Player ratings

Analysis and player ratings: Seattle Sounders 2-1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

Well, that was both a bit more like the team Earnie Stewart wants to see and the team that inspired the creation of new and ever more creative curse words in 2015. Philadelphia Union started strong but were undone by a series of intelligent adjustments by a very good manager. There were some very interesting tactical moves in the match that nominally benefited both teams, but skewed in Seattle’s favor as the match wore on. The Union still could have recovered if another ridiculous tackle by a player on a caution had not doomed them to chase for the final half hour of the match.

Yar-eady for this

In 2015, Richie Marquez was suddenly called off the bench to face Toronto FC after Michael Lahoud picked up an early injury. The center back’s debut went fairly well despite the loss, though Jim Curtin was hesitant about throwing the inexperienced man back into the fray at Vancouver a week later. Marquez played but it wasn’t a dream full debut, with the rookie seeing red in the 78th minute. Still, Marquez has developed into a player who has shown he belongs in MLS, and his developmental curve is still decidedly in an upward direction.

Before Marquez’s full debut, Curtin said,

Is it a whole other animal on the road? It certainly is. For a young player, it’s a big jump to go on the road and know what that entails at the center back spot. It’s crazy. There’s going to be moments in the game where he’s going, his heads spinning, and he feels like it might be too much. But those are the moments when you’re going to have to grab ahold of things and trust in your abilities, and make a couple good plays and realize something will click. And I think it did, maybe, that you belong in this league.

The thing you can’t really prepare him for is the speed of play. When the game starts now and you’re looking over your shoulder and your head’s on a swivel, that’s new to him. So it’s going to be tough for him if we do decide to go with him, but he’s had some good days of training. And like I said before, the only way you improve, the only way you learn as a player is to go through the ninety minutes together, stick together, and Richie was, like I said, a bright spot on Saturday.

What will the Union do with Yaro on corner kicks? He wasn't up for a few on Saturday night.

What will the Union do with Yaro on corner kicks? He wasn’t up for a few on Saturday night.

There was clearly a lot of trepidation about sending Marquez into a raucous road atmosphere on the west coast. Yet, the Union surprised everybody by coyly dropping second overall pick Joshua Yaro into exactly that scenario Saturday evening. Yaro, who had been playing for Bethlehem Steel, has an incredibly high ceiling. But he is a small, young center back in a fast, physical league (even faster on turf). And after some ambivalent performances with BSFC, it was, frankly, stunning to see the rookie’s name on the team sheet Saturday. I will try to do a more targeted analysis of Yaro’s match later in the week, since the performance of such a high draft pick seems like something people might be interested in.

Yaro’s start meant fans got to see the 2015 college striker with the highest ceiling face off against the 2015 defender with the highest ceiling. Both have struggled to assert themselves at the pro level, with Morris drifting around the fringes of the Sounders’ offense and Yaro relegated to Bethlehem to work out his positional kinks.

Perhaps the most intriguing tactical issues that came up in Saturday night’s match was how Philly tried to protect Yaro and how Seattle tried to attack him. The Union hoped to keep Keegan Rosenberry narrow, minimizing the lane between fullback and center back so the Sounders would be forced to play wide and cross. With two young players and the fairly non-threatening Andreas Ivanschitz up top, the Sounders were not in an ideal setup to attack aerial balls.

Early on, Philly’s plan seemed to be working. Yaro’s speed helped protect the space behind Rosenberry, and Oalex Anderson — another player on his full debut — was often stranded when he was able to get deep.

Schmid’s adjustments make the difference

Notably, both teams thought they had their best matchup down Rosenberry’s side early on. Sigi Schmid believed that targeting the space behind Rosenberry, which has been vulnerable all season, would be easier with the speed and directness of Anderson. However, the Union were hoping to give Yaro a simple assignment, and Anderson’s somewhat naive approach mapped on well to what Yaro dealt with so successfully in college.

As the match wore on, Schmid realized his error and switched wingers. Veteran coaches can get their initial lineups wrong, just like young managers. But the speed at which they recognize problems and their ability to communicate fixes is what sets apart the quality vets from those who find a smaller market for their services.

With Ivanschitz on the left, the Sounders were far more dangerous and solid through the center. The 32-year-old Austrian tucked inside defensively when Clint Dempsey was inevitably caught high, and he played out of deeper positions going forward.

