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Fw: DC United vs. Toronto FC Player Rankings

By Jeff Maurer

A commenter on my first post suggested that I do player rankings for DC’s game against Toronto. Good idea. Goff stopped doing player rankings, probably because he grew tired of the sometimes rude and spiteful back-and-forth that took place in the comments section. I, however, am a standup comic, so rude and spiteful back-and-forth is pretty much my stock and trade. So, let’s start the debate, and remember: I don’t come down to where you work and knock the burger out of your hand!

But first, let’s clarify the ratings scale. We’ll do this metric-style: a base-10 scale.

10 – The heavens part, angels weep. Wars around the world are halted in observance of the performance. Mankind’s role in the universe is revealed to all. Maradona grudgingly admits the performance is “not bad”.

9 – A player dominates a game so thoroughly that his team could have won with ten other guys from a halfway-decent intramural league. If Ray Hudson is calling the game, his head explodes in the midst of comparing a backheel to the Sistine Chapel.

8 – A player does everything asked of him and more. Solid play throughout punctuated by a few moments of brilliance. In MLS, a few of these performances strung together will ignite “how long can we keep him in MLS?” conversations.

7 – Very good game. If the player is American, internet message boards are flooded with “cap him now!” comments regardless of previous performances.

6 – Above average game. If every player on the team earns a six, they probably win.

5 – Completely average game for a starting player in that particular league. We’ll call this the Clyde Simms Line.

4 – Below average game for a starting player in that league.  The Sunderlands and Wigans of the Premiership are comprised mostly of fours.

3 – Not good…not good at all. In MLS, a performance like will justify a comment like “I can’t believe we’re paying this guy forty thousand dollars a year!”

2 – Greg Janicki vs. CD Marathon, 2009 (A cheap shot, I admit – I like Janicki and wish him well. But that’s the most vivid depiction of a “2” I can think of).  

1 – A player cannot earn a “1” through soccer actions alone. They have to combine horrible play with some other odious act. For example, they have to earn a red card WHILE committing mail fraud. Something like that.

0 – The world unites in condemnation of the performance. The UN passes a resolution denouncing the player. The ACLU issues a press release encouraging anyone who sees the player to enact vigilante justice. FIFA starts a campaign to have players display “Say No To (player’s name)” banners before World Cup matches.

That’s the scale. Now on to the rankings for the Toronto match:

Troy Perkins – 5. Wasn’t asked to do much, but did what was required. Got away with a moment in the first half when he came out for a cross that he was never going to reach. If there’s an upside to Bill Hamid’s shoulder surgery, it’s that it gives Perkins a chance to play himself back into form, and we badly need that to happen. If he plays the way he’s capable of playing, then he’s a quality MLS keeper and will either start for United or have some trade value. But if he ends up being a $205,000 backup, then I’m going to start grading him on a scale of 0 to 10 Haynesworths.

Jordan Graye – 5.2. Yes, precisely 5.2. These ranking are very scientific. It’s nice for United to have a fullback with some speed; he does a good job of getting up the line a couple times a game. If he can reduce the giveaways, he could have a future in this league.

Dejan Jakovic – 5.5. Good to have him back – this team looks a lot better when something resembling the intended starting lineup is on the field. I think that defenders who can play the ball out of the back are underrated; Jakovic played an important role in United dominating possession throughout the game.

Julius James – 6. Good, solid game – was forceful in his challenges and headers. Took his goal well. I think he’s actually a bit better this year than he was last year – he’s more consistent in his defending.

Jed Zayner – 4. I thought his positioning and work rate were good, but he developed a bad case of the giveaways midway through the second half.

Santino Quaranta – 5. How crazy is this: in my opinion, Tino’s best asset is his work rate. Who saw that coming in 2005? But it’s true: he puts in a good shift, but his touch and finishing really seem to be lacking.

Kurt Morsink – 6. Covered a lot of ground and won a lot of balls in the midfield. Suffers a bit from a lackluster name: “Kurt Morsink” sounds like a light-hitting second baseman whose card you would put in your bike spokes when you were a kid.

