Player ratings

Player ratings & analysis: FC Dallas 2-0 Union

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

On first viewing, Philadelphia Union’s opening match of 2016 was an unmitigated disaster.

Watch a second time, though, and it’s clear that there were small positives within an otherwise tragicomic performance. Individual errors and a few tactical missteps meant the Union could not overcome a FC Dallas team that attacks with as much speed and creativity as any in MLS.

In other words, the rest of the season won’t be this bad. But without some quickfire adjustments, next week could be.

Individual errors

Let’s get this out of the way: Fabinho had an awful match. From the opening whistle, he was overrun, slow to react, moved off the ball with ease, and unable to contribute to the attack. It was a throwback Fabinho performance, and not in a good way. If not for a fortuitous handball on Mauro Diaz, Fabinho would have been directly responsible for a goal in each half and responsible for the turnover that led to another goal. Yeesh.

But, again, it would be almost impossible for the Union left back to be that bad in back to back weeks. Lost in the shuffle of a difficult 2015 was the fact that Fabinho truly did prove himself to be a serviceable, if maddeningly mercurial defender. He plays passing lanes aggressively and he can be dangerous going forward. There is simply no way to argue that Fabinho was the weakest link of a very weak defense last year.

But Sunday, as the only defender who played as part of that 2015 back four, he embodied everything the Union had hoped to leave behind. There was timidity in his tackling, indecisions that left him stranded, and, of course, dawdling on the ball in the box that led to a goal.

Without much depth at left back, the Union need Fabinho to rebound in a big way next week against a team that torched him a year ago.

The Union grant Diaz too much space and he easily drops a ball over the back line.

The Union grant Diaz too much space and he easily drops a ball over the back line.

Tactical issues

Fabinho aside, the bigger issue for the Union was that they seemed wholly unprepared for Dallas’ attack. And not just Mauro Diaz, but the entire structure of the Dallas offense.

Both teams trotted out similar 4-2-1-2-1 lineups, with two holding midfield players behind a drifting creator.

The home side thrived when it could find Diaz in the center with time to look over the top for a winger. Often, Max Urruti would drop from his striker role into midfield to provide a decoy and open space for Diaz. In order to get the ball to Diaz, Dallas overloaded the wide areas. It was an interesting solution to a problem Columbus faces with Federico Higuain. If a creative player has to drop extremely deep to pick up the ball, does it cost a team its cutting edge?

Figueroa opened up the Union with accurate long balls and short passes once Ilsinho stepped too high.

Figueroa opened up the Union with accurate long balls and short passes once Ilsinho stepped too high.

By overloading the wings, Dallas looked to find Diaz indirectly instead of by shooting balls up the center. Left back Maynor Figueroa would carry the ball wide and play triangles with a holding midfielder looking for gaps. If none were found, Dallas quickly recycled the ball to the right side. Right back Atiba Harris pushed up the line, and with Chris Pontius following him, Matt Hedges could carry the ball deep into the Union half and force a central midfielder to commit before playing a short ball centrally that opened up the field for Diaz. Alternatively, Diaz himself would drift to the right and pick up the ball from Hedges. With Brian Carroll cautious about getting too close to the playmaker, it was all too easy to either switch fields to an isolated Fabian Castillo or pop a ball into the corner for Michael Barrios.

As the Union adjusted to this mode of entry, Dallas started to use Figueroa’s powerful left foot as an access point, letting the veteran defender spray balls across for Barrios to challenge against Fabinho. Harris would sprint upfield to collect anything loose, creating instant overloads with Anderson unable to shift across field and provide timely cover.

Dallas’ strategy was so effective both because it fit their squad’s strengths and because the Union were so easily pulled apart in the middle of the park once the first line of defense was penetrated.

The other three central defenders completed one pass beyond the halfway line. Hedges continually drove into the Union half.

The other three central defenders completed one pass beyond the halfway line. Hedges continually drove into the Union half.