On the surface, the Union must have thought they won the battle up the left flank. And in a way they did, but at the cost of the larger war. The key for Schmid was recognizing that the fundamental question guiding modern attacking soccer is not: How do I put my attackers in their best positions? Instead, it is: How do I put defenders in novel, unfamiliar situations that force them to make decisions they are not used to making?

With Ivanschitz deeper, Rosenberry and Yaro were in new territory. When Seattle possessed the ball, Jordan Morris ran off of Richie Marquez’s shoulder, meaning there was nobody in the space on the left side of the Sounders’ formation. This is a similar question to the one posed by the false nine system Orlando tried to use against Philly: What will defenders do when there is literally nobody around for them to mark? Do they step up? Do they hold positions?

Rosenberry and Yaro were torn. At times, Rosenberry stepped high, but at other times he got extremely narrow when the ball was on the Seattle right. This essentially meant the young defender was covering a lot more ground than he should and constantly varying the spacing between himself and Yaro. What had been a fairly stable setup in the first half became more complex and convoluted. That neither rookie made any clear defensive errors (well done, by the way) papers over the fact that they were a bit at sea.

Roland on the river

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Papering over Philly’s shaky defense was the absence of an eleventh man for the final 37 minutes of the match. Seemingly in honor of the second match anniversary of Warren Creavalle’s double yellow, Roland Alberg compounded a listless offensive performance with a stupefying challenge in the center of the pitch while on a caution. Was it a challenge worthy of a second yellow card? Doesn’t matter. If you come in from behind, you put the onus on the referee to make that difficult decision, which means you take your game out of your own hands. Alberg got frustrated, earned his walking orders, and likely cost Philly points on the road against an extremely (ex-treme-ly) beatable opponent.

Not only did Anderson get passed on the depth chart by Yaro, he picked up a caution.

Not only did Anderson get passed on the depth chart by Yaro, he also picked up a caution.

To their credit, and as a reminder that this is not 2015’s squad, the Union continued to push forward with verve after Alberg’s exit. But an offday from Rosenberry’s right boot and a strong match from Ozzie Alonso preserved the win for the Sounders.

Alberg’s red card may end up being something of a blessing in disguise. For all his promise — and there is plenty — the Dutch midfielder has not been a hub of creativity in the center. Though his key pass numbers look good at first glance, he only has three from open play that were not crosses. That is about one every 94 minutes, or about one per game (or about as many as Cristian Maidana had in the time it took me to write this sentence).

Make no mistake – Alberg has played a massive role in the Union’s defensive scheme. Despite an occasional tendency to turn off or rest, number six has shown a willingness to get physical in the middle and occupy the forward midfield space to keep teams from simply cycling the ball and wearing out Philly’s defense. This is great, and as long as the Union can create from other spots (i.e., through Ilsinho and Pontius on the wings, of through Rosenberry), trading Maidana’s lockpicking for defensive industry is good business.

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But without Ilsinho, the Union have generated only five shots inside the box with Alberg on the pitch, and one of those was a non-threatening header off the Dutch man’s deep free kick. Another was CJ Sapong’s opener against Orlando, which was kindly assisted by the defensive incompetence of Rafael Ramos. In other words, Alberg has not been central to the Union attack, despite his central role.

On the other hand, Tranquillo Barnetta has injected life into Philly’s attack in both of his last two appearances by giving his role a vertical interpretation that plays to the strengths of Sebastien Le Toux, Chris Pontius and CJ Sapong. In fairness, Barnetta has entered both games with a clear prerogative to push on and search for goals. But the faster pace of play clearly suits Philly better, despite the team’s improved possession game.

The Union's impatience in the final third meant they were taking shots from distance and lobbing crosses into the box against some CBs who are very good in the air.

The Union’s impatience in the final third meant they were taking shots from distance and lobbing crosses into the box against some CBs who are very good in the air.

That possession game

Early in Saturday’s match, the Union played some of the best possession soccer of their young season. With Vincent Nogueira pulling the strings, and Seattle’s midfield looking every bit as stretched as it did a week ago, Philly was able to move the ball around the final third in search of an opening.

Despite the calm, stable buildups, the Union rarely troubled the Sounders’ defense. Why? Impatience, mostly. Philly had a ton of possession in the Seattle final third, but rarely got the ball anywhere near the box. In fact, they only had one key pass into the box and one shot from inside the box during that time. Instead of generating good chances, the Union settled for low percentage shots from distance and a host of unsuccessful crosses from deep on the right. There are a lot of ways to beat Chad Marshall, but crossing the ball is not on that list.

