Player ratings

Analysis and Player Ratings: Union 2-2 LA Galaxy

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

LA Galaxy should consider themselves lucky. They have no right taking points from a match in which their three high priced attacking stars and Gyasi Zardes combined for one blocked shot. But Philadelphia Union struggled to put the finishing touch on numerous good transitions through the Galaxy midfield, and both moves LA put together were executed and finished immaculately.

In the first half, Philly's pressure forced LA's central defenders into some low percentage long balls.

In the first half, Philly’s pressure forced LA’s central defenders into some low percentage long balls.

Aiming for the CBs

LA Galaxy are far from a settled side. Their 4-3-3 with Steven Gerrard as a deep pivot struggles to get the ball out of the back line if the former Liverpool man is marked well. Against an oddly disinterested New England side over the weekend, LA dropped Robbie Keane deep and held Robbie Rogers behind the halfway stripe to facilitate buildup play through midfield. On Wednesday night, Rogers moved to the right and Ashley Cole took up more attacking positions, leaving Gerrard as the only simple outlet from defense.

The result was somewhat disastrous, with the Union’s excellent press closing quickly on Gerrard and suffocating him for all but the middle third of the first half. As Philly streamed forward off of Jelle Van Damme and Leonardo’s poor long passes, The Galaxy were forced to defend incredibly deep, with Gerrard’s legs making him unable to get tight to a lethargic turtle anymore.

Philly’s early defensive plan seemed to be built around making LA’s central defenders play the ball. By taking Gerrard out of the game and playing a slightly deeper line than normal, the Union goaded Van Damme and Leonardo into looking downfield. It worked, as Richie Marquez dominated the air and Philly had a 3v2 advantage in midfield to recover the ball since Gerrard was dropping so deep looking for the ball.

Over the weekend, Los Angeles displayed remarkable midfield structure with Sebastian Lletget and Ema Boateng recovering to narrow positions around Jeff Larentowicz, who was far more aggressive than Gerrard in closing down the first transitional pass from the Revs’ backline. On Wednesday, Baggio Husidic and Mike Magee did not collapse to the center quickly, and Gerrard remained too deep to effectively snuff out counterattacks. The result was waves of Union transition pressure, but the Galaxy’s well-organized back line was often able to track runs through the box and keep Philly from finding clear shots on target.

It will be incredibly interesting to see how the Galaxy midfield evolves this season. With Keane injured, Bruce Arena was able to pack the midfield and provide more protection for Gerrard. But Keane and Dos Santos simply do not provide much defensive cover, and LA struggled mightily to get around the home team’s pressure. It would not be too surprising to see Arena test out a system that pushes Gerrard further up the pitch to be the base of an attacking diamond with Larentowicz or Husidic deeper and Magee or Boateng as a shuttler.

Using CJ earlier

Though it is easy — so easy — to criticize Gerrard’s defense, the old man still has a good soccer brain, and he protected the danger zone well for LA. As a result, the Union’s first half transitions failed to generate chances through the center.

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Gerrard’s presence doesn’t tell the whole story. Philly also needs to incorporate CJ Sapong more extensively as a one-touch option near the box. Sapong often makes runs off the shoulders of central defenders when Tranquillo Barnetta charges upfield. Barnetta looks to a wide player and Sapong chugs toward goal to challenge for the cross. The Galaxy used a different — and arguably more effective — approach against New England and Real Salt Lake, both times with great success. LA posted players in the danger area, played the ball in and looked for a first time pass to a runner through the box.

For all the Union’s attacking pressure, they continually end up playing the ball wide and looking for a low cross inside. This is a far better strategy than the early crosses Fabinho has favored in the past, but it should be complemented with more involvement for Sapong, who has the ability to act as a wall against which other attackers can play.

LA goals – anybody at fault?

It’s a rare thing when a team scores two road goals that involve no clear individual fault. Sure, Fabinho gets beaten on the first goal, but only by a sensational pass from Keane and a glorious run and move from Dos Santos. Similarly, Dos Santos runs by Carroll in the buildup to the second goal, but it was fantastic movement to step off of the back line then dart behind Carroll when Zardes cut to the middle. The Union could have done better on both goals, but when moves like that are finished far corner, first time, from angles wide of the goal frame, there is as little to complain about as you can hope for when the other team scores.