That first line of defense

With Cristian Maidana in midfield, and again on Sunday with Ilsinho, the Union have a tendency to look more like a 4-4-2 defensively than a 4-5-1 or even a 4-3-3. The attacking midfielder plays on an even line with CJ Sapong, looking to force the opposition to the flank where the wide midfielder can converge and trap. This system may work when the opponent’s central defenders are forced to play deep, meaning bypassing the holding midfielders with a long pass requires exquisite skill. But Dallas kept the holding midfield close to defense, allowing Mauro Diaz to open himself for passes directly from the back line, which forced a Union midfielder to stick with Diaz and give an easy outlet from the back through either Acosta or Gruezo.

When Castillo got deep, Tribbett did not know whether to close space or back off and watch for runners.

When Castillo got deep, Tribbett did not know whether to close space or back off and watch for runners.

In short, pressing with the attacking midfielder hands a man advantage in midfield to the opposition. This is odd because the 4-5-1 systems rose in popularity as teams realized that having an extra body in midfield dulled the effectiveness of traditional trequartistas. Skill players now tend to run in the channels or even wider because compact midfields make it difficult to run an offense through a central playmaker.

Yet Philly continues to allow its attacking midfielder to push high, even though they do not have the athleticism of a Gruezo-Acosta partnership to cover endless ground in midfield. It is a strange tactical decision that needs to be explained or addressed in the near future.

When Ilsinho did come deep to help defend, he was easy to find. This defensive play led to a good breakout. When Ilsinho stayed high, Philly struggled to find him.

When Ilsinho did come deep to help defend, he was easy to find. This defensive play led to a good breakout. When Ilsinho stayed high, Philly struggled to find him.

That second line of defense

Although Acosta had a rough first half on the ball, he and Gruezo showed why they were holding perennial starter Victor Ulloa out of the lineup. Each had three tackles in the first half and generally hassled Ilsinho and Nogueira while leaving Brian Carroll more time. It was a display of both athletic ability and smart tactical planning, and Nogueira’s first half passing chart shows that he simply never had time to pick up his head and find a good option.

Philly did not have the personnel to execute a similar style of suffocating defense. Without Ilsinho dropping to help, Dallas often had an extra man in midfield and found that they could look up and find runners with ease.

Notably, when Ilsinho did drop deeper — and when Roland Alberg replaced him — the Union often muted Dallas’ pressure quite easily. The home side was rarely effective from sustained umbrella-shaped offensive sets, but they did not need to be with two-pass counterattacks working so well.

Dallas fouls. The home side committed twice as many (20) as the Union.

Dallas fouls. The home side committed twice as many (20) as the Union.

A final tactical note

Look at where Dallas’ key passes came from, particularly in the first half. A team with such dynamic wingers will always dominate when it can easily get to the endline and cut the ball back. It turns the center backs around, it forces the midfielders to beat their man to the spot, and it leaves fullbacks stranded, making split second decisions to chase or book it to the six yard box as cover.

Columbus is less concerned with getting to the endline, though Ethan Finlay is more than capable of such runs. But the larger point is that Dallas did exactly what they wanted to do: They found Diaz in space and they got Barrios, Harris, and Castillo to the endline.

The Union may not have the same talent as these teams that made deep playoff runs last season, but at a minimum, they need to force them to use second or third options. One way the Union could have done this was by following Jim Curtin’s advice and committing more fouls in midfield. Dallas committed twice as many fouls as Philly, and almost all of them were far from goal. After turnovers in midfield, the Union need to foul if they are out of position. It’s not pretty, but it’s soccer.


When the Union were able to attack, they were surprisingly good at creating space for shots. Now, this comes with the caveat that they did not put those shots on goal, but the commitment to getting bodies in the box was there on the rare occasions that Ilsinho was able to stride forward with the ball.

Furthermore, when Nogueira was allowed even minimal time on the ball, he was able to find runners when he had them.