An improved possession game points to the Union’s development and confidence, and creating chances out of extended possessions should come with time. There should be some positives taken from Philly’s early dominance, but the lack of a creator should not be overlooked. With Alberg out against NYC next week, it will be very interesting to see how Jim Curtin fills his role, and how that affects the Union’s defensive structure and offensive creativity.

Player ratings

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Andre Blake – 6

Blake has caught some flak for his positioning on the Sounders’ winner, but — and I know I’ll sound like a Blake apologist here — I think this one was more about the quality of Ivanschitz’ pass. Blake was frozen in no-man’s land when the ball came in, believing, initially, that he could beat Morris to the spot. The pass curled just beyond the defense and in front of Blake, and Morris’ finish was quick and lethal. It looks very bad for Blake if you just look at the shot, but it looks a lot more like Ivanschitz just nailed that long pass if you zoom out. Blake also made his usual array of disturbingly good saves, showcasing his ability to get low in a hurry on a few shots.

Rosenberry with a very Fabinho-esque passing chart.

Rosenberry with a very Fabinho-esque passing chart.

Keegan Rosenberry – 4

Not a step back, but definitely some coal out of the hype train’s fire. Rosenberry got forward with alacrity, but his final ball was woeful. Looking to play low and behind Chad Marshall was a good plan, but Rosenberry’s radar was malfunctioning.

Joshua Yaro – 4

It is quite possible that, when all is said and done, all of the positive predictions and all of the negative predictions about Yaro will come true. The John Stones of MLS has a comfort and belief on the ball that is coveted in an era when pressing means that center backs must play quickly and often play through lines to open up a defense. However, a tendency to stare down the ball and a lack of strength around the box are evident when Yaro is on the defensive. It cannot be emphasized enough that MLS is a physical league with referees who remain maddeningly inconsistent on the small stuff. At his size, Yaro’s positioning cannot simply be as good as Richie Marquez’s, it has to be better. That’s the only way he will ensure that he isn’t bodied off the ball during long rundowns and suffers the ignominy of Ethan White: Perpetually looking on as a striker shrugs you off in a corner and menaces the goal.

Richie Marquez – 3

Beaten on a great run by Morris and a great pass by Ivanschitz, Marquez also fell prey to a slick set piece maneuver in which Clint Dempsey casually shuffled him into the pile to free up Chad Marshall for the opener.

Fabinho – 4

A solid first half gave way to an off-kilter final forty-five as Oalex Anderson pushed the Brazilian back and kept him from joining the Union offense. Fabi being Fabi, he kept trying and got caught upfield as the game stretched.

Warren Creavalle – 6

Five interceptions and eight recoveries for Creavalle as he put in a solid shift in front of the back four. Seattle found more play going down the wings, and Creavalle was spared from too many duels with Dempsey. Involved in the early possession, Creavalle sat deeper and more central as the match evolved.

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Vincent Nogueira – 7

Active and aggressive, Nogueira pulled the strings early on but was unable to find ways through the Sounders well-guarded back line. Ozzie Alonso and Nogueira had a bit of a mental standoff going early, with Nogueira looking for the penetrating pass and Alonso always in the perfect position to prevent it.

Sebastien Le Toux – 7

Picking up a bit of the creative slack, Le Toux had a strong performance that solidified his place as the number three winger on the squad. Finely taken goal.

Chris Pontius – 5

Once again, Pontius got into some good positions but couldn’t find the end product.

Roland Alberg – 1

Selfish tackle.

CJ Sapong – 6

Four shots and two key passes highlight another industrious showing. Sapong only had one shot in the box, however, and he needs more of those. His passing charts are coming to resemble an in-form Bradley Wright-Phillips except that BWP always had runners and Sapong is usually forced to recycle play. That leaves the question open: Could he be more creative if he had more to work with?


Tranquillo Barnetta – 7

Pushed Philly forward with energy and movement. It’s time to see a 60-70 minute performance.

Fabian Herbers – 5

Three 2016 draft picks on the pitch and all looked a bit off. Herbers moved well but struggled to find a role in the game. He was often slow to fill in pockets of space and couldn’t get involved.

Leo Fernandes – n/a

Geiger counter – 4

Hard to argue with the Alberg red card, though it’s a bit stunning that Ozzie Alonso’s cynical fouling went unpunished long enough that he could pick up a caution for time wasting at the end of the match.


  1. if the Union continue to play 4-2-3-1 then the 3 advanced midfield players need to get in the goddamn box and give CJ “more to work with” not wander the midfield looking for ankles to break

    • Fundamentally this is why I’d rather the 4-3-3 once Edu is healthy.

