I know it’s taken me a while to get to these, but I wanted to watch the tape again before being critical. As one player said after the game, no one (save for Miguel Montano) could raise their hand and say they had a good game.
After watching the tape, I don’t quite agree, but it wasn’t pretty. Lazy mistakes on the goals — especially from what was arguably Major League Soccer’s best defense in 2009 — are the worst.
While I’m sure many of you saw things differently than I have, here is my honest assessment of the embarrassing loss to Los Angeles.
GK Kasey Keller — Goals change games. Allowing a soft goal when you’re dominating the run of play is devastating. While really only one goal can be blamed on him, it was certainly a biggie. Also had some big stops on Buddle in the second half. 4
D Leo Gonzalez — I thought this was one of his shakiest games. Very poor in possession. Lost the ball in bad parts of the field a couple times. Long balls from the back rarely found a target. Didn’t provide much in the attack. 3.5
D Tyrone Marshall — On a bad day for the defense, I thought he had the best day. Watching the replay was big in determining that. Didn’t lose one battle in the air with Buddle and had a number of good challenges and clearances. Also was one of the few players to show some fight at the end. Even if disappointment was the motivation, he definitely did not give up at any point. 5.5
D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado — Ouch. Not a good day. Not a good day at all. He had some moments of good play, but the most of it was quite poor. Lost his mark Gonzalez on the second goal. Gave up the foul before the third goal and also lost his mark Dunivant on the free kick. Later lost his mark Donovan on the fourth goal. Even his clearances were poor. Sadly some of the lingering images of the game were his Frankie Hejduk-esque appeals for offside after allowing goals. 3
D James Riley — Yes, he was caught standing on the third goal. Surely he thought Vagenas would clear the ball, but that’s little excuse at the pro level. Other than that, I thought he played well actually. Probably his best game, possession-wise. Also played some balls forward and got involved in the attack. Was aggressive and active, but role in third goal was bad. 4.5
M Peter Vagenas — Most remembered for missing a clearing header on the third goal. But Jovan Kirovski was his man in the first goal and ran past Vagenas before collecting the pass and firing. Also didn’t win a header on the second goal (but he could he have been expected to against the 6-foot-5 Gonzalez?). Had some good possession work and set up Montero’s shot on goal. Also had some bad giveaways. 3.5
M Osvaldo Alonso (off 37) — Played one third of the game, but led the team in shots with three. Only one was a serious threat though. Long balls weren’t very accurate. Also surprisingly didn’t win many tackles in the defensive third, like he normally does. Had some bad giveaways also. 4.5
M Freddie Ljungberg — Another player that I think used some serious disappointment as motivation. Set up Montano very well at the death, which showed he was still playing. Definitely involved in the early attacks. He set up Montero very well — on what should’ve been a goal — but it was incorrectly called offside. Free kick and corner kick service, I thought was spot on. 5
F Brad Evans (off 70) — Had his night ruined by a couple offsides calls, which had him shaking his head at times. Would have had a goal — one that could have changed the game and his season — if not for an awful offsides call. Playing out of position and coming off a slight injury, he still put in the work we’ve come to expect. But it’s another goalless night up front. 4.5
F Fredy Montero (off 57) — The team’s leading scorer from last year was selected to come off the field 10 minutes into the second half down a couple goals. That says a lot. Had an up-and-down day holding up the ball. Had some giveaways and poor crosses. Didn’t play as strong physically as he has this season. Missed a clear chance with a shot directly at Ricketts. Also would have had an assist in the linesman’s flag stays down. 3.5
F Steve Zakuani — Took him a while to get involved again, which is becoming a bit of a habit this season. Was caught offside several times, some were close though. Made some good runs and had some good moments, but really wasn’t too dangerous. Set up Alonso’s rocket shot, but could have done more. 4.5
M Nathan Sturgis (on 37) — Forced to come on early for the injured Alonso. Fit in well I think and Schmid said he performed well enough. Wasn’t too blame for any of the goals, but put his team in a tough spot by missing a clearance just before halftime. Had some good long balls forward. Also broke up a dangerous Donovan run well. 5
F Miguel Montano (on 57) — A lot has been made of his performance, and I thought it was good with flashes on great. For an 18 year old, he showed himself to be a prospect worthy of a better league in my opinion. Very dangerous when he had the ball. Played with a lot of energy and flair. Could have put away a Ljungberg cross, but we’ll give him a pass for that one. 6.5
F Sanna Nyassi (on 70) — Came on down four goals and brought some energy at least. Was definitely involved, but last touch wasn’t there, especially on crosses/passes. Always brings an attacking spirit though. 5
COACH SIGI SCHMID
Hard to determine how much blame goes to the coach here. Did he have them ready to play? Well they dominated the first 20 minutes and played at least even for most of the game. Not sure how good the halftime speech was considering the three goals allowed in the 20 minutes after the break. Team’s performance suffers mightily from the lack of a physical presence with a cold-blooded passion to score goals. 4
REFEREE KEVIN STOTT
Hard to blame the guy in the middle for his linesmen putting their flags up, so I won’t here. Again, he didn’t get every call right, but I thought he was consistent and in control of the match. Certainly not to blame for the defeat or the goals. I thought it was an above-average performance from an official in this league. 6