ball.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        My issue with Wheeler up front is that he has not proven terribly adroit at holding the ball and wasting time late in games. Smaller players like Nogueira and Hoppenot have been far superior at frustrating defenses, winning fouls and maintaining possession in the corners.

      • Yeah, there’s definitely a gap between the theory of it and how it actually played out.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I don’t think Hoppenot was in the 18 so he wasn’t an option.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        He wasn’t, just making the point about smaller, more nimble players often being better time wasters than those with big bodies.

      • old soccercoach says:

        You are correct he was not in the 18.

      • I’m still confused as to how Wheeler ever made the team. I don’t think there was ever a reason to play him as a forward. And if the program doesn’t say FWD next to his name, he’s a bad CB.

    • First big mistake was taking out Chaco, should have never happened. He would have held possession in the Midfield. Bringing in Carroll was a huge mistake as we can see. The Rapids were able to burst right through the middle with ease bc Carroll has trouble keeping possession in the middle of the field especially when pressured and he cannot defend what so ever. I am sorry but he is not a good defensive mid at all, at least in the MLS, maybe he’s not bad in the USL Pro. I’d say he’s even questionable in that league as well.

  2. I would rather have Wheeler in as a CB with Edu in the midfield and Carroll on the bench. We have no chance to win or really even take points with Carroll in and a slight chance of a draw with Wheeler at CB.

  3. Nice analysis. The thing the U can be happy about is the number of times Maidana worked himself free, and picked up his head up. We have to give Brown some credit for that third strike. Without that moment of genius I don’t see the Rapids finding that equalizer.
    /
    I’m going to the game on Wednesday! You sure I get to see Nogs? Will Henry travel?

    • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

      It is the Union, therefore nothing is 100%, but I do expect both Frenchmen you mentioned to be on the pitch.

      • If Hoppenot and Luyindula get into the game, would that be a record for Frenchmen in an MLS game?

  4. Casey needs a break. He looked tough in the first half but died badly in the second half. A third game this quickly will only be worse. I don’t like Wenger much, but Casey needs the breather.
    .
    Fabinho had a brutal match.
    .
    Disappointed we didn’t get to see Nogueira. Is it possible he was still hurt? I’m really anxious to see Amobi teamed up with he or Edu. I think that will bring out the best of eachother. Okugo has looked worse with lahoud.

    • I suspect Curtin has a don’t come back until you are 100% policy.

      • old soccercoach says:

        Earlier comments from Curtin on Noguiera’s injury indicated that this is his first experience of a groin pull. I am assuming that the player has some input to the coach before the game, and that a coach who hears hesitancy will be cautious. He was captain of his side, stayed a few days extra with his team to receive a tribute of some kind, and has been an energizer bunny for us, so I doubt he is malingering.

  5. For all of Okugo’s talk about being a midfielder I have been disappointed thus far. He hasn’t been terrible, but the man he swapped with, Edu, has looked calm and composed at CB while Okugo hasn’t stood out. I’ve waiting for him to step up and take over a game, and down a man with the lead was the perfect opportunity to do so.

    • Both Okugo and Edu are better in their current positions. The problem is that Hackworth moved Amobi to CB right when he should have been getting his best experience at MF. You can see Amobi’s skill is better than Edu’s. To me, Mo has never been disciplined enough to play the 6 role, or skilled enough for the 8. He’s always been perfect for the CB role.

      Side note: How many seasons and individual players have the U ruined/set-back just to accommodate an out-of-date Brian Carroll?

  6. I mostly agree with you, but Le Toux is being criminally misused. He belongs up front in a 4-4-2. How you rate Casey higher than Le Toux is beyond me. Sure, he scored a goal, but he is simply not match fit in any real sense. Because Casey has neither the pace nor the stamina to create any real pressure on the opposing back line, the opposition has one opportunity after another to build a solid attack from the back. Because Casey lacks the skills to handle and distribute the ball in any kind of congested environment, he is not a credible threat to reliable receive and distribute the ball in a counterattack. Nor can he keep up the pace to serve as a target during a counterattack. Casey should come off the bench, in the last fifteen minutes, when the Union are looking for a big body to either fill up space in their defensive area or as a header target in their offensive area.

