Player Ratings: San Jose Earthquakes

Posted on: July 5th, 2012 by 2 Comments

Sitting in my darkened, electricity-free house this morning, I was thinking about the way that seemingly insignificant events can have enduring effects on our lives. Case in point: an episode of Bewitched that I watched on TV when I was, maybe, ten years old. Somehow, they had managed to bring George Washington forward in time. I don’t remember much about the plot of the episode, except that at one point the Father of Our Country is moved to note, “I am always a pessimist, because that way if I’m wrong, at least it’s a pleasant surprise.” This utterance took root in my juvenile brain and has remained there ever since (it helps that I have remained sort of juvenile).

As I am wont to do, I approached the match with San Jose with a sense of extreme pessimism. Now, truth be told, there were some pretty good reasons to be pessimistic, not the least of which was the thrashing that we’d been dealt in Denver on Saturday last. As if to prove the truth of my guiding adage, the lads pulled together and snatched a hard fought win against some of the best opposition that we will see all season. As in the Seattle game, this was a matter of the lads pulling together and giving maximum effort. I think the experience is best summed up by sunshine’s postmatch text to me which read simply, “that did not suck.”

1. Troy Perkins: Didn’t do a lot wrong. Bossed his box effectively and distributed the ball well. 5

12. David Horst: Much more like his showing against Seattle than his less impressive outing against Denver. He and Futty are our best defensive pairing at this point, and they are building a strong partnership, albeit with a few backward staggers here and there. Those were not in evidence on Tuesday. Horst was at his physical, dominating best. He might have scored in the 33rd minute but for a save off the line by Baca. He probably should have had a penalty as well, as was being pulled down from behind, but sadly, David Horst is unlikely ever to get a call like that. Anyway, he had a very, very good match. 6.5

98. Futty Danso: Our 98 had a monster game. He played the enforcer in defense, shutting down Wondolowski like and illegal bar. He set the physical tone early and let the Quakes attackers know that there was a price to be paid for trying to collect balls in the middle of the park. He contributed up from by discomfiting Bingham in a way that allowed Jewbury to get on the score sheet. Didn't lose his head when provoked by serial cheater Steven Lenhart. In short, Man of the Match. 7.5

14. Steven Smith: This was a real improvement on his performance against Colorado. When Smith is on his game, he brings a lot to the table in terms of defensive toughness and the willingness to get forward. In the minutes before Portland’s opener, he failed to get goal side of Gordon, nearly allowing him to score a sitter (which fortunately he muffed), but then made up for it a second later by throwing his body in the way of Salinas’s shot from the flank. He lasted only 65 minutes before getting crocked. I’ve not seen any news on his condition as yet, but he’s a guy that we need on the pitch. 6

13. Jack Jewsbury: Fought hard and found ways to contribute. He still didn’t get forward as much as I would like, but looked to his defensive responsibilities with thoroughness and energy. Got his first goal of the season on a play that was all about desire and graft. Well done to him for that. 6

30. Lovel Palmer: Palmer had a little something to prove after getting sent off quite needlessly against the Sounders. Too, he was being inserted into the lineup in place of Chará (who was ineligible due to an accumulation of cautions), so he had some big shoes to fill. Chará has been the guts of this team so far this season. To his credit, Palmer a generally good job deputizing. He threw himself into opposing attacks in a way reminiscent of our young Columbian and made a nuisance of himself in midfield. Having said all of this, he might have been a bit more active in denying Gordon a touch on San Jose’s goal. 5

6. Darlinton Nagbe: Still learning the trade in central midfield, but his performance was better than it had been at other times recently. The big change was that his tempo was better. He was caught on the ball much less often on Tuesday and that helped Portland’s offense retain its fluency. He can make a big contribution to this team, but he’s still a work in progress. 5

8. Frank Songo’o: This was his best game of the season by a long length, and he might have been MOTM if he had made it the full 90. Used his technique to good effect and put in a beautiful ball for Mwanga’s opener. Might have had a second assist in about the 55th minute on another beautiful cross. For the record, although Mwanga put it off the bar, he was clearly onside, contrary to the linesman’s ruling. I didn’t see the incident where he got crocked, but we’ve got to hope he’s ok because he is the best thing this team has going in wide areas. 7

17. Eric Alexander: EA really only works well if he’s on from the opening whistle, and that was the case on Tuesday. Provided more width than we’ve had at other times and generally worked well with Smith and Chewie. As I’ve said before, he’s just not one of those fight to the byline kind of guys, but he did a good imitation of one and the Timbers attack was much better for it. 6

9. Kris Boyd: Had moments of frustration, as he still was not getting the kind of service that he likes, but had some excellent moments as well. Laid off a beautiful ball for Nagbe in the first half that the latter should really have used better than he did. Not that the game on Tuesday really showed it, but I’m convinced that Boyd and Mwanga will be a real handful once they get things worked out. 5

10. Danny Mwanga: Opened his account quite sweetly with a well taken goal from Songo’o cross. He looked dangerous all game and really gave a good illustration of the myriad assets that he brings to the table. Nice that he scored his first one right in front of the Timbers Army as well. 6.5

4. Mike Chabala: Brought on when Smith got crocked and did what he normally does, fought hard and played excellent, stand up defense. 5

7. Sal Sizzo: Substituted for Songo’o when the latter got a lower leg problem of some kind. Didn’t really get too much time on the ball. 5

28. Freddie Braun: Came on late for Palmer. Didn’t have time to really make an impact. NR


2 Responses

  1. Chris Marshall

    July 5, 2012

    I’ve found much to criticize in Captain Jack this season, but I would credit him with getting forward just a bit more than you recall. By ‘just a bit,’ I mean only a little more than not at all but it was an improvement. Sounds like this may be his last game in defense in any event.

    • theaxepdx

      July 6, 2012

      ha! classic line: “I mean only a little more than not at all” and perfectly embodies his normal contribution. but, i think we credited him with getting forward though disguised by disbelief–something you also express.


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