Indeed, the main complaint against the Union carries over from the Seattle loss. The back line, and the Yaro-Marquez pairing specifically, is very conservative stepping up. This is completely understandable given the talent they faced both in Seattle and against LA. However, it creates a soft underbelly to the Union’s whirlwind midfield pressing.

When Philly is closing down quickly in midfield, the back line should be closer to the mids so that a run from Dos Santos can’t be connected to Gerrard and then to Magee without any defender coming within five yards of the ball. Though Jim Curtin may be instructing his line to stay deep after the opposition has penetrated the Union half, it is more likely that a young central defensive pairing is simply straying on the side of safety and playing deep to ensure they are not beaten over the top. Additionally, Gerrard should get some credit here for a brilliant little shimmy to freeze Yaro and open the passing lane to Magee.

The defense creates offense now

Earnie Stewart and Jim Curtin deserve praise for turning a moribund roster into one that can compete with a very talented Los Angeles team. But special mention should be made of how well the front office addressed Philly’s biggest weakness last season. In 2015, the Union defense was not merely porous, it was borderline incompetent moving the ball into midfield. That is not meant as a personal attack on any individual player, or on the unit as a whole. It is just empirical, verifiable fact. Sure, there were good games, but there was also a low, low bar.

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The 2016 Union back four is developing into an unlikely offensive weapon. Keegan Rosenberry continues to show nuanced improvement in how he reads the game and gets forward, and Joshua Yaro’s passing exhibits more and more confidence (even if his first touch has all the consistency of Nic Cage’s film career). The most exciting development for long-time Union fans, however, may be Fabinho’s play in the final third. If Fabinho crossed the street early as often as he used to cross the ball early, he would not last long in Philadelphia. Though the strange, unforced mistakes often steal the spotlight, Fabinho’s vast improvements in his defensive positioning and offensive intelligence deserve time on stage as well.

Both Fabinho and Rosenberry have made a dedicated effort to put low balls behind the defense this season. It is a testament to the Union coaching staff that both fullbacks continually aim for this goal even when under pressure. If not for van Damme’s excellent tracking in the box, Fabinho and CJ Sapong could have connected for multiple big chances on Wednesday.

Yaro passing chart. It's quite pretty.

Yaro passing chart. It’s quite pretty.

Rosenberry features elements of Fabinho’s vertical game, but the rookie’s biggest asset continues to be his poise and awareness with the ball. The Union essentially have a right back who can pass like a good holding midfielder, and the value of that is hard to overstate. Rosenberry can flight balls across the pitch, he can play 20-30 yard balls into feet, and he can make runs into the final third without settling for a cross into an empty box. Fullbacks who truly value the ball are a rarity, and Rosenberry looks like a potential long-term difference-maker.

Playing alongside his college teammate, Joshua Yaro put on a passing display that simply cannot go unmentioned. In much the same way Fabian Herbers’ constant probing movement excites not for what it is not but for what it portends, the confidence and incisiveness of Yaro’s passing points to a player who can take multiple defenders out of a play with one pass on a regular basis. Football coaches like to talk about quarterbacks who can, “make all the throws,” and one could pin a similar line to Yaro’s scouting report. In the video below, Yaro’s first touch is brilliant, then he plays a dangerous-looking lob into space. It’s a tough pass to make well, and even though it doesn’t hit the intended target, it’s a great look that develops into a chance for Philly.

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On Wednesday, there were sharp long passes to Rosenberry followed by stingers through the Galaxy midfield. This forced Mike Magee to respect Rosenberry and leave a lane through the right channel that Tranquillo Barnetta was all too happy to roll into when Yaro picked his head up. Additionally, there were dinked aerial balls and passes that led Sapong and Barnetta away from pressure. By forcing LA to respect Rosenberry, the Union provided Yaro with space, and the rookie took advantage. It wasn’t showy, but it was exactly what Philly needed after struggling so mightily to move from defense to midfield a year ago.

Late subs

Overall, the Union can expect to win a lot of games if they maintain the level of play they showed against the Galaxy. However, Jim Curtin waited quite a long time to make his substitutions for the second consecutive match. Curtin is in a bind with his changes: On the one hand, he has a starting eleven that can compete with, and at times dominate, the middle third. But he is also doing it with a 29 year old, a 30 year old, a 32 year old, an injury-prone 28 year old, and Jaromir Jagr Brian Carroll. There is a reason that group takes the foot off the gas defensively after 70-75 minutes. In athlete years, they are getting up there.