      • I don’t see how that helps
        it does not matter how they line up
        if the players who are on the pitch are not inclined to get forward, goals will be scarce
        based on the last few matches I have seen, only Fabi, Keegan, CJ and Seba look like they want to get into the box every minute

      • I’d argue that with OB pressing high up the field the wingers then are more inclined to suck inside or overload the OB…ect… I think that formation would cause Pontius and midfielders higher up the field thereby being in a better position in the attacking third. .
        Could be wrong…could be the frenetic nature of the MLS game and its tendency to spread the field so much is yet to fully adapt to this type of system…which probably best functions with the shorter passing build up game. .
        Could be I’m just talking out my arse… and Alejandro Moreno would tell me so

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Been thinking some about your idea. The identity of the single defensive center mid is a conversation left for later, since we are uncertain of either of the ceilings of possibility for Edu or Creavalle.
        By advocating the 4-3-3, you are clearly implying that Marquez and Tribett supported by Blake are ready to play without a second DCM to provided defensive depth in front of them. Are they either ready, or, close enough to ready that the challenge will not overwhelm and destroy, but stimulate growth? Making that judgment without access to practice and without a sense of the persons involved is a very tough judgment.
        What team(s) in the league have personnel that would potentially destroy this adjustment, and what teams’ personnel would be more likely to allow the adjustment a decent chance of survival? Dallas and Seattle are out of the conversation; the other seventeen are all candidates.

      • Well, I think we only play a 4-2-3-1 as an opening formation. Ideally I think they want to play as a 3-4-3 on attack and a 4-5-1 on D. That being said, Edu and Creavalle allow that to happen much easier than Carroll because of their athletic abilities.

    • We need some sort of a scoring threat from outside to keep the defenders honest. Barnetta is probably that guy but right now he is a very expensive super sub.
      We also need someone to be a playmaker and deliver that final ball.
      I miss Maidana… there I said it.

      • Barnetta is injured. Alberg is the sub when he comes back. I don’t miss Maidana at all. I miss Barnetta and Ilsinho.

      • +1.
        Barnetta in the XI will give us an offensive spark and he has a way of commanding form and formation out of the ten guys around him.

      • He has a fire on the field that no one else on this team does. Nogs showed some last week but no one else is willing to go scream at the ref or stand up for a player with the same intensity as Barnetta. I honestly think that will be a big help to the team.

      • No way man. The direction this team looks to be going is 100% better without maidana.

      • We need that pass and final ball. None of our players are doing that. We are still whipping crosses into the box like we have been doing forever.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        You cannot have the inexperience we have at center back with an attacking center midfielder whose pattern of play invites counter attack and attack in general down the central channel towards our goal.
        With all the excitement generated by Houston, they have given up late tie-ing or losing goals twice in the few games so far played and sit in last place in their conference. To characteristics eerily familiar to every observer of the Philadelphia Union in 2014 and 2015.
        Remember, if you graft Chaco’s offensive creativity onto Quillo’s defensive positional sense and your hybrid lives and plays soccer well, your hybrid with be starting for Bayern, or Barca or Man City. They are the only clubs that could afford him.

      • Jim Presti says:

        Houston has looked ugly the last few matches. Maidana provides no defensive cover and Wenger plays himself out of the match.

      • For a reference, see 2015 Union.

  2. I think Fabinho deserves more than a 4. He didn’t make a costly mistake, and his pass to Sapong on the goal was really nice.

  3. After reading your ratings I had to go back and check the final score. I can only assume: the defenders all played like crap, but
    Seattle forgot there was a match and arrived three hours late.

    • Well the I’m sure Seattles ratings wouldn’t be that high. But they were in the end the better team.

    • I wouldn’t say the defenders all played like crap defensively, but certainly nobody had anything close to a complete game. The rating includes their offensive contributions as well.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Sapong’s layoff for LeToux on the goal probably should raise his score a little. Also, I thought Blake deserves a fair amount of the credit for keeping the Union in the game even before the red card.

  5. From what I heard, Le toux got hurt after his shot. Does anyone know anything about that? Also, fabi is making his presence known. He was worse, and he worked. He’s better now.

