Player ratings

Analysis and Player Ratings: Union 0-1 Toronto FC

Photo: Daniel Studio

Two struggling teams rolled onto the field at PPL Park on Saturday. 

Only one of those teams could summon a pure moment of quality. That proved to be the only difference in the match.

Toothless Toronto

Given the Union’s struggles throughout the 2015 campaign (and their last three halves in particular), one might have expected Greg Vanney’s Toronto FC side to look to press their offensive firepower advantage against the home team.

Instead, TFC set out a lineup which largely starved their big money combination of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco on much service. In 90 minutes, Altidore produced just one shot, while Giovinco’s game-changing moment came from a dead-ball situation.

Toronto accumulated just 35% of the game’s possession at a 71% pass accuracy rate, against a Union team not used to being on the upper hand with either of those numbers.

Part of this was due to the strong defense from the reshuffled backline. Sheanon Williams and Ray Gaddis swapped their usual wings, while the unfamiliar partnership of Richie Marquez and Ethan White were pressed into service at center back following a pair of injuries. It seemed like a recipe for disaster.

But the foursome largely held their own over the course of the match, conceding no goals from the run of play. Marquez was smooth from the beginning, reading the match well and making timely interventions. Marquez cut in front of Altidore to get goalside on a number of dangerous crosses, a welcome sight from a team which has conceded too many free headers. (See: both New England goals.) White grew into the game in the second half, and he and Gaddis made a number of excellent recoveries when TFC threatened to break against the Union’s three-man backline.

The backline was the most positive development of Saturday’s match, though some credit should be given to Toronto for their lack of imagination and ambition.

Stuttering attack

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Vanney & Co. looked at the Union and concluded that they needn’t worry about imagination and ambition, because the home side presented a negligible threat offensively.

They were right.

Though the Union were able to dominate possession, time after time the attack bogged down around the edges of the 18-yard box. It is as though the team has an allergy to entering that area of the pitch.

Time after time, an attacker would get the ball down to the 18 and completely freeze. Whether because they had no support in the middle, or simply due to the team’s persistently slow decision-making, ball after ball was either recycled to the wings for a cross or funneled all the way back to the defense.

Not a pretty look.

Not a pretty look.

If you take a look at the shot and cross chart for the match, you see just three circles in the box — all misses from Fernando Aristeguieta. The rest of the Union attackers stayed outside the area, which is a problem when you’re trying to get guys on the end of crosses.

Aside from Aristeguieta, the two most obvious targets would be Conor Casey and Maurice Edu. But Casey was unable to get into the game in his 25-minute outing, and Edu simply didn’t make the sort of late runs in the box that would trouble defenders.

None of the Union’s most dangerous chances came from crosses. Cristian Maidana’s violent shot late in the first half came off a smooth header into space from Sheanon Williams. Aristeguieta had a beautiful chance at the penalty spot off a chipped ball from Maidana, and his goal disallowed for offsides came from a Maidana free kick.

Meanwhile, the team completed just six of their 30 crosses.

The Union offense is predictable, especially in the second half. They check the “pump balls into box” strategy on Football Manager and hope someone can come up with a moment of magic. But when everyone knows that’s what you’re trying to do, it’s relatively easy to stop.

Player Ratings

John McCarthy — 3

The issues that have plagued McCarthy through his stretch as the starter continued on Saturday. His distribution was subpar, and his decision-making was dubious. It even crossed over into the ludicrous when McCarthy knocked himself senseless trying to chuck a ball sixty yards. Should have done more on the goal, but did make a few decent reaction saves. Hasn’t done enough to earn another start.

Sheanon Williams — 5

Having lost his spot as the starting right back, and coming off a benching, Williams put in a decent shift in the back. Forced to combine with Andrew Wenger, he wasn’t able to get forward in his usual manner. Substituted in the 65th minute, you have to wonder whether his time with the Union is growing short, as Jim Curtin has made it clear that the long-term solution at left back isn’t currently on the roster.

Maurice Edu — 4

Pushed into the midfield after Lahoud’s injury, Edu needed to offer more going forward. But he was too slow on the ball, failing to raise the play of his teammates around him. It was his foul which led to Giovinco’s goal. An outing to forget for Edu.

