Triangle Offense's RailHawks' player ratings for Friday night's loss to NSC Minnesota. Let us know your thoughts...
GK Eric Reed - 6, He wasn't called on often in the match, making three comfortable saves, but he didn't put enough power behind a punch from an inswinging corner kick that led to the game's only goal.
D John Gilkerson - 6, Hot and cold performance in busy night. He broke up several early Minnesota attacks and got forward well late in the match. Still, he gave possession away cheaply in his own half on multiple occasions.
D Matt Bobo - 7, The first-year RailHawk almost equalized late on in the match with a glancing header. Defensively, he was decent for the most part, shepherding the ball back to his keeper and breaking up counters by putting the ball out of play. Still, Minnesota had way too much time on the ball in the RailHawks half of the field, and it's clear that Bobo is still getting comfortable with his new teammates.
D Mark Schulte, 5, The captain wasn't on his game this evening. As leader of defense, bears burden of shaky overall defensive performance with passive posture and weak clearances against an unconvincing attack. The defense wasn't organized on the deciding set piece, and Schulte resorting to grabbing jerseys late in the match. He wasn't a factor offensively, either.
D Greg Shields, 7, He just does his job. Shields didn't really do much to catch your attention in this one, and for a defender, that's a good thing.
M Cory Elenio, 6, The former Columbus Crew (crewman?) had the RailHawks first shot on goal, but he struck it directly at the keeper. He created a few chances, dinking a ball onto Barbara's forehead in the first-half that forced a fingertip save from Joe Warren. He seemed to run out of gas in the second half, and was smartly subbed off for Matt Watson.
M Amir Lowery, 5, We didn't see the same commanding back four protector of the preseason in this game. Lowery couldn't connect on his passes and the Stars were able to breach his guard far too frequently.
M Joseph Kabwe, 5, Playing centrally alongside Paladini, he struggled to link with the other players in attack; became obvious choice to come off in favor of Richardson to start second half.
M Daniel Paladini, 6, He was central to the few chances that the RailHawks created, and he struck a sweet strike from distance that went just wide in the second half. Poor free kicks. The RailHawks playmaker just needs to make more plays.
M Josh Gardner, 7, Another strong performance. His raw talent and pace are impressive, and he stayed involved in the contest. He ran up and down the left flank for much of the night, giving the team the width it desperately needs, and played a couple of exquisite through balls. Struggled to place his corner kicks in useful areas.
F Etienne Barbara, 7, Technically a very gifted striker, Barbara did a good job of latching onto long balls, but struggled to beat two and three defenders at a time. He needed more support. Balls over top to him didn't play to his strengths.
M Gregory Richardson (Kabwe), 7, His speed and ability to run at defenders changed the contest in the second half. He lacked the final ball or crucial shot in the final third. He's most dangerous when played down the flanks and cutting inside, but tonight dropped deep for balls and went into inside channels.
M Matt Watson (Elenio), 6, It's good to see him healthy again. Similar to Richardson, he tried to take defenders on, with some success, just not enough. Made one exceptional run down the right flank.
F Andriy Budnyy (Barbara), 5, By the time the Ukraine Train entered the station, there wasn't much he could do to rescue the result.
By the way, Triangle Offense isn't the only ratings agency: As part of the revamped Triangle Soccer Fanatics website, visitors can leave their own ratings. Results will be tabulated and a TSF Man of the Match will be declared. Check it out right here.