Player ratings

Player ratings: Galaxy 0-0 Union

Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Union

There must be something different in the Pacific air.

For the second time this season, the Union kept a clean sheet. The first came when Philadelphia opened the season in Vancouver. Saturday night in Los Angeles saw the Union play out a 0-0 draw with the struggling Galaxy.

In between the two trips to the west coast, Philadelphia played six times. All six times, the Union allowed two goals or more. Philadelphia will travel to San Jose on August 20. Andre Blake will be hoping to collect his third clean sheet before then.

Normally, taking any points from a trip to southern California would be positive. Unfortunately, these are not normal times. Philadelphia added another tally to their current winless streak. It is now tied as the 4th longest such streak in MLS history.

Despite the dark cloud, some Union players shone brightly. Others, however, were better off hiding in the shadows.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 7

The Jamaican keeper reminded fans why he was named MLS’s best goalkeeper in 2016. He was positionally sound and didn’t allow any dangerous second chances. Blake finished with three saves, two of which were dangerous attempts from winger Emmanuel Boateng. His best moment, however, came when he left his box and headed away a dangerous long ball in the 38′.

Raymon Gaddis – 4

The right back did not have his best game. Gaddis, as expected, didn’t offer much going forward. His outlet passes were neither piercing nor precise. Defensively, the first half saw the full back struggle to contain Boateng. The second half saw the Galaxy shift their attack to their right, leaving Gaddis without much to do.

Richie Marquez – 7

Marquez’s name was barely mentioned Saturday night. A particular Galaxy player was equally absent in the broadcast: Giovani dos Santos.

Jack Elliott –  6

The rookie continues to exceed expectations. He didn’t have the chance to showcase his distribution, but Elliott did make the potentially game-saving challenge in stoppage time. He still has work to do, as he failed to track dangerous runs in the 32′ and 38′. The Brit was also out-muscled by Jermaine Jones in the box and fell. Overall, there is plenty of good to overshadow the mistakes.

Fabinho – 7

The Brazilian played his best game of the season in Los Angeles.  All he had to do was mark the Galaxy’s talisman with little help from his left winger. In the second half, LA shifted their attack to the right side and made Romain Alessandrini the focal point. The dangerous Frenchman had numerous 1v1 opportunities, but Fabinho was equal to all.  The left back was positionally responsible, but it did come at the expense of any significant attacking threat.

Haris Medunjanin – 7

It is a joy to watch the Bosnian distribute. His free kicks consistently find his teammates’ heads. He can expertly switch the field, playing balls into the path of onrushing attackers. This week, Medunjanin showed something else. He was the Union’s most dangerous attacker, threatening the keeper with long shots twice. The second came after dribbling past his marker. Deploying him as your holding midfielder does have a cost. Medunjanin failed to close on João Pedro before he ricocheted a shot off both posts. His defense will always rely more on intelligence than tenacity.

Alejandro Bedoya – 8

Bedoya was a force Saturday night. It was the kind of performance that showcases exactly why the Union signed him last season. His defensive effort was equal parts smarts and physicality, finishing with five tackles won and four interceptions. Offensively, he completed nine passes in the final third, three of which were “key.”

Roland Alberg –  2

Of course Alberg had the Union’s best chance of the night. Bedoya’s cross found the Dutchman in the box, whose mishit volley forced a difficult save. For the rest of his 65 minutes on the field, he was a specter. Alberg was the missing link in the sense he offered no connection from those behind to those in front. The Union needed a player to create from the number 10 role, especially when defensive responsibility was a priority. Philadelphia was left wanting.

Chris Pontius – 4

Pontius’ forehead would earn a much higher mark if only it could separate itself from the rest of the body. It once again was dominant in the air, winning three balls and offering a significant bulls-eye for Medunjanin to target on set pieces. Unfortunately, Pontius’ feet aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.

Fafa Picault – 4

This wasn’t the game to showcase Picault’s skillset. With Fabinho playing a more cautious game, it was difficult for the Union to attack down the left-hand side. The Galaxy were more than aware of the speed  Picault possesses, not allowing his runs to threaten behind. Defensively, it isn’t that the winger is disinterested. His size makes it difficult for him to do more than harass. Interestingly, Picault and C.J. Sapong swapped positions on multiple occasions.  It will be something to watch going forward.

C.J. Sapong – 4

It’s tempting to give Sapong a lower score. He failed to register a shot in 90 minutes as a lone striker. He had a 33% passing accuracy. The blame, however, falls more on Alberg whose play isolated the striker. Sapong didn’t have a great game, but he drew another five fouls after tying the record last week.


