Player ratings

Analysis and Player Ratings: Union 0-1 Fire

Well, that is what a complete failure looks like.

Coaches and players alike get to share in the blame and frustration that comes from the incomprehensible defeat Union fans were subjected to on Sunday afternoon. The Union failed at every level, be it goalkeeping, defensive pressure, midfield passing, or attacking goal. On Sunday, if the Union were trying it, it wasn’t working. Simple as that.

Typically in PSP’s postgame analysis, Adam Cann and I highlight the keys to a specific performance, isolating the moments and decisions that decided the game. But Sunday’s defeat was unlike other matches. The Union left so much to be desired in every aspect, every single Union fan has probably already concocted his/her own list of the many problems that need fixing.

Considering just how blatant the Union’s many deficiencies were, I will forego the more traditional analysis and instead offer my own list, with brief descriptions, from most pressing concern to least. (Despite being relatively long in itself, the list below is hardly comprehensive. Please add your own items in the comments section below.)

Union’s To Do List

1. Take care of the ball

On the road, against a team that does not score goals, with three deep-lying midfielders deployed across their formation, the Union were ideally set up to keep the ball. Yet, with the deck seemingly stacked in their favor, the Union instead contrived to concede the ball in every possible way. From Fabinho to Lahoud, Wenger to White, the ball was not something to be moved quickly and with purpose. Rather, like a hot potato, the ball’s only purpose too often appeared to be as something to get rid of.

2. Figure out a defensive shape

Matt Doyle was right, Matt Polster and Michael Stephens “completely outgunned” Maurice Edu and Vincent Nogueira. Against a Fire side anchored by a rookie defensive midfielder and a young journeyman trying to find his way, the Union were so thoroughly disorganized that they simply threw away their numerical advantage in the midfield. While the Union central midfield was ineffective, they were hardly alone in blame. After all, life can’t be easy for anyone in the middle of the pitch when defensive support from either is something that can’t be counted on. Sebastien Le Toux’s defensive effort has become completely erratic, and Andrew Wenger simply takes too many plays off on both sides of the ball.

3. Bench the wingers

It’s time. Don’t bench them for an extended period, but send a message. Both Le Toux and Wenger are forcing their play far too much, though in very different ways. On the right, Le Toux is doing what Le Toux does: more running and more chasing. Yet that is not what is required. Simple, more efficient play is what the Union have always needed from Le Toux, which was perhaps demonstrated back in 2012 when he became an assist machine by running vertical lines up the right flank, whipping in cross after dangerous cross. That period of quality ended much the same way it is playing out in 2015, with Le Toux deciding to forego his wide duties, in favor of drifting up front, stealing space from Aristeguieta and so negating his most potent attacking qualities.

On the other flank, Wenger needs to get out of his head. Whatever is going on in there sure looks pretty poisonous and he certainly doesn’t look like a player who is more likely to relax and come good than a guy who seems set on doubling down on his frustrations.

The season is still young. There is time for changing and experimentation, like Jimmy McLaughlin and Eric Ayuk on the flanks against Sporting Kansas City. Both youngsters aren’t afraid to take people on and will offer, at the very least, the spark that has been sorely lacking from their more veteran counterparts.

4. Defensive chemistry: Get some

Good defenses move as unit. When one player charges forward, another slides to cover. When one player is under duress or is being targeted, his teammates rush to his defense, providing additional support to get each other through moments of maximum pressure.

So far, the Union defense has struggled to call on any such chemistry when times get tough.

When Stephen Vitoria was announced as the replacement for Carlos Valdes, the expectation was that he would be the leader of the Union backline. One month into the season and he looks just as nervy and confused as the rest of the backline. Instead of a looking like a unit, Sunday’s performance was one of individuals, with all four defenders going about their business by their lonesome, leaving ample gaps, holes, and lanes for Chicago to exploit with far too much ease. Make no mistake, the final scoreline flatters the Union defense. Chicago’s game plan was very simple: exploit Ethan White. When Gaddis was forced to the touchline, the Fire went for the space in between him and White. When the Union stepped up, Chicago looked to play over White’s head. Good defenses make adjustments. The Union made none.

