Philadelphia Union Mid-Season Report Cards – Midfielders and Strikers

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Let’s take a look at how the rest of the Philadelphia Union roster has been performing so far in 2018.  Just a reminder that this will only include those who’ve played in MLS regular season action for the big club.  Sorry, no Adam Najem or Eric Ayuk.

David Accam

Player Grade: D

I remember 14 goals and 8 assists last season with the Chicago Fire.  I remember the announcement of him signing with the Union.  I remember the fans greeting him at the airport.  I remember nothing else.

Alejandro Bedoya

Player Grade: B+

The captain is doing what the Union signed him to do.  He looks more in command this season, not letting things get out of hand in the midfield for the first half of 2018.  He’s also realized with the current striker situation, help needs to come from everywhere, and he’s being more aggressive offensively, taking more shots than he did in previous seasons.

Cory Burke

Player Grade: B

I wish I had more on Burke to evaluate.  But, ya know, he must be behind Ronaldo or Kane on the depth chart.  Going by the eye test and a small sample of statistics, Burke has been quite active and willing to take the shot when he has the opportunity.  He’s shown creativity on the ball and doesn’t have to play with his back to the goal to gather himself.

Warren Creavalle

Player Grade: B

I’ll defend my man once again.  He isn’t the reason the Union find themselves below the red line.  He’s filled in admirably for the suspended Haris Mendunjanin and was outstanding against Atlanta when the Union were down two men.  Alas, with the midfield back intact now, we won’t see him get any extended minutes for a while.   But the Union won’t join the elite of the East until they start fielding  more talent.  That’s why Derrick Jones needs to move ahead of him.

Ilsinho

Player Grade: A

Attention Coach Curtin!  DO NOT PLAY ILSINHO AT THE 10!  Out on the wing, he is a different player, breaking down opponents and setting up teammates.  Ilsinho has looked and played like a new man this season, hustling all the time and at a speed he hasn’t displayed since he’s joined the Union.  It looks like he will easily surpass his goal and assist totals from 2016 and 2017 in this season alone.

Borek Dockal

Player Grade: A

Through his first eight starts with the Union, Dockal registered only one goal and one assist.  He looked uncomfortable and the midfield appeared dysfunctional to be kind.  Perhaps it just took time, but since then, the Czech international has been the Union’s most productive player, tallying four goals and five assists in his past seven starts, including the 23 minute early exit in Atlanta.

Marcus Epps

Player Grade: B-

The second year winger has displayed toughness and a fight any coach would love.  I like how he is being utilized as a part-time starter since Ilsinho is out-playing him on that side.  Ten appearances, including six starts has allowed Epps to keep a solid rhythm.  My only gripe is the lack of shots.  He seems to fight for the ball but hesitates when the open shot is there.  Three shots on goal thus far won’t cut it.

Anthony Fontana

Player Grade: N/A

OK, the kid’s only 18.  But he needs to play!  I mean how about ten minutes every few weeks?  He’s not even getting that.  He was called upon to start the season at New England, while Dockal was acclimating himself to the club, and couldn’t have played much better.  There must be something Coach Curtin doesn’t like about his form in practice each and every week, because he will keep starting Ilsinho at the ten when needed.  There’s enough proof that Ilsinho is not the same player there.  What’s the deal coach?

Fabian Herbers

Player Grade: C-

The former first round draft pick looked poised for a solid career in MLS but things haven’t quite worked out yet.  After a promising rookie season and an injury-riddled second season which ended with sports hernia surgery, Herbers had the deck stacked against him coming into 2018.  He started the first three matches this year for a suspended Fafa Picault, looked sluggish, not in sync with teammates, and totaled only one shot on goal in those three starts.  Recently, he’s been looking like the old Fabian with Bethlehem Steel.  They could use his services in Chester soon.

Derrick Jones

Player Grade: N/A

He must be the worst practice player in the world.  I swear if Bedoya and Creavalle would get injured next week, Curtin would be more likely to pull a guy out of section 129 than sub on Derrick Jones.  I’m saying how about an occasional start?  In three appearances in 2018, only one was for more than five minutes.  This year’s Keegan Rosenberry.

Haris Medunjanin

Player Grade: C+

Registering only one goal but of even more concern, only one assist thus far, Haris needs to step up his game.  Granted he missed four matches due to a red card and suspension.  Early this season, he looked like he did July through September of 2017 – distracted, often turning the ball over to no one in particular, even when not pressured.  Last year, even though he led the club with 12 assists, he had two streaks of five games each and another of eight consecutive games without a goal or assist.  He’ll have to raise his game this summer if the Union are to have any shot at the playoffs.  (C+)

Fafa Picault

Player Grade: B

Until Accam breaks out of his funk, the starting spot on the left-wing belongs to Fafa.  Although he hasn’t put up spectacular numbers so far, his three goals on the season have come in the last four matches.  He’s heating up and has helped dictate tempo on the left side of the pitch.

C.J. Sapong

Player Grade: D

He’s already heard it from the fans and the media so I’ll just state the facts.  Sapong is averaging a measly one shot on goal every 123 minutes played.  He is hesitant, hasn’t been able to control the ball on first touch, but still rarely sits.  If all the things other than scoring that Coach Curtin says Sapong does are beneficial to the team, those other things aren’t paying off either.  They find themselves below the red line at the halfway point and he needs at least a few games out of the starting lineup.

Jay Simpson

Player Grade: N/A

As a reward for scoring one goal last season, Simpson was given a $100K raise.  Since then, even with Sapong’s struggles, Simpson couldn’t manage more than two appearances totaling 39 minutes.  There’s a disconnect in the Union hierarchy if someone the coach has such little faith in to contribute, can still get a raise.  Especially with Earnie gone, there’s no chance of seeing him in blue and gold in 2019.

Let us know what you think of the grades at the halfway point this season in the comments section below! Also check out our player grades for the Union’s Defense and Goalkeepers: Philadelphia Union Mid-Season Report Cards – Defense and Goalkeepers

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Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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