Curtin needs to find a better rotation that lets him feel confident about his team shape while making earlier substitutions. The Union manager continues to find minutes for Fabian Herbers, but only in short bursts that make it difficult for the player to exert an influence for more than a few moments. Additionally, Curtin continues to hope that Barnetta can create one more moment of magic ten minutes after the Swiss man is dropping off defensively. Figuring out how to use Roland Alberg or Leo Fernandes to create a more possession-based offense to see out matches would give Philly another tool to sharpen as they move through the difficult summer months of the MLS season.

Player ratings

Andre Blake – 6

Blake conceded two goals on great shots. He didn’t face anything else all game.

Keegan Rosenberry – 9

It was not a perfect night for Rosenberry, but it was darn close. A goal, two key passes, two tackles on the edge of the box, and a few excellent cross-field balls to open up play. And while LA’s right back also tallied, he endured a rough go of it defensively. Rosenberry was strong in back and a huge contributor going forward. He’s been a revelation in the box on set pieces since Yaro joined the first eleven.

Joshua Yaro – 6

Excellent with the ball, and a bit tentative defensively in space. Still, Yaro’s willingness to challenge in the air and his casual, high-speed footraces with the zippy Gyasi Zardes showed more evidence that Yaro can be successful in MLS despite his size. Yaro is still a bit slow to recognize play at times (see below) and will hold players on when he gives them too much respect. 

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Richie Marquez – 6

If Richie Marquez hopped on the plane to LA with the Galaxy and challenged everyone to a poker match, he’d land a very rich man. Because Richie Marquez does not lose in the air. LA targeted Marquez defensively, cutting him off from Yaro and trying to force the ball long. It worked fairly well, and Philly will have to work on playing faster off the left if teams continue to try and isolate Marquez from his partner.

Fabinho – 7

Roasted by Dos Santos after being caught getting tight in open space when he really shouldn’t. But otherwise, Fabinho more than justified his return to the lineup with excellent play in the final third and a solid stint against a talented offense.

Brian Carroll – 7

Really more of a 7.5, but Carroll probably wouldn’t want to round up in case it garnered more individual attention. Robbie Keane and Gio Dos Santos were barely involved in this match. Contrast that to last weekend where LA was able to play through the New England midfield into Keane’s feet. Carroll sat in those passing lanes and generally ensured that LA’s offense had to come from wider areas. That’s exactly what he was there to do.

Vincent Nogueira – 8

Nogueira made the majority of his passes from the channels, rarely taking up central positions. Often, this type of game from the Frenchman means he’s stuck playing short passes with a fullback to relieve pressure and try to work the ball up the wings. But LA struggled to close space early on, and Nogueira responded with a virtuoso display of ball movement, constantly looking to switch fields and exploit the narrow shape of the Galaxy’s midfield. It will be interesting to watch Nogueira’s positioning this season. He took up advanced positions near the box when the Union had the ball, far further forward than he ever attempted last season (see below).

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Tranquillo Barnetta – 8

Again, really more of a 7.5, but Barnetta’s set piece delivery is so beautifully consistent that he gets the bump. Errant passing in the final third is dooming Barnetta’s otherwise strong play, and this points to the Union’s need to use CJ Sapong more often as a wall pass near the top of the box. Barnetta often gets aggressive with his passing in dangerous areas and Philly needs to adapt to this and give him options to run off of. The Swiss man has been brilliant at finding pockets and running at defenses since his return to the first eleven.

Sebastien Le Toux – 7

Great work to follow up Pontius’ header on the Union’s tying goal. Additionally, Le Toux is adapting to Keegan Rosenberry’s game, making himself available on the touchline so Rosenberry can run off him and pull defenders. Early in the season, Le Toux was asking for more balls over the top from Rosenberry, and that’s just not necessary given the rookie’s skill set.

Chris Pontius – 7

Another in a string of above average performances, this one trended toward excellent multiple times. Pontius was aggressive running at Robbie Rogers and used Fabinho well on overlaps. He also continues to be a surprisingly wonderful asset on set pieces.