5. Play faster, much faster

Even without playing well, Sunday could have gone so much differently had the Union only played a little bit quicker. Whether it was Edu delaying his entry pass to Fernando Aristeguieta, or the Venezuelan holding onto the ball too long instead of picking out Wenger, the Union had three excellent scoring chances in the first half that all went the way of the offside flag. With two wingers who only want to run straight, and a Chicago defense that should have been easier to punch through than a wet paper towel, the match was screaming for quick transitions and early passes. Instead of feeding Wenger with time to turn and face his marker, converted center back Eric Gehrig, the Union remained so ponderously slow in distribution that it was all too easy for to pressure high and so deny the Union winger the ball.

6. Anoint a leader

Is it Maurice Edu? Is it Sebastien Le Toux? Is it Stephen Vitoria? Is it Vincent Nogueira?

While Edu wears the armband, it remains unclear if he can be the vocal, inspirational leader the Union need. Whether it is unproductive squabbling between White and Mbolhi, or blank looks between the wingers and Aristeguieta when attacking moves break down, the Union are screaming for a player to take control, lay down the law, and put players in their places and demand improvement.

7. Back to the defense: Develop a better link between center backs and fullbacks

Especially with both Lahoud and Edu on the pitch, there should have been someone to drop into the backline to help out if White or Vitoria needed to slide wider to support their fullbacks. Yet, as Gaddis and Fabinho were pushed and pulled towards the touchline, the Union centerbacks failed to close the gap, leaving themselves incredibly susceptible to Quincy Amarikwa and Kennedy Igboananike’s advances.

8. Supporting runs in attack

Two weeks ago, Fernando Aristeguieta beat a solitary path up front against RSL. The analysis then focused on Le Toux and Wenger’s lack of supporting runs. Against Chicago, the Union wingers fared barely better. When speaking about the 4-4-2 formation in which his team opened 2015, Jim Curtin described the need for the Union to play more than one style of soccer. The message remains a good one, yet it is fairly clear that neither of his wide attackers have taken the message on board.

9. Stop playing Vincent Nogueira at No. 10

He clearly doesn’t like playing it, nor is he any good at it.

Had the strategy been to add Lahoud to completely snuff out any of Chicago’s possession in midfield, the decision would have made more sense. In practice however, it played out as a simple advancement of Nogueira up the field, with little extra defensive shape or pressure to speak of. With an entire career to draw from, or even the sample of just his first season in MLS, Nogueira is a known commodity. He is an energetic shuttler. He is a metronomic passer. He is a consistent, supportive link between defense and attack. He is not — and this is just as important — an attacking force. 8 goals and 8 assists in his entire professional career, is more than enough proof of that.

At this point, that needs to be both known and accepted, because neither the Union, nor Nogueira, are better for it. Again, had the strategy been altered, and a game plan developed that allowed Nogueira, Edu, and Lahoud to combine and do a specific job, smothering Chicago in midfield and thus starving the Fire of possession, that would have been one thing. The simple shuffling of positions to slide Edu and Nogueira one slot forward was another entirely.

10. Mbolhi needs to shape up

When Faryd Mondragon arrived in Philadelphia, he had lost a step. In his late 30s, Mondragon was no longer the athletic shot stopper he had been as a younger man. Yet, what he lacked in agility and quickness, he more than made up for with a fierce, commanding presence that demanded respect from both teammates and opponents.

Only 8 games into Rais Mbolhi’s tenure as the Union No. 1, and the Algerian gives off no such positivity. Where Mondragon was dominant and assertive, Union fans are now treated to raised palms and rolled eyes, as their keeper, like a sullen teenager, appears to pass the buck to his teammates whenever things go awry. That’s not to say that Chicago’s goal, or even White’s backpass out of bounds, was Mbolhi’s fault. However, it is becoming difficult to avoid the conclusion that his reactions and interactions with his teammates have antagonism written all over them.