Ethan White — 6

Particularly in the second half, White put in his best performance of the season. His positioning and tackling were much better than in past outings, and he showed well when the Union switched to a back three late in the match.

Ray Gaddis — 5

A solid performance from Gaddis, restored to his right back position. Showed more aptitude in attack in the second half, working with Maidana and Le Toux on the right.

Michael Lahoud — n/a

In the middle of the best stretch of his career, it was cruel to see Lahoud suffer an injury so early in the match.

Andrew Wenger — 2

Criticizing Wenger at this point is beating a horse that’s been dead for weeks. But it was shocking nonetheless to see how the capacity to even make a ten-yard pass has deserted him. Deservedly withdrawn after barely a half.

Zach Pfeffer — 4

Marked tightly all game by Michael Bradley, Pfeffer failed to leave much imprint on the match, though he did execute a number of strong dribbles against the U.S. captain.

Erik Ayuk — 6

Consistently the one Union player leaving it all on the field. Impressed with his willingness to attack defenders — and then continuing to attack even once he’d ceded possession. Didn’t get a lot of support from his teammates; it might take time to develop a stronger partnership with Gaddis.

Cristian Maidana — 6

As we’ve come to expect, the Argentine was responsible for the Union’s few moments of quality in the game. These included a gorgeous chip to send Aristeguieta in on goal, a howitzer of a shot which narrowly missed decapitating Chris Konopka and instead rattled the crossbar, and an array of well-delivered set pieces.

Fernando Aristeguieta — 5

A workmanlike shift from the Venezuelan, only to find himself let down by his touch on a number of occasions. Didn’t get any respect from the referee; at this point, the only way Aristeguieta might be able to draw a foul is if the defender literally separates him from a limb. If only, if only he had stayed onside at the crucial moment…

Substitutes

Richie Marquez — 7

A composed, assured debut for the second-year man. He made the most of a suboptimal situation for his first appearance, keeping TFC’s dangerous attackers away from the ball. Impressed with his awareness of the game. Deserves more minutes.

Sebastien Le Toux — 3

Another poor performance from the Frenchman. Did find himself in some good positions, but his decision-making (too slow) and passing (inaccurate) let him down. Still did better than Wenger.

Conor Casey — 2

The Union aren’t getting much out of the big man at this point. He’s an inch away from headers, a step too slow to get onside, a poor touch just waiting to happen. In 25 minutes, with his team pumping crosses in towards him, Casey failed to make any tangible impact on the game.

Geiger Counter — 6

A fine game from Armando Villarreal. Should have carded Giovinco for a ridiculous dive in the box in the second half, but otherwise kept the game flowing.

Preferred XI vs. Vancouver

Given the injury situation, it’s almost impossible to make an educated call on a starting lineup. But let’s assume everyone is healthy and C.J. Sapong remains suspended. I’d like to see Marquez rewarded for his strong performance against Toronto, and neither Wenger nor Le Toux should start the game on the pitch.

Blake; Williams, Edu, Marquez, Gaddis; Nogueira, Lahoud; Ayuk, Maidana, McLaughlin; Aristeguieta.

55 Comments

  1. WENGER needs a one. He looks dead and hopeless, like a man three years into a heroin addiction. Otherwise, I agree.

  2. sam philly says:

    I think that the ratings for Ethan White and Marquez should be lowered by a point and/or raise Gaddis’ by a couple points. White and Marquez definitely played better than expected, but I’m not sure they were the best players on the pitch, which is the sentiment that the current ratings show. I personally think the best player out there was Gaddis. He fulfilled all of his defensive duties (even during the 3 back set) in addition to offering a lot going forward (at least relative to the rest of the team).
    .
    I would go: Ethan White: 6
    Marquez: 6
    Gaddis: 7
    .
    Even though White had some great tackles, I think he needs to work on his distribution out of the back. Marquez was just decent in both aspects. He definitely deserves more minutes, but I’m not sure that translates into best player on the pitch.

