After seeing a patchwork D.C. United lineup Saturday against the New England Revolution, knowing that the team had to travel 6 hours the next day to play at the Portland Timbers Wednesday night was going to be a tough out. Knowing that some of the players in Saturday's game would not be in attendance would make it tougher. Then the lineup came out. So let's try and figure out who did what among the 17-man Black and Red roster in the loss to Portland, shall we?
Bill Hamid - 8
A couple of sterling saves, and either the one on Dairon Asprilla or the one on Rodney Wallace should be a Save of the Week nominee. Can't fault him too much for the goal as the play by both fullbacks on it was...interesting.
Taylor Kemp - 4
Was the center of the attention for the Timbers attack, turned over the ball that led to the goal, didn't get much of a chance to do anything offensively, was marginally better than the opposite side of the field
Steve Birnbaum - 5.5
First minutes in two months, paired with a younger center back, aside from obligatory communications problems here and there handled their assignments decently. Surprisingly accurate on long balls, but marked down a tick for a header that should have been the tying goal.
Kofi Opare - 6
Doubled Birnbaum's total in clearances (8!) and had half the team's on the night, dealt with Liam Ridgewell on corners and had his hands full at times, looked a tiny bit awkward in others. Generally did well in a soft opening of sorts for the Kove Oparnbaum centerback pairing.
Chris Korb - 3.5
Two lapses in concentration allowed for shots on goal, the more potent one resulting in the Maxi Urruti goal. Didn't do much on offense, and underachieved, on defense and on his natural side to boot. U up Sean Franklin?
Miguel Aguilar - 4.5
Aguilar had the idea to run at Alvas Powell and create problems for the Timbers in back, drawing a corner kick or two. But his defensive play was shaking and his decision making questionable other times offensively. There's some promise, but it needs some honing.
Markus Halsti - 6
Joking about the rating aside, WhoScored had Halsti as the best D.C. player on the night not named Hamid, and his passing was good, and he interchanged well with a ragtag bunch, stepped up and intercepted the ball when he had to. May be a little star struck because hopefully the coaching staff saw a guy that made others around him look OK tonight which was kind of a big task. Imagine what he'll do with regular folk.
Jared Jeffrey - 5.5
Was symbolic of the team tonight, started off slow, but eventually righted himself and battled well with Diego Chara, stealing the ball and leading to a decent chance in the second half, leading the team in passing accuracy on the night. The type of performance you want to see from him, particularly if the guy who starts in front of him gets called up for the Gold Cup this summer.
Luke Mishu - 4.5
Sort of looked like Miguel Perez Cuesta, if you looked close enough, and when it came to distribution made the easy passes, but when he had a chance to make a decision, got greedy and skied them over the bar. Fare the well Luke, see you at Open Cup time.
Jairo Arrieta - 4
Decent night passing, shot selection was about as good as could be expected. Didn't go offside this match but then again didn't have much behind him to give him a reason to go offside I guess? Drilled a free kick chance into the wall because Sean Franklin wasn't around that was good enough to take them. Oy.
Conor Doyle - 4.5
Did that box to box forward thing again, but looked more comfortable doing it, didn't get dispossessed the ball as much, the game (well, the lineup), dictated he do a little more, and even had a nifty couple of passes in the attacking half too, for him at least.
Perry Kitchen (Sub) - 5
Came on for Jeffrey, kept things out of trouble as much as he could, didn't have a lot to do with the ball other than the easy stuff. Not sure what more he could have done with this lot.
Facundo Coria (Sub) - 5.5
Came on for Mishu in the 71st, passing was OK, set piece taking (well the one from 35 out anyway) looked nice. Really trying hard to tamp down expectations for what he may be able to do once he gets healthy and those around him.
Bobby Boswell (Sub) - 5
Came on for Aguilar in the 89th, got a card, didn't flash any of that #WhiteRonaldo magic. Folks who were aghast that he was an offensive sub realize that Collin Martin hasn't been at full speed that long and that Boswell had done this once before, right?
Man of the Match
I hate to dismiss Hamid for fear of being made immune to his goalkeeping wares, but seeing Halsti in this extended stretch can't help but leave one optimistic.