CJ Sapong – 6

Never quite got the separation he needed from van Damme, and numerous half-chances fell by the wayside as Sapong was beaten to the spot by the big Galaxy defender. But Sapong occupied both LA center backs all match, freeing up Barnetta to fill gaps and attack the defense.

Substitutes

Ilsinho – 7

That’s more like it! The Brazilian was much more comfortable on the ball and would have had a goal of the week contender for sure if his stepover-laden move to a left-footed blast had gone in. Peter Pappas’ best call of his broadcasting career: “If that had gone in, turn off the lights and let’s go home.” I’m not entirely sure what it means, but I like it.

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Fabian Herbers/Roland Alberg – n/a

Chasing three points, the Union were never able to generate consistent pressure on the Galaxy, and neither substitute saw the ball.

Geiger counter – 4

I can only assume Sorin Stoica left Chester and returned to his mountaintop retreat to contemplate life. How else to explain a referee who has so much patience with blatant time-wasting? Stoica also let LA get quite rough with Sapong before finally blowing for a foul when Steres cynically bulldozed the striker in the air.

49 Comments

  1. Zizouisgod says:

    Illsinho and Rosenberry just work so well together when on the ball. It’s like watching the Farfans when they did their version of it.

    Thanks for highlighting that Yaro chip. Very difficult ball for a centerback to even visualize, much less play successfully.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Wow, BC only needs five more Golden Boots to match Jaromir Jagr’s Art Ross trophies!

  3. I have seen some bad reffing, but it is rare to see a ref as complicate in a team’s shenanigans as Stoica was with LA. Any word if he got Stevie G’s autograph after the game?

    • old soccer coach says:

      complicit?

    • There was one foul called on Carroll where he just won a 50-50 ball in the air. That was one of the worst calls I have seen. Apparently holding sapong is not a foul too. None of these calls ended up mattering, except that throw he called back because we had numbers there, but it was frustrating the advantage la got all game. I would love to see curtin call out the mls for that because all combined it was pathetic.

      • I worry that it is the Tim Kerr syndrome with CJ. Ref’s see that he is big and strong and doesn’t go does easy so they let the little nagging things go. Frustrating to watch, can’t imagine what he feels like out there.

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        Tim Kerr reference – sehr gut gemacht!

      • For what it’s worth, LA’s 2nd goal was directly off a poorly called foul against, I think against Sapong, but he was basically wrestled to the ground. Probably a no-call, but there is ZERO chance that’s a foul on Sapong. Nevertheless, off the Galaxy went, turning the free kick into a counter attack from their own end and into a goal.

    • The refs were so bad last night, I’m surprised they weren’t issued LA Galaxy jerseys instead of their Salmon ones.
      .
      My brother asked me after the game if I thought PRO would suspend them. All I could reply was that no, PRO would not, because they did their job of protecting the MLS’ marquee attraction.

  4. It was a great game by the U and a great game to watch. They did control play for long portions, and at no point did they seem overmatched or out-classed.

    I agree with the grades for the defense, it was strong.

    But we needed that third goal. Pontius missed 3 good chances and Sapong seemed a half step late several times, so i would have graded them both lower.

  5. old soccer coach says:

    While I fully agree that the sample size from Alberg was much too small to provide opportunity for meaningful conclusions, I was surprised that the physicality of his play was not more restrained. I am beginning to wonder if he fouls a lot all the time, whether he is an excellent fit for MLS as it was five years ago.
    .
    That Ilsinho’s appearance was on the right flank rather than the center of the mid may turn out to be revealing of Curtin’s future intentions for his best starting eleven, but might have missed a better opportunity in the specific game to replace Barnetta who was beginning to labor from about the 60th minute.
    .
    If Yaro is going to have a successful career as a CB, he is going to have to increase his strength in his upper body. Zardes in particular came within an ace multiple times of succeeding in wrestling him off the ball. He failed every time, fortunately, but what is a bigger stronger striker with better leverage going to do to him? (Think Big Country back in his prime.)
    .
    A crazy thought, perhaps every time a keeper is carded for time wasting in the second half of a game, the team’s head coach should receive a yellow card as well, with the coach subjected to the same penalties for card accumulation as a player.