Player Ratings

Rais Mbolhi – 3

Though he could not have done much on Adailton’s flicked header, Mbolhi fails to inspire confidence with his overall play. Alarmingly weak with the ball at his feet, he also continues to juggle high balls and appear less than fully committed to dominating his area.

Ray Gaddis – 4

Faced with a fellow track star in Joevin Jones, Gaddis continued his bumpy start to 2015. Chicago ran their first half attack through the gaping hole that appeared — and rarely closed —  between the too easily pulled out of position Gaddis and Ethan White. Earns an extra sympathy point given the true impossibility of playing right back behind a winger who is MIA, and a center back who consistently fails to adjust to his fullback’s movement.

Ethan White – 2

As mentioned above, White was targeted by Chicago, with Amarikwa and Igboananike taking up residence behind him. After being lucky to avoid a penalty decision after he handled the ball close to his goal line, White never adapted to Chicago’s game plan. And while he deserves credit for a pair of athletic, saving tackles, it is important to remember that despite saving the day in those moments, he was also cleaning up messes that he had caused himself. Continues to show physicality in the most needless of moments, becoming the third Union player in 2015 to be guilty of a cheap, unnecessary foul that led directly to a set piece goal.

Stephen Vitoria – 3

He was brought to Philadelphia to lead the backline. Not only has he not risen to that challenge, he also continues to struggle with the pace of MLS. Especially with the defensively shoddy Fabinho on his flank, Vitoria’s lack of mobility was glaring.

Fabinho – 3

Running and gunning as ever, Fabinho was responsible for some of the more irresponsible Union turnovers of the day. And while he succeeded with some well-timed, all-or-nothing tackles, he put his team in harm’s way far too frequently. Considering how little offense he provides, despite his penchant for tearing off up the wing, there is little justification to keeping Fabinho in the lineup, even if Williams remains sidelined. It might be time to give Lahoud another look at fullback in the coming weeks.

Michael Lahoud – 4

Acquitted himself better than many of his teammates, however that may be a case of damning with faint praise. While he was definitely at his tidy best on the ball, Lahoud failed to make his mark defensively, especially in the first half. With Chicago piling on the pressure, it was not until after the Fire’s goal, in the 37th minute, that Lahoud recorded his first defensive intervention.

Maurice Edu – 4

Appeared to revel in the freedom of a more advanced role, but was unable to galvanize his team around him to control the match. Pressed higher and higher after the interval, but after getting himself in excellent positions in the final third on three different occasions, his pass, cross, and shot all let him down.

Sebastien Le Toux – 2

Pretty much everything that can go wrong, has gone wrong for Le Toux so far and the harder he pushes, the worse his discipline becomes. That’s bad news for the Union, because his discipline is poor on the best of days. Has played all but 5 minutes in 2015, despite showing limited quality and tiring badly at the end of matches.

Vincent Nogueira – 3

Nogueira’s discomfort at the attacking central midfield position was at an all-time high on Sunday as his attacking duties devolved primarily into chasing Polster and Stephens around the park.

Andrew Wenger – 2

At the end of 2014, Union fans hoped desperately that Wenger would learn to improve his decision-making in the final third. Instead, after 4 matches in 2015, he appears to have regressed, looking gun shy in front of goal and while also choosing the wrong option with ball far too often. And considering Wenger was tasked with marking Adailton on Chicago’s lone scoring play, yet failed to take a single step towards fulfilling his defensive responsibilities, his poor performance at both ends of the field nearly earned him an even lower mark. Or maybe I’m just bitter because his dour showing led to PSP being trolled by Eric Gehrig following the match.

Fernando Aristeguieta – 4

Continues to adapt to the physicality of MLS, as he was unable to get any change out of either of Adailton or Jeff Larentowicz. Unlike his teammates though, Aristeguieta never hung his head and continued to chase and work for a full 90 minutes. Unlucky to lose his footing at the decisive moment on a couple of occasions. It simply was not the Venezuelan’s night.

Substitutes

Fred – 1

As a player, there is little excuse to slap someone and get sent off. As a player-coach, there is none.