Stephen King – 5.5. Now THAT’s a name: majestic and spooky at the same time. I like that King seems willing to play whatever role the team needs; he hangs back a bit when Boskovic is in the lineup, but gets forward more when paired with Morsink or Simms.

Andy Najar – 6.5. Once again, the bright spot in a bleak year. I’m behind Ben’s growing inclination to use Najar as a striker, because when he’s lined up in the midfield he cheats forward so much that he’s pretty much a third striker anyway. That’s actually one part of Najar’s game that I’d like to see improve: when he’s in the midfield, I’d like to see him check back more and help maintain possession instead of always trying to get behind the defense.

Danny Allsopp – 3. No player is a Brian McBride-type unless he converts a high percentage of his chances.

Pablo Hernandez – 5.5. Had some good moments, but the question remains: can he finish? And the answer to that question will help answer to the bigger question: has United’s South American scouting department lost its magic touch?


Branco Boskovic – 5.5. Played the free kick that led the goal, so there’s that. But we need more from him. Expectations for a designated player are high: mathematically, he needs to be thirteen times better than Stephen King in order to justify his salary.

Carrey Talley – 7.5. Waited until Najar got all the way to the sidelines and then ran onto the field real slow, wasting precious second in the process. Exactly what the coach wanted from him.

By Box Seats blogger  |  September 15, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Jeff Maurer , United  | Tags: D.C. United, player rankings  
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Next: A Dunn deal


For my taste, this post had the right mix of humor and seriousness. Well played, sir!

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | September 15, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

I agree, you're off to a good start.

And for what it's worth, if United gave a "Most Improved Player" award every year, I'd give it to Julius James for 2009.

Posted by: VercengetorixII | September 15, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Well done JM good post. DCU is going undefeated the rest of the season.

Posted by: uknowmeas-GQ | September 15, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Carey Talley with a 7.5?!?!?!
trade him for some picks!

Posted by: daggar | September 16, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Let's rate Jeff's ratings comments! Same 1-10 scale.

"Troy Perkins - 5" A solid comment to get the party started. 5

"Jordan Graye - 5.2" A twist. It's not a straight 1-10 scale but really a 1-100 scale with a decimal point! Excellent. 6.1

"Dejan Jakovic - 5.5" Emphasis on crediting the defenders. Rare on soccer blogs. 6

"Julius James - 6" Jeff, please. "Took his goal well"? On this team, this year, any touch that finishes is a cause for hosannas! The 6 is good, but let's at least have a little counter-snark. 4

"Jed Zayner - 4" Solid but unmemorable comment, much like Zayner's game. 5

"Santino Quaranta - 5" Good historical perspective. 5.2

"Kurt Morsink - 6" Ding-ding-ding, we have a winner! Hilarious comment. Anybody who didn't LOL needs medical help. 9

"Stephen King - 5.5" An OK synonym joke somewhat overshadowed by the stupendous Morsink joke just prior. 4.5

"Andy Najar - 6.5" Hm. Is Andy playing forward or getting forward??? 4ish

"Danny Allsopp - 3" Harsh. But fair. 5

"Pablo Hernandez - 5.5" Quality snarking of the front office, elegantly underplayed. 6

"Branco Boskovic - 5.5" OK, the problem here is that it's "Branko," and yes, I did have to go to the DCU website to check because I can't remember it either. 3

"Carey Talley - 7.5" The punchline! Outstanding ending to an auspicious debut. 7.5

Congratulations, Jeff. If the Post ever starts a blog for fans of its blogs, I'll be there for you, man.

Posted by: dccal | September 16, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

@dccal: Thanks for the ratings-ratings. I rate them a 7.2 - good game plan, well executed.

For what it's worth, the original draft of this blog had a series of jokes about player names, starting with Jed Zayner. But, in the end, I decided that it was too mean to point out that Jed Zayner is a complete hillbilly-sounding name. The Post does not endorse that type of slander.

Posted by: jsm91 | September 16, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

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