This article first appeared in Prost Amerika
New York City FC ended an eleven game winless streak after withstanding a barrage of attacks from the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park.
Player Ratings (1-10)
Josh Saunders (9)
New York got its long awaited second win of the season on the back of a stellar performance from its number one. Saunders made six saves, most of which required the keeper to be at his best. His diving stop to prevent Sebastien Le Toux’ deflected shot from finding the back of the net, was exquisite, and exemplified how crucial the veteran has been this season.
Jeb Brovsky (6.5)
More defensive than usual as a result of Fabinho’s constant forays down the left, Brovsky still put in a decent shift, especially in the second half, when he and his teammates were pinned back by wave after wave of Union attacks.
Jason Hernandez (7.5)
A yellow within the first five minutes could have conditioned Hernandez’ performance, but the veteran didn’t change his approach to the game, continuing to be physical with C.J Sapong, and making a couple of key penalty box clearances. Hernandez will likely be held responsible for Philadelphia’s goal, but Sapong’s strike was more down to luck than a mistake from the center-back.
Shay Facey (8.5)
Jason Kreis may have finally found a regular partner for Hernandez. Appearing once again in the center of defense, Facey was an almost insurmountable obstacle, diving in for tackle after tackle, and giving Sapong little room to breathe. Facey’s performance could have been blemished by his one mistake in the 76th when his miscued clearance wound up at Le Toux’s feet.
Chris Wingert (6)
One could have been fooled to think that Wingert was playing in an unfamiliar position so obvious was his discomfort on the ball at times. Only his ever-present tenacity and gritty tackles allowed Wingert to mitigate a game peppered by mistakes, which included a terrible giveaway in the 33rd minute that should have been converted by a forgiving Cristian Maidana.
Sebastian Velasquez (6.5)
As is usually the case, Velasquez looked to touch the ball as much as possible, regularly drifting towards the middle from the right side of midfield. His inability to have more of an impact was a consequence of the slow pace to the game – particularly New York’s build-up. Only an excellent save from Brian Sylvestre kept the young Colombian off the score-sheet.
Andrew Jacobson (7.5)
New York’s defensive midfielder put in another sound performance at PPL Park. More involved in possession in the first half, Jacobson looked sure on the ball despite some inaccurate passes. In the second half, and with Philadelphia searching for the win, Jacobson spent most of the time plugging up the spaces in front of the back four. An excellent tackle in the box in the 55th minute on Maidana was the highlight of his game.
Kwadwo Poku (7.5)
With Mix Diskerud on international duty, and Ned Grabavoy still not ninety minutes fit, Poku slotted in next to Andrew Jacobson in the middle of the park. While New York fans probably expected more guile from the Ghanaian, he certainly didn’t disappoint, spraying the ball all over the field with remarkable accuracy (Poku converted 93% of his passes).
Thomas McNamara (7)
A brilliantly struck curling goal in the 53rd minute will remain the defining moment in the game for the local product. Nevertheless, McNamara didn’t start very well, evidencing some problems with his first touch and making some errant passes. After the goal, McNamara naturally grew in confidence and began to settle down.
David Villa (8)
Didn’t contribute with a goal – although he should have scored when Mehdi Bellouchy found him in the box with a pinpoint cross in the 84th minute – but was involved in almost everything New York did offensively. His niggling injuries behind him, Villa looks to be in the form that will help propel the team further up the Eastern Conference.
Adam Nemec (5.5)
Very much on the periphery of the game, Nemec has yet to prove he deserves a spot in the first eleven. For his size, Nemec was too easily pushed off the ball, preventing him from ever becoming the hold-up player New York needed him to be. In the 59th minute, the Slovakian inexplicably stole the ball from Villa’s feet, and then feigned injury to avoid being harangued.
Ned Grabavoy (6)
Came on in the 56th minute for Velasquez and slotted in the middle. Grabavoy exhibited his usual industriousness, making himself available in attack, and pestering the ball carriers when defending.
Mehdi Ballouchy (6)
Was introduced into the game when Philadelphia was in the ascendancy and spent most of the time defending as a result. Found David Villa with a cross in the closing minutes that deserved a better finish.
Patrick Mullins (7)
Replaced Nemec in the 77th minute and scored less than ten minutes later when he turned Fabinho from a throw-in, and struck a hard shot past Sylvestre.
Follow Eric Krakauer on Twitter @bigsoccerheadny