That is where the positives stop, because the runners just were not there. Passes were followed by standing. At one point, Philly had four players pushed against the Dallas back line with nobody checking back and everybody hopping on their toes as if the ground was made of lava. Coordinated movement in the offensive third is difficult to execute, but any movement trumps standing still because one player’s run opens space for a teammate. Basic things like faking a deep run before checking back were absent from the Union’s repertoire, and the offense was reduced to playing the ball into Sapong’s feet and hoping he could outwrestle Walker Zimmerman. Mark Geiger lets the rough stuff go, often too long, so this was hardly the best strategy on the day.


This was not a good day for the Union, but the talent at Dallas’ disposal should allow the club to chalk this one up to a good opponent and move on. A defense isn’t made in 90 minutes, and there is still reason to believe Anderson and Ken Tribbett saw the best MLS can offer and will adjust going forward.

Keep in mind, though: This was the first match in a long overhaul. Philly invested heavily in the defense and that defense will need time to figure out how to play against attackers like Fabian Castillo. A stronger midfield will also take pressure off the back four, meaning Mo Edu and Tranquillo Barnetta cannot return to fitness quickly enough.

Next week may be another bad experience, but at least the club is finally staring its weaknesses in the face.

Player ratings

Andre Blake – 7

With so many saves, Blake should be higher. But his distribution, including an inability to adjust to the wind throughout the entire first half, was shocking.

Keegan Rosenberry – 3

It’s hard to figure out how much of Rosenberry’s performance was simply following instructions and how much of it was misreading the game. Regardless, this was definitely a learning experience for Rosenberry and Tribbett next to him. They never figured out how to position themselves to close down Dallas’ counterattacks and the result was a dominating performance from Fabian Castillo.

Ken Tribbett – 3

Dallas forced the ball onto Tribbett’s feet, and his distribution was uneven. Ninety minutes of playing defense while running backwards is not a great introduction to MLS, and Tribbett struggled to figure out his spacing and his angles. More than once he did not adjust as a runner hit the gap behind him and Andre Blake bailed him out.

Anderson – 3

Rarely on the ball, and rarely accurate when he was, Anderson looked slow and uncertain. The biggest gripe is that he never offered more support to Fabinho even as the left back was clearly struggling.

Fabinho – 1

I don’t like giving out a 1, and hopefully this performance was an aberration. But for now, this is the prototypical lowest-rating game. Mistakes in back, mistakes further upfield, and when he did get a chance to cross, he sent it straight to Gonzalez. Just not a good day for Fabi.

Brian Carroll – 2

I mean, what do you expect when you put a guy on his last legs out there against a great playmaker and two talented holding midfielders who can run for days? This is not Carroll’s fault. This is, if anything, a bat signal to the Union that should inspire a trade or a new signing if Maurice Edu is not going to be healthy, I don’t know, tomorrow. Even with an emphasis on possession, Philly cannot dominate the flow of games often enough to cover for the fact that Carroll needs to back off opponents in order to make sure they don’t run by him.

Vincent Nogueira – 4

Nogueira was hounded out of the game, but he made fewer mistakes than most. Asking him to chase sideline to sideline is never going to bring out his best, so Philly will need to make personnel changes or find new ways to get Nogueira the ball in space.

Ilsinho – 4

A real mixed bag from Ilsinho. On the one hand, he can escape tight areas and bring wingers into play. On the other hand, he dwells on the ball too long and doesn’t recover back to his defensive role very quickly. Similarly, his corner kicks were mostly good with a bit of bad, while his direct free kick sailed high over the net.

Chris Pontius – 4

Pontius running at a defense is a good thing. Early on, that’s what he did. But as the game became more one-sided, Pontius was less likely to drive into open space and pull in defenders, settling for short passes and standing. Additionally, Pontius is partially responsible for figuring out how to handle Atiba Harris when he came rolling down the wing. Anderson, Fabinho, and Pontius never sorted this out and it became a constant threat for Dallas.

