Player ratings

Analysis and Player Ratings: Union 4-2 Earthquakes

Photo: Daniel Gajdamowicz

A week off from a static, energy-sapping loss in Houston, and the shoe was on the other foot Sunday night.

With the Union playing the part of the rested, organized home team, and the visiting San Jose Earthquakes in the role of the ragged, midweek weary visitors, this match always looked like three points for the hosts. But this is MLS, and as Adam Cann pointed out in his preview, San Jose has been a handful on the road.

Curtin gets it right

Perhaps more than any other MLS team, even Houston, the Earthquakes game plan is never a secret. The likes of Yannick Djalo and Matias Perez Garcia have recently offered San Jose a bit of guile, but with both ruled out through injury the Union had little doubt about Mark Watson’s tactics. The book on San Jose is simple: Two holding midfielders try to clog passing lanes through the center of the park and once turned over, the ball is spread wide to Shea Salinas and Cordell Cato who attack up the flanks, delivering service for Chris Wondolowski and partner. But Alan Gordon has gone back to the Galaxy, Steven Lenhart is injured, and young brute-in-training, Adam Jahn, is only just returning from an injury of his own. In his place, Watson turned to the energetic, homegrown talent of Tommy Thompson, more due to a lack of options than true desire.

Playing in an important home match against a tired, struggling team doesn’t sound like the best time to roll out a formation with two defensive midfielders and a deep lying playmaker high up the pitch, but Jim Curtin’s lineup was essentially deployed to out-San Jose San Jose. Amobi Okugo and Maurice Edu built a stout defensive wall in the center of the midfield, with Okugo taking on the duty of dropping back to put a body on Thompson when he tried to find space in midfield. The duo also ganged up on Sam Cronin, leaving the underwhelming JJ Koval to make vertical runs at the Union defense that were rendered fruitless by the Union’s pressure on anyone who might try to chip the ball into his path.

Go-go-Gadget Wenger

And when the Union got on the ball, they were quick to exploit the left flank where human traffic cone/sloth/car on blocks Ty Harden had neither the pace nor positional ability to keep up with them. Whether it was the well-choreographed counterattack that led to the opener, or one of the handful of direct runs that took him straight past his defender, Andrew Wenger is the first Union player to take over a game from the left side of the pitch since…



…Since, well, since ever. He is the first.

After a slow start to his Union career, these latest two strikes prove just how capable he can be in the final third now that there’s a little confidence flowing through his veins. Since being moved out to the left wing, Wenger’s quick adjustment has seen him change some basic habits quickly. Used to the low pressure defense typically offered by a forward, Wenger should take Ray Gaddis out for a nice steak dinner to thank him for covering pretty much the entire left third of the field while he slowly learned his defensive responsibilities. But on Sunday, Wenger turned in perhaps his most impressive defensive performance to go along with his attacking fireworks. Winning 3 tackles to go with 10 recoveries, he worked back deep into his own half to defend, exchanged passes sharply once the ball had turned over, and showed improved patience. Not only are these the little things that wide players need to do to support their team, they are also the means by which Wenger was able to drag out his fullback, Ty Harden, creating spaces and opportunities for himself to attack.

With only 9 games to go, that’s great news for Curtin. Between Wenger’s direct, go-to-goal mentality, and Sebastien Le Toux’s form as both a provider and poacher, the Union manager will hope his offense continues to click out on the wings as he continues to identify the right combination in the center of midfield, a dilemma that will only be complicated when Cristian Maidana returns from injury.

An advanced holding midfielder

After a couple of matches in Texas where he looked as if the full calendar year of soccer he has played was finally getting to him, Vincent Nogueira showed the energy and intensity that made him a near immediate fan favorite at the beginning of the season. With San Jose relying heavily on wide play to generate their attack and dropping into a defensive shell when the Union gained possession, Nogueira looked far more comfortable that in games past. Dropping just inside his own half, or providing support to his wide players and fullbacks, he essentially played the box-to-box role he has played his whole career, only higher up the pitch.

Despite looking only slightly more comfortable when the Union found their way into the attacking third, the pressure Nogueira offered between the halfway stripe and the Earthquakes’ box meant that the visitors never had a moment of peace. And with Amobi Okugo sitting in front of the back four, releasing Maurice Edu to hunt higher up the pitch, the Union essentially played with three ballwinners on the night. And against MLS opposition, especially those teams as poor as San Jose, that is enough. With both wingers in form, Curtin’s tendencies towards conservative player selection in the midfield are likely to continue.

