Player ratings

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 3-2 New England Revolution

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Make that back-to-back huge wins for the Philadelphia Union.

Jack Elliott stole the show (and probably some hearts) in what was a true road test against New England Revolution.

How do you win on the road while getting outplayed and out-possessed? Give the keys to your center back.

A 3-2 win on short rest propelled the Boys in Blue to 5th place in the Eastern Conference and a point clear of the Revs.

Player Ratings 

Andre Blake — 7

Blake came up big when he was needed most. Just seconds after needlessly being booked for time-wasting early in the second half, he made a big save that kept the lead intact. Later in the 86th, he pushed a dangerous take off the near post to preserve the lead.

He couldn’t do anything with New England’s first wild deflection of a goal, and even though Blake was rooted on the second goal, the marking was so bad that you can hardly blame him.

Keegan Rosenberry — 7

It was a fairly quiet match for Rosenberry on the right, although he was caught tracking back into space quite a bit. No major errors or mishaps, and he recovered when he needed to. Solid night.

Jack Elliott — 9

“You’ve got to be kidding me, Jack Elliott has a brace.”

Words we probably won’t ever hear again. Elliott started the game of his career with a pair of huge blocks in the box. The Revs were pressing hard and he stood tall in front of two dangerous shots. Next thing you know, he lines a fancy flick into the back of the net. Scrumptious. Say what you will about the tap-in, but hey, someone had to be there to finish it off.

He now has more MLS goals on the season than David Accam, and it took 24 minutes.

Auston Trusty — 7

Trusty was very sturdy next to Elliott. One of the best parts of his game is his positioning — he always seems to be in just the right place at just the right time. Multiple times on Saturday, he was the last man to deny New England a chance. Even on the second goal, he was in position to block it and it simply took a wild turn. A forward is about to spin on goal and shoot, and Trusty comes in to poke it out. A sharp delivery is on its way to the six and Trusty properly blasts it away.

Some of his passes up the field were underwhelming, but his job is to defend and he did it well.

Raymon Gaddis — 7

Gaddis did what he always does and quietly went about his business. New England came up on the right-hand flank a few times, but for the most part, he had everything covered. A proper pest.

Alejandro Bedoya — 5

Saturday was a far cry from his brilliant night against Chicago in the U.S. Open Cup. Bedoya put his arms up in frustration after the Revs’ second goal, as if to say someone else should have been marking Wilfried Zahibo, but the reality is he ran right by him. Even if it was someone else’s mark, he at least could have contested him more. Not the sharpest nights from the captain.

It wasn’t anything glaring, but New England was consistently charging up the middle of the field and leaving the Union midfielders in the dust. Bedoya, having played every minute of the last three matches, was probably drained by the end of this one, but there was a large hole in the pitch, especially in the second half.

Haris Medunjanin — 5

Medunjanin put in the ball that Elliott eventually redirected into the net, but also didn’t look himself. New England’s first goal started on the left side, with a slow pass eventually rolling over to the right and leading to a long shot. Medunjanin was in position to cut the pass off, but took a lazy step toward the ball handler and watched the ball move on. Then in the second half, he took a free kick in the middle of the field and literally kicked it into an opposing player right in front of him. It sparked a 4-on-3 counter and led to a curling shot that went whiskers wide. Blake didn’t have it covered.

Moments like this are puzzling from Medunjanin.

Borek Dockal — 7

No one got on the end of Dockal’s sublime delivery in the 40th minute, but it very easily could have been a goal. The Czech international almost ended the match with a curling long shot that flew off the post late on, and distributed very well. He even tracked back in stoppage time and intercepted a pass in the box. Apparently he had more gas than the other middies.

Fafa Picault — 8

Fafa was electric yet again and deserved to be on the score sheet. It was lucky to earn the penalty on a handball, but the preceding run was brilliant. He split three defenders, surged right and fired a shot near post, earning the corner that led to the lead. Force the keeper to go the wrong way, walk away with three points.

It was also Fafa’s long-range effort that led to Elliott’s tap-in. A smooth cut-in, solid contact on his left foot and a fortunate double bounce off the post/keeper’s back. Picault is a difference maker on the left, both with pace and technique, and should continue to start there.

C.J. Sapong — 7

For his first start on the right wing, things went pretty well for Sapong. He won headers and created some space, but also drifted back inside when necessary. His highlight came in the first half, when he spun an absolute diamond to Burke on the far post — easily should have been a goal.