  6. How about a damn 4-4-2? Wouldn’t that give CJ someone to work with/off? And LeToux prefers to be more central; he really isn’t a midfielder. Yeah, I know, some of you are going to insist he’s our 3rd best or 4th best winger so he shouldn’t start. BUT HE’S BEEN STARTING! So play him in a position that he’s comfortable and the Union can score more goals. (When all the tram’s midfielders are healthy, then Curtin can start 100 midfielders and one target forward. But if LeToux is going to start, let him play forward. Please!)

    • Hes been starting only because illsinho is hurt. For all we know illsinho is due back next game.

      And whats with some peoples onsession with the 4 4 2? Theres a reason the entire workd of soccer has moved past that.

    • pragmatist says:

      I’m with you on the 4-4-2. That second striker can be LeToux, Herbers, or the incoming DP Striker (I’ll believe there is one coming until I hear differently).
      It would benefit CJ to have someone in a complementary role up top with him. He can play the holdup role, but he needs someone darting around him to open up lanes more aggressively than midfielders will.
      I don’t think it’s likely to happen anytime soon, but I’d love to see it.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        Look at the salary numbers when they come out before you take your next drink from that particular pitcher of Kool-Aid. My speculation – and without those numbers speculation is all it is – is that the Union are virtually maxed out against the salary cap right now, and that Garber Bux 1 & Garber Bux 2 are both used up as well.
        Remember, they have said they want the playoffs, but also that this is a building year, read “evaluating year”. The place you are more likely to find striker help is on the Bethlehem Steel practice field. Corey Burke has not yet made an appearance there, for whatever unpublicized reason. Amoy Brown is 19 and physically immature. Seku Conneh has looked good in flashes and first half hours; in my book once he reaches USL match fitness, and once he proves he can handle USL physicality from the most physical team available in the first part of the season, he gets a shot with the first team. If we ever hear whom the Union have tagged as one of their three “priorities” on the Steel roster, and if journalists covering practice ever mentionin him working with the first team-ers in full field scrimmage, those data would suggest Conneh is your third striker. There are two first team roster slots open, if memory serves (which it may not) and there is enough cap space to absorb a minimum contract, I am guessing.

    • The big problem with the 4-4-2 on our squad would be what it does to the midfield. What formation do you put them in?

      2 attackers and 2 defensive middies?? Then you have to choose among Barnetta, Ilsinho, and Pontius for the 2 attacking slots, and there are no real wingers, which is narrow, and doesn’t give Rosenberry anyone to play up the sideline with.

      Or maybe you play a 4-1-3-2? Then you have an even bigger problem: what do you do with Nogueira?? You don’t want him as the single defensive mid on a team with rookie/2nd-year CBs, since he doesn’t stick around to guard them the same way. And you can’t plan him as a CAM, since that’s not his game either. Basically, Noguiera’s skill set doesn’t fit that formation at all.

  7. No one’s obsessed with a 4-4-2. Curtin (and evidently you too) seems infatuated with 4-2-3-1. You’re so cool and cutting edge! That said, one way to get 2 strikers on the pitch is to run a 4-4-2.

  8. The young guys are doing great. There will be ups and downs but overall I’m thrilled with this team. The Union have to be more daring, audacious, and relentless with their scoring. They need to get more attackers in the box(Pontius). They’re creating great chances but they need more followup and voraciousness in front of the opposing goal.

  9. Fat Uncle Phil from Urkel says:

    Nogueira deserved higher. It’s not his fault he teammates couldn’t do anything will his brilliant passing and usage of space.

  10. Ozzie and Alberg are the same type of player but we’re going to see Alberg sent off more overall b/c he doesn’t wear rave green. Not defending Alberg’s poor decision, but Ozzie is a mental patient.

    • The fact that it took to the 95th minute for alonso to get a yellow card is a joke….an absolute joke that after two fouls that in their own right deserved a yellow in the first half and several in the second half by Alonso that Alberg was yellow carded for persistent infringement in the 30th minute after 2 minor fouls which one is even debatable that it is a foul.
      Shame on MLS for continually allowing terrible refs to continue to ruin the game here. The inconsistency within a single game not to mention week to week is going to hurt this league for years to come. I don’t know what the answer is but whatever “the Don” is doing to “try” to fix it isn’t working. Good luck being a top league with shit refs……oh and your single entity system that continually rewards certain teams by making new rules and loopholes to exploit.

  11. If you keep the view that this is the first 6 games of a complete restart for the franchise from a soccer system – Vision. Plan. Philosophy. – perspective, and that we have three wins from those six games where in two of the games we played a 1/3 of the match with 10 men, it’s hard not to feel anything but good about what we are seeing on the pitch.
    Adam is right on point with the fact that impatience was as much an issue in the attacking third as Seattle. Seemed like we were too quick to cross in some circumstances when we maybe should have looked to maintain possession and find another way in.
    This will come with time, playing the system that matches the plan and philosophy.