Eric Ayuk – N/A

Showed similar levels of tenacity to his debut against Dallas, but also showed his young age and lack of experience, as he was easily pushed off the ball and struggled to assert himself, one well-flighted cross notwithstanding. With the Union in need of a goal, this substitution came too late, especially with Le Toux and Wenger flagging.

Antoine Hoppenot – N/A

The second of Curtin’s substitutes that was made too late to allow the player much time to assert himself in the match, Hoppenot had little impact.

Geiger Counter

David Gantar – 7

It would be great to beat up on David Gantar as some sort of consolation, yet the referee really didn’t do much wrong. As far as red cards go, Fred’s is certainly on the softer end. However, when you smack someone in the head, you deserve whatever color of card is coming your way. Had Polster taken a slap at Nogueira, Union fans would certainly want, and expect, the same color card to come out of the referee’s pocket.

Preferred Starting XI for Sunday’s trip to Sporting Kansas City

Assuming good health news: 4-2-3-1

Mbolhi; Williams, Marquez, Vitoria, Gaddis; Edu, Nogueira; McLaughlin, Maidana, Ayuk; Aristiguieta

Assuming bad health news: 4-4-2

Mbolhi; Lahoud, Marquez, Vitoria, Gaddis; McLaughlin, Edu, Nogueira, Ayuk; Aristiguieta, Catic

80 Comments

  1. Andy Muenz says:

    At least the team won a preseason trophy.

  2. The Black Hand says:

    Eli, these are the lowest ratings that we have seen…and they still may be too high. The club was that bad.

    • Simpsons Comic Book Guy says:

      Yes, worst Union performance ever.

    • Against a team like Chicago the coaches should have had our team flying sky high, pressing the ball and run all over Chicago. Instead it was obvious after 15 minutes that the team would be lucky to earn a point (see my tweet at the time). The coach is to blame big time for the low ratings we see above.

  3. Outside of Pfeffer, the bench was unexciting to begin the season. Lots of older players and young guys that were too far down the depth chart to actually see play. Now, through injuries and suspensions, these guys that probably shouldn’t have been on the bench are winding up starters or playing meaningful minutes off the bench. The young guys need to play, soon. Jimmy Mc, Catic, Ayuk, Marquez. All four need to be in the 18 this weekend.

  4. All misery aside, this piece is one of my very favorite things to read every single week. Thank you for at least making reading about the game better than watching it.

  5. The N/A rating for the two substitutes is the single most damning rating on this list. Curtin is still afraid to make decisions. If he can’t get comfortable with making a choice, he needs to go.

    • Each week I am shocked at how long Curtin waits to sub. When heads are hanging in the 60th minute, screw it put some young blood in. Also Hoppenot = not an MLS-quality player. Seems like a good dude, but I don’t understand how he continues to get minutes year after year for the Union when he should obviously be plying his trade for HCI.

    • “Meet the new boss . . . same as the old boss”

    • My guess is that he looks around and sees that right now, any option he has on the bench is, on paper, a pretty meaningful drop off in talent and/or experience from who’s out there on the field. But when the product on the field isn’t working, I agree that Curtin needs to give whomever it is from the bench enough of a window to get into the flow and make an impact.

      • fredricschwartz says:

        Fast forward two months when Curtin is on the hot seat and a new coach is again in the conversation. The front office has found another scape goat for the ineptitude of the organization as a whole. We are the new Chivas USA of MLS.

  6. The Chopper says:

    I think tidying up the defense at the moment starts with dropping Edu back next to Vittoria. Let White sit (lord knows, he’s earned it). We need to see Marquez soon, but the current situation calls for some proven veteran savvy. Much as White found some footing next to Edu last year, it might prove beneficial to Vittoria. LaHoud acquitted himself well enough and can work the back of the midfield and provide addiotonal cover.

    Give Jimmy Mac a run in LeToux’s spot and pray for Chaco’s health and Wenger to shake the funk. That’s all we have until Sapong, Pfeffer and Casey return. We actually miss Cruz.

    • Right on. Agreed all over.