Sapong has more than proven that he can play outside.

Cory Burke — 7

Yeah, Burke missed a header that he should score every time. Yeah, he slipped while pressing the keeper and sparked “Oooos” from the crowd. No, he didn’t score. But you know what? He was a presence. Burke doesn’t always have to score two goals like he did against Chicago to make an impact. He invited pressure, took guys on, and ultimately put in a good shift.

He was far more impactful than Sapong has been during his drought, and should remain the starter.

Substitutes

Fabian Herbers (61′) — 7

Curtin made the right call by subbing Burke off and moving Sapong up top. It was a lot more minutes than Burke been accustomed to, and Herbers brought fresh legs on the right. They came in handy while closing the match out in the final 10 minutes.

Warren Creavalle (77′) — 7

It was another good move to put Creavalle in for Medunjanin. The home commentators immediately made note of his defensive tendencies and he locked down the midfield for the last 20 minutes.

Derrick Jones (80′) — 8

Jones was tremendous for the 14 minutes or so he was on. Smooth touches, precise passes, proper awareness. He used his size to hold the ball up in the corner and helped ice the match. Would be great to see more of him.

14 Comments

  1. I would downgrade Fafa a point for the silly yellow card which means he sits on Saturday.

  2. Good shift by Sapong. I don’t love him being out there’s Bc he can’t take anyone on, but also Bc then we have no striker sub at all. But he was definitely solid there, maybe he is the sub there at 60’ then slide out Burke a little later.
    .
    Medunjanin is really worrying. I feel like I don’t see him for huge Stretches, and his moments of brilliance in between are becoming scarcer. It’s really tough having him and Dockal both in the middle, but Dockal seems to get a few more good moments each game. Watch bedoya sometimes instead of following the ball. He runs like a mad man covering for Haris and then going forward to helo on offense. I would love to see Jones start the a couple matches and see what happens.

    • Medunjanin is hurting this team a lot right now. Would rather have Jones or Creavalle, although I would prefer Jones.

      • Darth Harvey says:

        Medunjanin has been a perplexing entity this entire season with highly questionable decision making. There has been some good but some really ugly stuff from him this season.

    • Darth Harvey says:

      When did Sapong ever “go” at a defense?… He mostly brings a ball down or plods along until he gets double or triple teamed…I’m reminded of the Monty Python sketch of “does she go?”

      Burke against Chicago (and I only got to see highlights of this game) “goes” at defenses. He has ball skills and tries to throw defenders off. His drag back technique to settle the ball is something that my high school coach (who was a taskmaster on fundamentals) would have a conniption every time Burke would try to settle a ball like that, but goddamn does it drive defenses crazy. Kinda like the knuckle puck (any Mighty Ducks fans out there?)

    • +1. I have been saying all season that Haris does not do enough to justify his presence in the XI. His occasional brilliant long passes are truly brilliant, but his defense is lackadaisical and it’s a substantial problem. Would much prefer to see Derrick Jones in that spot. It is worrisome to me that the club has picked up Haris’ option for next year. We need to move on from him.

  3. these seem rather high ratings for a game in which the union were outplayed and were gifted the win. I thought the defense looked pretty shaky and yet those scores are the highest here.

    • I think the shakiness was in the midfield ceding so much possession to New England, especially in the first 20+ minutes of the second half. The defenders were just putting out as many of the fires as the rest of the team was creating. Bedoya and Medunjanin already have the lowest scores so it is probably Dockal who is scored too high here.

  4. Medunjanin is playing like a 33 year old who needs a rest. Curtin is a 39 year old who doesn’t understand that. Derrick Jones (21 years old) could fill the role and benefit greatly from the experience. I (27) wish this would happen.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      That Jones was sent on in a meaningful stretch of a meaningful game may have signaled that his coach is now willing to trust him.
      .
      If the trend continues that will be an important development. We shall see.

      • Yeah, it appears that Jones has done what it takes to earn some trust again. Which is great because he should without a doubt be starting over half the games next year (and probably this year too).

  5. I disagree about Haris’ moments of laziness and carelessness being puzzling. This is how he’s played for a full calendar year.

  6. santo bevacqua says:

    the coach made good subs decisions here, i give him credit, Medunjanin was out of gas.

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