There isn't a lot to be chipper about from Saturday's 3-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union for D.C. United. The team was slow to respond to several different situations, players who you'd hope would take advantage of their opportunity didn't, and those whose spots who were presumably free of worry saw themselves on the outside looking in, and the overall result was a team that started slow and never recovered, in what was a dour affair for the folks from 202.
But hey, that's why we have ratings for both you, and us, to opine on, right? So let's see if there's a Man of the Match to come from the Black-and-Red, shall we?
Bill Hamid - 7 (MOTM) | Community: 7.5
A couple of quick reaction saves, and of the three goals, two were on PKs, and the third was a sitter than Ilsinho buried from short distance. Definitely the best of the bunch again this week, but in this case, the bunch regressed.
Sean Franklin (Captain) - 5 | Community: 5.3
Dealt with Chris Pontius for the bulk of the run and things trended down on the night. An interception and a recovery defensively, offensively a key pass, 77.8% pass accuracy, and two passes in the attacking third. Philly pressing kept things quiet.
Steve Birnbaum - 5 | Community: 5.25
His first start in almost two months thanks to Copa America Centenario duty for the United States and it sure showed. He and his center back partner (who will get to in a second) had trouble with CJ Sapong all night, and his three recoveries, two interceptions and a clearance may be the quietest he's been in back in months. Had a first half header he put right at Andre Blake, so his aerials are there.
Kofi Opare - 3.5 | Community: 2.6
Oh boy, where to start? The PK given up? The yellow card foul? The second yellow in the second half? Three interceptions, a clearance and a recovery in back, in front, his 58.4% accuracy was the worst of any player on either side for the night. Was he going to defer to Birnbaum as organizer? It's the only thing I can think of, because that performance was several levels of bad, and, if Birnbaum leaves any time soon, should be a major cause of concern for DCU.
Taylor Kemp - 4.5 | Community: 4.4
Gave up the PK for the second goal, and in terms of defense:
More people had been in and near Kemp for more often. Had three clearances and two tackles, and offensively, at 65.9% accuracy was basically the same as he always is in that regard, just exponentially worse defensively.
Marcelo Sarvas - 5 | Community: 5.8
Nine tackles, nine recoveries and two interceptions defensively. Offensively, had a shot, a key pass, 36 of 48 passing but 8 of 16 passes in the attacking third.
Lamar Neagle - 4.5 (off 68') | Community: 4.9
One shot, one key pass, 63.6% PA on 21 touches? By comparison, Alvaro Saborio had 20. A tackle, an interception and recovery, but like most other players in Black and Red, a night to forget.
Jared Jeffrey - 5 | Community: 4.4
Started in place of Acosta because, well, who knows, because it was never really answered. 75.6% accuracy and a shot, defensively had three tackles and three recoveries. Another person who had a chance to do something to make a longer term impact on the squad and didn't.
Nick DeLeon - 5.5 (off 64') | Community: 4
19 of 21 passing, including 5 of 6 and a key pass in the attacking third. Also had a shot on goal, one of two starters on the day. Defensively could have done better, which considering the club on the day, is a target rich environment.
Fabian Espindola - 4.5 | Community: 3.9
A key pass and 71.4% accuracy (20 of 28), and 3 of 8 in the attacking end. Two tackles, two clearances and two interceptions defensively, in a defensive effort that is more from him than I can recall seeing. But he definitely is slowly getting old in front of our eyes.
Alhaji Kamara- 5.5 (off 57') | Community: 4.66
Had a shot and a key pass, and only missed one pass on the day (17 of 18 overall, 3 of 3 in the attacking third). The result of not having a lot of the ball, but when he did have it, generally he did more good than not.
Alvaro Saborio - 5 (on 57') | Community: 4.73
Kamara had 27 touches on the ball, Saborio had 20, won two aerials and had a 76.9% accuracy and no shots. Pretty nondescript day, but in comparison to the guy he replaced, kind of invisible.
Luciano Acosta - 5.5 (on 64') | Community: 5.4
Based on nothing at all, guessing the reason he sat was because he didn't do enough to get to the ball against Real Salt Lake. And on the highest level, he had 19 touches in 27 minutes, as opposed to 30 in 64 at RSL. Had a shot (on target), and a tackle defensively, was 9 of 10 passing, receiving his passes mostly on the left side. Message received I supposed.
Bobby Boswell - 5 (on 68') | Community: 4.9
Presumably came on to stop the bleeding defensively and did that, but little else.
Philadelphia Union MOTM:
Of the 56 voters, former DC man Chris Pontius is your Man of the Match for Philly, over Ilsinho:
Going to borrow a take from Matt Doyle related to NYCFC losing to Sporting Kansas City over the weekend:
All the good bounces NYCFC have gotten in the last 4 weeks are breaking bad today. Better to lose one convincingly than 4 by one goal, tho.— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) July 11, 2016
Sometimes these things happen, and if, through the course of a convincing loss to the League's highest scoring team that the team learn to play without Bobby Boswell and Alvaro Saborio in some manner or fashion, I'm fine with it. Put another way, in watching the game replay on mute, I didn't see a overly bad team (and for the record, the whole 'it's 2013 again' trope is silly), I just saw a slow responding one. Pant loads of turnovers combined with questionable decision-making. One sequence in the first half had Marcelo Sarvas on a 45-yard run while those around him played off of that, before a Neagle attempted pass to him went too long. He signed, then turned around and ran back. Why your near-35 year old defensive mid is making that run, and why you're letting him, are two strange decisions seasoned by a heavy amount of bad timing. Guys who had been playing well to date thus far (Opare, Sarvas, Kemp), played in varying stages of bad to the point of demotion.
None of this excuses the performance by the players, just that when it IS that one-sided, you're tempted to ignore it and start from comfortable spots. And you can do that, to an extent. Kofi Opare and Steve Birnbaum should continue to get center back nods. Alhaji Kamara should be starting at forward with regularity. Luciano Acosta has hopefully understood more ways to get to the ball and do things with it.
Above and beyond most things, that Ben Olsen learned something from this as much as the players did can only be beneficial down the road.