With two matches against Toronto FC looming next week, don’t expect any changes from the Union manager. Toronto’s 4-4-2 setup is much like San Jose’s, though Ryan Nelsen’s team is more talented at pretty much every position. Sticking with a third, tenacious, central midfielder will help the Union both in keeping tabs on Michael Bradley high up the pitch and also in putting a body on Jermain Defoe when he drops into the midfield looking for the ball. The gulf in quality between the two teams may be vast, but after dominating the midfield against San Jose, Curtin will want to take that controlling performance to the next level.

If they’re going to turn in anything close to this four goal showing however, the Union must make subtle adjustments, because unlike San Jose, Toronto’s defensive strength is with their fullbacks, Justin Morrow and Mark Bloom. While they do have quality in the center of defense, Nick Hagglund and Doneil Henry remain works in progress and for the Union to break down Toronto’s defense, they must be exposed for their positional naivety (Hagglund) and overaggression (Henry). That should not necessarily change things too much for the Union, as neither Wenger nor Le Toux are shy about their desire to get into the center of the pitch, but it also means they need more attacking support. With Nogueira preferring to slip back out of the final third, and Conor Casey doing the majority of his work this weekend after dropping off the Earthquakes centerbacks, both will need to get further forward into the attack next Wednesday, insuring that Wenger and Le Toux have the freedom to operate without a constant double team.

Player Ratings

Rais Mbolhi – 6

Authoritative and commanding, Rais Mbolhi wasted no time in letting his voice be heard, immediately taking to the task of organizing the defense in front of him. Quick off his line and not shy of contact, the new acquisition’s athleticism and intensity was on full display. But before getting too excited about Mbolhi’s punchtacular debut, it is important to remember just how close the keeper came to making two potentially serious gaffes. Mbolhi was lucky to see the ball fly past Cordell Cato in the first half when he elected to dive studs first for a cross that could have easily seen the Union goalkeeper concede a penalty and get sent off. Jordan Stewart nearly caught the Union goalkeeper out in the second half as well, with Mbolhi grabbing hold of the crossbar and failing to deal with a ball that he left to rebound back into play. Chemistry and playing time will iron these kinks out, but it is hard to see how Mbolhi will get much of either this season with his busy international schedule.

Sheanon Williams – 8

Seemed to enjoy the battle with his former teammate, Shea Salinas, and did well to keep him from getting into many dangerous positions. Williams is rounding into top form at just the right time for the Union, not only defensively, but in the attack where his crossing led to a number of dangerous situations including Le Toux’s close range blast and the point blank header that Casey fired straight into Jon Busch. Showed his heart and intensity when he muscled past Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi and dove in bravely to score the matchwinner.

Carlos Valdes – 5

Caught out on both Earthquakes goals, Valdes looks to still still be getting his feet under him after a prolonged, post-World Cup break. Despite those two moments of frustrating play, the poorly cleared header that set up Cronin’s volley and going walkabout and being beaten by Salinas for San Jose’s second, Valdes return has been overwhelmingly positive. Just as he had done in his first stint with the Union, he provides a calming influence on the backline and already looks to have returned to his role as leader and organizer.

Ethan White – 6

With Valdes and Williams eager and aggressive on either side of him, White was able to play within himself, keeping the play in front of him while making all of the necessary interventions. Add to that a midfield trio who are all happy to drop deep and pick up the ball and White’s struggles in the passing game are nearly erased, with simple outlet options open to him at all times.

Ray Gaddis – 5

With Wenger on the constant prowl in front of him, Gaddis did well to insure that he could stay on attack, covering the entire left flank defensively. Whether it was Cato or Salinas attacking his wing, there was no way around Gaddis, as he justified his growing reputation as one of the best one-on-one defenders in MLS. However, his inability to judge a ball in the air yet again proved costly for the Union. Some may point to Gaddis drifting inside in an effort to cover for Valdes pushing forward, but that is hardly an excuse for the Union fullback to get caught covering nothing but space while allowing both the ball and one of MLS’ most dangerous goalscorers to get in behind him for the equalizer.

Amobi Okugo – 7

Finally looking settled back in the center of the midfield, Okugo put on a clinic of one and two touch passing, doing everything in his power to keep play moving and San Jose chasing. Happy to play more defensively behind Edu, Okugo was disciplined and sharp in midfield, eager to pressure the ball. Despite his willingness to throw his body around and physically intimidate the likes of Thompson and Koval, Okugo kept his composure well, conceding a solitary foul.

