Well that was some measure of fun. This game also came sections: The first 20, and the rest. It only took 20 minutes and going down 2 to wake the team up. I'll get to my thoughts on the game within the grade comments as we go forward.
So let's start, back to front:
Raul Fernandez - 5, He had little shot on either goal, so he wasn't beaten too bad. He also had few opportunities to show skill. His play keeping the ball out of goal on his one save was nice, and didn't spill anything. He was caught out of position once that led to a heady moment, but solid overall. The main critique I have of him was that he kicked two balls out of bounds and his service was weaker. I can't remember him doing that previously. Not the best night on his part.
Kellyn Acosta - 6, He got his first real challenger in Cato that he's had all season. After getting beat early, he shut down and made Cato try his attacks on the other side. He got forward a lot again, and his crosses weren't half bad. The thing I like the most about him is that he's honest about his game. If you read the quote sheet, he knows he's got a lot to work on to become the player he wants to be. It's pretty obvious his aspirations are higher than what FCD is going to provide.
George John -5, John was showing either fatigue or just his physical limitations, but playing the high line, especially early, had him behind the play on San Jose's early runs. His service forward wasn't as good as previous matches, but he did feed watson who fed Blas on the ball that led to the penalty. This though wasn't a big issue in the end game. In addition, his clearances weren't successful on a whole either.
Matt Hedges - 4.5, Hedges got caught in a bad place on the first goal, but he still could've disrupted the pass back to Gordon in some manner. My biggest issue with that play is that he seemed to have no idea that Gordon was behind him at all. When the biggest forward on the field is lumbering behind you, you need to know your responsibilities, especially when the limitations of your playing partner make it your responsibility. That being said, he had some great clearances that led to San Jose's chances shut down for the most part in the 2nd half.
Jair Benitez- 3.5, Before we get into his faults, let me just say that playing him with the speed of San Jose on the wings was the right call. Michel would not be able to keep up with Cato, and Woodbury hasn't earned a shot yet. With Zack out, Jair was the right call. That being said, he had a horrible game. He was also caught unaware of Gordon trailing down the middle on the first goal, and was just caught ball watching on the second. When Acosta shut down Cato, Cato switched sides and found great success in pressuring Benitez. His crosses were ineffective, and even had 2 throw ins stolen. This is not acceptable. Zack will be back in two weeks for the next game (hopefully), and Jair will become an injury sub at this point. He is no longer starter quality.
Erick- 6.5, a force to be reckoned with again. He was a big part of why San Jose got little traction forward up the middle. His service was quality, and had 1 quality shot that was blocked, and another attempt go way wide. He and Acosta have been the main reasons we're getting out of this winless streak funk and seeing play quality improve. There is no reason he shouldn't play every remaining minute of the season as he is now one of the top players on the squad. I want to touch on his yellow real quick. Complete bullsh of a yellow. Especially when you have Allen Gordon trucking guys the entire first 25 minutes.
Michel- 5, I graded him higher on twitter, but then I rewatched the game. The guy is a turnover machine. Yes, he put the PK in with no issue. Yes he was inches close to his 2nd Olympico on the year. But 17 turnovers is way too many. The trade off between phenomenal free kick/corner service and ball security is one I don't think this team can make much longer. Either he needs to get better, or he needs to be not on the field anymore when AJ gets back.
Je-Vaughn Watson- 5, He had yet again another step up to his best game of the year, and he may have found his position. He STILL IS NOT AN MLS QUALITY PLAYER. Cuvi celebrated on Twitter when he completed a pass early in the 2nd. It's that apparent that he has no concept of ball security. I can't discount his great header to free blas for his goal, nor his header that drew the foul that led to the PK. But turnovers at Michel's rate is not going to get the job done. He looked like he was hurt when he came off, and though I don't like seeing injuries on our squad, it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if he's out for, let's say, ever.
Fabian Castillo- 6.5, Everytime I write these, I write the same thing. HE IS THE OFFENSE. He's been phenomenal up and down the sides for the past 3 matches. And on Saturday, he had great decisions on what to do with the ball once he got there. Could he be maturing and becoming the player FCD needs down the side? God I hope so. (though I don't know how many times people have written those two sentences in the past 2 years).
David Ferreira - 6, He cares, and it shows. His service was very effective at springing Castillo, and he was careful with the ball as well. He even had a shot or 2 on target. He's coming back to form, and is an effective offensive weapon now.
Blas Perez- 8, MOTM, Blas did his job again. He had a great goal, and he drew the penalty. Let's be completely honest about the foul that drew the penalty. He dove. He was barely touched. It worked. He got the job done and Michel got the game tied. He was the only starter not clearly gassed at the end of game.
Mauro Diaz- 5.5, Man this kid has moves. If DF10 hadn't woken up, he would be starting. This guy is accurate, can make plays, and is just a spark plug out there. It's good to know that FCD has a plan to replace DF10 when his contract expires at the end of 2014.
Ramon Nunez- 6, I am of the opinion that he is a starter, but SH has other ideas. as a 2nd half sub, he brought what we lost when Mauro came on for Castillo. He's dangerous, and his crosses are playable. AND he got Watson off the field.
Kenny Cooper- Inc, he may have earned the quickest Red in history. I don't think he'll get more than the standard one game, though he sure earned it. I completely understand why he was pissed too. The guy that gave him his May concussion knocks him down from behind, and then stands on his unprotected calf. Grabbing the jersey and putting him on the ground would be anyone's reaction. I still don't think the team has a place for him on the field, though I like Shellas going for the W as opposed to bunkering down and grabbing the tie.
Schellas Hyndman- 6 The biggest issues we've had with Hyndman are bad subs, hunkering down to go for the tie, and loyalty to players who don't deserve it. Only one of those problems was on display on Saturday. Starting Watson when you have Nunez there was curious to me. Nunez clearly has a better handle on ball possession which is key in that position. It's not that Watson did not make good plays, it's that he has shown nothing in games that deserves starter minutes. Benitez, has been slumping, but as I said in his comment, he was the right man for the job. The only other option is Woodbury, and I haven't seen enough to know if he would've been an improvement.
Hyndman nailed the subs this time around. Diaz was a nice shot in the arm for the offense that made the team get up for the last 30. Nunez again showed high quality as the instant offense guy off the bench. Then there was Cooper, who still is a mystery to me. What has he shown to deserve minutes? Still curious.
That being said, Hyndman showed with his subs that he wanted 3. He wanted to beat these thugs, but only got 1 point. I downgrade him for starting Watson. He still has yet to figure out Michel's position (too slow for wing back, too turnover prone for attacking mid, not defensive minded or physical enough for d-mid, but you need that service). And he has this unhealthy obsession with getting Cooper minutes (not an issue next time around). However, he went for the W, his subs made sense, and he had the guys in the positions to succeed.