    Carroll – I agree with you. LaHoud – Two appearances, two red cards. A manager can no longer trust him. Allow him to make a career elsewhere. Fabinho dismayed me. Gaddis – again, I agree with you, and he’a also shown the ability to make deep, attacking runs into the opponent’s half.

    This team’s main problem is that they don’t understand how to properly utilize a player who, in consecutive seasons, was the league’s leading goal scorer and assist leader. Return to a 4-4-2, start Wenger next to Le Toux, give Le Toux the captain’s armband, and allow Le Toux the space he needs and wants to reach his potential.

    • Le Toux never led the league in assists or goals, just the team. And he went 20+ games without scoring in 2011. He has reached his potential as a solid player, but he has reached his plateau. He’s no higher than should be 4th in line for the armband. Early last year he thrived as a winger, but then grew out of favor with Hackworth for some reason. He just needs to be on the field consistently to get into form, winger or striker.

      • old soccercoach says:

        Le Toux was dealing with plantar fasciitis during the second part of last season.

    • “Because Casey lacks the skills to handle and distribute the ball in any kind of congested environment”
      .
      I don’t know, that was a pretty nice pass he made to set up the first goal …

      • Agree with cszack4. Casey is very good at holding the ball and distributing while under pressure. He’s got very good footwork. It’s why the Union are so much better with him in the lineup as our targetman than Wenger or Wheeler.

      • Also agree. He’s not a burner by any means, but is still quite good with the ball at his feet. And in this last month or two, he’s been very productive. Ride him while hot, as a starter.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Gorgeous display of vision from our husky talisman.

      • old soccercoach says:

        Until he tired, he was doing a very nice job of dropping back into the offensive half of the middle third to intercept and distribute. It was the first time I remember for him doing that in a significant way all season.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Sometimes we forgot that Casey was/is a quality footballer. He can play the game…
        .
        His fitness seems to be improving…slowly.

    • The Black Hand says:

      LeToux is good with the ball at his feet?

      • The Black Hand – not sure if the question is for me or not, but I was speaking about Casey being good with the ball at his feet.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I was replying to Tom’s post.
        .
        I agree with you. Casey is surprisingly good with the ball at his feet. LeToux, on the other hand, is surprisingly poor with the ball at his feet.

      • Tom out of his depth here.
        A. Casey has great feet an good overall skill, high work-rate that wears down CBs.
        B. LeToux has terrible feet and OK overall skill; terrible positional awareness, OK speed, high work-rate that covers ground.

        Casey wasn’t pressuring b/c Curtin drops his line of pressure to 65 yds. High press is the last thing this team needs. They need organization and Curtin is trying to give it to them. Casey actually motioned to LeToux to stop running around with no direction.

    • “Lahoud – Two appearances, two red cards.” Wait, what? I don’t remember another one. Are you confusing him with Edu’s red card?
      .
      Casey v LeToux argument is pointless. The two have combined for more offense than the rest of the team. They deserve to be on the pitch at the same time until we find someone else that can put the ball in the back of the net more than either one of them.

  7. Missing, I think, from the commentary on Lahoud was his decision to not shoot the ball when he was in the box. (Not remembering the exact details; but I believe it was either a corner or free kick by the Rapids, and the Union sprung Lahoud down the right side with a quick pass.) Lahoud had time and space and was in a good shooting position, but opted to send the ball across the box instead.

    • Yes, it was about midway through the first half. He got caught between two minds and hit a wasteful cross when he was wide open to shoot at the top of the box. It’s the exact same type of scenario that he would end up in 2012 when he was playing with Carroll and highlights his limitations as an attacking option.

  8. The Black Hand says:

    Are we able to appeal the Okugo RC? It seems odd to me that a red card could be pulled after time has expired. Isn’t the referee no longer the referee, as soon as he blows the final whistle?
    .
    Okugo’s absence will be huge on Wednesday, as we are nearing the ‘must get a result’ point of the season.