Derrick Jones (65′ for Alberg) – 5

Jones often showed his talent and shortcomings at once. He would beat his marker before sending a lacking cross into the box. He would give away possession before winning it back in the corner. The 20-year-old put in a solid stint as a substitute and also hinted at a potential slight shift in formation.

Jim Curtin deployed an inverted triangle with Medunjanin being the deepest lying midfielder. Jones and Bedoya played side-by-side above him. Curtin may chose to ignore his no. 10 problem and deploy his best three midfielders in a shape that plays to their strengths.

Jay Simpson (78′ for Picault) – N/A

Simpson entered the match when it was all but decided the Union were going to focus on defending. It’s difficult to fault a forward when coming into that type of situation.

Fabian Herbers (90′ + 2′ for Pontius) – N/A

It was a substitution to take time off the clock.

Geiger Counter

Alan Kelly – 6

There wasn’t a lot for the referee to do in this match. He made the right non-call when Jermaine Jones went to ground in the box. He could have reached for a card in the second half, especially when Jones barreled over Gaddis from behind.

Player of the game

Alejandro Bedoya

The right post was going to be honored for its work on Pedro’s first half shot, but the left post took exception.

Nobody, however, can take exception to Bedoya’s place here. One play stands out, typifying his performance. In the 69′, a Union corner was cleared and was being chased down by Baggio Husidic. Bedoya closed the space and won the ball along the sideline. He then took on Jones, blowing by his fellow U.S. international, and sent a dangerous cross into the box.

If Bedoya winds up being the second best outfield player on the Union, Philadelphia will be in great shape.


  1. MikeRSoccer says:

    Stop. Playing. Gaddis.
    Is Rosenberry having a sophomore slump? Yes. However, even an underwhelming Rosenberry is better than Gaddis on a good day. He offers nothing going forward and his defensive prowess are highly overrated. Moreover, Pontius and other players get the benefit of months of starts even when they are struggling. Rosenberry deserves at least the same treatment.

    • If Rosenberry plays the next game I will give credit for Curtin for man managing him like I would have. Give him 1-2 games off, let him recover.

      If Gaddis keeps on keeping starts, Curtin out.

      • I agree with this. Rosenberry needed a break. Gaddis does deserve some playing time. It’s some decent squad rotation. But Rosenberry needs to be back out there next game.

  2. Blake should be MOTM. Period.
    He’s the reason they got a point. A point that we would normally celebrate taking from one of the MLS’ marquee teams. We won’t celebrate it, though, because the last time the Union got more than one point in a game, Obama was in office.

  3. A shame Elliot’s play is being overshadowed since his team is a dumpster fire.

    His passing and touch is very sound.

    I am starting to get excited at the possibility of an Elliot-Yaro CB pairing.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Get more excited about Elliott at DCM in front of Yaro-Marquez. It would highlight his distribution and cover his less explosive acceleration. Once the legs get moving he covers ground well. Explosion out of the blocks, he ai’n’t got.

  4. It’s interesting to watch Jones at the club level. You can see how much he just wants to boing forward, unfortunately (or fortunately for us) Jean a blunt instrument. I’m hoping we move past him at the international level.
    I’m really hoping Keegan plays next, I like Gaddis but this isn’t the time to turn a smart rest period into an extended benching. Great to see bedoya and haris play well.
    The wings are so bad for us right now. Those of you more tactically aware, Bedoya has been better each game he plays in his preferred spot. Would it really hurt the team moving him to the wing to allow Jones to play? To me, Bedoya/Jones is better than Picault/ilsinho/Herbers and Bedoya.
    Great to see that Picault can hang, I think he’ll do better in a different setting.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Jones cannot distribute offensively beyond 10 yards on the ground. If he’s on the pitch the opposing coach high presses Medunjanin with two because Jones won’t hurt him.

  5. CPfeif13 says:

    “The 20-year-old put in a solid stint as a substitute and also hinted at a potential slight shift in formation.

    Jim Curtin deployed an inverted triangle with Medunjanin being the deepest lying midfielder. Jones and Bedoya played side-by-side above him. Curtin may chose to ignore his no. 10 problem and deploy his best three midfielders in a shape that plays to their strengths.”
    Been calling for this 4-3-3 type look….

    • Or we could call it a 4-1-4-1.

      Either way it would help with the lack of the 10 and defensive structure.

  6. I thought it was annoying that the referee calls the elbow to the face on CJ in the second half, walks over to the line to discuss with assistant, you can read her lips “elbow to the face”, yet no second yellow card for the player. Don’t get me wrong, the primary issue is we suck and are hopeless.

    • I was surprised by that as well, especially after Kelly stopped play to go over and talk to the AR, as he didn’t see the foul. Can’t help but wonder if would have listened to a male AR.