Leo Fernandes – 3

Listless. Is there more to say? Fernandes’ off the ball movement was lackluster, his time on the ball was often short-lived, and he should have been carded early on for a late tackle that sent Acosta sprawling. Not the best return to the lineup, and he will be a candidate for the bench on Saturday.

CJ Sapong – 5

In the second half, Sapong was the lynchpin of the offense, holding off defenders as an outlet and letting his midfield clean up the scraps. Oddly, he never switched over to challenge Hedges, which would have made it more difficult for the center back to carry the ball out of his own half.


Roland Alberg – 5

Not enough time on the ball, but Alberg showed more bite than anybody that started ahead of him. He also unleashed a pair of hard shots, one blocked and one that missed. It will be interesting to see if he challenges Ilsinho or Fernandes for the start on Saturday.

Sebastien Le Toux – n/a

Didn’t do very much

Fabian Herbers – n/a

See above.

Geiger Counter – 5

Not much for Mark Geiger to do. He let the teams play, which was bad news for Philly since it meant Fabinho got zero calls and Zimmerman was allowed to tie up Sapong at will. Still, it was called evenly both ways.


  1. JediLos117 says:

    The team is too damn slow!
    Rating are too kind.

    • Agree – yawning gap in speed and athleticism. Insinho looked older than he is – out of shape.

    • +1 on both points. Our lack of speed at numerous positions was repeatedly exploited, badly. I think almost all of these grades are a point or two too high.

    • After one game, I’d say the problem is not so much the physical speed of the players but rather the speed-of-play of the team.
      Before the ball is at their feet each player should already know what to do – pass to player x, take on the guy in front of me, etc. All the lingering on the ball is a product of getting the ball and saying “ok, now what”.
      Some of it is so many new players, but as noted in the article, there was not much movement. Too much standing, too much waiting around for someone else to do something.

    • +1 on the ratings. Especially Pontius. Not a lot in attack and absolutely nothing in defense. So far it’s looking like a Union 1.0 signing

  2. MikeRSoccer says:

    Amobi Okugo – if Curtin can swallow his pride. It’s. Just. That. Simple.

    • sam philly says:

      It’s. Not. Just. That. Simple. Okugo would have to agree to a salary way lower than what he’s been paid recently, or else Heath and Vermes (two of the best coaches in the league btw) wouldn’t have dumped him. His most recent salary is close to what Nogueira’s being paid, and Okugo’s simply just not worth that kind of money in a salary capped league, especially when he’d end up as a depth option at defensive mid behind Edu and Nogueira.
      Don’t get me wrong, if Okugo would agree to a lower salary it’d be awesome to have him back, especially since his unsuccessful stint away has probably chipped away at some of that ego. But I doubt he’ll be willing to go backwards salary-wise especially when he was talking big about moving on to European leagues. If anything, it’s Okugo who needs to swallow his pride before coming back to the Union.

      • pragmatist says:

        Agreed. I love Amobi…but right now he’s out of a job. That’s a pretty clear indicator that he’s going to need to reassess his situation soon, or he’ll end up at FC Cincinnati like so many other Union alumni…

      • JedLos117 says:

        Also may be an indicator that he’s not that good or as good as some believe.

      • old soccer coach says:

        As of the players association September 15th, 2015 salary data, which I was checking yesterday for other purposes, Amobi Okugo’s salary last season was $275,000.

      • sam philly says:

        well the guaranteed salary (the column on the right) is $300 K. Nog’s is only something like $30K more. If I remember correctly, Okugo was making exactly as much as Parkhurst. In any case, too high by at least $50K

      • MikeRSoccer says:

        That is a fair point. I need an asterisk next to my comment noting that “it’s just that simple” assuming Okugo would agree to a reduced salary.

