Closing Down, Part 1: 2013 CF97 Final Season Grades

Chris Rolfe will surely see his contract scrutinized in the off-season. - Jonathan Daniel

A lot has happened in the past two weeks - a loss in New Jersey that ended cf97's season early, followed by ownership cleaning house and starting over with a clean slate. Here, Adam Merges takes on the task of evaluating the season just completed, just like our new Director of Soccer is doing right now

The moment that every kid hates, that dreaded time at the end of another school year where they wait for their report card in the mail to see how happy or unhappy their parents will be with them. I know I hated it, and I'm sure you did, too. Now that the season has been in the books for almost two weeks, it's time to hand out my end of season grades, which is exactly what the new Yallop regime is also doing at the moment.

You may or may not remember my quarter and half season progress reports, but, as a reference for below, the two grades in the parentheses are those from half season and quarter season, respectively. I also thought about grading Klopas and the job he did, but then I thought, "Why? He ain't here no more."

So enjoy and remember: This is only my opinion. You have a different take? Get thee to the comments.

Goalkeepers
  • Sean Johnson: A (A-, C), A record of 12-10-6 with 6 shutouts, 93 saves and a 1.39GAA. In my opinion, Johnson is the 2nd best player on the team. Yes, he did have a few shaky moments, but Sean showed us why he has been getting called-up by the USMNT - brilliant saves almost every week, especially on the trip to DC in September. He will definitely be our starter for next season, and hopefully he goes to train in Europe again during the off-season.
  • Paolo Tornaghi: C (C-, D+), A record of 2-3-1, 12 saves and a 2.17GAA. Paolo filled the backup role the best he could. Early in the season, his defense didn't give him much help in the 4-1 defeat versus Chivas USA. With a green card supposedly in place, I see him sticking around, and making a play to be the keepr of the future - Sean Johnson will surely have a few suitors for his services next year.
  • Alec Kann: Incomplete, No games played, and he was essentially the reserve league goalie.
Defense
  • Austin Berry: B+ (C+, C+), 3060 minutes played, 1 goal and 2 assists. One of two players on the team to play every minute in league play and was arguably our best defender this season. He definitely had a sophomore slump of sorts and that could partly be blamed on not having Arne Friedrich as his CB partner this season. Hopefully it was just a sophomore slump, and he will return to his rookie form in 2014.
  • Jalil Anibaba: C (B-, C+), 3060 minutes played, 1 goal and 3 assists. The other player to go the full distance minutes-wise in league play, Jalil spent time early on as a centerback and then was moved to the rightback when the team acquired Bakary Soumare. He definitely had ups and downs throughout the season. The next brain trust in charge has just got to figure out if he is a CB or a RB because there were times where he looked out of place on the outside.
  • Gonzalo Segares: C+ (B, C+), 2855 minutes played with 1 assist. Honestly he is starting to show that he is losing a step. I have always liked Sega as a player - he always gives his all, and he's not afraid to mix it up with opposing players. This season he showed the same grit, but sometimes was just a half a step behind. Who knows, maybe it was just an off year for him, and he will come back better than ever next year.
  • Wells Thompson: D+ (D+, D+), 542 minutes played. What to say about "El Diablo"? When started at right back, he looked out of place and even picked up a needless red card. He was definitely not the depth that we sorely needed this season. In my opinion he was lucky to see the minutes that he saw this season.
  • Steven Kinney: Incomplete (D+, D+), 180 minutes played. The injury-prone defender started and played two full games at the beginning of the season, and then that nasty injury bug came back to claim his season.
  • Hunter Jumper: Incomplete (C+, C+), 180 minutes played, 1 goal and 1 assist. Hunter improved from his first start in April to his second start in August. The reason I gave him an incomplete is because 180 minutes is not really enough time to assess a player. He needs to get some some more time in league play because, from what I saw, he has potential and could become a good partner in the back with Austin Berry.
  • Michael Videira: Incomplete (C+, C+), 84 minutes played. A victim of a concussion during the trip down to KC in March and did not see the field in a league game after that.
  • Bakary Soumare: D+ (C+, N/A), 1919 minutes played with 1 goal. At first, it seemed like a good move to bring in a veteran center back to shore up the defense, which needed that kind of presence on the field. As the season progressed, we came to find that Baky was no longer the Baky of old. To me he looked too relaxed when defending, did not have the same distribution that he used to have and was caught out of position on multiple occasions. Like Sega, maybe this season was just an off year or maybe it is just the start to a downward spiral.