    • The referee is in charge through the post-match formalities. There’s almost no chance of a successful appeal, unless the Union have audio of the confrontation and can prove that Okugo didn’t say whatever it was the ref put in the match report.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Bollocks to that!

      • The bigger question is if it was red for dissent, in which case, it should be yellow. I’ve heard, but didn’t see that he actually made contact with the ref, which would make it red.

      • dissent can be red if what you say is deemed foul or abusive language

  9. The Red Card on Okugo must be appealed and should be won otherwise I say we don’t have an effective organization. It’s also disturbing that our coaching staff is showing no anger towards the call or at least make some noise to get the league attention.

    • The Black Hand says:

      The red card was further enforced, due to Amobi’s improper use of the washcloth in the shower.
      .
      Pulling out the Red for dissent, AFTER the match is absurd. Unless, Amobi crossed the line (Racial, family, etc…), in which case a suspension would be called for.

      • Screaming in the ref’s face after the game is also absurd, regardless of whether he crossed the line. I like how Curtin has turned the issue into one of accountability, rather than whining about the refs postgame a la Hackworth. I strongly suspect this is the last time Okugo puts himself in this position.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Happens all the time. Especially, if the referee was inconsistent AND greatly influenced the outcome of the match.

      • That he did. Not sending off O’Neill was a horrific call. And Stoica did go Joe West at the end of the game. And should be sanctioned by PRO for both — that’s what the Union should be pushing for. But that won’t bring Okugo back for Wednesday, and neither would an appeal. Which sucks, I agree.

    • IF Okugo made contact with the ref on the field at any time, even after the 90 has run down it is an automatic card. Same thing happened to Robbie Savage a few years back AND he lost a couple of additional games as well.

    • I used to referee several years ago. In ref school it is driven into the heads of referees that the most important phrase in the FIFA Laws of the Game is: “In the opinion of the referee…” This means that if, in the opinion of the referee, Okugo crossed the line from dissent to abuse, the referee should have given a red card. The only person whose opinion matters is the referee, not the MLS appeal board, Okugo, or anyone else. It doesn’t matter if the referee has overly-sensitive feelings. Based on this, I think an appeal is a waste of time and would only be a feel-good measure. The referee may have made a petty decision, but Okugo should never have given the opportunity to do so.

      • yeah especially because at this point it would be entirely hearsay. also i dont think the ability to appeal red cards is free or unlimited so it doesn’t make sense to do it unless it is a slam dunk

      • A past MLS rule-whatever that’s worth- was a failed red card appeal tacked another game on the suspension and a (I think) $25k fine for the team. Not sure if that is still in effect.

  10. Does anyone remember Fred? Every game he has played so far this season he has done really well. I’d give him another chance. Either way, putting Carroll in on Wednesday will be another big mistake. NY will drive up the middle of the field with ease, I would bet money on it. He has been a liability all year.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I like Fred.
      .
      I do not like Carroll, but we have no other options at DM.

      • edu plays dm and we can have some combination of berry/white/williams as centerbacks

      • Berry has to be available on Weds. Can’t say it’s a stomach bug any more.
        Even so, Mo had a pretty undisciplined game at CDM on his own last time in NY. I’d probably start Mo in the back w/ either White or Berry anyway, as of the 3, he’s been the only constant. Can’t keep rotating them. Give White another game w/ Edu then Berry comes back in Sat and White’s had another game to settle in.

        Offensively, if Cruz is good to go I think he has to be the 60th min sub. Start Wenger and I’m not a fan, but I think tactically you can work with him. And, bringing Cruz in against tired legs should be like bringing on Yedlin in Manaus.
        Also, Brian Brown has to get 10 mins regardless.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Definitely keep Mo on the back line. Williams is shoddy, on his best day, at CB. Put Sheanon at LB, to shore us up a bit defensively.
        .
        I think that we are forced to play Carroll, with Noguiera. Carroll is going to strain an unfit (and tired) Noguiera. I don’t see this one working out to well.

