D.C. United opened up the last opening game of their time at RFK Stadium against Sporting Kansas City with big aspirations and thoughts of a win with a bunch of goals scored being a formality were on many minds. So when a scoreless draw occurred naturally there was cause for some disappointment. But that’s why the play the games, right? Anyway, on with the ratings!
Bill Hamid: 7 (MOTM) | Community: 8.53 (MOTM)
Saved five on the night for the clean sheet for the hosts, and has allowed one goal or fewer over his last five regular season starts. It was THAT save which was stellar, robbing Benny Feilhaber of a golazo and leaving BFabs cursing as a result. Superb work, despite some shoddy distribution.
Nick DeLeon: 6.5 | Community: 6.48
His reward for coming out of Florida as the starting right back? Lining up against one of the Sporks’ Designated Players (Gerso Fernandes). Generally did well and even got a shot off in the midst of cornerpalooza, had 6 tackles and 2 interceptions (both second on the night for the team) and 4 clearances (tied for the lead). Peter Vermes ran a lot through his side of the field and he held his own well, and he’s going to have to get used to that for a bit.
Sean Franklin: 6 | Community: 6.29
As Jason alluded to, Franklin’s DCU center back debut found himself holding his own and a portion of Dom Dwyer’s over the course of the night. Quietly led the team with 4 interceptions, was second on the night in passing accuracy for starters (74.1%), and looked pretty comfortable in his first real run.
Steve Birnbaum: 7 | Community: 7.11
7 clearances, 3 aerials won, a 69% (nice) accuracy number. His long balls could have used some work but you could say that for a portion of the team. I’m curious to see how the season goes and his relationship with Franklin evolves, particularly when Sarvas or whomever the CDM is drops back to help out when the team has possession, but a solid night from the new cap’n.
Taylor Kemp: 5 | Community: 6.05
Didn't have as much to do against Jimmy Medranda as he would against, say, Latif Blessing, but still had 4 clearances, 3 tackles, 2 interceptions and led the team in won aerials(5)? Yep, sure did. But was a starters’ worst 43% in passing accuracy and spent a lot of time in his defensive half. Has to be even a little better on this for the team to enjoy some success.
Marcelo Sarvas: 4 | Community: 4.3
Had the missed penalty (not a horribly taken one, though could have been better), but also had 4 interceptions, 3 tackles, and a key pass on 72.5% accuracy. All that said, his fouling needs to be smarter and not desperate, and if he’s lost a step as it looked like Saturday, the team’s going to have a problem.
Lloyd Sam (off ‘76): 4 | Community: 5.7
2 shots, 1 on target, but again to echo Jason, didn’t do a lot on the night. Heck, even had a couple of interceptions, a tackle and clearance, most in his own half of the field. Hopefully doesn’t stay quiet as NDL gets acclimated.
Jared Jeffrey: 6 | Community: 5.4
Most accurate passer on the night for starters (74.2%), had a key pass, his only shot was on target and was the last one Tim Melia saved. Defensively, led the team with 9 tackles, and had a clearance and blocked shot to go with it. If Sarvas is going to still be old, I wouldn’t mind rolling the dice on Jeffrey at CDM, Ian Harkes in the 8 and Lucho when he’s ready, at least until CDM got an upgrade.
Julian Buescher (off 61’): 5 | Community: 5.3
Again, Jason covered a bunch of ground here, but it looked like Buescher was more uncomfortable than not. I think he can learn from this and improve in that position, but I think both circumstance and the opposition weren’t particularly kind.
Patrick Nyarko: 5.5 | Community: 6.4
2 key passes on 69% accuracy, though no shots for the attacking player with the most touches on the night, up against sort of new right back Graham Zusi. I would have liked to seen him get into a position to rip one, but furt.
Patrick Mullins (off 69’): 5.5 | Community: 5.92
Without Luciano Acosta in the lineup, Mullins looked like, well, Alvaro Saborio. Tried to get into some hold up play and did OK, both his shots were on target, and had a key pass despite a 64% accuracy number. Please, PLEASE come back Lucho.
Rob Vincent (on 61’): 5.5 | Community: 5.2
The game’s first sub got a yellow moments later, but past that connected on 9 of 13 passes in generally anonymous manner.
Jose Ortiz (on 69’): 5.5 | Community: 5.4
Got a little chesty with his only shot of the night in a sub appearance, connected on all 4 passes, am curious (considering his preseason) what else he can do when it counts.
Lamar Neagle (on 76’): 5 | Community: 5.56
Won an aerial, 2 of 6 passes connected. Next.
Sporting Kansas City MOTM:
Tim Melia took more than half of the more than 110(!) votes for the Man of the Match for the Sporks:
Robert Sibiga - Referee:
You gave Sibiga a 6.18 based on voting.
Once we learned about the news that Lucho would be gone, I’m not entirely sure what else to have expected in retrospect. 10 games were played Saturday and Sunday, and this was one of three that were scoreless draws (Real Salt Lake-Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps-Philadelphia Union being the other two), while three others were 1-0 slogs, one would agree that at least 2 of those teams, with new Designated Players on the field at various points, would be works in progress.
And as such, so is D.C. United. You’ve got the right side of a back line that is not only acclimating to their new positions but to each other, and we saw the second choice creative midfielder for Acosta. One of those things was not ideal, the other still has an incomplete grade, and has yet to be determined. Considering the Yankee Stadium field and weather conditions, we may very well see a repeat of what we saw Saturday, because why risk your most creative player on THAT postage stamp?
Going up to New York City FC and Yankee Stadium to play what should be a fairly fast and intelligent group of wingers (and old D.C. friend Rodney Wallace to boot) on a cramped ground, we may see a sequel to last week, particularly in the marathon that is the MLS regular season.