Maurice Edu – 7

Reveled in the extra space he found in the center of the midfield, as he sought to play higher and higher up the pitch as San Jose sagged badly in defense. Offered Nogueira all the support he needed and spent almost as much time in the attacking third as his midfield teammate. After watching him struggle to interact with Brian Carroll early in the year, Union fans can delight in the chemistry between Edu and Okugo.

Sebastien Le Toux – 8

Finding it to be difficult going against the powerful presence of Jordan Stewart at left back, Le Toux elected to roam the pitch looking for work, and outside of his matchwinning delivery for Williams to nod home, his goal and other two assists came away from the right flank. While he managed to score a classic, poacher’s goal off of Victor Bernardez’s failed clearance, it was his trio of assists that stood out for their quality and diversity. A well orchestrated counterattack, a perfectly struck free kick, and a subtle touch in the center of midfield highlighted a performance in which Le Toux popped up all over the field, setting the table for his teammates with impressive frequency.

Vincent Nogueira – 6

Nogueira’s intensity and high pressure were exactly what the Union needed to keep Cronin, Koval and Pierazzi from finding any comfort at the back. Continued to struggle to lead, or contribute to the attack, as his shooting was wayward and his pass selection in the attacking of the pitch was too conservative. But with two matches against Toronto, Curtin will be tempted to stick with the same defense first midfield.

Andrew Wenger  – 9

Wenger was so dangerous with the ball at his feet that Harden tapped out, asking for a sub after being exposed for pace for what seemed like the dozenth time. But even the quicker, more athletic Shaun Francis had no answer for Wenger. While his spinning finish into the opposite top corner earned him a place in Goals of the Week, his second goal was the more impressive in combining the skills required to be a goalscorer in MLS. In that one play, Wenger showed the strength to put a defender on his back, the pace to run away from him, the vision to see the covering defender, and the finishing ability to send a dart whizzing past Busch.

Conor Casey – 6

While he continues to look well short of his physical best, Casey still had a large impact on the match with his passing and vision out of midfield. Luckily, that was enough against a poor Earthquakes side, but after failing to bury a chance that was easier to make than miss, Casey has now gone 5 matches without scoring. Of all the Union players in need of rest, Casey should benefit the most from the current 10 day break.


Brian Brown – 4

Like Casey before him, Brown chose to work primarily at the top of the midfield and was disappointingly unavailable for runs in the box. With the Union up by two goals when he entered, it s hard to imagine that the physicality and holdup play offered by Pedro Ribeiro might not have been a better option given the circumstances, but the Union rookie was left out of the 18 a week after earning his first MLS start.

Michael Lahoud – 5

Forced to deputize at right back when Williams’ tweaked something while scoring the matchwinner, Lahoud did all that was asked of him defensively, though he looked a bit rusty and wasteful bringing the ball forward.

Danny Cruz – 5

Replacing Wenger with the match already decided, Cruz still refused to sit back, insuring that Francis had work to do right up until the final whistle.

Geiger Counter

Ted Unkel – 6

Such was the Union’s early dominance that Unkel had little to do for much of the first half. Even when San Jose equalized, the Union were back in front so quickly that there was little time for the match to grow tense and tempers to fray.

Preferred Starting XI for next Wednesday’s match against Toronto FC


MacMath; Williams, White, Valdes, Gaddis; Edu, Okugo; Le Toux, Nogueira, Wenger; Casey

This lineup is based on the assumption that Mbolhi will have already left for international duty with Algeria playing two days later on Friday, September 5.


  1. I just want to say how happy I am that we are finally playing two natural CBs. I feel like we aren’t a USL PRo team anymore.

  2. Ethan White looked strong defensively but man is his distribution awful. I would probably knock him down a peg for that.

    On the other hand, I would bump Mo up to an 8. He was totally dominant in the middle. I can’t recall a challenge he lost or a ball he misplayed. I thought Klinsmann was right not to take him to Brazil based on his play at that time, but now he looks as deserving of a call-up as ever.

    • Ethan White should, upon winning possession of the ball, pass to (1) Carlos (2) a midfielder within 15 yards or (3) his goalkeeper. In that order. It should not be so difficult for him. For examples of this tactic, see video of any Union match with Danny Califf.

