Sunday's win over San Jose provided us our first view of the reformed squad (less the injured three), and it has to be said that the view pretty spectacular indeed. Let's talk about how they fared — if you're looking for player ratings, hop back to Randal's post yesterday on that subject.
At any rate, we had four (or perhaps three) debutants (and if one of those had scored a hat trick, would that be a debutant's ball?) see the pitch, and they all fared reasonably well. Of course, that's easy to say in a win, isn't it?
Robbie Findley. Well, sort of. He's obviously been here before, and he knows many of the players at the club. But on Sunday, he had played with only a handful: Rimando, Schuler, Beltran, Beckerman, Gil, Saborio. Further, Gil made no 2010 appearances and Schuler made but one — so let's say Findley played substantially with four of the ten on the pitch. Findley's clearly improved since he left, but to expect him to be firing on all cylinders with a new squad may be a bit too much. Let's also consider that he's going to need time to build up to full fitness, but that he's getting close.
Joao Plata. He had a fantastic impact on Sunday, but he's a young player and is bound to run into some inconsistency along the way. It's interesting to me that his assist came from deeper in the field — I'm not sure if that was a tactical decision or if he was caught deep, but the understanding and passing involved in that first goal was magnificent. Lots of promise in this kid.
Khari Stephenson. For his first match with the club, he fared well as a linking midfielder. He played the Ned Grabavoy role, and while he wasn't stylish or entirely exciting, he moved around the pitch well and put in a team-high four successful tackles. It's also worth noting that he didn't actually play at the top of the diamond as TV graphics listed him — an oddity, to be sure, as he played on the left side.
Devon Sandoval. This kid came off the bench late on and was impressive. Here's the thing — Jason Kreis famously doesn't love handing rookies minutes unnecessarily unless they deserve the time. Of course, two of the remaining options were also rookies — John Stertzer and Carlos Salcedo. At any rate, Sandoval came on worked hard for his three-minute cameo, helping to apply pressure high up the pitch to keep San Jose relatively at bay.
The following players are left to make their debut later in the season: Josh Saunders, Jeff Attinella, Lalo Fernandez, Lovel Palmer, Rich Balchan, Carlos Salcedo, Aaron Maund, Enzo Martinez, John Stertzer, Cole Grossman, Olmes Garcia.