I suppose that could have been a little better. Any win is a good win but the missed chances down the stretch leave hints of worry for the upcoming weeks. Inefficient finishing is the ultimate factor that can weigh down a team against an inferior opponent, and that showed at times on Saturday. United isn't an attacking juggernaut, meaning those handful of chances created are crucial. That said, picking up three points is refreshing. The defense isn't the dumpster fire of last year, and we are no longer regaled with images of Lionard Pajoy leading the front line. The team is playing the way Ben Olsen wants to play: Compact, organized, and physical. It's nice to have an identity. Here are the player ratings.
Bill Hamid: 8.5
Bill had a game fully deserving of a clean sheet capitalized with a magnificent double save in the 63rd minute. For Hamid, progression as a goalie will be about combining his supreme athleticism with his developing decision making. Saturday we saw that combination, and the reason why he has the potential to be a world class keeper.
Chris Korb: 6.5
Nice improvement from last week. Gained confidence in the attacking third and defended cleanly in the back. Needs some more quality performances to force Ben's hand when Sean Franklin returns, but this is a positive step.
Strong, assured stuff from the captain, bouncing back from last week's turmoil against the Timbers. Boswell and Parke have proven this season they can comfortably handle slower, or more physical, opposing attackers. It's when they go against the quicker teams (like the Timbers) that trouble arises. On a smaller note, Boswell again had problems containing Austin Berry on set piece chances. Boswell is normally strong in that department, so it's not a worry yet, but it's something to keep an eye on.
Jeff Parke: 6
Similar stuff to Boswell. Parke gets docked a point for allowing Andrew Wenger to nutmeg him... on the turn... in the box. I'll just chalk that one up as a one time thing. Okay Jeff?
I'm dangerously close to officially joining the Cristian fan club. Sure he's crazy and a little unpredictable, but he mostly gets the job done. Now the nature of Cristian means that public opinion of him can swing on one mistake, but that's the beauty of it. He did well on Saturday, and essentially had the assist for Rolfe's winning goal.
Perry Kitchen: 7.5
The turnover that led to the Hamid double save was obviously a down side, but Kitchen had a collectively impressive game. United had to control this game from the midfield, which doesn't always mean maintaing a stranglehold on possession. In this particular game it meant staying compact and keeping Maurice Edu & Co. from getting extended periods on the ball in dangerous areas. Kitchen did that superbly, leaving Arnaud to pressure the holding midfielders while he contained the often infield Vincent Nogueira and Christian Maidana.
Davy Arnaud: 6.5
Arnaud played well in his own special way. He's not as commanding as Perry, but in many ways is the perfect partner with his toughness and tenacity. The midfield tends to work better with Arnaud instead of Silva, leaving Silva to join the ranks of players Ben brings on to close out games.
Chris Rolfe: 8
The magic continues. Another brilliant goal combined with another solid performance over ninety minutes. Before the trade United wouldn't have seemed the best fit for Rolfe, with our tendency to sit back and counter, but he's made it work. Now Rolfe is one of our most important players going forward this year.
Lewis Neal: 5
Five seems to be the eternal score for Lewis. It would be higher without some untimely giveaways in the midfield, but he still did the things that persuade Ben to field him in the Starting XI so often.
Fabian Espindola: 6.5
Another somewhat rough game in the attack for Espindola, but he gets extra points for some of the hustle he showed. Espindola main quality besides the goal scoring is his exceptional work rate, which helps the rest of the team settle in on defense instead of committing numbers forward to pressure.
Eddie Johnson: 5.5
Slight bump for that unfortunate offside call, but E.J still doesn't look right. A striker in a slump has few options but to work harder to get that drought-breaking goal. That's not always apparent with E.J. It doesn't mean he's totally useless on the field, but he certainly isn't strong enough in other areas to overlook the lack of goal scoring. Get it right Eddie, the offense needs it.
Alex Caskey: 4
Struggled to get involved in the game and looked rusty when he did. The breakaway was unfortunate because it looked like he wasn't ready to score. Caskey still has some potential, but he needs to show some more comfort on the attacking end.
Conor Doyle: 6.5
Doyle seems to be carving out a nice role as a "closer" of sorts. Ben brings him on to slow down play, make simple passes, and contest aerially. He's still painfully slow in front on goal, which shades doubt on his ability to take a starting role, but I'm happy with his specialist status on the team. He's humble, knows his role, and does it well.
Luis Silva: 4
Unfortunate for Luis, had a chance to put the game to bed and skied it.