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Player Ratings: New York City vs. Atlanta

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Grading each player’s individual performance in NYCFC’s 4-1 win against Atlanta on Wednesday

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Starting XI

Sean Johnson

Grade: B+

In a fair world, SeanJohn would have earned a clean sheet against Atlanta United on Wednesday. Unfortunately, the real world is anything but fair and Johnson was forced to concede a goal by way of a penalty shot. Despite not having the glowing shutout, Johnson performed pretty awesomely on Wednesday and showed a sharp aggression and awareness in stopping shots.

Good marks, all around.

Sebastien Ibeagha

Grade: A

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In the absence of perennial right back Anton Tinenrholm due to a concussion, New York City FC decided to take a chance and give Ibeagha a start on the right defensive flank. And boy, did the Nigerian-born defender put in a shift!

Tasked with marking the ever dangerous Tito Villalba for most of the contest, Seb was a hawk defensively and constantly shut down attacks down Atlanta’s left side of attack — a key stop on Villalba directly led to a counter-attack goal for NYCFC early on.

I’d argue this is the best we’ve seen the former USL Defender of the Year at the MLS level.

Maxime Chanot

Grade: B-

Had it not been for him conceding a penalty in the second half, it’s very possible that Chanot would have been given a much higher grade than this. After all, the Luxembourg center back performed exceptionally well for most of the contest. But, as I’ve said countless time before, bad decisions must be punished so as to maintain the integrity of the grading system.

Even with the penalty, it’s solid day at the office for Chanot.

Alexander Callens

Grade: B

It wasn’t particularly his most dominant performance in recent times. But Callens was damn solid all game long. Winning four tackles, an aerial duel, and boasting a passing percentage above 80% is surefire way to get a good grade, and the Peruvian accomplished that.

Ronald Matarrita

Grade: A-

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Costa Rican was great on both sides of the ball on Wednesday as he tackled, dribbled, and passed his way to excellence against one of the better sides in all of MLS. I’ve constantly gone on about how inconsistent Mata has been this season. But performances like these are what continues to endear him to longtime fans such as myself.

Alexander Ring

Grade: B+

The Ringleader was his usual solid self against the Five Stripes and served as a good defensive anchor in the midfield. The Finnish No. 6 asserted himself throughout, winning three aerials, four tackles, passed for 81%, and even dribbled past two opponents. That’s quality you can’t argue against.

Tony Rocha

Grade: C+

He’s obviously no Keaton Parks. But credit where it’s due: Rocha is a solid hand in the midfield when the first choice options aren’t available, especially at the No. 8.

It might not have been stellar. But still, it was decent.

Maxi Moralez

Grade: B

This was a hard grade to give. On one hand, Maxi did what he always does: control the pace of play, distribute brilliantly, and collect assists. But on the other, he missed a penalty (again) late in the first half.

For this particular outing, Moralez gets a solid B. But had he missed that penalty in a much more crucial spot, it’s possible — if not guaranteed — that I would have brought that down exponentially.

Ismael Tajouri-Shradi

Grade: B+

In his longest shift since returning to NYCFC from injury, Shroddy Doddy proved why he has always been one of City’s most useful hands on the pitch. The Libyan winger controlled the ball and was a constant source of pressure against Atlanta’s back line.

Tajouri-Shradi picked up the assist on City’s first goal and was pivotal in their third as well. It’s great to have him back!

Alexandru Mitrita

Grade: A+++

MLS: Atlanta United FC at New York City FC Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Yup. An A grade, and three plus marks for each goal he scored.

Mitri played like a man possessed on Wednesday and proved once and for all that when he’s on, defenses beware. First, it was great inside cut to far-post Brad Guzan. Then, it was another inside cut followed by a nifty near-post finish. And finally, an easy tap-in off a rebound to grab only the third hat trick in team history and punctuate what is definitely one of the best halves we’ve even seen from an NYCFC player, if not the best.

If we can get more performances like this out of Mitrita, then City’s MLS Cup chances just improved dramatically.

Taty Castellanos

Grade: B-

Even if he didn’t add to the stat sheet, Taty put in a good shift and was a constant threat on the dribble and in the attack at large. With Héber back in the mix, it’s likely that Castellanos will feature less prominently in the near future. But a job well done at covering for the Brazilian.

Substitutes

Héber

Grade: A

As an offensive replacement, your job is to come in and make a difference. And Héber made that to end the game in style.

In the 87th minute — making his first appearance since sustaining a quad injury — the Brazilian forward dribbled around Guzan to cap off an impressive 4-1 win. And for that, he gets two thumbs way up.

Justin Haak

Grade: N/A

Jesus Medina

Grade: N/A