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D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Community/Site Player Ratings

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We put a bow on Saturday's action.

D.C. United hosted a Philadelphia Union side that had gotten the better of them in two previous games, and made some moves to improve their roster in the days before their matchup Saturday. At home, D.C. needed three points, and only left with one, with a last minute goal capping off an entertaining, yet underachieving 2-2 result. Let's throw open the hood, see your votes, shall we?

***

Bill Hamid - 6 | Community6.4

Had a really nice second half save on C.J. Sapong that could definitely have sealed the Black-and-Red's fate, and had 4 saves on the night. Couldn't really do anything on the goal from Chris Pontius, but the first goal, the free kick one by Tranquillo Barnetta? Definitely was caught leaning, and paid for it. He's got to do better on this stuff.

Sean Franklin - 5.5 | Community: 6.3

Passing was OK, but had very little of the ball on the night, and of the 19 passes he connected (out of 25), 12 were to two players (DeLeon, Vincent, 6 each). Defensively, three interceptions, two recoveries, a clearance and a blocked shot, and generally ineffective compared to past matches.

Steve Birnbaum - 7.5 (MOTM) | Community7.7 (MOTM)

Tied for the team lead in shots and shots on goal on the night, scored goal two and was generally menacing all night aerially, winning 6 of 8 duels, and even contributed 2 key passes? Defensively, three interceptions, three clearances, and one part of a two-man center back pairing that held Sapong and Didier Drogba to six combined shots (and no goals) the last two games.

Bobby Boswell (Captain) - 6 | Community6.1

He was part of a weird counter that I showed in the GIF post, and one could make the case he should have stepped up to Ilsinho sooner before he dished to Pontius. But at 5 interceptions and 4 clearances, he led the team on the night, and had two recoveries for his troubles, and was decent on the night.

Taylor Kemp - 6.5 | Community7.6

I'm still trying to wonder how the cripes he was able to score at the end of that 60-yard run, but I'll take it. Passing accuracy was down (58.5%) again, but 3 of his 24 connected passes were chance creators, and was generally being a cross machine.

Rob Vincent - 5.5 | Community: 5.46

With Marcelo Sarvas serving a yellow card suspension and Jared Jeffrey suffering from an injury, Rob Vincent became one of the 1's in the 4-1-4-1. And his numbers (38 of 48 passing, 1 won aerial and 11 of 15 long balls connected) were OK, particularly the last part. He could use a touch of snarl to his game until Chris Durkin comes to the first team, because Barnetta did well on a guy with little time in that spot.

Lloyd Sam - 5.5 (off 62') | Community5.9

After missing a week due to an injury, had...10 of 13 passing, a key pass, a tackle and interception in an hour? The guy who replaced him had almost as many touches in half the time. He'll need to improve on that.

Nick DeLeon - 5.5 (off 76') | Community5.4

Back in the middle of the park again for the first time in forever, and...seemed like he wasn't sure what to do there despite being there for the first two months. 24 of 30 passing, and sprung Mullins on a breakaway, had a shot of his own, but didn't help out on the back side of the field for Vincent (as he did with Sarvas early on), probably because Lucho was there. The new/soon-to-be new Dad is in a weird limbo.

Luciano Acosta - 6 | Community6.9

Quick, without looking, what was the most successful passing combination from D.C.? Well, Acosta and Mullins, and the growing chemistry was evident. Still feeling his way around some of the newly acquired (or returned) toys now that he's in the middle of the field, but his turnover that led to the Pontius goal should be a teachable moment for him. Getting to the ball more, and his teammates are finding him with it (Franklin and DeLeon are the top 2 guys who passed to him), and had 22 of 33 passes complete, with 10 of 16 in the attacking half, and almost found Nyarko on one that was a beaut. 3 tackles, 2 interceptions and 5 recoveries in the back end, despite being a slight down night for him.