    • Thanks for the comment.
      .
      My philosophy of player ratings is basically this: think of each number as having an error bar next to it of +/- 1 point. So, different people might agree or disagree with exactly giving Marquez a 7. But I think you could make an argument for anywhere between 6-8. (I originally had him at 6.5, and upgraded it after I watched the tape.)
      .
      So, under that system, Andrew Wenger is a 1-3. McCarthy is a 2-4. Etc. I have no idea whether other people think that concept is baloney. But it’s useful for me, reading the comments, because I can be comfortable with someone saying “6 rather than 7,” but if someone says “5 rather than 7” then that indicates a more severe disagreement.
      .
      I would disagree with you about Gaddis – defense solid but I don’t think he gives you enough getting forward – but I think the beauty of soccer is that these things are inherently a little subjective!

      • The Black Hand says:

        A lot of well-played crosses into the box from Ray…striker-less box (Time to start questioning the strikers???). He worked well, supporting pressure, as the club pressed for an equalizer. Gaddis gives very little, offensively, on the left. I don’t see the Sam when he is on the right. His score rating seems low. Camp Sheanon?

      • sam philly says:

        Thanks for explaining. Given the margin of error, I do think it would have been more accurate to give both Marquez and Gaddis a 6 . I would agree about Gaddis in past games (when he played on the left), but he definitely, definitely provided a lot going forward on Saturday. As TBH said, there were maybe two targets at best when he got into crossing position. The lack of offensive production wasn’t coming from Gaddis’ end.

      • The ratings are accurate but you hit in the real problems for this team…the creativity which is lacking. We can equal on individual skill with many teams in this league, however, what these teams do better is play simple when the time calls for it and they press in a more creative manner when the time calls for it …we force just about every pass because our runs are identical time after time …teams have no problem letting us play wide and send hopeful balls into the box…its high school soccer at best and it stems from how this team is coached…”counter attacking team ” curtin ? Desperate team! And another thing where the f**k is hoppenot ????

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I think Marquez was the best player on the pitch for the Union Saturday. He saved the team’s bacon early with a goal line save and really prevented Toronto from getting any real attacks.

      • +1 . . . he also ran down Giovinco at one point averting a probable goal. His only misstep was on the cross that fell between he and Williams

      • sam philly says:

        Marquez definitely played well. I don’t know if he prevented Toronto from getting any real attacks single-handedly, though. Part of that was Toronto’s kind-of half-assed play after their goal, part was Ethan White bailing Marquez out on one occasion (although mostly White was just bailing himself out), and part of it was Toronto’s limited wing play–which brings me back to Gaddis being the Union’s man of the match for Saturday. It’s subjective, I know. My original point about the ratings was that even with the +/- 1 margin of error, the ratings showed that at best Gaddis was equal to Marquez. Gaddis being the Union’s MOTM might not be everyone’s opinion, but it’s not the minority either.
        .
        I did really enjoy that Giovinco snuff though, that was brilliant.

      • Dan Walsh says:

        +1

    • Marquez was given an almost impossible job:
      1) Don’t prepare as a starter;
      2) Get shoved in to CB without warning;
      3) Deal with Jozy and Bradley.
      .
      You know what? He did it. With Ethan White as a partner. No Mo…No Vittoria.
      .
      I’d say this rating is just about dead on.

      • sam philly says:

        Again, it should be about how well he played, not about how well he played relative to expectations. Gaddis did everything you mentioned, plus he added to the attack. I’m not saying that Marquez was bad, in fact I thought he did well also. But I still don’t think he was the best player on the pitch.

    • George H says:

      I think that 6 is a fair grade for Gaddis. Where was he when Robbie Findley got his great chance in the 1st half? He totally got caught out of position and luckily McCarthy made a great save while White cleared the rebound.

      • The Black Hand says:

        I agree. A 6 would have been fair.
        .
        He got a 5.
        .
        The whole back line was shaky in the 1st half. They adjusted, tremendously, in the 2nd.

      • Fat Uncle Phil from Urkel says:

        Where was he? If its the same play I’m thinking about, he was covering the space vacated by White from what I recall.

      • George H says:

        He was at the top of the box trailing the play. He was at least near Giovinco, but still White had a lot of ground to cover.

