On a day where D.C. United came into their game with the New England Revolution needed some goals, they got some, through some clever action offensively, and the help of a new formation, en route to a 2-0 win which has hopefully, righted their ship in some regard, ahead of a series of games on the road keeping them away from RFK until the end of July.
So let's see how you voted and who your Man of the Match was, while I'll bring mine to the table. By all means, share your thoughts on the ratings (and this new process) in the comments below.
Bill Hamid - 7.5 | Community: 8.1 (MOTM)
4 saves on the night, including an early second half chance on Lee Nguyen that certainly could have changed the complexion of the game, but you know, Bill does Bill things. 2 goals allowed in his four games since returning, and those goals were in the loss to the Seattle Sounders. He and Travis Worra are two of five MLS goalkeepers who have allowed less than a goal per game this year, and combined they have the most shutouts in MLS. Amazing.
Sean Franklin - 7.5 | Community: 7.7
Scored the second goal, was 83.7% for pass accuracy, had the second-most touches of any player on the night, next to Sarvas, who he passed the ball to the most. Had six interceptions and four recoveries defensively and wasn't really focused on much of the night so he got a chance to come forward and made the Revs pay.
Jalen Robinson - 9 (MOTM) | Community: 7.9
If you had him coming in and performing the way he did, I think you're either Jalen's parents, or you might be lying. But he played superbly all night, blocking shots from Nguyen and Kei Kamara, who he stuck to most of the night despite giving six inches and a couple dozen pounds to. Credited with three blocked shots (go check out the GIF post if you haven't), five recoveries, seven clearances, four interceptions and two tackles. 36 of 42 passing for an 85.7% passing number.
Or, just look at Steven Streff's tweet:
Kofi Opare - 7 | Community: 7.2
As the leader of the backline, had three clearances, two interceptions and a recovery. Won an aerial, had a shot and a 77.8% accuracy number. Quiet, steady competence, and at this point, should spell someone in back more often than not.
Taylor Kemp - 6 | Community: 5.6
Jay Heaps has the fascination with trying to pick on Kemp with Teal Bunbury and healthy doses of Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe and it continues to not bear much fruit, as two tackles and a recovery show it was quietly marking his man out of the game. In the other end, had a shot and key pass, but his 63.4% accuracy was the lowest for field players, and his long ball accuracy (7 of 15) was worse than that. What's going on?
Marcelo Sarvas - 8.5 | Community: 7.1
In the 4-1-4-1, spent a lot of time dropping back to the backline and helping out, and his 86.6% (58 of 67, and 12 of 15 in the attacking third) accuracy was third best among the field players, and had two key passes. Looking furtherm 9 of of Sarvas' 13 long balls connected, and he connected on his only through ball. Had two shots, one on target. Defensively, his five tackles were best among DC players and five interceptions second best, and included three clearances to go with a mind-boggling 14 recoveries. Made a play in the 89th minute to clear the ball away from Diego Fagundez down the left side that made me fall in love and wonder if there's some sort of way he'd renegotiate next year if he can keep channeling the fountain of youth.
Especially if there's more activity maps like this in our future:
Lamar Neagle - 9 | Community: 7.9
Scored the first goal, assisted on the second, and almost figured into a third. Both his shots were on target, and he and Franklin made Chris Tierney consider retirement at one point. 83.3% accuracy on the day, including a perfect seven of seven in the attacking third. Added three tackles and three recoveries defensively. Excellent day on the whole.
Luciano Acosta - 8 | Community: 7.4
Assisted on the first goal, should have had a second if Sabo didn't do whatever the fresh hell that was on that 10th minute pass. Still turned in a 87.2% accuracy number and connected on six of seven long balls, including 10 of 12 in the attacking third, and three key passes. Had three tackles and four recoveries in his end to boot. Next are two charts, presented without immediate comment. The first is Lucho's distribution chart:
Next is where Lucho received his passes:
From here, it looks more like he's doing an Espindola apprenticeship of sorts, drifting out to either side of the midfield and creating as he saw fit . Showed comfort in the middle though did more on the outside, interchanging with Fabi on both sides of the midfield (coincidentally, Fabi was his most active passing target), along with picking up Franklin on runs on the right, but work in progress in new formation and such.
Nick DeLeon - 6.5 | Community: 6.6
28 of 32 passing on the night, with a key pass and 6 of 7 success in the attacking third, and 87.5% accuracy, the highest of the bunch. Two tackles and two recoveries defensively, and was happy to help Sarvas and the outside options get forward so numbers could come up. Fairly typical night for him.
Fabian Espindola - 7 | Community: 6.8
Three interceptions, a clearance and five recoveries in his own half. In the attacking half, 68.3% accuracy, including three of six crosses and three of seven long balls. Two key passes and 12 of 17 in the attacking third. Spent more time on the left side for obvious reasons, but didn't it seem like there was buy-in in some weird way?
Alvaro Saborio - 7 | Community: 6.4
Three shots, which led the team on the night (despite none being on target) and a surprising 75% accuracy number, including a key pass, which was very nice in the run-up to the second goal. Should have buried the scoring chance from that Acosta pass so there's maybe a touch of Sabo still around.
Jared Jeffrey - 6.5 (on 73') | Community: 5.8
The sub came at the right time as it seemed like Lucho may have retaliated and gotten a dumb second yellow somehow, but would have liked for Jeffrey's appearance to not to be the first sub for the game. Nevertheless, 12 of 14 passing, with three tackles and five recoveries in 17 minutes isn't bad at all.
Alhaji Kamara - 5 (on 82') | Community: 5.4
On for Sabo, 4 of 5 passing, two shots on goal, including one in the six that hit the old play clock, so yeah, it was skied.
Rob Vincent - 5 (on 84') | Community: 5.4
On for Neagle, also 4 of 5 passing, and set Kamara up for the aforementioned chance, credited as a key pass. Not shabby, quietly having a decent run of form I suppose.
New England Revolution MOTM:
Of the 54 voters, more than half voted Lee Nguyen as the Revs' MOTM:
More than one person echoed a sentiment that Ben Olsen 'finally' switched to a 4-1-4-1 or similar new formation, or have some 'flexibility' to doing so, without seemingly acknowledging that Olsen has employed similar lineup tweaks before with some success. But for the relief and the offense, there are two important questions that remain:
- Does Olsen stick with it as the team slowly regains full fitness? Patrick Nyarko is presumably close to returning and having another body on the bench that can provide some offense would be helpful. And when Nyarko returns, what type of place does he have in the lineup, and what type of shuffling occurs at that point?
- How does D.C. cope against a team that now has film on them IN this lineup? Real Salt Lake is unbeaten at home and among the league goal scoring leaders, and D.C. historically has done poorly at Rio Tinto (2013 Open Cup Final notwithstanding), scoring only one goal in their last 4 regular season games at the RioT, on a Charlie Davies penalty kick goal in 2011. RSL does host Seattle in USOC action tomorrow, so at least presumably there may be some lineup juggling Jeff Cassar is forced to do, and D.C. won't have the fortune of a tactical ambush, lest they trot out a whole other lineup nobody sees coming.