It was a good week for Roland Alberg. He was voted player of the week twice by the fans for his save-the-Union's-hide heroics against City Islanders FC in the US Open Cup and then bringing a spark to an otherwise insipid team performance in the 3-2 loss to NYCFC.
Alberg's surge comes at just the right time. Little did fans know that the sparsely attended US Open Cup match would be Vincent Nogueira's swan song. Now the Philadelphia Union need to replace the special player, and Alberg has the most comparable skillset. Union coaches see Alberg as a 10 rather than a box-to-box midfielder, but if the Union are going to continue being a proactive offensive team then either Alberg or Tranquillo Barnetta must replace the Frenchman. The alternative is of course the double pivot of Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle, which has been solid defensively but severely limits the Union offensive flow. That's okay in a pinch but not a combo the Union should ride through the playoff run. Maurice Edu will be an option in about a month, but his ability to man the 8 position is also a question mark. Give it to Alberg and see what he can do. The team might sacrifice a little defense but he'd bring more offense than Nogueira and that's the direction the Union need to go in order to progress. Onward with Alberg!
The fans were the only site that ranked the players following the US Open Cup victory over the City Islanders. Alberg was the MVP for his two goals and McCarthy was rated lowest.
Walter Restrepo made his first appearance for the Union and the fans appreciated his performance with a second place finish to Alberg. Nogueira ranked fourth but it was another solid understated performance and one that Union fans will miss for a long time.
The lazy second half of the Open Cup game, where the Union blew a two goal lead, continued into the first half of the NYCFC league game last Saturday. The result was the second worst performance according to the fans with a 5.1 average rating. The worst performance (5.0 average) is still the opener against FC Dallas. Here are the results compared with Philly Soccer Page, Whoscored and PhillyVoice.
Alberg's performance was universally heralded and it was his main competition for the 8 spot, Warren Creavalle, who had universally the worst rated performance of the day. It will really be interesting to see what Curtin decides to do, especially with a good run of home games where he likes to be more proactive.