        Luckily for us, Robbie Findley is…ahem, Robbie Findley.

  3. Remember those teams we used to make fun of? The ones with the lackluster attendance. Well we are one of those teams now. I really like walking up to the box office on game day and buying a ticket in the river end. That would have been unheard of 2 years ago. Now its easy.
    .
    The conventional wisdom has it that whenever a goal keeper leaves the Union they become a solid presence in net. Chris Konopka,as awesome as his beard may be, boldly defies that wisdom. He was terribad. If ever there was a game where they needed to apply the hockey logic of put the puck on the net and good things will happen it was this game. This never happened, never came close. the ball rarely was sent into the box. and so we lost.
    .
    I seriously question Curtins decision making in subbing off Williams to go three in the back. Not the three in the back because Toronto had no interest in going forward but subbing Williams off. Williams is one of the better crossers on the team and if you are saying screw it we are putting Casey in there to punch people in the head and hopefully drive one home either a Williams cross or throw in is as good as a shot as you are going to get.
    .
    Lets hold off on the parade for Marquez just yet. Toronto let the Union have most of the possession and rarely sustained an attack. He did good but he isn’t a started yet…
    .
    …Unless Ethan White is your starter already. When people saw well time jabs at the ball I saw Fabhinoesque wild ass lunges.
    .
    The Union should have won or tied this game. A good team should break down and find a way to break down a team in a defensive shell. How do I know this? I see teams do this against the Union ALL THE TIME.
    .
    I don’t see much improvement here just a Toronto team going the bare minimum to win.
    .
    .
    .
    Also am I the only one who thinks Richie Marquez looks a lot like wrestler Damien Sandow?

    • el pachyderm says:

      I thought to myself watching from home, “Hey I can see the word Union in the stands” as there were quite-quite a few empty seat – A logical consequence.

      • hobosocks says:

        I watched from home too. That’s significant because it’s the first game in four years that I haven’t gone to because I just didn’t want to. The only other home games I’ve missed since I got season tickets were for two weddings of close friends.
        .
        But last Saturday, man, I just didn’t feel like having my day ruined yet again. And what’s worse is I don’t regret my decision. Supporting the team is feeling more and more like work and less and less like my favorite leisure activity.
        .
        I don’t intend to stop, but man is it depressing.

      • George H says:

        +1

      • The Black Hand says:

        +2

      • Andy Muenz says:

        But Saturday was a chance to sing Oh Canada!

  4. pragmatist says:

    I can’t imagine Lahoud will be read to go this week. As such, I think we’ll see a similar lineup this week. The Marquez/White pairing was very effective. If we can move Zach to the bench in favor of Mo/Nogs/Chaco, I think we’ll be in good shape.
    If CJ’s suspension is over, that would be a massive help. Running Ayuk and CJ opposite Fernando is tantalizing.
    If we can somehow escape our ridiculous karma, we might see some surprising results soon.

    Oh…and there is no reason for Blake not to start now. Get him out there.

    • everything i have read has said that sapong won’t even go through his league assessment until the 11th so he most likely won’t be playing this weekend

  5. casey needs to retire. all he has done this season is stand in an offside position and batter people needlessly. i also think mccarthy desperately needs to sit. i think after his bizarre pratfall his nerves really started to get to him, he looked like he was headed toward a meltdown. it is borderline cruel to put so much pressure on him

    • I agree. Why not give the mins to Catic at this point. I’m sorry but le toux is done to. Sell em both to NASL.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Catic was slowly jogging around the field when I got their quite early, with the injured/not dressing group. Since he didn’t go to Wilmington with City Islanders, I fear he may be injured, as CI started a midfielder at striker (Di Prima).

    • Dan Walsh says:

      Totally disagree. He’s been stuck in sets with two target forwards.

      • The Black Hand says:

        He does seem to have lost a step…which is beat, because he had about one step left. He will still put it all out there, but Casey isn’t having the desired impact. His legs are growing heavy.