      • John Ling says:

        I like when a ref is willing to confer with his/her AR for something like that. I agree with Andrew on the lip-reading. But there was more conversation than that, so it’s possible Kelly also asked about whether she thought it was intentional or not.
        Overall, I thought all three officials did a pretty solid job this game. If this were the norm for MLS officiating, I don’t they’d be in a much better place.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        It was especially surprising when coming from a known dirty player like Van Damme.

  7. Adam Schorr says:

    Time for another experiment at the #10, since Alberg clearly isn’t the answer. Next up? I propose Pontius. It gives us another aerial ball winner in the center of the pitch, another target man on aimless crosses, and gives us a kind of left Striker/right Striker arrangement with Sapong next to him. It may also help Pontius get more involved. I’d still like to give Epps a shot at LM, I was impressed with him in the preseason. Maybe put Fafa on the right and see if speed on the wings and bigs in the middle provides more of a coherent offensive structure/identity.

    • this is an interesting idea

    • This I like.

    • If a #10’s most important attribute in this system is to play with his back to goal, your best bet on this squad of misfit ties might actually be Sapong. Question is how good he can be to create. I think he thrives in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1. But this comes back to the fact that plans A, B and maybe even C for who was going to play one of the most, if not THE MOST, important position in this system was not acquired in the winter. I hope to hell Ernie’s working on a good transfer, or this team is going to play so bad this season it might actually get relegated despite the fact we don’t have relegation.

      • I have been wondering about exactly this. How about Sapong as a withdrawn target man? Then you put Simpson or Alberg up top with him. You basically have a 2-striker set, with Sapong deeper. The idea is to get him the ball, have him immediately dish it off — to either winger, to his strike partner, to Bedoya or Medunjanin — and then have everyone create movement around that (including CJ himself). I feel like it’s almost crazy enough to work.

  8. So, what do we think of a 4-3-3 (which is what they played when Jones came on. Gives you the Midfield of Jones and Bedoya in front of Medunjanin. Really would require Fafa or Epps on one wing and then whoever is left on the other, maybe in Sapong if we want Simpson out there.

  9. John Ling says:

    I know Ilsinho getting sick had an impact on it, but I really didn’t like the bench. Far too defensive minded, in my opinion. You had a fullback (Rosenberry), center back (Gooch), and two holding mids (Jones and Creavalle – who could also serve as an emergency FB in a pinch). After accounting for the goalie, that leaves two offensive options, which turned out to be Simpson and Herbers.
    I get that they don’t travel with much more than needed for west coast trips. So maybe there wasn’t anybody else for the bench of this game. But in general, Curtin seems to have both a FB and a CB on his bench. This really strikes me as a waste of a bench spot. I’d rather see them drop the FB from the bench; if an in-game issue arises, they can find somebody to fill in. I suspect either Marquez or Elliott could easily handle the defensive duties. So could Pontius, which still giving you a little something going forward. Creavalle, in theory, could as well though I’d prefer he also not be on my gameday bench.
    Imagine if Rosenberry and Creavalle weren’t on the bench Saturday night, and instead Curtin had Epps and Najem available as options. When mixed with Simpson and Herbers, there’s suddenly some offensive flexibility. (Whether Curtin would use it or not, of course, is a whole other matter.)

    • I don’t disagree, but both Epps and Najem started for BS on the same day. Epps played nearly 90 and Najem played 90. I feel like for both of them playing more beneficial than a possible substitution on a west-coast trip. If this were a home game or a significantly more local match-up then i’d say yes 100%

      • John Ling says:

        Yep, completely agree. That’s why I said Curtin was a bit handcuffed in this instance, given they don’t take everybody on a road trip that far away.
        But especially on weekends when the Union play Saturday and Steel play Sunday (or vice versa, of course), and they’re home or close to home, I’d much rather see more attacking players in the sub list, especially ones who would give Curtin some options.

  10. msklem24 says:

    Had a great conversation with a friend who shoots pool about the shot off the posts…after watching the video, this is her thought on the shot –

    “So as far as I could see, there was right English on the ball and it looks like there was right English after it hit the post. Same as a bank shot in pool”

    This is what math teachers talk about at lunch.

  11. Sell or trade Blake away for two good forwards or attacking midfielders. Everyone feels Blake is keeping them in games or saving points. I consider that a negative way of trying to be competitive. Get people who want and know how to score. If the ball is dangerous for the other team on their side of the pitch then we won’t need a ” goalie of the month” . Not a fan of Blake obviously but if he is considered a commodity I’m sure a very good general manger could get a lot for him.

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