      • Just as long as we don’t see Corben Bone…Hey, maybe Ribeiro can get some minutes somewhere in there.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Where? That’s the problem. Maybe Carroll backing Ribiero and Maidana, if Noguiera can’t go. Ribiero seems to play more naturally in the advanced midfield, yet doesn’t seem fast enough to play on the wing. We already have Chaco.

      • old soccercoach says:

        Yes, technically you do. It’s not a good one necessarily, but leave Fabinho at outside left back and white and Williams as the center backs. Substitute Edu for Okugo at DCM and pray Nogueira can last 90 at the other DCM. I didn’t say it was a good option. Williams looked better to me at center back, aside from one move that is the instinct of an outside back (which move cost us two points, unfortunately). There was some of the old fire and determination he used to display when he was trying to prove he was an outside back a year or two ago.

      • The Black Hand says:

        White and Williams looked rough. I think that we need Mo on the back line.

  11. The coach must defend his players unless its a clear or an obvious issues and you have no way to play your card. The talk about accountability is reserved for the locker room.

  12. I think we are all forgetting that the ref. did not cost us the game, but it always comes down to not holding a lead by playing calm and collective defense. Lahoud got beat because he wasn’t simply goal side of the opponent and put himself in a dire situation because it was a goal scoring opportunity. They really need to learn to not commit and to stay soft on opponents, (example – Shannon’s misstep on that last goal). All he really had to do is keep the forward in front of him and wait for the opportunity to pounce for the ball or just eliminate an opportunity to shoot. These are the problems the Union are having in the back and they have to be addressed. What I like a lot was how they were marking more tight. This is a huge change from Hackworth’s defensive style which was to allow too much space for the opponent to turn and proceed to goal, which allowed the opponent get deep into our half and behind our defense. I think Curtin is on the right track with the backline. The individual mistakes of the backline and the individual defense in the midfield need to be addressed.

  13. BC sub is on Curtin. Better choices available or if Noguiera or Berry (move Sheanon to left wing) aren’t ready, why are they in 18? Keeping possession with the lead – even for brief periods – is something winning teams train for & do.
    White’s performance highlights Hackworth’s misjudgment in not playing him for the ill conceived Wheeler experiment. AW deserves a pass to regain offensive skills as a result.

    • I don’t think you can bring Nog on w/ a man down and recovering. Maybe the hope was to use him in final 10 mins w/ a lead and all 11 guys where he’s not asked to cover much ground.
      Possession is tough w/ 10 men anyway and with our options, it was probably wiser to bunker in.

      The issue was a baaaaaaaaaad challenge by SW.
      Fabinho is a bad 1v1 defender, but Williams isn’t far behind. As a vet, he should know to just contain there.

    • Also, I’ve never seen these offensive skills as attributed to AW.
      Curtin should drop him from the 18.

      • The Black Hand says:

        No way. While his current (overall) form has been a bit poor, Wenger should see his minutes. He has decent ability and has been finding himself in the right spot…often. If he can find a finishing touch, he will be an asset.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Pretty sure the AW to whom he was referring is Aaron Wheeler.
        .
        Also, to suggest Williams is anywhere near as poor a defender as Fabinho is ludicrous. Need proof? Watch Fabinho on that goal. He is marking no one and turns his back on the play just to see if anyone is in the empty space behind him. When he finally realizes that, nope no one is there, he’s way too far out of position to pinch in and support his teammate like he should. It was a mistake from Williams and an excellent play Brown.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Ahh…Wheeler makes more sense. I should have retraced the thread. In that case, I would tend to agree.
        .
        I don’t recall having a go at Williams…yet. It’s coming.

      • I did mean Wheeler. Bunkering when down a man is less doable with that backline (as you wrote). With a new interim manager, this is a second season but starting with a need to make up points. As long as JC plays the best he has for the situation I can accept the disappointing outcome. Panic should begin to wane in pressure situations as players get used to them. Your point was BC wasn’t it there & I agree.