    • Coaching staff can’t get carded per laws of the game. Though I agree the blatant time wasting needs to be called tighter and more consistently. Coach will get the message when one of his players is sent off for something as lame for the game as delaying the restart of a game.

      • John Ling says:

        Time wasting is normal. Blake does it, too. Mondragon was a master in the art. Kennedy, frankly, did exactly what he was supposed to do. It falls entirely on the ref to rein it in and get the ball back in play. That means not giving the goalie at least three warnings before issuing the card. “I mean it! If you do it again, I’m going to card you.” “No, really. I really mean it this time.” “This is your last warning!”
        .
        No, Kennedy did exactly what he was supposed to do in that situation. It’s not his fault the ref was too inept to bring an end to it sooner. (And frankly, if the fans behind the goal don’t count, I’m not even sure Kennedy gets the card when he did…) The blame on this one falls entirely on inept referees in MLS, not on Kennedy or Bruce Arena. (And yes, I now feel like I need a shower after defending Arena…)

  6. pragmatist says:

    The reference to Nic Cage’s career was one of the best references I’ve seen on this site. Fantastic.
    .
    Depth. It’s a wonderful problem to have. How do we get quality players more time?
    .
    It feels like Tribbett got Wally Pipped by our top draft pick (logical). But it’s great to know we have that type of quality on the bench.
    .
    Herbers needs minutes. Like, 90 of them. I would love to see him have the chance to grow into a full game. Maybe give Pontius a night off (even though he’s been playing so well) and see if there is some Herbers/Sapong chemistry out there.
    .
    And Ilsinho proved again he belongs on the wing. He and Seba are platooning. Do not move either centrally unless absolutely necessary.

    • old soccer coach says:

      I do not challenge your Ilsinho-Le Toux point at all; I just like Ilsinho better than Alberg in the center of the midfield, especially if Creavalle in on the field.

      • pragmatist says:

        I’d like to see Alberg on the left. Bring Leo in to play centrally for the last 20-25 minutes of a game. Alberg hasn’t had much of an impact in the center, and maybe he, like Ilsinho, would be more impactful outside.
        .
        Funny, but I don’t think we have had these discussions on this site before this season. “Where would you play these 9 guys with only 4 positions available?”
        .
        We are through the looking glass, Alice.

    • old soccer coach says:

      Keep in mind that Herbers has been – and Tribbett probably will be – getting meaningful game minutes with the Steel. Not the same, but better than not at all.
      .
      The interesting thing to observe at Goodman Stadium (should it be rechristened the blast furnace if they begin to play well?) is that Herbers is under pressure for game time from Seku Conneh. Further, who knows how Corey Burke will fit into the mix now that he is back to training [acknowledgement to Brotherly Game through Unauthorized Bethlehem Steel FC Blog posted last night around midnight]. Amoy Brown is still physically slight, but at 19 will likely fill out.
      .
      The other point that may be worth mentioning about the Steel since it involves Union loaner players, is that against Orlando City B, they seemed to be playing through Walter Restrepo on the right attacking flank, and having Leo Fernandes and Eric Ayuk rotating improvisationally between center and left. Fernandes had more of an effect on that game when he was on the left. Ayuk is small for a #10, but looks better there the twice he has been there than does Fernandes.

      • Adam Cann says:

        Awesome info, thanks!

      • der Fussballzuschauer says:

        I’ll second OSC’s assessment that Ayuk has been much more effective in the central attacking midfielder position than has Fernandes although, aside from his lack of height, Ayuk is not really a two-footed player and his best attribute is his speed. In other words, Ayuk (who can be trusted to track back more often than not) is better suited as a flank player … I’d actually like to see Herbers moved back into the CAM position, myself – but it’s not about out finding BSFC’s best Startelf and Herbers is clearly being developed as a central striker in the 4-2-3-1 formation so that settles that.

  7. This team is a lot more fun than last year and it feels (almost?) sustainable. Some experience coupled with fresh young legs and it seems like good team chemistry so far. Im not sure I even want Mo back right now. I think Carroll still slows down the counter better than anyone and Nogs and he together combine very nicely in support of Barnetta.

    Speaking of Carroll though does anybody else wonder what he was doing so far up the field and lunging in to a tackle on the touchline? He missed, LA countered through the middle and scored. I put it more on him than Fabi who had to deal with two players.