    • I was about to post something to this extent. Before the season even began I think I preferred Edu at CB and Lahoud at CDM over White at CB and Edu at CDM.

      • The Chopper says:

        I like Edu in the midfield, but right now he is our best CB and the current pairing is not getting it done. Until we find some kind of offensive form, lights out defense will be the only way we secure points.

      • The Little Fish says:

        +1

  7. It’s definitely time to give Marquez a shot. Ethan White has been a total liability in all 4 games thus far this season, I don’t see how Richie could do any worse..

  8. Well, it’s not all bad news. I thought the white kit looked great…at least until kickoff.

  9. It wasn’t until May 15th last year when the players had their hug it out sideline moment with Hackworth while the team was sitting on 6 points from 11 games . . . I wonder if like the Mummers they are in the early prep stages for this years solidarity display. I hope they get to do it because at least we’d know they’d scored.

  10. The point about leadership is the most damning. Edu seems like a great guy and one who is well respected, but is it in his persona to be the guy who gets everyone in line when things aren’t working, teammates are bickering, etc? I agree with your take on Fernando too – he just keeps working no matter what’s happening around him, and his body language is much better than most. Here’s hoping we don’t break him down with more games like this past weekend.

  11. I’m just here to see what Joel says…

  12. My first thought was, “Holy shit those scores are low! I know it was a bad game, but Eli is being way too pessimistic here.”
    .
    Then I thought about what I might change. And thought. And then steam started coming out of my ears because I was working my brain too hard.
    .
    My first thought was that Fabinho didn’t do too bad this week. But then I realized that has as much to do with my significantly reduced expectations as anything else. So, a 3 is perfectly OK there.
    .
    My second thought was that Vinny got the shaft. He was given a job to do on Sunday that we all know does not at all play to his strengths. So, I might consider giving Nogs a 4 (does he get a point for rocking some awesome facial hair?), but that said even though he’s clearly not comfortable in the 10 he’s talented enough that he should’ve been able to have a bigger impact on that game, even playing out of position. So I might go 4, but I can’t argue with a 3. (Side note: is that the all-time worst score for Nogs?)
    .
    So, that was depressing. I couldn’t find one score that was too low, one instance where I thought Eli was being a pessimist or being too hard on somebody. WSSM. Ugh!
    .
    The Ayuk for White move was perfect – but it should’ve happened 10 minutes sooner. Hoppenot… was the only other offensive option. That move should’ve happened 5 minutes earlier, and should have pulled Le Toux off instead of Wenger. (And I have an unabashed man-crush on Le Toux.)
    .
    Ugh. Just… Ugh.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Yep. Tough to argue against the low ratings. Could probably argue that some scores were too high. The club was awful.

    • The Chopper says:

      Putting the low and accurate ratings aside, what is really bothersome is that the depth did what it needed to do. In other words, Fabhino and LaHoud did well enough in their roles to give the team an opportunity to secure a result. It was the regulars and the coaches who mucked it up.

      • Excellent point. Bench players are bench players for a reason, and to expect them to outperform starters is wrong. The subs did not lose Sunday’s match, the regulars & coach did.

      • The Black Hand says:

        +1.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      When you go three in the back, you have to judge how quickly you think the opposition will adjust and exploit the offensive opportunity you are giving them. The longer you give them the more likely they are to adjust, and if you score you then have to defend.

      • Absolutely. And if they score, they can slide Mo onto the back line to ride out the game and secure the point.

  13. The Black Hand says:

    All 10 of the Union ‘to-do’ list are glaring examples of a manager’s ineptitude. Curtin needs to get his act together. The most damning characteristic that has been front-and-center, in every match, has been this club’s lack of leadership.

  14. I know I’ll get pilloried for this but again coaching needs to be rated as well.

  15. If I say “Fire Curtin” again, will I get quoted in another PSP piece about overreacting, or is it okay now?
    .
    Seriously, every problem this team has was apparent before the season. We took a team that wasn’t good enough last season, subtracted more than we added, didn’t replace a manager who was clearly overmatched by the end of the season, and now all of those things are showing up on the field. Nobody should be surprised.