Patrick Nyarko - 6.5 (off 64') | Community6.8

Went from his first start since injury to his first 90 in no time flat, and connected on 18 of 21 passes (10 of 12 in the attacking third), including 3 chance creators, one of which was the Birdbomb goal. Contributed 3 tackles, 3 interceptions and 6 clearances defensively, so it looks like he's back to form, or close enough to it, yes?

Patrick Mullins - 6 (off 70') | Community6.052

When he missed that first half shot, it sure felt like a thing that would be repaid karmically somehow. Was the only other starter than Birnbaum with more than one shot (2!), but also lost 6 of 8 aerials in the attacking half. Still has room to grow into that spot.

Lamar Neagle - 6.5 (on 62') | Community5.6

Had 21 touches in 28 minutes. The guy he replaced (Sam) had 24 touches in 62 minutes. Neagle got 4 shots during that time, 1 on target, 1 key pass, and drew a foul that became a dangerous free kick chance. Hell, he was within breathing distance of Birnbaum on the tying goal! Also had two interceptions and a recovery defensively.

Kennedy Igboananike - 6.5 (on 70') | Community5.2

One-upped Neagle's 4 shots in 28 minutes with 4 shots of his own in 20, and three of them on target. Honestly, this is a nice looking activity map for a sub, or at least for a DCU sub:

Julian Buescher - 6 (on 76') | Community5.1

8 of 9 passes connected, including 2 key passes and 2 long balls. Even had a tackle in his cup of coffee.

Philadelphia MOTM:

Of the 57 voters, Chris Pontius was your Man of the Match for Philly (the second straight time since we've started doing it this way, BTW, so you must still love him), edging out Tranquillo Barnetta:

***

First off, allow me a bit of personal vanity, even if it's completely and probably misguided. OK, now I'm good.

One of the things I mentioned last week was to exercise some patience when it comes to this team's new parts, or new players in new positions. However, I didn't say that it was for this year and, like Adam touched upon in his 3 Things comments, things are pretty much done as far as this season goes, barring large surprises. D.C. stands a 28% chance to make the playoffs according to Sports Club Stats. The next lowest team in the East, Columbus Crew SC, are now in single digit probabilities. Only the weird dysfunction of the East and of Orlando City is keeping any sense of optimism alive for a team that has won 5 of 22 games this season, and scored the second fewest goals in the League. So, if things like chemistry and rhythm are to be mentioned two thirds of the way through the season (as they were yesterday), I'd hope that we were also looking at the time horizon past whatever is left in said season.

Looking ahead to the offseason for D.C., possibly difficult roster decisions on the backline (Boswell and possibly Franklin), and midfield (possibly Nyarko) exist, along with the decision on picking up Acosta to buy. There is also the annual European interest in Hamid and newly blossoming interest in Birnbaum. Then comes the matter of who to leave available in the expansion drafts for Atlanta and Minnesota to claim. Combined with an offseason of identifying new targets to play in Black-and-Red, one would hope that the core for 2018 is starting to be identified and given opportunities.

I say 2018 because of course, the matter of Buzzard Point, and ramping up the organization for that. So the matter of health of the roster and determining who will be important. Consider other recent teams in similar situations; the Houston Dynamo fell into buona fortuna in drafting Will Bruin but he then became a goal-scoring monster when the team got to BBVA and they already had Boswell, Brad Davis and Tally Hall; Sporting Kansas City signed Omar Bravo for their first year in SKC Park in 2011 back in August 2010 and added Aurelien Collin to their 2009 draft class of Matt Besler and Graham Zusi along with Kei Kamara ; the San Jose Earthquakes signed Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi from Ajaccio, along with Matias Perez Garcia and Innocent Emeghara as DPs, adding to the already-playing Victor Bernardez and Steve Wondolowski. The overarching point in all this is if we are talking about chemistry and rhythm in Week 23 that's fine, but so long as the core is being identified and there is a long-term plan in mind as things get closer to shovels in the ground/cement being poured/beams being placed/soccer being played at Buzzard Point.

Somewhere, at some point, that is going to matter.