Player Grades: 901 FC earns point on the road in draw against North Carolina FC

We should’ve won. We should’ve won 3-1 and walked away with 3 points. We should be tied for 5th place in the East with 7 points from 5 games, and this article should be about how we showed tough up-top pressure which led to numerous goals and a win on the road. Unfortunately, we drew 1-1.

I shouldn’t be mad about this. Coming into the game against a North Carolina FC team that’s unbeaten in 3, it was hard to believe we would walk away with any points. The first 30 minutes of the game saw our constant pressure (which is one of the best I’ve seen in the USL) null against a sound, smart passing back 4. It looked as though they had planned out 2 passes before the ball was received, and our forwards were going to have no energy for offensive counter attacks. Regardless, we persisted, and ultimately looked like the better team on the road.


901 FC Player Grades

#1 Jeff Caldwell (5.5) – Caldwell had a decent game despite the goal he allowed.

It’s really tough to get an in depth description of his abilities on a weekly basis, and this is due to an always evolving, top defensive line (they’ve cycled through 3 different lineups, and have seen 6 different people play defense for this squad). There’s no doubt that Caldwell could’ve stopped the lone goal (and almost did). Just like on a PK, the keeper will try to guess the move of the kicker before the shot, and Caldwell guessed wrong. Outside of this, Caldwell had a key save in the 40th which would’ve resulted in a goal if he didn’t get a hand to the ball. Let’s give him credit for what he was able to do, and not what could’ve been.

#2 Morgan Hackworth (6.5) – Holy Moses, this guy could run a century before a game and not be tired (well, maybe half century). Hackworth is that nagging midfielder that you think is a forward because he’s always pressuring the ball up top, but somehow shows up in the midfield when needed, and tucked in on defense to build up play out of the back. He was vital to the push in the final few minutes of the first half to show that we could score too. He even put a shot on frame that required replays to show that the shot off the crossbar was not a goal. What can you say, crossbars are a keeper’s best friend?

#5 Tristan Hodge (8) – This man gets my player of the match award (I should really get a trophy for him or something). I want to start by talking about the one negative thing I saw from Hodge tonight, which was an absolute burning on defense in the 20th minute by the NC Forward. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Outside of this one instance, Hodge was the reason there was only 1 goal against. There was a corner against us in the 26th minute where Hodge made key defensive stops on both the right and left back positions, HE’S LITERALLY EVERYWHERE. Though he wasn’t directly involved in the one goal we had, his defensive hustle showed throughout the game which helped keep everyone active.

#8 Marc Burch (7.5) – Burch had a good game all around, and specifically I remember thinking late in the game “Burch stops any chance of offense during a counter attack”. He makes defensive work look easy, which is what you want from a center back (confidence). He and Hauser-Ramsey played perfect counterparts to each other as well – with opposite styles of offensive action after the solid defensive stops. Burch (once again) played a perfect free kick that turned into an awkward shoulder shot by Charpie, but the key to the draw was penalty buried by Burch. His presence and seniority makes this team better.

#10 Adam Najem (7) – It felt as though any beneficial offensive attack had Najem somewhere in the equation. He would’ve had an assist on Hackworth’s shot in the first half if the crossbar wasn’t playing topnotch defense, and the amount of slotted balls that were laid out perfectly with the stride of his target were noted. His defining play of the game came in the 70th minute when a relatively dull possession saw him on the offensive against 4-5 defenders, and only three 901 FC players. We were up 1-0 at the time, and most players would bite which would 98% of the time result in a turnover, but Najem analyzed the situation during the attack and paused for the rest of the offense join in.  That’s the sign of a smart player.

#14 Rashawn Dally (4) – Wait, did Dally play today? It’s hard to tell because he was a forward beside Collier, but I have about 1/4th the amount of notes on Dally due to the lack of involvement. To sum up Dally for this game, there was a moment in the 24th minute where he swung over to the opposite side, and basically interrupted a potential header/through ball for Collier. He was nonexistent this game, and when he existed on offense, he either was in the wrong place or had a terrible touch. Maybe he ate some bad North Carolina BBQ before the game?? JK, their BBQ is great just like Memphis’. I only give Dally such a low rating because I expect so much more from his performance (just like Collier). He has the ability to burn any defender, he just needs to figure out how to be in the right place on offense to use this skill.

#15 Jacob Hauser-Ramsey (6.6) – This is the first start for the center back with Memphis, and honestly I was pretty happy with his performance. As a center back your goals are to (1) make sure a forward doesn’t have an option to turn with the ball, (2) to stick to your man or runner like glue and (3) play composed balls out of the back. Hauser-Ramsey was competent with all of these. To add to what I said about he and Burch earlier, Burch played the long balls out of the back, while Hauser-Ramsey was solid with short grounders to his midfielders. This contrast in passes helps keep the forwards guessing as to what they’ll see from the defenders. 

#17 Ewan Grandison (6) – Grandison really wasn’t bad on defense this game, and outside of a mistake in the 55th minute where he didn’t check to his defender – he played the anticipated pass which caused a counter – Grandson had a good game. What was great was his offensive pressure on NC, which ultimately led to a red card for Da Luz (NC defender) and a PK for Burch (best Memphis soccer player ever?! – ok maybe just my favorite).  I will say that the cardio of Grandision could be better. Towards the end of each half he was struggling to show up on defense, and those lapses can easily swing the outcome of a game.

#18 Elliot Collier (4.5) – I tried, but I cannot be happy with Collier’s performance. He always leaves me wanting so much more from such a talented forward. What bothers me about Collier is his pace. He tried multiple times to beat a defender in the offensive 3rd, but Being a 6-4 forward, his strategy shouldn’t be burning a defender with quickness. He instead should be such a nuisance on offense in the air, yet he didn’t have a single threatening header for the keeper this game. I will say that there were multiple 1-2’s that made for a spark, and there was a stroke of brilliance in the 85th that had him get by two defenders, but he lost the ball too often on the offensive half for me to be stoked about his performance.

#21 Duane Muckette (6) – Muckette only played until the 65th minute, which I assume means he was exhausted from the offensive and defensive presence he was forced to play. One of the announcers during the game even stated that he was everywhere. Muckette didn’t have near the amount of shots we saw him have in the first 4 matches. really I can’t think of more than 2 shots from him, none on goal.  He did show more in his hold up play this game, and defensively he stopped an open cross in the 20th that probably would’ve resulted in a great shot at a minimum. Being on the road against one of the tougher defensive teams that Memphis will face this season, I can’t be mad with Muckette’s efforts.

#22 Wesley Charpie (7) – One of the best games I’ve seen Charpie play this season. He had a bad fall in the 41st that forced Caldwell to make an important save – and an unfortunate handball due to exhaustion in the 74th minute that was really a lapse in concentration – but played lockdown defense outside of that. He was part of some key shots during the game, and almost had a goal himself in the 86th. One of the things that I noticed often from Charpie that I thought was important was the amount of offensive possessions he was on. He swung outside the mids often for a through ball which is essential for an outside back to be relevant on offense. Well in, Charpie!

SUBS

# 13 White (4) – Really nothing special here for this game. White was subbed on for a drained Muckette, and in the first few minutes had a terrible tackle that resulted in a yellow. The expectations for the outside mid were limited, but you expect some kind of presence on offense, and he didn’t perform for a fresh sub. Let’s just chalk this up to being brand new for the team.

# 3 Abdi (NA) – Subbed on in the 86th for Collier, so not enough time to figure anything out

— Casey Long


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