  3. Jeremy Lane says:

    Eli, I agree with your assessment of the general play/positioning of Brian Brown, but 4 seems harsh. His movement, even further from goal, and his touch both looked dangerous from the stands.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Agree. Brown’s touch let him down a bit, but he generated a lot of opportunity. His turn, on the ball, is one of the fastest I’ve seen. Had Noguiera done better with his primo chance (at the 18), Brown would have been the visionary. 4 is way low.

  4. Bob the Used Car Salesman. says:

    All of this without Chaco.

    I can’t wait until they roll out Chaco at CAM, Nogueira box to box, Okugo at D-mid, with Valdes and Edu at CB. I’m salivating.

    • kingkowboys says:

      No midfielder should play as a CB for the Union ever again. White-Valdes and Okugo-Edu need to be constant pairings baring injury or exhaustion.

      • Then what do you do with Noguiera/Maidana? We’ve seen time and time again Maidana is the best CAM we have and that Noguiera needs to be deployed deeper. We haven’t yet seen the Maidana/Noguiera/(Edu or Okugo) midfield triangle that people on this site have been calling for all year.

  5. Replacing Wenger with the match already decided, Cruz _played the only way he knows how to play._
    How someone rates his play in this match tells me pretty much everything I need to know about how they view the Philadelphia Union.
    Danny Cruz: our shibboleth.

    • Wow you used the word shibboleth. I had to look that one up.

    • +1 vocab points

    • Ha. A word with a couple of meanings. I would agree that Cruz is no longer needed. When he came on a number of people sitting around me complained in colloquial lexicon.

      • Cruz may have been the only option. Chaco and Fred wore themselves out playing in the halftime game.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Cruz is a tremendous option…off the bench. I thought he did well with his minutes on Sunday.

      • I remember from playing when the legs got heavy someone with speed and a motor that never quit gave me fits.
        It is easy to dismiss players when some is so removed from playing themselves or never really played and look in from the bleachers- not trying to stir up anything but the facts are the facts -the game is played on the leading edge of aerobic activity and lactic acidosis and when the legs are lactic everything gets harder in the 82 minute- turning, cutting, quickness, everything….
        …I am not a huge first 11 guy for danny but there is absolutely a place for him on this team and it is the last 20minutes as: Punisher.

      • The Black Hand says:

        An opposing player with pace, coming in to a match late, is never good to see. Having him going at you…brutal.
        To me, Cruz is tailor-made for situations like that.
        Speaking of super-subs, Sergio Aguero coming off the bench…then scoring after only 23 SECONDS…

      • Yep. Pass by Navas sublime.

  6. The key point to this game for me was the composure they displayed after giving up 2 goals. I was worried they would come out flat at halftime as they so often do – and did – but this time they finished off a tired and weaker team. This looks like a scary team right now, and we finally have real depth. Brown and Cruz off the bench, and 4 goals without Chaco. Well done.

    • I’d like to see Pfeffer, Ribeiro and McLaughlin get some sub minutes. Cruz adds nothing. With Madiana coming back Cruz should not make the 18.

  7. I guess Wenger has to get a hat trick for a 10 rating.

  8. Andrew Wenger! FEED THE BEAR! Wow, that was a display of some serious strength and speed. If he continues to act hungry for goals and be a little selfish, he could score bucketloads.
    Valdes looked gassed in the 20th minute. Maybe even a little overweight?
    Amobi may have quietly had his best match ever in a Union jersey.
    Casey should be a 7 or 8 easily. He had a big hand in setting up Wenger’s first and LeToux’s goal. Despite his lack of pace, his quality on the ball is SOOOOO important to this team.
    CASEY + LETOUX = goals – they need to be on the pitch together.

    • Again Okugo displays how quietly good he is. I know I know – me the Okugo sycophant. He an Edu had a lovely partnership in that game. If that continues to gel, the boys will own the midfield.
      Regarding Casey, Cruyff once said, ‘many people confuse speed with insight- if I start running before everybody else I seem fast.’ Connor Casey is playing lovely and though not fleet of foot, this is a game where out thinking your opponent can make up for that a bit.

      • btw, did anybody see Jelavic’s 2nd goal for City yesterday? That was a thing of beauty.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Jovetic…Hate him!!!!

      • The Black Hand says:

        I’m right there with you, in regards to the Okugo praise. He is quality. That said, he needs to assume responsibility for the Wondo goal. No way can you give a guy that much time and space, to pick out the pass. Ray got sucked in a bit, but it is on the CDM to make sure that that pass doesn’t come off. Aside from that, I thought that Amobi had an EXCELLENT match…as did Edu.

