Player of the Week

Player of the Week: Cristian Maidana

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Cristian “Chaco” Maidana was one of the several heralded off-season additions to the Union roster. Unlike Maurice Edu and Vincent Nogueira, though, he was a straightforwardly attacking talent, and was seen as the answer to the gaping black hole that existed in Philadelphia’s offensive midfield.

He dazzled in the opening game against Portland, and has had some other good games, but has never been the consistent performer the Union needed. Then-coach John Hackworth at first tried to explain Maidana’s lack of playing time and effectiveness as down to his cultural acclimation period, as if eating dinner late in the evening could explain why it was hard for the new playmaker to make plays.

Maidana’s position changed from game to game, first on the left wing, then the right, then the center—rinse and repeat. The Union’s season was collapsing in slow motion, and while the blame for that could hardly be put at Maidana’s feet, he wasn’t pulling the team forward, either.

In the end, of course, Hackworth was fired and the team was given a big do-over. It’s difficult to know what has changed in the time since, as the players and tactics haven’t changed all that much. And yet, the team has looked much more effective, with Maidana being at the forefront of that shift.

In fact, Maidana’s turnaround started before the coaching change. In the 3–0 win over Chivas, he had a goal and an assist, then a hat-trick of assists against Vancouver. Since the end of the World Cup break, he’s picked up right where he left off, adding two more assists this week, one in each game. More than the assists, though, Maidana has been at the heart of everything positive for the Union, probing with his passing, sending in dangerous service on set pieces, and generally doing all the things he was acquired to do.

The Union may not have enough games left to salvage anything tangible from the MLS league season, but the U.S. Open Cup is still on the table, and the final months of the season present an opportunity to the roster: prove you’re better than you’ve shown.

One man is leading from the front: Chaco Maidana is PSP’s Player of the Week.

6 Comments

  1. Vamos Chaco!

  2. Put a number 10 in the center of the pitch and…amazingly…he plays like a number 10!

  3. Chaco has been fun to watch. When they show him breaking an opponents ankles in slow mo….its magic!

  4. Chaco was just on the very of taking over the game then POP. Too bad. It was nice while it lasted, seeing Noguiera drop back for the ball and seeing it wind up in Chaco’s care a few passes later. Phew, up in smoke with that for a few weeks.

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