  16. maybe the players are confused by what curtin is telling them to do and that explains why the performances are so disjointed and bad. 7 of the 10 to-do items are generic statements you would ask of any team at any level. curtin should start with them as instructions.

    maybe the players are not following instructions and are just free-lancing. make some changes to guys who will follow the plan.

    the players and coaches as a whole need to develop a spine. none of their opponents are going to give them a thing. management sure won’t help them either.

  17. 4 games in, and there’s only one member of the Union who is performing up to his billing/potential, and that’s Aristeguieta. One could consider maybe adding Maidana to the list, except that his time has been too limited (by injury, and coach’s decision).

    Go through the list: Wenger and Le Toux are ice cold. Nogueira, for me, has played under par in 3 of the 4 games. Edu looks like a strong player much of the time, but has not been the dominating force we need him to be (and hoped he would be), and is not demonstrating leadership. Gaddis has been sub-par, Williams injured, White pathetic, and Vitoria largely a bust. And M’Bolhi may be, in some respects, the most disappointing of all, as much with his lack of leadership as with his lack of aggression.

    And the list of under performers would be incomplete without Curtin, who has made several head-scratching decisions already in the young season: benching Maidana for game 1 (man, are you crazy?!?!), waiting far too long for subs, taking out Nogueira instead of Lahoud when down a goal.

    Plus the refs have underperformed too.

    All I can say is this: I’ve been a die-hard Union fan since their first-ever home game. But this season, for the first time, I can even muster the desire to take my boys to the park.

    • i’m not sure its fair to say Vitoria is a bust. he hasn’t been good but a bust implies much worse than he has been over the last 4 games imo

      • The Black Hand says:

        He’s sooooo slooooow. Very hesitant with his decisions. I’m not saying ‘bust’ but I’m not saying good. He should be a backup.

      • It seems to me the indecision in the last 1+ games comes from playing between White and Fabinho. Add in M’bolhi’s play behind him and you are in a no win situation.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I would lump Vitoria’s play right in there with the rest of the rearguard…abysmal.

      • I agree. I’m just not willing to say he is terrible with being new and surrounded by incompetent players.

  18. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I have no knowledge of the off-field management issues that were involved in his firing; that said, Peter Novak’s on-field teams are looking better and better. I still remember one utterly horrendous first half against New England that saw us go down three goals; we tied them in the second half. Novak’s teams could outwork the opposition, the way South Korea did in 2006. The basis of such abilities was conditioning. We are no longer at that level.

    • Wow, we’ve reached the point of having Nowak nostalgia.

      Last one out, please shut off the lights please.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      I remember that ridiculous 4-4 draw. We got handed field side seats for the 2nd half. It was so cool. And yes, it is now incredibly sad that we are reminiscing about Nowak. Good lord…

      • James Lockerbie says:

        Wow, I was actually thinking of Nowak Sunday evening said to myself damn shame Nowak went “section 8” military code of Justice for CRAZY!

  19. Couldn’t agree more on Mbohli’s gesturing. It seems to me he’s the Algerian Jack Mcinerney. Those kind of guys are the worst teammates. It doesn’t matter if they are correct in their complaints, it adds nothing to the performance of the team. Unfortunately, Mbohli isn’t the only one doing it. Either Curtin or Edu needs to get up in front of the team and tell everyone to knock it off. If there is a mistake on the field that needs to be corrected, do it with some positive reinforcement mixed in- not with your arms upraised as you sulk off in the other direction. I know that sounds like elementary school advice, but if they don’t start by correcting that, I don’t have much faith in them being able to improve the more complicated stuff.

    • That Mbohli is paid what he is is an even bigger disgrace. Use the money and the spot on a decent player that can produce something positive.

  20. The Wenger experiment was moving him forward to begin with. Move him back to LB. Move Edu back to centerback and get some players with good touch on the ball for Nogs to link to. Let LeToux do what Cruz did last year and come in late with fresh legs and let some young guys start. We are clearly in rebuilding mode anyway. Might as well face it.