      • Eli Pearlman-Storch says:

        Valdes and Gaddis really split the blame on that play. Valdes for going walkabout and Gaddis for allowing an innocuous cross to go over his head. If Valdes doesn’t lunge in, the play never happens, and if Gaddis completes a simple header, it never happens.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Amobi should have challenged the ball carrier prior to the 18. He shied and gave the ball carrier time to pick a perfect pass. Ray is short and was playing his angles. Yes, he sucked in towards the middle too far, but I think Amobi could have done better pressuring the passer.
        Valdes has been walking about frequently.

      • Gaddis needs to work on his defensive marking and positioning period…..He is not one of the best all around defenders in the MLS in my eyes, but yes we definitely need him on this squad and he has contributed enormously.

      • The Black Hand says:


  9. What about trying an unusual formation next match if Chaco is healthy? Say a 3-3-3-1. This would allow the Union to put their best 11 on the field in their natural positions. Okugo and Edu can work together in practice so they can get on the same page as to which will drop back next to Carlos at any given time. In other words, it ends up as a 4-2-3-1 but one of the 4 and one of the 2 keep switching off to allow more flexibility. Maybe it’s not something that will work this late in the season but, if not, it is something to consider for next year if the Union can keep the core of the team together.

  10. kingkowboys says:

    I am concerned about what happens when Maidana is healthy. Before his injury he was the #10 that we have been wanting since ZOlO. Right now Nogs is the odd man out when Maidana returns. Nogs is not a CAM he’s a box to box CM. In our current formation there isn’t really a CM position. We need that true #10 to orchestrate attacks and be a threat in the final third. It balances our attack from being all wide all the time. Okugo and Edu are becoming a lock pairing. Neither deserves to make way for Nogs or Maidana. Their athleticism, ball winning, and size allow us to dominate the midfield.
    With Wenger taking over as our LM I think it’s time that his sub be Jimmy McLaughlin and not Danny Cruz. McLaughlin deserves minutes and he has the pace and shot to be a beast inverted LM.
    Ribeiro also needs to be an option off the bench rather than always putting BB in for Casey. If more hold up play is what we need, Ribeiro should be the sub not BB.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      To say Nogs is the odd man out is just nonsense. With his quality it is the managers job to make sure he is on the field. Period.
      I am not a Danny Cruz fan. But, I’m not understanding the Cruz hate. He has no business starting, but as a sub, I am ok with him getting 10-15 mins a game.

    • I think maybe you and I have been watching different teams play. The team I see plays its home matches in Chester, and Vincent Nogueira is its most valuable player.

    • I disagree that Nogs is the odd man out.

      I think that when Chaco is healthy and returns to the #10 spot, the odd man out will be Okugo.

      Yes, Okugo is playing well, but Nogs is better.

      Yes, you could keep him in the midfield and move Edu back to the back line, but why would you? White and Valdez are forming a good pair there, and moving Edu back there reeks of a Hackworth-era “out-of-position experiment.”

      The ideal line up would include Nogs and Edu in the back with Wenger, Chaco, and LeToux up top. This gives everyone the best chance to shine, and gives the Union their best chance to win.

      • Are you out of your mind. Without Okugo WE HAVE NO POSSESSION (as evidenced last time he sat). Noguiera is just running around without the ball. People People People.
        Gotta rotate. Who knows. It is a good problem to have. I am uncertain Edu is coming back next year so likely moot in 3 months.

      • I apologize, Rob, for the ‘are you out of your mind comment.’ Easy to hide behind words and brazenness. I try to write like I would speak and got caught up this time. -Joel

      • It isn’t the first time I’ve been called “out of my mind,” or frankly, worse. No apologies necessary.

        There is an excellent post on another blog about how important Nogs is to the team. It is worth a read. I’d love to have Okugo on the field with Chaco, Edu, and Nogs…but, IMHO, it would push him back to CB with Valdez.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I think that Edu goes back to CB. Okugo is a better passer. We need smart distribution coming out of the middle. Edu is a solid option at CB. A pairing, with Valdes, would provide leadership and organization from the back.

      • Cheers.

      • except that moving Edu back never occurred under Hackworth – only began under Curtin. so it would seem more appropriate to say “it reeks of a Curtin era out-of-position experiment” – one that has proved successful at times.

      • You are correct about Edu.

        I was making reference to the “Wheeler as a CB” fiasco earlier in the year, though, and should have been more clear.

