Editors Note: The alphabet theme and letter ratings were chosen by me, while the player ratings were chosen by Dylan. - Ray
Ah, the alphabet. Most everyone learns it at an early age thanks to a popular tune. Although sometimes taken for granted, the 26 letters of the alphabet, from A thru Z, play an important roll in every aspect of life. From text messages, to written letters, names for people and teams, letters are everywhere. But not all letters are created equal. Some are more used than others, and some have meanings beyond their sounds. Let’s take a look at the player ratings for Orange County’s loss to Phoenix this past Saturday.
First, some match stats:
OC: 0 goals for | 11 shots (one on target) | 344 passes (76.2% completion) | 42.6% possession | 19 tackles (68.4% success) | 14 fouls conceded (2 yellow cards)
PHX: 3 goals for | 7 shots (four on target) | 464 passes (81.3% completion) | 57.4% possession | 11 tackles (90.9% success) | 11 fouls conceded (2 yellow cards)
It was an atypical performance for Orange County SC in the desert, with very little positives to take out of the night.
5 Stars - E
The letter “E” is without question, the best letter in the alphabet. Not only is it the most used letter in the English language and the free vowel given at the end of Wheel of Fortune, it also wields tremendous power with the ability to change the sounds of other letters with it’s inclusion in words. The letter “E” changes a victory (win) to an adult beverage (wine), by changing the “I” sound while remaining silent. Now that is some power.
No Orange County player was as good as the letter “E”.
4 Stars - X
Although limited in it’s use in the English language, the letter “X” is still a very good, underrated letter. It is worth 8 points in Scrabble, just behind the 10 points given for the letters “Z” and “Q”. It is also the first letter in some great words such as Xenodocheionology (the lore of hotels and inns , Mirriam-Webster.com) and Xenoglossy (purported use - as by a medium - while in a trance state of a language unknown to the individual under normal conditions, Mirriam-Webster.com). On top of all that, “X” marks the spot on maps, which typically marks the location of a burred treasure (or your desired destination). It is also used as part of railroad crossing signs.
Sadly, no Orange County player was as good as the letter “X”.
3 Stars - C
The letter “C” is used to define average in school grades. This alone is enough to justify it as the “average” 3 star rating.
McLain wasn’t at fault for the own goal, but he was caught out of position multiple times and was only punished for it with Asante’s chip from distance. Still, the keeper came up big with two saves and a big tackle to delay the blowout. His distribution, along with the rest of the team, was poor.
The most involved member of the defense, Kontor played about as well as anyone and got involved with the attack down the left flank. He won three tackles, five duels, made three interceptions and 36 passes on the night. His work rate was one of the few positives from this match.
On the ball more than anyone for OC, Quinn managed 42 passes, two interceptions, and created a chance. He was mostly isolated in the middle of the park, moving out left when trying to create an attack. Despite his attempts, he couldn’t create anything in a dangerous area, with the ref literally stepping in the way of his most dangerous pass. Still, OC’s best player.
The Japanese playmaker featured in his fourth match of the season and made a decent impact in the middle of the pitch, combining well with Aodhan Quinn and bringing some energy to the attack. Completed 15 passes, won three duels, two fouls, and created a chance. His shot just missed the target and he was prevented a second chance by the referee, who was confusingly standing atop of the arc just outside of the Phoenix box.
2 Stars - N
Some people might disagree with a 2 star rating for the letter “N”, but here is the reason: it almost always gets passed over (or blended together with “M” and “O) when when a young child sings the alphabet song. It is also sometimes pushed aside at the beginning of words by other letters, such as “K”, even though we still start with the “N” sound, such as in the work knight or knife. For being part of the “M”, “N”, “O” jumble and being such a pushover, “N” is low on the list of best letters.
Alston’s biggest moment in the match came with his own goal in the sixth minute. His night only got worse: losing four duels, managing just one tackle and 26 passes, and being subbed off in the 83rd after a heavy tackle that left the right back on the ground. His performance wasn’t the cause of the loss, but it was symptomatic of the team’s performance.
Physicality is crucial in this league, especially against Phoenix. As such, Leonardo was an interesting choice in the starting lineup. His defensive stats were uninspiring but understandable given the end result of the game. He lost four duels, three aerial duels, and made no tackles, but he completed 36 passes at a 91.7% success rate, suggesting his presence was based upon his experience and technical ability.
Hume had an okay first half. He managed 35 passes, three clearances, and two attempts on the Phoenix goal. But much like Kevin Alston, Hume had a big impact on the game on the wrong side of the field. Hume’s massive whiffed clearance on 50 minutes gifted Solomon Asante what will probably become goal of the week. That’s what everyone will remember about this match and it’s up to him to keep his head up and put this behind him.
45 minutes played and the midfielder won five duels, but managed little else but nine passes and a yellow card to his name. Phoenix played out to the wings, largely nullifying his ability in the middle of the pitch. It wasn’t his night, but he didn’t make any big errors.
The Dutchman had a quiet night, largely due to the majority of the play being on the opposite flank. He managed 13 passes, one completed cross, and two offside runs before being substituted for Koji Hashimoto before the hour mark.
The Englishman was incognito in Phoenix, perhaps struggling with both the heat and the opposition’s pace. 32 passes at 68.8% success, he contributed nothing going forward and made just three tackles in 90 minutes. Unable to use his size to his advantage in the box. Probably his worst match.
No Darwin Jones meant that the former Rangers man was back out on the wing, where he hasn’t exactly shined. 34 passes at 64.7% success, an even split of eight won and lost duels, and two offsides runs were his main contribution. It was evident he was over it by the 84th minute: after his shot from distance was blocked, he remained on the ground as Phoenix countered. Welcome to Phoenix, Harry. It’s worse than Iran.
The Brazilian youngster never really got into the game. He lost 10 duels, took two shots, and created a chance, but with very little service he was unlikely to score. With no natural striker to replace him, he was also required to contain his energy, meaning that he was less likely to close down the Phoenix backline.
He replaced fellow UCI alumnus Crisostomo at the break but played further forward and off to the right. Both of his shots were from distance, but none came close. Played further back after Alston left the match, where he completed one cross from two attempts. Ramos-Godoy was largely unlucky in this match, as he only featured after the team was largely out of the contest.
1 Star - Q
“Q” is the worst of all the letters simply due to the fact that it can rarely be without the help of the letter “U”.. The reliance on this designated driver letter gives “Q” very little power. On top of that, it is one of the least used letters in the alphabet (only the letter “Z” is used less than “Q”). For these reasons, “Q” is the worst of the letters.
Although debatable, no player was as bad as the letter “Q”.
Although he replaced Alston, he switched spots with Ramos-Godoy. The OC native was asked to get in behind the Phoenix back line if possible, but the chance never arose. Made just one touch in his brief feature, completing one pass. Mentioned post game that he was happy to get minutes even in a big loss and that he was going to fight to earn some more in the coming weeks.