    • The fact that we have yet to draw a match points to the team opening up, looking to play, and going for the win more instead of just defending and trying not to lose.
      Either way, this is the most fun I have had watching this team since the inaugural season.

    • Yes, scoring is the hardest thing to do in soccer. We are not too far away but progress still needs to be made. That said we have a ton of new guys to the team who are still adjusting to a different league or a brand new level. I think by the end of the year a lot of these guys will be playing a lot better.

  12. Few things I noticed. 1 for Alberg way to low for me. Yes he was out of control, but he is someone who is needed on this team. He has toughness, breaks tackles, and makes other teams think twice about just breaking through the middle of the field. No this game was not his best game, but he is important for this team. Also if we had a manager who has been understanding the flow of cards in the league Alberg should’ve been pulled at half for Barnetta. I mean Barnetta is 45 minutes fit why not give him a full half to work. There was no way that Alberg one was going 90min and two there was no chance a second yellow wasn’t gonna come the way the game was starting to get stretched.
    Yaro to me looks timid and is not ready for MLS looking forward to bringing back Tribbett. I was surprised not to see Anderson paired with Marquez. Rosenberry while getting better is still a defensive liability still gets beat to often on his inside. Nogs is head and shoulders above everyone else on this team right now. And as has already been stated more than once CJ needs more help. He has been putting in a great work rate though, but how long will it last if he doesn’t get goals out of it.

    • My thinking is that they went with Yaro primarily to deal with Morris’ speed. My take on Anderson after game one was that he is slow and lacks the pace needed to deal with MLS forwards let alone International level forwards.

    • Why does Curtin get blamed for Alberg and Creavalle making incredibly stupid tackles from behind on yellow cards. Come on man, high school players know they can’t be doing that. It’s totally on the players.
      Barnetta probably didn’t come in earlier because Seattle has turf and his knee needs to be protected.

      • I’m not saying Curtin is to blame I am saying with the obvious talk of how officiating has been going at the start of the season and how you see your guys playing as a manager I think it is a clear decision to bench a CM on a yellow if there is still a half a game to play. Typically with how the games have gone and officiating has gone I would pull any CM on a yellow at half this include Nogs, Caroll, Creavalle, Alberg, Barnetta etc. its just not a chance I think this team can take to not have 3 in the center of the pitch. Completely different feel to me if you get a yellow in the second half. But all refs seem to have a quick trigger this year and I wouldn’t risk it. Compensating for losing an OB a winger, even a striker I feel is easier for this team to do. Just my opinion though.

        I can understand protecting Barnetta on turf, but its not like he hasn’t had this knee problem before I think he is professional enough to know what he can handle.

  13. Adam, you wrote a lot but nothing about the first goal Seattle got. This is the 2nd time we gave up a cheap goal on a corner (while our corners are Teeerrrrrible). A man on the post or better man marking would have changed this whole match.

    • @Guido – Yeah, you’re right. I (and the Union, I hope) need to address set piece defense at some point. I did note that Dempsey’s pick on Marquez was pretty doggone smooth, but I’m waiting til the season gets a bit deeper (and, hopefully, I have a bit more time) to take a deeper look at how the Union defend set pieces. I think it wouldn’t have been too fair to draw bigger conclusions from Saturday because Ken Tribbett is being counted on to be one of the bigger presences in the box, and his absence meant the Union probably set up a bit differently than they normally will. But, again, you’re right. It needs work and it needs a closer look.

      • Old Soccer Coach says:

        The pros and cons of men on the posts defending corner kicks would be a useful discussion, might you think?

      • Pros…gives a much needed extra defender on each post. GK can be a bit more aggressive on decision-making too.

        Con…keeps offense onsides in the case of a scrum or rebound.

        To me, the Pros outweigh the Cons.

        That said, while Near Post is a must, Far Post can be debated, based on GK’s athleticism, confidence, and level of competition. Personally, I always felt safer and made better decisions, knowing that both posts were covered.

    • If Marquez is going to allow himself to be picked like that by Dempsey he has to at least run him over and let him feel it. I want my CBs to be mean in the box on those plays. Know you can try and pick us but you are going to feel it.

  14. Love me some Union, but so hard to watch after Wolfsburg vs Real Madrid.

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