  21. Damn. You know what I can’t get out of my head is that if I (till I die will support this team) can hardly make it through watching a game, how many opportunities for new less die hard fans do we lose with each one of these performances? I always recommend the trip to Chester, but I am 100% GLAD that I haven’t been to either depressing PPL hosted game so far this year. What does that say about the viability of anything changing? What I hear from ownership is that the current fanbase doesn’t deserve any better…that we will ahhh grind it out until somehow the team is more profitable and THEN we will compete with the rest of the league. I just don’t see it

  22. Excellent ratings, Eli.

    Point #9 about Noguiera is spot on. The funny thing is that he really tried to make it work by playing very high, but he was just lost in a role that he’s unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. So he couldn’t even do what he’s good at…linking play and keeping possession. You need to put people in positions where they can succeed and that lineup didn’t accomplish this.

  23. Wow, when the ref’s rating is higher than those of the players, that really says something. When it’s significantly higher, that REALLY really says something.

  24. I really can’t add much to what Eli has written nor disagree with much, but one thing, the referee. I think, once again, it was a horrible performance by the ref. I think it was an over reaction on the red card to Fred. The recipient of the slap turned into it, as much as Fred slapped him. It wasn’t that flagrant nor malicious. But this wasn’t even the worst of the offenses by the referee. How many times was Nando run into, hacked, slashed or bowled over? It was ridiculous. Shameful. Unprofessional. If MLS wants true world-wide recognition, the refereeing needs vast improvement.

    • totally agree with ALL4U, Nando was abused the entire game, just because he’s taller and stronger than the defenders doesn’t mean he can be used as a ladder, then read the riot act when he questioned a call, while he (ref) blew more than his whistle all game long… typical c rated official supplied by MLS

    • You can’t slap a guy in the face and not get carded.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        I think you are preparing to issue a straight red, unless the foul is completely ridiculous and obviously deserving of a red, you have to take other factors in consideration. In the Fred case, he had just come on, there was no history with the player, or even as Fred being a hack. A yellow would have been sufficient.

      • No he got a red for violent conduct on the field, not his history If swinging on a another player, in a wide arc, in front of the referee isn’t a red what is?

  25. “As a player, there is little excuse to slap someone and get sent off. As a player-coach, there is none.” Until I read that, it hadn’t even dawned on me just how bad things are. There’s something very rotten in Chester right now. This team exudes disorganization and problems at every turn. Uninspired play, dearth of appropriate talent, no discipline, and an every man for himself attitude. The good news? They’ve now (re)set the bar so low that improvement will be easy to see when (if?) it comes.

  26. You did not rate the Owners! Let’s be fair, if the entire team & coaching staff received no higher than 3’s, which was being generous, the owners should get a f#*king ZERO. Next thing they’ll do is raise ticket prices, they already raised some of the concessions the no good greedy %#*&@+’s. Shouldn’t the SOB’s get a rating too, for not a single comment from the River End? Maybe they’re worried they’ll lose their BBQ grills and parking area… are they truly a supporters club or a ‘MARKETING TOOL’…WE DESERVE BETTER! – Pissed Off Founding Member!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  27. Wenger sucks and IM surprised anyone had any hope for the former #1 draft pick with no position and was invisible in montreal and had like 4 good games at Winger..

    • Giving Wenger a 2 suggests that there was at least SOME positive thing he did out there. I didn’t see it.

      It’s so one thing to be off/rusty/cold, etc. It happens, I get it. But making no effort to mark your guy in the box on a set piece? How does that not get you a quick ticket to the bench?!?

  28. Lazlo Hollyfeld says:

    Nando is not very good at selling fouls I’ve noticed; he needs to be more dramatic in how he goes to ground if he expects the ref to blow the whistle. It’s an art form he needs to work on.
    Must play faster when there’s a chance to counter (as a few have pointed out) especially when we’re short-handed with injuries and chances are very scarce. It’s a problem the Union ran into last year during lulls.

