Saturday, July 12, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Rank and File: Union vs. Colorado Rapids

Plus some thoughts on Chris Seitz's potential with the Union.

Rank and File: Union vs. Colorado Rapids

Chris Seitz has endured a lot of criticism from Union fans this season. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)
Chris Seitz has endured a lot of criticism from Union fans this season. (Yong Kim/Staff file photo)

For once, we have a full week between Union games. At the moment, there isn't too much news on the field to pass the time with, which from Peter Nowak's perspective is probably just fine.

I wonder what tweaks to the lineup and formation we'll see Sunday in Washington. I am sure that many of you will suggest that a change in goal should be the first of them. I still have yet to be convinced that Brad Knighton is so much better than Chris Seitz, and I don't think installing Knighton right now is going to magically produce shutouts for the rest of the year.

My opinion on the goalkeeping situation is much more in line with the one expressed by Kerith Gabriel in last Friday's Daily News. Way back at the Expansion Draft, two of the best goalkeepers in MLS history were on the table: Kevin Hartman and Pat Onstad. I called for Onstad in my mock draft.

Instead, the Union took a gamble on youth. They picked Knighton in the expansion draft and traded for Seitz soon thereafter.

Things could have been different, but they are what they are. Bash me as much as you like, but you might want to consider one other thing before firing off your comments: the rise of U.S. national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

I have to give credit to Sons of Ben president Bryan James, because he thought of this first. Guzan, now 25, had a terrible rookie season at Chivas USA in 2005. Then he missed much of 2006 due to injury. But in 2007, Guzan came back and was named MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. Halfway through the 2008 season he signed for Aston Villa in the English Premier League. This summer, he backed up Tim Howard at the World Cup.

Yes, the Union's struggles have been difficult to stomach. But given Seitz's clear improvement over the course of this season, I would not use his past performance to make any kind of prediction about future results.

With that in mind, here are your player ratings from Saturday's 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids.


Goalkeeper

Chris Seitz: 4.28
- "Seitz was good - I have fewer & fewer worries about him as the season goes on." (Osager)
- "The natives are growing extremely restless, and the performances from this guy are getting harder to defend. My worry is how much longer the guys in front of Seitz are going to keep playing for him." (Dan Gontkof)


Defenders

Juan Diego González Alzate: 5.30
- "Played with confidence, showing the steadiness we were looking for.  Much better game and gives hope for future." (Chris Lane)
- "Thought this was his best game since he got here." (Alex Seldin)

Danny Califf: 5.09
- "We are two central defenders away from being a good team: we have two good strikers, more than enough midfielders, serviceable outside backs, and an increasingly steady goalkeeper. I hope to see two new center backs on the team next season (yes I'm already sort of thinking about next season, sorry)." (Osager)

Jordan Harvey: 5.18

Michael Orozco Fiscal: 5.64
- "Was steady on the wing defensively and showed a fair bit of creativity going forward. Impressive game." (Chris Lane)


Midfielders

Eduardo Coudet: 5.00
- "Unlike previous games, where he looked confident and competent, Coudet looked old and tired against Colorado." (Nathan M.)
- "What a great addition to the squad, his hard tackling and calming presence on the ball is something that was missing earlier in the season." (Dan Gontkof)

Fred: 5.45
- "Fred's match was above average for him, especially the first half, but he faded in the second half." (Osager)

Sebastien Le Toux: 6.73
- "Seemed out of it for most of the game, looking for space & the ball.  But his hard work and skill, as it almost always is, was the difference, with a beautifully touched assist." (Chris Lane)
- "Much more effective as a striker. Game changed completely when he moved up top." (Alex Seldin)

I very much agree with this, despite Le Toux's statement Saturday that he feels more comfortable with Moreno up top because of their chemistry. For me, though, if Le Toux is as good with Mwanga as he is now, I would think things can only get better.

Justin Mapp: 5.18
- "Mapp just seemed too invisible for this match. He needs to be more aggressive. If Nowak can't cure him of this, no one can." (Ethan Gomberg)

Stefani Miglioranzi: 5.27
- "Very rusty. Jacobson or Okugo would have done a better job." (Alex Seldin)
- "Another solid game, but too much lateral passing from him and Coudet, could use some creativity." (Jeff P.)

He's not at full health, which I'm sure is part of it.

Roger Torres: 5.81
- "Looked sharp and aggressive. Seems like one of the few guys willing to try an early pass." (Alex Seldin)
- "Torres got beat around, perhaps its time for a high protein diet." (Ethan Gomberg)


Forwards

Jack McInerney: 4.83
- "McInerney's not improving in his current role as a late sub, and I think he should be loaned somewhere he'll get more playing time." (Osager)

Alejandro Moreno: 5.36
- "Unless we are going to play a more aggressive, direct style, I don't see the point of him being on the field." (Alex Seldin)

Danny Mwanga: 7.36
- "He gets better ever game in terms of not wasting chances and doing something useful with the ball when he gets it at his feet. Looks like he is the real deal." (Chris Lane)
- "This kid is going to be scary good when it all clicks for him, but he is getting there." (Dan Gontkof)


To close the post, a complete change of subject. Those of you who follow the English Premier League have probably heard of Match of the Day, the BBC's famous EPL highlights show. The introduction montage for the new season has been posted on YouTube, and it is absolutely stellar. Check it out:

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Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

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