D.C. United came into their home opener with the Colorado Rapids with a dominant record over the Rapids at RFK both over Major League Soccer's 21 years and in recent memory. So while many would (should?) consider a late stage 1-1 draw a disappointment, there is still the whole matter of new players, newish formation, and all that, so let's see what arbitrary ratings look like?
Travis Worra - 5.5
Bit of a wet fart on that goal, though the defense did him no favors. Did not have a lot of work to do again, and made a really nice charge on a through ball in the second half to prevent a scoring chance. Looks more comfortable than he did last week against the New England Revolution, which he'll need with FC Dallas and their speedsters/wizards coming to town.
Taylor Kemp - 6
Like Franklin, dealt with Marco Pappa and Dominique Badji flipping sides most of the night fairly well. Passing continues to be disappointing (at 61%, second worst field player on the night), but defensively had 8 recoveries and led the team in tackles (5), so continues to improve that. Good job Taylor, you get to deal with Fabian Castillo next week.
Bobby Boswell - 5.5
Eight interceptions to go with a couple of tackles, and from a passing perspective, may have only connected on 69%, but four of six long balls wasn't bad, and wasn't caught out of position noticeably. Going to need him to keep things seamless when Kofi Opare comes into the other center back spot.
Steve Birnbaum - 5.5
Passing wasn't a lot better than Kemp (62% to be exact), but had 6 clearances, and tied with Franklin for third with four interceptions, and won six aerials. Small sample size, but Birnbaum is eighth in aerials won per game (3.7), and he isn't even the highest player on his own team. The answer is further down.
Sean Franklin - 6
Passing accuracy was third highest on the team on the night (78.7%), won a couple of aerials, 10 recoveries led the team on the night, tied for third in interceptions (4) and second in clearances (2) to go with a couple of tackles. Will need a similar effort come Saturday, in case you don't see the pattern.
Chris Rolfe - 6.5
Three interceptions, which tied him for the most among midfielders/forwards on the night, and offensively, a near 76% accuracy rate was fourth on the team. Digging slightly deeper, of his 33 key passes, five were key passes, which was one fewer than the Rapids had as a team, and his only shot was one on goal. If you can, check out Matt Doyle's Analyst Den thing I linked to this morning, because this seemed to crystallize the intent of the formation to an extent.
Nick DeLeon - 6
The weird hate by marginal pockets of people about NDL is something I don't get. Players who are 'dumb' don't do this:
And that was interchanging with Rolfe and Acosta in the middle of the park over the course of the game, while still forming a partnership with Sarvas. So let's dismiss this categorization a little while longer, K?
Marcelo Sarvas - 6.5
Second in tackles (4) and interceptions (5), had 8 recoveries (and a couple of sexy step ups) defensively. Offensively, a shot, a key pass and fifth best passing accuracy for starters (72.7%) despite having the most touches (86) of anyone on the field. Please, PLEASE don't break 'Celo. and for the sake of the exercise, the distribution with him and DeLeon, which still has a lot of forward thinking/decision-making:
Patrick Nyarko - 6.5
A while back, some jerk wondered about Nyarko's long-term health over so many concussions. We worried so much that he had two shots, one on goal, completed 21 of 25 passes, had a key pass, also had no reservations taking players on, his four dribbles tied him with Pappa on the night. If he stays healthy and has nights like that, things will fall into place.
Luciano Acosta - 6
Had three tackles on the night, including a nifty sequence in the first half when he came back, dispossessed a Colorado player, then moments later set up a scoring chance for DeLeon on the other end. When he wasn't doing that, had 2 shots, passing was OK-ish (68%), but had a couple of key passes in there too. Moar plz Lucho.
Lamar Neagle - 6
Three interceptions defensively, but three shots, two on goal, both of which were team highs, along with seven aerials won. Remember the question in the Birnbaum piece? Well, Lamar Neagle leads MLS in aerials won per game at 5.7, so maybe he's the target forward in all this new formation thing? But also, why, in heaven or earth, would you want that guy who can win an aerial ball taking so many friggin' corner kicks?
Fabian Espindola (Sub) - 6
Came on for Acosta at the hour mark, his five shots led all players, and as he was willing to show, he was going to shoot from every. Damn. Place.
63.6% passing accuracy, but did have a key pass, but if we're honest, he doesn't get that goal if Zac Macmath doesn't show his true colors, right?
Alvaro Saborio (Sub) - 5
Came on for Rolfe in the 73rd, completed 6 of 8 passing, his only shot was on goal, also had a key pass, but also had an unopposed aerial which he put right at Macmath. Gotta do better than that Sabo.
Man of the Match
A consistent(ly healthy) Patrick Nyarko like was seen Sunday can do nothing but good for this team.