  29. Curtin should grow some and sit both Rais and Wenger the next game. But I doubt he’ll do it and the team will continue to rot as per Rob H. We need a real coach. As someone else indicated, all 10 of Eli’s points are indictments of our coach.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Sit Rais for who? McCarthy (is that even his name)?? I don’t think that is our best move.
      .
      Sit Wenger? He has baeen bad…but not nearly as bad as Seba. How about Jimmy Mac starts for LeToux? Ayuk as a sub for Wenger?
      .
      CAM is going to kill us, next match. Noguiera is not a 10. Catic? Awful option.
      .
      I think that the ’empty bucket 4-4-2′ is our best option. Edu at CB. Nogs and Lahoud in the back. Wenger and Jimmy out wide. Nando and (get this) Hoppenot, up top. Keep Catic as a sub, if Hop fails. Got to try something…

  30. I’m so happy for Okugo & Ribeiro. They’re the lucky ones.

  31. Yes. Sit Rais for McCarthy. Why not? This team really couldn’t be worse. And if they were, so what? We lose by 3 to SKC instead of by 1. Will send a message to Rais that his attitude sucks. And that no one is being paid too much to sit. That might light a fire under the others asses.

    • The Black Hand says:

      I see your point. SKC will probably be a loss, anyway. Still, I feel that we have to at least take a shot at the draw…

  32. I very much agree with much of the “To-Do List,” and I do think Curtin is having a very difficult time getting the team work together. But I still think it would work wonders if we had a more expanded (and qualified) coaching staff behind him. He needs someone to bounce ideas off of, get input/feedback, and get discussions going. Decisions on gameday that seem so peculiar to us may sometimes be a result of just too few eyes on what goes on at training during the week.

    It sucks seeing such terrible play from this team, and they just seem so shorthanded on all areas of the professional organization.

  33. Dr. Union says:

    I’ve watched this team for every season and it is the same thing again and again. No coaching experience, no money spent, and no notice of players that are not doing their jobs.

    -First off stop trying to play players out of their natural positions it doesn’t work it never works in any league I have seen. Only players with talent and high soccer IQs can easily switch back and forth between positions that is no one on this team.

    -Second M’bohli was never a good option over a 22 year old keeper with 100 plus MLS starts. Was MacMath the best keeper in the league no but when your goal against average on a team like this for three seasons is 1.3 I give you credit. M’bohli has no idea how to communicate with his back line or take charge. He should be responsible for the organization and attitude of the backline and it obviously shows from how the players have currently played on the back line. While MacMath had positioning problems and lacked controlling the box at times the back four listened to him. I mean 3 of the 4 guys on the back line played together last year so they shouldn’t be this out of it. Trade him ASAP and recall MacMath from loan.

    -Third I don’t care about how much PR Mo Edu brings he needs to learn to hussle back on D and play the destroyer position he is meant for. He does not have the skills as an attacking player and his first touch is awful.

    -Fourth FO if your building things on youth stop getting rid of the youth. Pretty obvious here.

    -Fifth at this rate I would take anything for a trade for Fabinho and M’bohli as a pair if it was offered.

    -Why this team ever got rid of Jordan Harvey I will never know.

    There is a lot more I could say, but its all been covered here before. My last suggestion is last change things up totally on this team.

    Here is my suggested lineup for the future.
    Obviously I will give alternatives for this weekend with injurys and such.

    GK – McCarthy/ MacMath(when you recall him from loan and start making sense FO)

    Change to a back 5 with wing backs to just see how it works.
    RWB – Williams (If healthy)/Lahoud if it has to be cause no other option)
    RCB – Marquez
    CB – Edu
    LCB – Vitoria
    LWB – Gaddis (Just leave him on the left cause there is no viable option here)

    Midfield 2
    CM – Nogs
    CM – Maidana/Pfeffer/Lahoud depending on situation

    Attacking 3
    RW Sapong(obviously hurt)/ Ayuk/ Le Toux/ Pfeffer
    ST Nando/ Casey
    LW McLaughlin or Ayuk (at this rate no good options)/ Bird (hear he has a left foot)/ Wenger (if he gets his act together)/ Pfeffer

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