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Player Grades: NYCFC vs. Philadelphia

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Grading everyone’s individual performances against the Union on Saturday

MLS: New York City FC at Philadelphia Union Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Johnson

Grade: B

New York City FC’s new team captain didn’t have much to do on Saturday. As a matter of fact, the clean sheet victory came without Johnson needing to make so much as one save. This is a testament not only to City’s defense, but SeanJohn’s ability to organize his backline.

While we can’t justify giving him a gargantuan grade, we can definitely say he played an important role in the win.

Sebastien Ibeagha

Grade: B+

Maxime Chanot’s injury came at the eleventh hour ahead of the clash against the Philadelphia Union. Having to step in last minute for a regular starter in a new formation, Sebastien Ibeagha could’ve been doomed to fail. But he didn’t. As a matter of fact, he asserted himself quite well.

The Nigerian-born center back was sturdy at the right of a back-three and complimented his teammates well. It was a performance that could maybe net him more minutes in the future.

James Sands

Grade: A

MLS: New York City FC at Philadelphia Union Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Having mostly played in the defensive midfield through the first two games of the season, the Sandsman got an opportunity in the middle of a back-three on Saturday. And dare I say it, it could be his best spot.

NYCFC’s first Homegrown was a boss in the middle of the back line, winning three aerials and completing a whopping 94% of his passes from the back, and was a constant source of frustration to Philly’s attack. He deserves the utmost credit for his role in the shutout.

Alex Callens

Grade: B+

The Peruvian defender was as solid as ever against the Union on Saturday. As per usual, Callens used his athletic ability to his advantage by moving up and down the pitch, contributing on both defense and even providing a little offensive presence.

NYCFC’s ironman continues to make a difference going into his fifth season with the club and shows no signs of slowing down.

Anton Tinnerholm

Grade: A

MLS: FC Cincinnati at New York City FC Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Did the Swede score one of his signature bangers? No. But Tinnerholm continues to be brilliant, even transitioning from a traditional fullback role to that of a wide midfielder.

The man who is notoriously very good at soccer logged an assist in the first five minutes of the game and continued to offer both offensive and defensive support from the right flank. While he’ll have flashier outings in the future for sure, Saturday was another testament to Tinnerholm’s immeasurable influence on NYCFC’s success.

Gudi Thorarinsson

Grade: C+

Having seen what he can bring to the table in three straight games, I’m no longer as down on Gudi as I would’ve been last season. Given his ability to deliver set pieces, it’s become obvious that he does have an upside.

With that said, however, I’m still not sold on his ability to effectively defend as a box-to-box wide mid. Though he’s technically solid and whips in a good cross, his athleticism — or lack thereof — does still stick out from time to time.

Gudi gets the passing grade. But it’s an average one.

Alfredo Morales

Grade: B-

Saturday marked Alfredo’s first MLS start. And while it wasn’t perfect, I do see value in him at the No. 6 position.

The former Dusseldorf midfielder seems to have a good amount of energy and does seem fairly competent with the ball at his feet. And as difficult as it is for me to say this, I do think he suits City’s style in the midfield better than Sands does.

Morales passed at an impressive 98% clip on Saturday and put in some good work, but did commit a turnover in the first half that could’ve proved costly. Overall, a solid first outing and one that can definitely lay the groundwork for improved appearances in the future.

Keaton Parks

Grade: C+

Keaton did his thing at his usual No. 8 position. But by that same token, I feel he is capable of better. There were several moments during the game where Parks seemed disconnected from the run of play and even became invisible at some points.

Despite that, Parks never committed any glaring mistakes. He passes. But we know he’s capable of better.

Maxi Moralez

Grade: B-

This grade might seem low for a player who had the ball 10% of the time when NYCFC were in possession and played a huge part in the team’s first goal. But I do think there’s something to be said about coming up empty despite 5 total shots and almost derailing the aforementioned first goal entirely.

I’m under no delusion that City’s long-reigning DP isn’t one of the club’s most important players and contributes massively on the pitch. And his shrugging off a Philadelphia defender in the run-up to the first goal was impressive indeed. But I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t all too confident when the diminutive Argentinian has the ball in a goalscoring position.

Jesus Medina

Grade: A-

Scoring his third goal in as many appearances this season, City’s former Young DP continues to make a case for why we are all wrong about his ability on the field.

Medina was an easy Man of the Match candidate with his game-winning goal, in addition to 5 completed dribbles and a work rate that managers would kill to see, covering almost 7.6 miles worth of ground which is good for third best in MLS for Week 3.

It’s obvious we are seeing a new Medina than the one we saw struggle under Domé Torrent’s tutelage. And with each passing game, I’m becoming more of a believer in his ability to play a huge part in a trophy-winning campaign.

Taty Castellanos

Grade: B-

MLS: New York City FC at Philadelphia Union Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

Taty has had a tumultuous past few weeks. The center of a seemingly never-ending transfer rumor connecting him with a move to Brazilian club Palmeiras, the pressure was on Castellanos to not only prove to fans that he is a player worth keeping, but to prove to outsiders that he is also a player worth pursuing.

Did he deliver on that front? Yes, but also no.

Taty missed a sitter in the first half and was consistently ineffective in front of goal early on (and even caught an assault from Philly’s Jose Martinez). But in the second half, the Argentinian forward pounced on a defensive misclick and confidently Rabona’d a shot into the net to effectively ice the game for NYCFC and solidify a 2-0 victory.

His performance on Saturday was a reminder to the City faithful that he is indeed a viable attacking option. But it also shows the young striker has much to learn in the ways of the Force.