    • Adam Cann says:

      @Kacey – great point on Carroll. I saw that as a risk worth taking (he made a good tackle, but got a bad bounce), but I agree that it was definitely a risk and ended up being costly.

      • And you can see him get on his horse right after the bad bounce knowing what’s about to happen.

  8. philsoc8 says:

    Great game. Loved the crowd atmosphere. and agree that the defense were surprisingly stout. They must have won at least 75% of balls in the air.

    My concern is that in the last two games, Barnetta has hit a wall around the 60th minute. Up until then he’s arguably the best player on the field, and then he’s done and the whole team suffers. I don’t know if that can be helped (and may explain why he left Europe) or whether he can get stronger. I do think that Curtin has to sub him earlier when this happens.

    • azogD'filer says:

      For an attacking mid playing in a high press system, 60 minutes is a loooooong time. I think subs are the key if we press that hard for 90 mins.
      ——
      What a wonderful game last night. After 6 long years of suffering with the U, it’s great to have a team to believe in again and it makes me pause and take stock of all the jettisoned players that wore the blue and gold:
      —–
      Freddy Adu – Can’t even make the 18 in second div
      Sheanon Williamas – Riding the pine in Houston (and losing along with Wenger and Chaco)
      Farfans – riding the pine in MLS and NASL
      Okugo – loaned to 3rd div
      etc, etc. Don’t get me wrong. I liked all of these players (yes, even Adu)..
      ——
      The upgrade has been remarkable and so has the attitude. This is a hungry team and it reminds me of my favorite “Full Metal Jacket” quote, slightly altered — “Montreal is only a few days away, and the recruits of the UNION 2016 are salty. They are ready to eat their own guts and ask for seconds.”

      Well payed, big boys. You are now MEN!!!!

  9. I thought Herbers had a shot in extra time from the right that could have won the game but was saved. Thought all the subs came on too late. Think we could have won had all 3 come on 10 minutes earlier (as LA did).
    .
    Pontius did not run at the defenders at all during the first half and was overall poor. He also missed the header at the end of the first half (that should have gone across the goal) and the shot that went wide. 7 is too high for him.
    .
    The ref should have gotten a 2. Very poor show. At least no goal was scored due to one of his mistakes.

  10. If nogs is going to get in the box like that going forward we are going to score a lot more goals.

  11. Yaro needs to work on his clearances. Too many times they went straight to an opponent, and many times that opponent was in a dangerous position.
    .
    That being said, I love how our rookies didn’t seem star struck at all on the field and did not back down from any Galaxy player.
    .
    Additionally, did it seem like Gerrard was phoning it in to anyone else? He seemed to be walking around the pitch a great deal, something I don’t remember when he was with Liverpool. Needless to say, I was not impressed.

  12. Section 114 (Formerly) says:

    That was a great game but I really hope we see more rotation in the days ahead.
    .
    With six games in 22 days, Curtin has essentially three options as I see it: (i) rotation, (ii) concede the game @Colorado and treat it like 5 games in 22 days, or (iii) burn through the team and hope they recover during Copa.
    .
    My initial thought was to go with a rotation. What would that mean?
    (1) Let Gaddis get a couple of starts at each of LB and RB;
    (2) Give Tribbett a couple of CB starts during the period, probably once each for Yaro and Marquez;
    (3) Rotate Cravelle and Carroll (and rest Nogs for one game);
    (4) Rotate Albers and Ilsinho in for LeToux, Pontius, and Barnetta;
    (5) Give CJ a couple of games off for Herbers.
    .
    BUT, I don’t see us resting anyone from the A-squad in Montreal, and don’t really like where that leaves us.
    .
    So, I came around to “sacrifice” the Colorado game with a hybrid the rest of the time.
    .
    That let’s us make it through the rest of the stretch playing CJ, Barnetta, Nogs, Rosenberry, Marquez, and Yaro consistently in the other four games.
    Without losing anything we can rotate (i) two of LeToux/Pontius/Ilsinho/Albers, (ii) Creavalle/Carroll, and (iii) Fabinho/Gaddis. And we can cross our fingers about keeper while Blake is away and hope that Jamaica doesn’t advance despite a heroic performance in goal.
    The aim here should be a point in Montreal, 3 at home against DC, and hope to steal a point or 2 at Orlando and Colorado, and then go with the A-team in full against Columbus before the break.
    .
    In Colorado, start a team there that has Herbers up top, Albers, Ilsinho, and Fernandes in attack, Creavalle and Carroll at CDM, and a back end of Gaddis-Anderson-Tribbett-Fabinho and Jones.

