Disappointment, utter disappointment. After an off season awash with exciting player acquisitions and fresh hope, D.C. United showed many of the same demons that haunted them during their historically awful season last year. This -- as you can tell from the title -- is the new "player ratings" feature. Player ratings can be rightfully criticized as an arbitrary, oversimplified way of analyzing a player's performance. But, hey, its fun. And you can let me know how your own rating numbers stack up against mine and we'll have a way of gauging the community's view on each player. Everyone's ratings system is a little different, so let me lay out mine: Scores below four are just descending degrees of atrociousness. A 5 is sub par but at least somewhat capable. A 6 is average, 7 is good, 8 is great, 9 is excellent, and 10 is performance-of-the-year stuff. Last night, obviously, won't garner many high numbers, which is a shame because it would be nice to start of with some lovely 8's and 9's, but that isn't the case so let's get into it.
Bill Hamid: 5.5
Rating keepers in matches like this is tricky. Hamid couldn't do anything about the three goals he gave up because of the porous defense in front of him. But it's hard to give much of a rating for a keeper that's on the wrong end of a 3-0 drubbing. The save on Justin Meram towards was solid, as was his distribution, but United will need Hamid to perform at an all-star level to help a defense that looks likely to allow a bundle of chances.
Sean Franklin: 6
On a night where the defense struggled mightily, I thought Franklin was the best of the worst. His runs down the flank were even more aggressive than I remember from his Galaxy days and that could prove to be useful going forward. On defense he held his own and mostly got back in position after his forays into the attacking third. He misread his assignment on the third goal, an error made more glaring because of the strategic decision to leave only the back three -- not having enough personnel to prevent overloads on the wings. Going forward I'm comfortable having Franklin at that right back spot, something I wasn't that convinced of during the off-season. And I'll be even more comfortable if Ben Olsen shifts to a system that provides more support when the fullbacks attack down the line.
Bobby Boswell: 5.5
Aside from his mistake on Columbus' first goal, Boswell was very solid in his debut match back with United. Strong, aggressive, and surprisingly efficient with his passing, Boswell looked to be more than capable of being our starting center back for at least the foreseeable future. But the bottom line for player performance (especially for center backs) are singular, game changing moments that directly impact the scoreline. There's no way around it, Boswell was beaten because of the superior quickness and precision of Jairo Arrieta's box movement. To many that was a damning indication of the 32-year old's loss of speed and mobility. Too early for that conclusion. The pass from Josh Williams was deadly, but Boswell can use his experience to ensure he is accurate and in position to be able to use his interventions. This is a concern but the reality when you start an older pair of center backs.
Jeff Parke: 5
Parke is in more or less the same boat as Boswell. He needs to be pretty close to perfect because of the pace he's lost over the years. Parke last night had a less active game than Boswell and had some moments which were worrying. His speed and decision making looked a little slower and at times he looked reluctant to make plays on the ball. To a degree, I was fine with his dropping off, but with so little in the midfield both Parke and Boswell needed to keep up the intensity when stepping foreword and disrupting passing lanes and rhythm. At times Parke didn't do that.
Cristian worries me. Actually, he worries me a lot. At any moment he seems teetering on the edge of committing a major mind meltdown earning an red and getting himself sent off. He's the starting left back and until that changes I think were going to feel the effects of his discipline (or lack thereof) at some point this year. As for his actual skills, I didn't see much room for praise. His passing, positioning, and general defense were all erratic. The shot in the early stages was exciting (and turned out to be the only positive of the night.) His main skill still appears to be his work in the box on set pieces, which isn't good enough for a starting left back.
Perry Kitchen: 4.5
I like Kitchen as a defensive midfielder, but having him as the lone presence in the middle with only a wandering Luis Silva to help will never be a recipe for success. Last night Kitchen was fine in terms of distribution, which was expected, but was never able to contend with the Crew's midfield, especially Federico Higuain. It was mainly Kitchen's job to mark Higuain, a tough task, but his inability to do so led to the Crew controlling the game. Kitchen needs a partner on even footing with him in the midfield to be the most effective. Until then I think we'll be seeing him overrun in the midfield -- often.
Nick DeLeon: 4
Really tough night for DeLeon. Only having one center mid at times meant he had to spent a majority of his evening marking Josh Williams increasingly aggressive attacking runs, and it was on one of those runs that Columbus scored their first goal. DeLeon's defense meant he had little to no effect in the attacking third, which is where DeLeon is undoubtedly his best. I sympathize with Nicky because he is in no way an industrial, defensive winger, and needs to have support on the wing to play at his best.
Luis Silva: 4
Having Luis Silva in a position where he has anything close to defensive responsibility is a mistake. Last night Silva needed to stop Will Trapp and Tony Tchani's simple possessions out of the mid field and pickup Higuain when he dropped deep to pick up the ball. He did neither. All to often Silva was randomly roaming the center of the park, often picking up the ball in places where Perry Kitchen should have been. Silva is still very important to this side. He has the best technical skills of any United player by far, so it's important he find a role where he can be free to attack. Didn't happen last night.
Davy Arnaud: 4.5
Arnaud had a similar night to DeLeon but with better defense. Again, Arnaud was pinned back most of the night and wasn't able to influence the game at all in the attacking third. This is a shame because Arnaud can be pretty clever when he gets into the right positions.
Fabian Espindola: 4
Yet another four for an attacker. Espindola had a mostly anonymous night and when he did pick up the ball he was ineffective. Espindola has been a pretty streaky player for most of his MLS career so it's entirely possible this was one of his off nights. The rest of the attack certainly had one but it's something to watch out for. Let's hope this isn't a harbinger of one of his down "spells".
Eddie Johnson: 5.5
Johnson was the most involved United player in the attacking third last night, actually doing a decent job playing short passes with his back to goal and shifting it out wide for crosses. Johnson is a classic example of a striker that feeds off quality service into the box and from the midfield, so for him to be effective the rest of the team needs to be, which didn't happen last night.
All three subs (Lewis Neal, Kyle Porter, and Conor Doyle) were average last night. Neal was the best and his performances could prompt a start in midfield in the next game. Porter and Doyle were injected to invigorate a lifeless attack and couldn't do so. They ran into the same problems their predecessors did: a lack of presence in the midfield so when they did get the ball, they were at the half field line or worse.
Well, there's that. Not the best first game to break down. If you guys can give your own ratings in the comment section I can come up with some nifty tables to show the group ratings of the players over several games.