  6. Fat Uncle Phil from Urkel says:

    I really don’t get the Gaddis hate from this website. On the PSP show and every week on the player ratings he is criminally underrated. I sort of get it, you people think a defender should be more offensively minded. Fine, whatever. But even considering this, giving him a 5 for this game is unbelievable to me. He was bombing up the pitch all day long making quality offensive moves. He put in some good crosses and made good runs into open space. Defensively, he really shined. He picked Altidore’s pocket several times and I don’t recall him being beaten in a bad way at all. Him and Marquez were my MOTMs for the day. Both put in fantastic shifts. Just fantastic.

    • Section 114 (Formerly) says:

      I don’t think it’s Gaddis hate (of course, I’m a Gaddis fan). The issue is that Gaddis is a lock-down fullback, and this team is so desperate for offense that everyone here is looking for goal scoring to come from that spot. And it won’t.
      .
      So what? Let him lock down the best wing threat on whatever side and then have the other back be able to go forward. Wouldn’t hurt to have competent wing play either. Do you hear us Seba and Wenger? We mean YOU! We love you both (OK, Seba more) but we need touch, possession, and danger from you guys, not head slapping touches.

      • The Black Hand says:

        Gaddis provided high-pressed support, as well as service. To me, that’s providing something offensively. Our attackers didn’t (Yep, that includes Nando the Great)…again.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Amen, F.U.P.F.U!!! Gaddis can do no right…ever.

  7. I wonder whether a better coach could get more out of Wenger, Le Toux, and Casey. Worrisome that 3 of the main attackers are playing so poorly. Benteke was terrible before Sherwood took over at AV. Now Benteke is on fire and is one of the main reasons why AV will not be promoted this season. This shows to me that a better coach could potentially get our 3 attackers back on track (or at least 2 of them).

  8. Each week I’ve gone back-and-forth about how to distribute blame amongst Curtin, upper management and the players, but after this game I give a slight edge to the players. They’re unable to overcome opponent’s game-plans, and Curtin has to take some blame for that, but the players were just not good enough. Not enough quality. McCarthy is a great story but his time in goal is done, the same with Wenger on the wings, for now. The season is quickly slipping away – I get there’s “lots of time left” but this team has never shown the ability to get hot late in the season. The next few weeks the lineup has to be the XI that gives me the best chance to win that week, not simply the best XI. I’d move Maidana to the wing, he likes to drift outside anyway, and let Pfeffer and Nogs run around and create in front of Edu. Try and dominate the center of the pitch:
    Blake
    Gaddis, Vitoria/White, Marquez, Williams
    Edu, Nogueira
    Maidana, Pfeffer, Ayuk
    Aristeguieta
    Bench: McCarthy, White, McLaughlin, Le Toux, Wenger, Catic, Lahoud/Carroll/Fred

  9. Andy Muenz says:

    6 is too high for Villarreal. In addition to missing the blatant yellow pointed out, he and his linesman missed the offsides call on the Union goal. Also, at times he seemed a little starstruck where a foul by Bradley or Altidore wouldn’t be called but the same thing was whistled the other way. I remember one play where Altidore went up for a header with no call and I commented to my wife that if it was Casey it would have been a yellow card.

    • yeah agreed, really can’t discount that offside call.

    • That’s a league-wide problem. Dempsey gets the same treatment. Altidore barely got nudged by little Zach Pfeffer and he fell to the ground, then got up and tried to kick Zach’s leg out behind the play, but whines when he dives and doesn’t get a call. Good reffing in MLS is what a real left back is to the Union – something we know exists somewhere in the world, but may never see here.

  10. philsoc8 says:

    The Union were damn lucky that Altidore was in Sunderland mode and not his USA form. His touch was off, his movement was poor and he was weak on the ball. There were so many opportunities for him to be dangerous and yes, White made some good plays, but when Jozy is giving it his all, White never gets the chance to make those tackles.

  11. el pachyderm says:

    “Of course, it’s entirely possible that Vanney & Co. looked at the Union and concluded that they needn’t worry about imagination and ambition.”
    .
    .
    .
    Yes. I watched Toronto FC against Orlando the week before and Toronto was quite a bit more involved offensively in that game. Truthfully it was as if: they put it in 2nd gear, idled around the field and regrouped once Giovinco scored – knowing, save a mental mistake, they would be fine.
    .
    But hey, what do I know.

