When New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch slams a soccer ball at the feet of Jim Curtin you know Union fans are having a good time. That act was the high point for sure last week as the Union secured a spot in the quarterfinals of the US Open Cup with a come from behind 2-1 victory over the Red Bulls. Chris Pontius dealt both blows and easily picked up the best player award from fans. The two assists from Ilshino should not be overlooked, especially the second long cross that landed perfectly at the feet of the oncoming Pontius. Here are the results along with the grades from Kevin Kinkead at Philly Voice.
Warren Creavalle had a tough week from the fans point of view as you'll see again in a moment, although it's unclear just how poorly he played. For me these ratings are too high given how atrocious the team played in the first half. They were completely overwhelmed by the Red Bulls press and were outshot 13-1. They were fortunate to even be in the game. The second half was the exact opposite for the Union as the Red Bulls decided to take a breather for some reason. The result was a fun time, but it will be interesting to see if more teams will attempt to press the Union like the Red Bulls did in the first half.
Houston gut shot
On to Houston where the Union squandered a point in that pour-water-on-the-fireworks kinda way, thanks to a poor referee decision and an untimely magical boot from Cristian Maidana. I guess we had that coming. Blake was terrific however, stopping seven shots, and goes back to the top of the fan vote as a result. For those counting, Blake leads the team in game MVPs this season with seven total. Here are the results including ratings and analysis from PSP, Whoscored and Philly Voice.
The Roland Alberg as forward experiment failed miserably as the Union put just two shots on frame the entire match. Fans took it to Alberg and the midfield as all of those starting players were rated below a 6. Poor Warren Creavalle was slammed for his yellow card and rated lowest (again) by the fans, but I say no so fast.
In defense of Warren Creavalle: A numbers story
Maybe Creavalle didn't have his best game but the statistics at Whoscored show he had a decent game. He was given the fourth highest player rating by the algorithm. Creavalle completed a solid 83.7% of his passes and led the team in total tackles with five. He also tacked on two interceptions and a clearance. Not enough? He led the team with three aerial duels won. Okay, that's all I got. You guys, PSP and Philly Voice were all fine with Brian Carroll's performance, and while he completed a slightly better 85.1% of his passes, he only tallied three tackles and an interception. He also failed to win an aerial dual. Stats aren't everything but give poor Creavalle a break.
Next up DC United returns to Talen Energy Stadium to make their case as a playoff contender. The Union have a goal to get back to the top of the Eastern Conference table. Should be a great game Saturday night.