This article first appeared in Prost Amerika:
New York City FC was only a few minutes away from earning a valuable away point at PPL Park against the Philadelphia Union.
New York’s loss is the second of the season, and marked an unimpressive display.
Player Ratings (1-10)
Josh Saunders (5.5)
An uneventful ninety minutes could not have ended in a worse way. With only two saves in the entire game, Saunders, who has been excellent this season, made the fatal mistake that cost his team a valuable away point. Although Andrew Wenger’s cross came at a difficult angle, the experienced keeper should have done better.
Josh Williams (5.5)
Off the pace for much of the first half – exemplified by the number of times Wenger beat him to the ball – and with two early turnovers that might have proven very costly, Williams seemed destined for a nightmarish game. Nevertheless, a much more solid second half, where he was more comfortable defending and more involved in the attack, added up to a decent performance.
Jason Hernandez (6)
A missed tackle in the 26th minute that allowed Sebastian Le Toux to assist Zach Pfeffer for Philadelphia’s first goal will be a major blemish on an otherwise solid game from the veteran. Hernandez kept Le Toux quiet for much of the game and positioned himself well throughout, making a couple of crucial blocks.
Chris Wingert (6.5)
Another disciplined display from the center-back. Blameless in both goals, Wingert made timely tackles and always tried to build possession out of the back despite few passing options in the first half. The veteran was arguably New York’s most composed player during the team’s dreadful first half.
Jeb Brovsky (5.5)
Much like his previous performances, Brovsky became more involved as the game progressed. Troubled by Eric Ayuk’s speed and incessant darting runs, Brovsky spent much of the first half in his defensive third, and found it difficult to pass out of the back. As NYCFC began to press higher up the field after the break, the left-back contributed more to the attack. Brovsky was partially responsible for the game-winning goal given his inability to close down Wenger faster.
Ned Grabavoy (6)
Started on the right side of midfield and had a first forty-five to forget. Sloppy with his passing, and a little clumsy going forward, Grabavoy found it hard to settle in. Still, Grabavoy’s performance improved drastically as New York began to chase the game. His constant drifting into the middle of the field opened up space for Brovsky, and allowed him to see a lot more of the ball.
Andrew Jacobson (6.5)
Jacobson’s game mirrored that of his team. The midfielder was a little stationary and careless with his passing in the first half, but came alive in the second. Much more assured in possession and frequently passing out of tough spots, Jacobson proved one of New York City’s more industrious players. His ability to recover the ball is invaluable to the team.
Mix Diskerud (7)
Diskerud appeared to be the only player intent on changing the course of the game in the first half when New York seemed content giving Philadelphia the initiative. A number of strong tackles failed to inspire his teammates, but showed Diskerud’s growing leadership. In the second half, a more assertive and purposeful approach allowed the midfielder to push up the field, where he began to exert more influence. Unsurprisingly, it was Diskerud who initiated the play that led to David Villa’s goal.
Sabastian Velasquez (5.5)
Surprisingly pulled off at the half, Velasquez was New York’s most offensively minded player in the first forty-five. Positive in his touches and not afraid to take on defenders, Velasquez was only hampered by his inability to effectively connect with Villa and Nemec.
David Villa (6)
Villa had the ball at his feet only a handful of times during the first half, and appeared uninspired on the few occasions when he found himself in good positions. Shelton’s introduction freed up more space for the Spaniard in the second half, but his performance still lacked the spark that we’ve already become accustomed to. Villa’s goal masked what was a pretty disappointing display.
Adam Nemec (5)
The Slovakian has yet to win fans over, and his latest performance will do more to annoy them than anything else. While unimpressive up to this point, Nemec has been able to influence games with his size, but with giant Steven Vitoria marking him, the Slovakian even had trouble bringing down long-balls that were hoofed at him in desperation. On a positive note, Nemec was involved in setting up the goal.
Khiry Shelton (6)
Introduced right after the break, Shelton stood out in his ability to beat opponents with speed. His positioning on the right side of midfield pegged back Wenger, allowing Williams to overlap more often. His move further up the field granted Villa more space, but meant that he became less of a factor. Shelton was involved in the build up to New York’s goal.
Javier Calle (5)
Brought in to replace Nemec with twenty minutes to go, Calle moved into the right side of midfield where he helped control possession, while never really imposing himself. A missed tackle on Wenger in the dying minutes sealed New York’s fate.
Kwame Watson-Siribe (N/A)
Slotted into the center of defense in order to help guarantee an away point, Siribe had enough time to earn a yellow card and find himself in no-man’s land when Wenger crossed the ball that would result in the game winner.