  3. Matt Geiger????? I knew the ref looked tall, bald, and possessed mediocre basketball skills.

    Mark Geiger got a 5!

    • 5 is Adam feeling kind. No way he deserves that high given that he let a player who was openly bleeding stay on the field the last 10 minutes or so of the first half. Just blatantly ignored the rules there.

  5. pragmatist says:

    For the sake of my mental well-being, I’m going to pretend like that game never happened and give them a mulligan.
    That lineup was not correct. And it was due to injuries, and a matter of still trying to identify chemistry and how to get the best players on the field (Alberg needs to start).
    If we can get 2 of the 4 injured guys back this weekend, and if we can get Alberg out there from the start, we’ll see a different performance. Marquez and Tribbet can handle CB duties. Mo and Nogs need to man the CDM spot. Get Pontius-Alberg-Ilsinho in the midfield, where each belongs.
    As far as Fabinho, that rating was deserved. But we all have short memories if we are ready to completely discount his performances for most of last season. If he can get back to last season’s form, he will be sufficient until a full-time replacement (Washington? Gaddis?) can be found.
    Let’s reconvene after next week. I’m not ready to ignore all of the good feelings from the preseason that quickly. But the clock is running.

  6. Great analysis as always. I would be tempted to play a midfield of Nogueira, Alberg, and Ilsinho next game if Barnetta and Edu are still not good to go. I feel like between Alberg and Nogueira they would be able to do the job that Carroll couldn’t really get done. I would also be very tempted to drop Fabinho for Gaddis. I know that it isn’t really how they want to play so they might not do it but Fabinho’s game was poor enough that he should probably be benched. I don’t know how much potential attacking ability means if you are going to get beaten on every play by an opposing team

  7. Cliff of Union Despair says:

    In an anticipation for an influx of residents to the CUD in response to this past Sunday’s match, the CUD would like to unveil many new features, amenities, and offerings for our new, as well as returning, residents.

    Upon checking in, we will take you on a guided tour of our facility to familiarize yourself…you might be here awhile. We will ensure that your rock is positioned optimally for you to either gaze into the darkness and ponder the tactics of Curtin or face our campfire and ponder the tactics of Fabinho.

    In an effort to generate “synergy” (we’ve heard that’s a good word, but much like the Union and their academy system, we have no idea what that actually means) PSP is being contracted to run seminars for new commenters to learn the nuances of WSSM, YAAL, Negadelphianisms, and arcane movie and music references

    A Sartorial Symposium – “How to dress like Jim Curtin” (hint: just cut the bottom 3 inches of your pant legs off)

    Baking Cookies with Ilsinho – sorry you do not get to eat the cookies, Ilsinho negotiated that all of the cookies baked to be eaten by him. It’s the only explanation for his physique and lack of an ability to track back. At least Maidana looked skinny.

    We have reopened our Solar Rocketry Engineering department so feel free to visit and spray paint your parting farewells to a certain man who shall remain unnamed….let’s call him Fabincrap…no that’s too specific….Crapinho…yes much better

    We do regret to report the closing of our Elephant Petting Zoo due to environmental and olfactory reasons, but the CUD is proud to announce that we have opened a “Gold-mill” where visitors can pan for gold along the banks of the Delaware directly behind the stadium. Disclaimer: Hazmat suit rental at an additional fee

    We do hope that you will visit the Cliff of Union Despair soon, “where ‘same ole same ole’ is our idea of innovation”.

  8. Lucky Striker says:

    Great article-but the key is identifying the fortunes (key points) interspersed throughout the cookie (entire piece)

    a hint:

    they’re damning.

  9. andymuenz says:

    No projected lineup for next week? Here goes mine:
    Blake, Gaddis, Tribbett, Marquez, Fabhino, Creavalle, Nogueira, Pontius, Barnetta, Alberg, Sapong. If Fabhino doesn’t get his act together, Gaddis goes back to LB for the NE game.