  • Shaun Francis: Incomplete, 90 minutes played. Started one game in place of Gonzalo Segares and really didn't show much.
Midfield
  • Jeff Larentowicz: B- (B-, C), 2807 minutes played, 2 goals and 4 assists. The stand in captain for most of the year, he played well in his first season with the Fire. When Rios arrived, he was given more freedom from his defensive responsibilities. He was also one of the most consistent players on the roster. A few mistakes here and there, but overall not a bad season for "Captain Big Red".
  • Patrick Nyarko: B- (B, C), 2153 minutes played, 4 goals and 4 assists. Let's face it, this team needs more out of him than what he provided this season. Nyarko is one of the best attackers on the team, he played with a runner-up to the Golden Boot, and he had his lowest output of assists since 2009. He has to have a better season in 2014, as this team will be relying heavily on him to create scoring opportunities.
  • Joel Lindpere: C+ (C-, D), 1444 minutes played, 2 goals and 8 assists. The Estonian had a decent year in my opinion. He definitely did not play up to expectations since coming over from the NY Redbulls, but he did lead the team in assists. I'm sure everyone was counting on him to be better than he was and contribute more but in the end he was just depth on the bench.
  • Daniel Paladini: C+ (B+, B), 823 minutes played, 2 goals and 3 assists. The guy that was playing like John Thorrington, being the spark for the rest of the team and bringing an energy that was needed especially off the bench. He started the season well but then all of a sudden only played 38 minutes in the final 11 games of the season. It was like he fell out of favor with the coaching staff but who knows. We do know that he worked his butt off for the team and became a fan favorite doing so.
  • Logan Pause: C+ (B-, C+), 904 minutes played. The captain of the team was hard pressed to find minutes this year and was more or less a utility player off the bench. There is no question that he is still the leader of the team and had no problem with the role that was given to him, but 2013 seemed like he lost a step compared to recent seasons.
  • Dilly Duka: B (B, D), 1788 minutes played, 4 goals and 3 assists. Started off the season horribly, in my opinion, then turned it around to become one of the better attackers on the team. Scoring a few critical goals when the Fire desperately needed them, Duka became a mainstay in the Fire's starting XI. The only knock I have against him is that he needs to become a 90 minute player(sounds like Pappa).
  • Alex: C+ (B-, C-), 1625 minutes played, 1 goal and 1 assist. At times, Alex looked like the perfect box-to-box mid that the Fire needed paired with Larentowicz or Rios; at other times, he was non-existent. Unless he develops over the course of the next season, I can't see him as regular starter - he will be much better coming off the bench as someone that can bring some energy to the team in the second half of games.
  • Yazid Atouba: Incomplete still. No change since he hasn't seen the field except for reserve league games.
  • Corben Bone: Incomplete still. Like Atouba, he hasn't seen the field except for reserve league games.
  • Brendan King: Incomplete. See Atouba and Bone.
  • Egidio Arevalo Rios: B, 780 minutes played. Rios played well, even though he was just a "rental player" in my opinion. He really solidified the CDM position and was not afraid to get in and do the dirty work which is expected of the position. A good player, and the stats may seem like he didn't contribute, but stats don't say everything.
Forwards
  • Chris Rolfe: C (C+, C-), 2135 minutes played, 4 goals and 1 assist. Astonishingly poor season after his bravura performances last season. Rolfe went long stretches where he just couldn't finish, and though his effort never waned, it's certain his contract will get some scrutiny in the off-season.
  • Maicon Santos: Incomplete (B-, C+/B-): 379 minutes played, 2 goals and 2 assists. I thought this would be a good signing, but apparently I was wrong. After a few good games he just fell off the face of earth and landed an automatic spot with the reserve team.
  • Quincy Amarikwa: B- (Incomplete), 299 minutes played, 3 goals. Found a way to jump ahead of Santos on the depth chart he was a serviceable sub that provided speed in the second half of games. He will be most remembered for scoring the equalizing goal at RSL in May.
  • Mike Magee: A+ (A, N/A), 1901 minutes played, 15 goals (21 overall) and 4 assists. MVP. Without Magee on this team, who knows where this team would've ended up? The team's turnaround coincided precisely with his arrival. 15 goals and four assists. What else needs to be said?
  • Juan Luis Anangono: C, 839 minutes played, 2 goals and 1 assist. Was he worth the seven-figure transfer fee? Off of the performances we have seen since bringing him in during the summer transfer window, I say no. He has all of the physical attributes needed to be a striker - but so did Cristian Nazarit, 2011's project-striker bust. He does have a better work rate than Nazarit, but sometimes he makes the wrong choices. It is still early; he may get better.

Tomorrow, check back at Hot Time for Part II of this story: Roster Recommendations for 2014.

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