Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 3 – 1 Chicago Fire

Maybe Chicago Fire was going through the motions. Maybe it was the increasingly friendly confines of Talen Energy Stadium. Whatever it was, Saturday night’s 3-1 win was Philadelphia Union’s first comfortable performance in a long while. The defense kept one of the league’s most dangerous offenses in check, and perhaps more importantly, Chris Pontius scored. Twice.

The season may be all but lost as far as the postseason goes, but there were plenty of positives to take away from this one, from plenty of players.

Ratings start from a score of five and points are added or subtracted from there.

Player ratings

Andre Blake — 6 

In a sharp contrast from last weekend’s 0-0 draw against New York, Blake simply wasn’t called on much. His first real action in the box came in the 36th minute, when he charged out to gather a long throw in. A late free kick trickled through the wall late in the match, but Blake fell on it as it died on line.

He simply didn’t have a chance on Chicago’s lone goal that fell right to Luis Solignac from close range. That was the only lapse in front of him all night, and that will almost always be a good thing. Blake was as good as he had to be.

Fabinho — 7

Fabinho was solid from the get-go, delivering two dangerous crosses into the box early and earning a foul at midfield in the 15th minute. He nearly found Pontius on a low, driven cross in front of goal and was constantly connecting with Fafa Picault on the left. The Brazilian was in command for a solid 87 minutes.

Jack Elliott — 5

Overall, Elliott was sturdy next to Richie Marquez in the back. A couple clumsy clearances weren’t harmful, and David Accam failed to finish on two occasions that he slipped through the line by Elliott. Especially with a keeper like Blake behind you, it doesn’t always have to be perfect.

Richie Marquez — 6

In his second straight start, Marquez was a bit more noticeably sound. It started in the opening minutes, when he came sliding in on a perfectly timed tackle to prevent a close-range take on the right. Then in the second half, after falling asleep briefly, he recovered to make a key block at the top of the 18.

It probably won’t be Marquez’s job for the rest of the season, but if he plays like he did on Saturday going forward, he’ll pass the test.

Keegan Rosenberry — 6

Rosenberry looked great in the early goings, with his highlight coming on Pontius’ first goal of the season. On the right edge of the box, he faked a play on his right foot and then cut back into space before whipping in a left-footed laser to the diving Pontius. He had a couple of notable darts into the midfield and looked more confident than his playing time this season would suggest.

The finger was pointed to Rosenberry on Solignac’s goal, but frankly, the entire Union defense looked asleep on that play.

Alejandro Bedoya — 5

Union coach Jim Curtin pulled out a 4-1-4-1 formation of sorts and it looked like Bedoya was playing higher up than any of the other midfielders. It didn’t appear to be working very well in the first half, with a pair of turnovers in the midfield and an ambitious volley from distance in the 26th minute. But on the key scoring plays, Bedoya was there. He played a nice ball to Picault before Pontius cleaned up the rebound and again on Sapong’s goal, it was Bedoya with the hockey assist.

He played a decent match with some key passes, but looked a bit flustered in an attacking role — almost like it’s not his position.

Haris Medunjanin — 5

Medunjanin was fairly quiet next to Bedoya in the midfield, though he wasn’t called upon much. It will be interesting to see if Curtin messes with some more formation options in the coming matches. Breaking: Medunjanin isn’t a No. 10 either.

Warren Creavalle — 7

Creavalle sat in front of the back line and was a central part the defensive control. He wasn’t particularly in the spotlight until the 86th minute, when he committed a foul outside the box and gave the Fire a dangerous free kick. He didn’t have much of a choice, though, and it turned out to be the right decision.

In the 88th, he cleared a bouncing ball off the line and preserved the match. It was Blake’s most uncomfortable sequence and he came to the rescue with a big play.

Fafa Picault — 7

The formation switch suited Picault well on the left, as his pace led to lots of space and was evident throughout. On the Pontius goal, he did well to even create a shot from distance and put enough on it to force a rebound. His ball across the face of goal to Sapong was sharp and made for a favorable chance.

Chris Pontius — 8

Okay, so he wasn’t overly dynamic outside the two goals. But after this season – this long, goal-less season – two in one night is a huge relief. The first one was a lovely finish on the cross from Rosenberry, and on the second, he was simply in the right place at the right time. The rebound was there and he finished it off.

Maybe he can grab a few more before the season’s out.

C.J. Sapong — 7

Sapong was his normal pestering self on Saturday and eventually, it led to a franchise-record 14th goal of the season. We’ve seen him finish from close range many times, and this year, he’s put together a career-best season lurking in front of the net. He ran for days and applied constant pressure on a Fire team that struggled to keep the ball at times. Sapong was exactly what the Union needed from its No. 9.


Marcus Epps (78th minute for Picault) — 5

Epps made a straight swap for Picault on the left with 12 minutes to play, mostly just to get some fresh legs on the pitch.

Jay Simpson (85th for C.J. Sapong) — 5

Simpson didn’t really have time to take part in any chances up top. With two games in the next week, he may get called upon again soon.

Ray Gaddis (91st for Fabinho) — 5

Curtin brought Gaddis on in stoppage time to run some clock and kill the match off. Fabinho’s performance may have called for some rest, but nothing more.

Player of the Game

Chris Pontius

Mostly because it has to be. The Union needed a game like this from Pontius much earlier in the season, but it surely means a lot for his confidence. If nothing else, ending the season with some pride and some belief is important. Pontius banging in a few more goals would go a long way.


  1. Agree with your Crevalle rating. He was solid. Thought Elliott deserved a higher score.
    I thought CJs goal was his 14th, not 12th as you stated.

  2. Curious as to why Elliott has a lower rating than Marquez. The latter struggled mightily in the second half with shanked clearances and surrendering possession in unfortunate positions. I felt Elliott was closer to a 6 while Marquez was a 4. Expect Tata to game plan Marquez, intentionally push the ball to him, and wait for the inevitable mistake.
    Also, Bedoya had an excellent game; at least a 7. The pass to Fafa that led to Pontius’ goal, the holding of the pass to give Fabinho space for his assist on the Sapong goal, and the defensive dirty work/off the ball movement were top notch.

    • I love watching Marquez’s earthquake inducing slide-tackles, but man I wish he would just position himself better so that he didn’t have to make those last ditch efforts. At least he does a good job of not causing fouls while splitting fault lines…

    • Elliott made a couple of truly terrible backpasses that could’ve been disastrous. I love the guy, but this was not his absolute best match. Wonder if season-long fatigue is getting to him a little; he can’t be accustomed to playing this much.

  3. I agree with Mike above that Bedoya deserves higher. He contributed materially to 2 of the 3 goals. And see Matthew Doyle’s Armchair Analyst piece for what he did right on one of them. The guy never quite gets the credit he deserves.

  4. Michael Furjanić says:

    I was at the game and i can honestly say medunjanin deserves an 8 or 9. Every touch he had led to an attack. His play switches were beautiful and his skill was on.

  5. I thought Bedoya had a spotty game. He made some great plays but also had several turnovers that could have been very troublesome against a team that was “on” that night.

  6. Watch this ( and tell me there isn’t interest in Andre Blake. Not necessarily from FCB but from Europe.

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