      • I did mean Wheeler. Bunkering when down a man is less doable with that backline (as you wrote). With a new interim manager, this is a second season but starting with a need to make up points. As long as JC plays the best he has for the situation I can accept the disappointing outcome. Panic should begin to wane in pressure situations as players get used to them. Your point was BC shouldn’t be the best option there & I agree.

      • Eli: yea, I know. Fabinho is waaaaaaaaaay worse than, well, any defender I’ve seen in MLS.
        Just fed up with William’s lack of discipline & poor positioning. His entire game is based on his athleticism, not his study of the game.

  14. John Ling says:

    Oh, and hey – while we’re complaining about stuff from Saturday…
    .
    Post-game fireworks are great and all, but it sure would’ve been nice to know that Section 109 (and anybody else on that side) had no chance to see them. We could’ve left and watched from the parking lot, and maybe even beaten traffic a little bit.

    • So true!! I brought a huge family reunion of 22 people to the game and we were in section 111. Let me tell you… a lot of sad kids when they realized they couldn’t see the fireworks they waited all week for. UNION FAIL.

  15. The Black Hand says:

    I MISS THE WORLD CUP!!!

  16. That tie truly felt like a nut-kick loss.

    I don’t think a big enough deal is being made of how solidly Ethan White played in that game. Given that showing, I, for one, a really pissed off that he has not been given more opportunity earlier in the season. If we have been cobbling together makeshift CB pairings when a solid option was available all of this time, then damn the coaching staff. Maybe this was a lucky performance for White – I don’t know. It was a definitely a solid performance.

    • i doubt it was just luck. he played a lot of centerback for dc last year and any comments i have heard about his performance suggest that he was at least competent

  17. You guys are all so technical. To me the most obvious problem is a lack of motivation and leadership. The Union played about 60 good minutes and then fell off a cliff. Even after the Lahoud redcard they were still up, but clearly panicked and started playing not to lose, always a bad idea. And they looked pretty good playing with a lead against NE in the US Open game.

    If there was no armband could you tell who the Union captain was? There is no Mondragon or Califf out there being a strong presence and rallying players. Make Casey or Letoux the Captain, at least they are vocal and energetic (even if you think Letoux’s energy is wasted).

    As for forwards, their job is to score. You cannot play a forward with only 2 goals, Wenger, and hope he figures it out. It doesn’t matter what his other skills are. And I note Jack Mac now has 7 goals.

    Now that the World Cup is over, when will we know if Valdes is coming back? Could he make it by 7 tomorrow night?

    • yeah it was a terrible idea to put on wenger. maybe if he had scored a goal i would feel differently. oh wait…

    • The Black Hand says:

      I agree that our leadership is questionable. I think Amobi should be the captain.
      .
      You, absolutely, can play a forward like Wenger IF you compliment him with a LeToux (hopefully Brown). He is a different breed than McInerney, so it’s hard to compare the two.

      • Very true on Wenger. If playing a 4-3-3, your wings have to score goals. Especially if your target holds the ball up more than stretches the field.

    • BC was captain and starter most of the year. It has to be difficult in the locker room for Curtin to sit him, but to his credit he has (another reason to trade if you can). Tomorrow is only match 3 in league play under JC. Okugo is the best choice but will sit tomorrow because he’s still learning how. As bad as Stoica was, JC refocusing on the play is a sea change in messaging to the team & should signal a welcome move away from the undisciplined antics of some players (like grabbing the ball after the Rapids’ PK goal -very unprofessional). Falling far behind in the playoff hunt puts at risk the motivation of keys to the future – MacMath, Okugo, Noguiera, Maidana. Edu is an obvious choice as captain but awkward at if BC also starts for Amobi. What about Captain Zac for a game?

      • Edu is one of the worst offenders in lacking fire and leadership. He seems disinterested far too often. Macmath would be a good choice as Captain, he seems pretty vocal on the pitch. Of course if they are about to trade Macmath then making him captain will just create more instability.

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