  12. John Ling says:

    I added some comments in the Game Recap thread. Here’s some more, with some time to think on things.
    .
    McCarthy: Thank you for stepping into a difficult situation, giving it everything you had, doing just enough to steal 4 points from Manchester West, and holding things together relatively well (Columbus game notwithstanding). But… time for Andre.
    .
    White and Marquez: I said in the other thread that I thought they did well. I still do. But… I also think, in hindsight at least, a very large part of why they looked so good was the opponent. Toronto really had no interest in attacking with more than their forwards, and that “attack” was pretty straight forward and down the middle most of the time. Both players did well; both deserve the kudos they get for playing well, too. But I’m not ready to anoint either one until I see them play against a bit more attacking-minding team.
    .
    That said, I will give props to White for seemingly overcoming what looked like a case of the yips. He looked confident, like he knew what he wanted to do and needed to do. At least to me. That was a far cry from the player I saw at the start of the year.
    .
    Wenger: Even with the Sapong mess, I cannot – for the life of me! – figure out how Wenger started this game. My daughter, 14 years old, not the most tactically aware fan, kept asking two questions. A) Why was Wenger spending so much time inside when he had tons of space all to himself out by the touchline; and B) Why wasn’t Wenger back helping Williams defend down the wing? Good questions. I think the only real answer is that Wenger has been abducted by aliens and replaced with a pod that looks like him, but isn’t capable of actually thinking. Because nothing else really makes sense to me. He cannot start Saturday. At all. I don’t care who else pulls up lame during practice or who else does something incredibly stupid and gets listed as ineligible. Wenger. Cannot. Start.
    .
    Le Toux: I actually think Le Toux was really close to getting things back together, to be honest. He, Gaddis, and Maidana did some really nice work together right in front of us (section 104) late in the game. For example, I can recall Le Toux’s movement in one instance freeing up Gaddis for a run down the flank, where Maidana played a nice ball into him. But Le Toux’s movement off the line toward the center opened up the run for Gaddis because the defender followed Le Toux. He also had a few balls in that looked a lot better than what he had served up recently. He also was active defensively, but without running around like a chicken without his head. Most of the time. That said, I still don’t start him against Vancouver. But if he’s starting to put things together again, he’s certainly a good bench option while he keeps working things out.
    .
    The Ref: in addition to what Andy pointed out, I can recall two other instances where the ref seemed to absolutely blow it, both in the 2nd half. I can recall a play (don’t remember the time) where Ayuk had the ball and the Toronto defender seemed to be pulling Ayuk forward by his left arm. There was also a play late where Casey seemed to get absolutely mugged in the box. I understand Casey doesn’t get a lot of calls because of his play style, but it looked like a foul to me, at least.
    .
    Curtin: When Lahoud went down, I actually expected Fred to come on for Lahoud in a straight swap. I was a bit surprised he went with Marquez, but it sure seems like a good call in the end. So kudos to Jim on that one. I’m not sure why Wenger got to start the 2nd half; it was clear he wasn’t giving anything. Otherwise, I thought Jim did a good enough job with what he had. It’s clear the Union expected Toronto to defend with 8 players going in, and they game planned for it. So that, to me, is on the players to execute the game plan the coach put in place. They didn’t do it.
    .
    Saturday’s lineup that I want? I’m assuming Sapong isn’t available. I’m assuming Lahoud isn’t available. I’m assuming Nogs isn’t available. (Hopefully I’m wrong about Nogs.)
    .
    Blake; Gaddis, Marquez, Vitoria, Williams; Edu, Pfeffer; McLaughlin, Maidana, Ayuk; Fernando.
    .
    If Noggy is available, remove Pfeffer and slot him into that spot; alternately remove McLaughlin and move Pfeffer to the wing, if you really believe Pfeffer is the better player. Also, Fabinho needs to be on the bench, unfortunately, unless you want Le Toux as your backup fullback.

