I forget who said it but I know there are supposed to be days like these. The Philadelphia Union just had one in Montreal, and the fans easily voted the 5-1 loss the worst performance of the season. Remember that horrible opener against FC Dallas? This one was worse. Remember that insipid clunker in New York? This one was worse. Fans gave the players an average rating of 4.2, nearly a point lower than those previous two games. Let's take a look at all the ugly with help from Philly Soccer Page, Whoscored and Philly Voice.
Not surprisingly Ray Gaddis was pummeled for his performance, and his 2.7 rating was the worst performance from the fans for any player all season long. He topped Fabinho's clunker in the opener against Dallas. On the positive side, Chris Pontius won player of the match nearly unanimously for his wonderful goal.
But I want to focus on Mr. Barnetta. Fans gave him a pass relative to the other players but Adam Cann from PSP, Kevin Kinkead from Phily Voice and Whoscored really panned his performance. Overall he scored the second worst on the team. Questions are starting to surface as to whether or not the 8 role is a good spot for Barnetta. Perhaps he and Roland Alberg should switch. I took a look at the season long results for Barnetta to see if his performance has indeed dipped, at least according to the player ratings.
First let's start with the team overall. Here's a graph looking at the total ratings for starters in each game, starting with game five, which was Tranquillo Barnetta's second game played.
The player ratings from game five to fourteen look reasonably consistent. However, since Vincent Nogueira left there has been a noticeable decline in the team performance. It also appears the Union have been more inconsistent as there is more variability in the scores since Nogueira left.
Now let's look at Barnetta over the same period.
Just looking at the overall trend Barnetta's performances have been declining. Whoscored has been scoring him consistently but fans and PSP have definitely been less impressed with his performances over the course of the season. He's also been noticeably more erratic since after game eleven, which was when the Union took that road trip to Orlando. Outside of the Montreal game, Barnetta's scores while replacing Nogeuira at the 8 position don't seem out of the ordinary. It's only really been four games that Barnetta has sat behind Alberg in the formation, so I believe the Union need to give the experiment more time before we make a determination if the move is the best option.
The Union will get another chance to turn the post-Nogueira trend around against Real Salt Lake on Sunday night, but they'll have to do it without Barnetta, who is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Curtin will likely deploy the double pivot of Brian Carroll and Warren Creavalle, which has proven to be a strong duo defensively but also proven to create a gap between the defenders and the attacking midfielders that stifles the defense.
Unless transfer help comes soon it appears that questions surrounding Nogueira's replacement may be with the Union all season.