    • its weird to me to bench rosenberry instead of fabinho

      • andymuenz says:

        My thought is to see whether this is an anomaly, or if Fabhino 2016 = Wenger 2015. If the former, benching him could turn it into the latter. And I think it would help Keegan to get a chance to observe Gaddis for a game, just to watch an experienced defender.

    • old soccer coach says:

      Not Gaddis, please. You tell the opposition they do not have to fear creative possession-based offense down the outside channel backstopped by him.
      Marquez only if he is fully healed, primarily on Adam Cann’s say so about speed. The pace of the game in the US often surprises Latin Americans.
      Creavalle may be worth a shot. worth finding out
      Leave Barnetta alone until he is fully ready to go, so that we avoid the pattern late last season with Edu, hurt off, play at lowered capacity, recuperate, limp back, etc. He will try to come back too soon.

      Alberg for Ilsinho makes good sense against a speed team, if his game fitness is close enough.
      I would suspect Le Toux will get the shot on the right flank midfield, but it might be interesting to see Ilsinho there. I think that was his primary position at times with Shakhtar Donetsk.
      in reference to Ray Gaddis, when John Hackworth tried to play possession, Ray Gaddis was not useful for anything except long clearances. the offense starts from the back four/three/five, always has back to the sixties. You cannot play possession with Ray Gaddis back there. Remember that Hackworth’s attempt became counterattack after bus-parking, and worked only when the other team did not adjust its tactics to exploit it (Vermes, SKC) at which point it could produce some glorious upsets.

  10. My boss is a footie and Union fan too and we’re chatting the other day. My summarized season preview was literally “Well, it will take time to come together but this should be a respectable team. I don’t think we’ll ever have to see a pic of Vinny moving the ball up the field, looking around with his arms raised saying “WTF are you doing, MOVE!””. Uggggh. Please, whatever the scorelines and final league position – NEVER LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN.

  11. DomesticCat610 says:

    Is that Nogs already doing his classic WTF!!!!!’ Somebody freaking Move!!!!!!

    • Dr. Union says:

      I do find it sad and feel bad for Nogs that he has had to do this since he got here and people on the team still don’t realize that they need to move. I mean come on there should be a least 2 to 3 guys every time moving in to space to receive a pass its not that hard.

    • This is why Barnetta is so important to this team…he is always available… he understands the nature of being the 3rd leg of a triangle…. and he makes tiny 2v1’s all over the pitch, particularly with Noguiera… I don’t think this can be said enough.

      • HopkinsMD says:

        Your comments about Barnetta leading up to this game are proving to be prophetic. No Barnetta = a mess.

  12. Thanks for doing this Adam. Excellent job. A detailed analysis is just the thing to get us thinking about what can happen if only. I certainly hope you’re right that Anderson can adjust, but damn, he looked slower than Vitoria.

    • Dr. Union says:

      No one is slower than Vitoria he looked like he was going in slow motion even at his fastest. Anderson is slow but not like Vitoria plus Anderson likes to jump passes from what I have seen thus leaving him already steps behind if the ball gets through.

  13. Great One says:

    Curtin is the giant elephant in the room and clearly he does not add more than he detracts from the team. I really like to guys honesty and seeming hard work. What I don’t like is his decisions, over and over and over. Ask yourselves this if you support Curtin, do you give many examples of great things he does or do you just say have patience? Do you find yourself more often justifying decisions he made or pointing out the many ways he out-thought an opposing coach to change the tide of a game? This system, which hasn’t changed much this year besides the higher press, has looked good in only the very rare occasion. Some (much) of this may be personnel, but good coaches adjust to that.
    Blake was the clear mvp this game, but Rosenberry and Sapong showed some good flashes. Carroll is who he is at this point and I don’t blame him for being old and slow. I was unpleasantly surprised by both Leo and to a lesser extent Pontius. I had really high hopes for Leo and he looked totally disinterested and ineffective. I was never a huge Le Toux guy tactically, but at least he moves. Alberg outplayed Ilsinho for sure, get him starting.
    Again, I fear that major change will not come under Curtin as coach. We need to move on.