  13. I actually would have rated Pfeffer much higher. I thought this was the first game that I could see him competing for a starting spot. Not only was he fairly tidy with the ball, he moved into good spaces to offer outlet passing (often overlooked by his teammates), mades runs to open up space in the attack, and wasn’t as wasteful as others in the attack. Made a few deceptive passes that can unlock a bunkering defense. I’d rate him a 6 personally. – Just my 2 cents. Next to Marquez, he was the most pleasant surprise of the day.

    • John Ling says:

      Especially in the first half, there were a lot of times the ball moved back and forth across the defensive line, because neither Pfeffer nor Edu checked back to get it. They were up field. I recall Wenger, actually, checking back a few times and offering a triangle with Marquez and Williams. And I recall Chaco checking back as well.
      .
      Pfeffer and Edu both did a better job of it in the 2nd half, which leads me to believe somebody – Curtin, somebody else – said something specific about it at halftime. It also is, honestly, influenced by how Toronto went into the Mutant Ninja Turtle shells during the 2nd half. Pfeffer needs to learn from Nogs – that checking back and giving the CBs an outlet is something Noggy does very well. But I thought he and Edu made things harder on the CBs than necessary.

    • I also liked pfeffers game. I think however that at times he tries to play balls no one on this team is making runs too. I almost never see this team play give and go balls. It always seems we play a ball back out of the attacking third anytime we have numbers.
      just as an example if anyone saw the seattle game. martins and dempsey have fun and try things in games and in practice. I get the destinct feeling that this doesn’t happen in our practices at least not near enough. Good teams have fun while playing ours seems to hate every minute. just an observation.

      • el pachyderm says:

        If playing balls no one ever seems to run to is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
        .
        Keep sending the balls, the clue will arrive in the mail- whether here or in Sacramento.

      • +1

  14. I cant even be happy about MArquez.

    IT just means these idiot coaches and FO people didnt realize what they had sooner.

  15. Dr. Union says:

    So this may have been said already, but while it was more of the same from the Union slow movement, poor organization, and a lack of creativity. I have to say I think Marquez deserves some starts. Now we have no LB and thats clear. Williams looks slow, fat, and out of shape like he did towards the end of last year and no one wants to see Fabi touch the field. So here’s just a thought. Put White at LB he has enough speed to keep up with wingers and he can defend leave him home and don’t push him up the wings. (Yes his distribution sucks, but that is why you put Marquez next to him who seems to be able to pass out of the back.) Start Marquez at LCB and Edu at RCB. Vitoria is getting burnt in the MLS cause he is to slow and is not quick with his reactions (he also is no dominant figure in the air which I can’t figure out for someone who is 6’5″). Edu has no touch for the midfield and gets lost he is ultimately a decent CB, but that is all.
    Lineup I would choose:
    Blake
    Gaddis Edu Marquez White
    Pfeffer Nogs
    Ayuk Madiana
    Catic Nando
    Bench: McCarthy, Casey, Le Toux, McLaughlin, Lahoud, Williams, Sapong (After he is done getting suspended- I guess that puts Wenger on the bench till he gets back.

    I don’t want to see Wenger anywhere near a soccer field with this team personally. Its horrific game after horrific game. I’ll say it again and its been said a thousand times. “WENGER CUT THE BALL TO YOUR RIGHT FOOT AND SHOOT” its a clear goal everytime, but he doesn’t know how to turn right he is like a NASCAR driver only going left. We all know it every defender in MLS knows it he has one move and that is all.

  16. Hadn’t seen anyone mention it, but I think the epitome of what’s wrong with The Union can can be summed up by one play yesterday.
    .
    It was when Wenger dummied himself. It’s like “well I could just trap it or I could hit it first time . . . but I think I’m going to go for the most difficult option of all.”
    .
    For a team which has such problems with the fundamentals like completing 10 foot passes, trapping a ball or pass and move . . . it’s just galling when they attempt that stuff. I mean 90% of the team can’t even bring the ball under control on 1st touch. It’s really amazing and makes you wonder what these guys do in practice. I have to assume they do everything at 25% speed with no defenders. Even their warmups must be at 25% based on the fact that no less than 4 guys fell down yesterday in the 1st 10 minutes and clearly didn’t test cutting at speed or they would have changed cleats

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