    • Keeper – TBD (call-ups, performance, whatnot)
      Nogs (a midfield Triangle, of sorts, with Mo and Nogs overlapping)
      LeToux-Casey/Wenger (Inverted triangle, with Wenger wider and Casey more central)

      There is room for all of them, but not starting. This is a good problem to have. Let Curtin put these guys out in their natural positions and just play…as he has done since he took over.

      • Or we could just rotate Nogi a bit, considering he has played for almost 13 months straight. Use Maidana for that. If Okugo and Edu continue to play well together, then you have a decision to make. But Nogi needs to be rested to be effective in the event of a playoff run.

      • Section 114 says:

        We have two games back-to-back this week. Rather than play top 11 until they run out of gas and play all the subs at once (Houston game), think about the stretch.

        If Mags is back, rest Nogs on 9/3, then bring him back for Mags on 9/6. And I’d rest Casey on 9/6. And, as much as I hate this, put Fabinho in the 18 to sub on for Gaddis or Williams if the game gets a goal gap so they can both start back to back.

      • I’d rather Lahoud play fullback on either side than Fabinho

      • Le Toux is another option I’d take over Fabinho at this point. (Fabs was on the injury list vs SJ; is that a real injury, or is it a convenient excuse to be left off the 18?)

      • That would definitely work, but I was trying to identify the ideal lineup, if everyone was rested and healthy.
        But in the interest of getting people some rest, yeah, rotate Nogs and Chaco.

    • This talk of Nog. being the odd man out is ridiculous. It has been one game with Edu and Okugo against a horrible attacking team! I love how ppl are expressing how this is the squad to put out. Lets see how they do against Toronto and Seattle. I guarantee everyone here would be having a completely different discussion. First off, Edu has been indecisive and inconsistent in the DM role this season. His ball control and decision making this season has been suspect. Yes, he had a great game but we have to look at who the Union were up against. We either need to put Edu back as a CB or use him as a sub in the midfield. When Chaco comes back Nog. and Okugo should start together and begin to gel. To be honest Nogueira is the best player on this team and has totally changed this franchise for the better. The way he moves with and without the ball, his decision and precision with his shots, his passing all are beyond anyone else on the squad. He plays the game how it looks overseas and more importantly, how it should be played. He is just the guy you can build this team around and should do so. For anyone to say that he is the odd man out, I think some ppl watch too much American football maybe….

  11. The midfield situation does get complicated soon when Maidana is at full strength. As good as Edu/Okugo looked together, the only way to get your best 11 on the field and still maintain some width, is to play Edu at CB next to Valdes. He gives you height and good passing out of the back, and you really don’t lose anything with an Okugo/Nogs pairing in the middle (Okugo sitting a bit deeper, Nogueira box-to-box). With White and the 4 central mid players, there’s always some flexibility to give each player a spot night off too.

    I’m not sure why Okugo or Nogueira would ever be the “odd man out” over Ethan White, as solid as he’s generally been.

    • Exactly. I have zero problem sitting E.White in favor of Edu in order to get best 11 on the field even if that means breaking up a midfield pairing that is showing signs of dominance in Edu and Okugo. The notion of Okugo or Noguiera being odd men out is silly. Simple Solution. Thanks Ethan. See you next year.

      • I agree that Noguerra is one of our best players but his frequent giveaways should be a concern to us. Playing with Okugo and Edu hides this deficiency. But as opposing teams starts to figure him out more he will become our ultimate turnover machine. Add that to Le2 and Connor Casey turnovers you have a problem and a loosing team.
        You must have Okugo and Edu in the starting line-up and playing behind Nog. They are needed to provide Nog the space and freedom he needs to roam the field and balling. Recall that Nog’s best game was against Kansas when he played Dmid with Okugo and both players excelled in the role. Add Edu to the mix and you’ll have the best midfield trio in MLS. Add Maidana and you have a playoff team that will go far.

      • Nogueira is not a turnover machine. He is the opposite of that.

      • Ok so it has been about two games where Nog. has had some turnovers. Lets compare the rest of the team and acknowledge their turnovers….There is no comparison. For a guy with his awareness and skill, he is allowed a couple of mistakes. He is human as well.

  12. To paraphrase JC – & he had the guts to say it – we should have put the game away but we let them back in & that won’t hack it in the playoffs. We were sloppy. But all the starters are at least a 5. Sure the comeback brings them up, but Valdes isn’t the only one responsible.

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