  14. If not “Carroll’s fault,” whose? They knew long ago Mo wouldn’t be ready and who are their first two opponents. And Curtin’s Plan A (not B – these were knowns) is to start a 6 he knows can’t keep pace or play offense! Man, that’s Philly Tough ‘Tween the Ears. Tick, tick, tick.

    • old soccer coach says:

      Last year Curtin would have improvised someone out of his normal position into the #6. This year he has not. There are a few possible reasons for the change: a mandated change in philosophy towards an approach more common around the world of professional sports in place of improvisation, respect and fairness for a veteran whose off-field value needs to be upheld, game fitness of the other alternatives.

      • Big Ern said “2 deep.” Most PSP readers would say BC isn’t a MLS 6 anymore. If not Creavalle, why was Lahoud loaned? With no timetable for Edu’s return, it’s a cracked spine already. Who made those calls?

  15. Mo is going to have be the lead CB again. Tribbett and Anderson are entirely too slow. Keegan is a rook, and Fabihno is just too unreliable. You can live with Keegan on the right if Mo is the RCB. And if Fabihno continues this type of play, I’d move Gaddis over to LB and start him next to Richie. That back 4 would be much more athletic and would allow you to live with Carroll and Nogs as your 6 and 8, respectively. But no doubt, Mo is gonna have to D it up again this year.

    And the Mike Lahoud loan is looking terrible. Lahoud is a significant upgrade over Carroll. So much depth at outside MF, why make that move (which was clearly tied to the Estrepo move)? We knew Leo was coming back and have Seba / Ayuk (if needed) to fill in outside. Have to also think that Earnie had an idea that Alberg was coming to town. Only way that makes sense is if Mo basically told Earnie and Jim that he wanted out completely if he had to play center back again.

    • DomesticCat610 says:

      I never understood that one…….lone out Lahoud and keep Carroll. The two aren’t even close………

  16. I appreciate all questioning that seems to be going on here, its highly necessary to identify solutions. But I’m going to play devil’s advocate on behalf of Curtin. You have zero competitive matches on which to base your lineup, so you roll out whoever is healthy and looked good in preseason. 23rd minute “Dammit Fabinho! Who do I have to replace him? the corpse of ray gaddis? Guess i’m rolling with that one”. 60th minute, good move IMO to replace ineffective ilsinho with marginally more effective alberg. you bring on Seba to run at people that should be tired (but probably aren’t, and lets face it, you cant leave him on the bench and not hear about it later). Finally, Fabinho forgets rule number one of defense again (never get caught in possession), and you throw your hands in the air, save CJ’s health whose been getting battered by Zimmerman all game, and put in Herbers.
    The point is, we know a lot more now that we did 90 minutes of soccer ago. How Curtin uses that knowledge will be telling.
    My midfield would be creavalle, nogs, pontius, alberg, Le Toux (assuming no barnetta, edu), and I’m not going to bother guessing at that defense.

  17. Zizouisgod says:

    I do feel like the decision to play Carroll was mostly down to Curtin trying to add some stability to a starting XI that had a ton of new players. Clearly, it didn’t work and I’ll be interested to see how he sets up his midfield on Sat.

    • When BC was re-signed, JC said he would also play a role mentoring BSFC, Academy, etc. Fine. But when did that morph into “our starting DM because Edu won’t be ready until we don’t know when?” And why and how? Meanwhile we loan our better option to the Cosmos? Because that was a serious miscalculation. On someone’s part.

  18. One sign of good management is to trade a bad player and get good value for him while he happens to look good for a short stretch. We did not have that last year in regards to Fabinho. I sure hope Ernie can read players better and make moves at the appropriate time.

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