    • I don’t know that the situation is as bad as you seem to think. We have a week between Montreal and DC so people should be relatively well rested before what amounts to four games in two weeks. I think that will be manageable with a bit of rotation without sacrificing too much quality.

  13. JediLos117 says:

    I’m in the minority…again, but I don’t think the ref was bad… but he wasn’t good either.
    .
    For me a ref is bad when they directly affect the score line…neither team won, lost or tied due to a reffing error.
    .
    For mls standards, last nights reffing was fair.

    • Darth Harvey says:

      He blew a call where he called CJ for a foul when Leonardo was all arms on CJ. The subsequent restart lead to the Galaxy’s goal in the second half. Like I said in the recap last night, this guy was awful in a different and more special MLS kinda of way. He didn’t kill you with a sledgehammer, he killed you with 1,000 papercuts.

      • +1. Perfect description.

      • JediLos117 says:

        If you rematch the replay of the goal you refer to, please note that it wasn’t a quick restart and the union were defensively set and prepared for the restart with every player behind the ball.
        .
        I think it’s a stretch to put that one on the ref…
        .
        …and like I said I believe the ref didn’t affect the scoreline…
        .
        …especially when after a restart the opponent needed to go over 70 years through 11 player to score a goal.

      • I agree he didn’t change the score (except that throw in he called back because we had a potential break there), but honestly the ref was bad to me because it’s not like he just got a call wrong but literally the whole game let LA do whatever they wanted. It was a pathetic display. That kind of stuff wears on players. LA should have had at least 3 more yellow cards and probably about 10 more fouls.

  14. Union Bible says:

    Book of “Is this Really Happening?” – 16:23 – 16:30
    And Lo, the Intergalactic International Angelosians did descend upon the Unionites. The Nethermerican Steward did thrust onto the field a band of warriors that did see, did think, did execute.The Angelosians left the field of battle flabbergasted at the gauntlet thrown down by the unionites as they left a stalemate where a victory was expected. The unionites did exchange uneasy grins and glances of happiness as they started their great journey from a cliff of despair towards the plains of cautious optimism.

  15. OneManWolfpack says:

    Pontius was offside?!? That replay above didn’t help that AR at all. He looked clearly on to me. Pachy said in another post that the TV replay showed he was off. I don’t know. It means nothing now I know, just stickin’ in my craw a bit, is all.
    .
    Well done, as always, Union Bible.

    • Pontius wasn’t off, Barnetta was when he played it to Pontius.

      • OneManWolfpack says:

        AH HA! I gotcha now. Thanks.

      • hobosocks says:

        Hilariously, a guy near me in the stadium was furiously complaining that the offside shouldn’t have counted because Barnetta did not influence the play.

      • Yeah, he was without a doubt off and it was the correct call. It’s the worst kind of offside though where you are off by 1/2 a step and moving away from the goal.

  16. Wonderful blog write-up with authentic news… Keep sharing more!!!

  17. flyguy76 says:

    I absolutely love reading your weekly player ratings. They always give a good insight as to the way the team played.

    Overall, I felt that the player ratings were too high. I was talking with my brother on the way home. He turned to one of his buddies and said “Wow, the Union are really different from last year.” On the offensive side of the ball, I agree. Their possession play is unmatched this year, and it should be. On paper, we have one of the best midfield’s in MLS. On the defensive side, is where we look exactly the same. Don’t get me wrong; the defense is showing a lot of potential and I understand that they’re young. However, LA and SJ have to be viewed as 4 dropped points. We were up a goal and up a man for the last 30 minutes against SJ, and couldn’t hold on for a win. Against LA, we take an early lead that vanishes only 11 minutes later, and have to claw our way back to a point in a game that we dominated. I think we can find a lot of ways to praise the offense, but the defense has to be better in pivotal moments.

    • 2 perfect strikes from outside backs in bad shooting positions is not bad D. Only 2 shots on frame. Only one shot off frame and one more blocked. That is not bad d. LA got lucky.

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