The player grade dispersal was entirely lopsided after Wednesday's night Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final, which saw the Houston Dynamo sail to their first tournament crown by handily topping championship match guests Philadelphia Union by a 3-0 count.
The storyline from this one was painfully simple: The Dynamo did what they tend to do very well and the Union looked like a mere shadow of their usual selves. Houston strike ace Mauro Manotas bagged a fine early brace to set the hosts on their way to the trophy, and midfield muscle Juan David Cabezas & Co. made sure there would be no momentum U-turns.
Joe Willis (6.5) — Most of the Union shots on target were soft and/or straight at Willis, but the Dynamo netminder was sure-handed all night.
Andrew Wenger (7) — Though his work on the ball was occasionally problematic, Wenger was a constant nuisance defensively. The right back was quickly in every Philadelphia shirt that wandered into his corner and piled up 10 total stops in Houston's end, including an important first-half line clearance.
Philippe Senderos (6.5) — It was unfortunate to see the veteran defender depart prior to halftime with a knock, but he managed to set the in-your-face tone at the back for the victors.
Alejandro Fuenmayor (6.5) — The youngster was rather shaky during the opening phase of the game, but his game really picked up after Senderos was subbed off and he did it without fouling.
DaMarcus Beasley (7) — The Dynamo captain has made a career of showing up in big games, and this night was no exception. Most of Beasley's stops kept Philly from creeping into his corner and his pressure valve passing was repeatedly on point.
Juan David Cabezas (8.5) — The Dynamo defensive midfielder showed exactly what the team has been missing most of the season. Cabezas was a human "thou shall not pass" barricade in central park and repeatedly moved the ball out of trouble once he swiped it. And if that wasn't enough, it was his terrific entry pass to Romell Quioto that kicked off the sequence for the Dynamo's capping goal.
Boniek Garcia (7.5) — While the longtime Houston midfielder didn't dispossess the Union nearly as often as Cabezas, he was nearly as instrumental in clogging up Union passing lanes through the middle. On top of all that, Garcia's lobbed lead pass set Alberth Elis free to tee up the Dynamo opener.
Tomas Martinez (5.5) — The orange No. 10 shirt was almost completely anonymous for a good hour or so, wasting some good attack postures along the way. Martinez rarely offered much in the way of positive passing, but did finish the game with some decent possession work.
Alberth Elis (8) — La Pantera wasted no time getting loose to coolly set up the opener and he also freed Manotas for his second. Elis troubled the Union defense all night, and his passes directly birthed five of Houston's nine shots.
Romell Quioto (6.5) — The left winger wasn't nearly as troublesome as Elis, but his low, hard shot led to the own goal and he tracked back well.
Mauro Manotas (8) — The Houston forward's hold-up play was so-so and he flubbed a couple hat-trick looks, but geez, who cares? Manotas cleverly kneeled down to deposit the early opener and put the hosts in the driver seat by running free to ping their second in off the post from 20 yards.
Coach Wilmer Cabrera (7) — Honestly, there wasn't anything overly special about the boss' plan; Houston just did what they always like to do. That said, he certainly had them ready to battle in a calm manner and capably handled the loss of Senderos.
Kevin Garcia (6.5) — The 41st-minute center-back sub had a couple of iffy moments in the second half, but generally kept the game in front of him. Garcia positioned himself well enough that he really didn't need to make vital stops.
Darwin Ceren (6) — Like Garcia, Ceren's impact was more about being in the right place to provide a deterring obstacle than actually making plays on and around the ball.
Memo Rodriguez (-) — A mere cameo for the young attacker.
Andre Blake (5) — The Union backstop committed a cardinal sin on the game's first goal by vacating his line without snaring the ball. One could argue that his footwork was poor on the Manotas second, but I won't ding him much for a free running shot that went in off his fingertips and the post. To his credit, Blake did distribute fairly well.
Keegan Rosenberry (5) — It was a hot and cold outing for the Philly right back. Rosenberry was his side's primary driving force into attack for much of the opening frame. On the other hand, his defensive work was rather spotty.
Auston Trusty (2) — He's a fine young defender, but it was a nightmare evening for Trusty, who was among the culpable on all three Houston goals. He failed to cut out the cross for the first, Manotas danced around his rash step to break free for the second and his reaction after the own goal tells everything you need to know about that. Trusty did play several good passes forward across the night, but the kid will have many, many far better outings than this one.
Jack Elliott (2.5) — Speaking of rough nights, Elliott's was only marginally preferable to his partner's. He inexplicably lost Manotas right in front of goal on the opener, and soon followed that mistake up by all but whiffing on a golden chance to level matters at the other end. The Englishman then could have cut the episode short on Houston's second, but neglected to close down the free-running gunner Manotas. Finally, Elliott was caught wandering out of place on the last Dynamo goal.
Raymon Gaddis (4) — The Union left back looked better than the center backs by comparison, but that ain't sayin' much. Gaddis truly had only one job in this game, and it took just four minutes for him to fatally lose track of Elis. Sure, he also stood up the Houston speedster a handful of times, and did have some nice second-half moments running into attack, but it was too little and too late.
Haris Medunjanin (4) — It was a rather baffling display from Medunjanin, who really only started directing traffic in the final 30-35 minutes. Before then, he was curiously unable to find spaces from which to operate and rarely pushed the visitors forward when he did. One can usually forgive his defensive limitations due to the feathery magic of his left foot, but we rarely saw it make positive plays on this night.
Alejandro Bedoya (4) — Make it two curiously poor outings from the guys who typically drive Philly's game. Bedoya was shockingly bad in the first half, when his commitment to show for the ball and touch constantly betrayed. The Union skipper's ball work improved somewhat after intermission, but like Medunjanin, he was a non-factor defensively.
Borek Dockal (4) — The Czech playmaker was also highly underwhelming in the passing game, mostly because his decisions were consistently head-scratchers. Dockal is another usual Union standout that played better in the build after the break and he showed more defensive bite than both of his midfield mates combined, but he still lacked any real ideas in the final third. To make matters worse, his restarts were quite abysmal.
C.J. Sapong (5.5) — If there was one guy who looked up to the physical nature of Houston's play, it was Sapong. Though he often lacked a cutting edge, most of the Union's promising advances had his fingerprints on them somewhere.
Fafa Picault (5) — Picault was the only Philly attacker that came close to Sapong's intent for industry, but he too was unable to conjure up a sorely-needed big play.
Cory Burke (3) — The rookie has been key to Philadelphia's success this season, but this performance was one he'll want to forget. Burke's hold-up play was a complete mess, and when he did manage chances to fire, the result was very disappointing.
Coach Jim Curtin (4.5) — I'm not going to fault the coach for all the bad decisions, feckless passing and defensive mistakes. Those are on the players. However, he waited far too long to shake things up and those maneuvers didn't change much.
Jay Simpson (4.5) — The strike sub eventually battled his way into a few half-chances that he couldn't put a strong boot to. But oh my word, Simpson woefully missed on a free doorstep header that might have inspired a little late Union hope.
David Accam (4) — Where is the David Accam we came to fear these last few seasons? Given a number of chances to make a difference off the bench, he offered up one forward pass and seemingly refused to take on a single defender despite being isolated 1-v-1.
Derrick Jones (-) — A last-minute entrance spares the midfielder.