Player ratings

Player ratings: Atlanta United 3-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Earl Gardner

The Union were simply overwhelmed Wednesday night in Atlanta at the brand-spanking new Mercedes Benz Stadium. The tweaked upside-down double pivot in central midfield was unable to control the ball or stop the Five Stripes attack as they took the ball straight down the Union’s throat. It was a predictable let-down against a very strong opponent after the Union’s win over the Chicago Fire just five days before.

Ultimately, this game came down to simple truth: Atlanta is a much more talented and better organized squad.

Player ratings:

Andre Blake — 6

It’s not a good sign when your goalkeeper makes seven saves and you still lose 3-nil. Blake did his best to keep Philly in the game, but there was just too much firepower from Atlanta United.

Keegan Rosenberry — 5

Was challenged often in the first half and held his own for the most part. Yearned to push higher up the pitch, just not a lot of opportunity to do it. Got wrecked in the 75th by kinda-former Union player Kevin Kratz. Let’s hope the injury isn’t serious.

Jack Elliott — 3

Not Elliott’s finest game, but few MLS defenders look very good against Josef Martinez. Just looked a step slow in his decision-making and his clearances often went straight to the opposition. Almost gave away a goal late with a turnover.

Oguchi Onyewu — 4

It’s a bit perplexing why the 35-year-old Onyewu returned to the lineup against the fastest team in MLS. Gooch was culpable on Atlanta’s first goal and was caught out of position often. Saved a goal or two with some solid blocks.

Fabinho — 3

Worked really hard all night and made some strong tackles, but was absolutely burned by Hector Villalba several times in the second half when he pushed higher up the pitch. The risk came to fruition when he was toasted again on the last goal.

Warren Creavalle — 4

Creavalle had a lot to do in the 6-spot. In the first half, Atlanta constantly found space between Creavalle and the center backs, resulting in goals where Atlanta easily broke down the Union’s central midfield. Did much, much better in the second half to taper ATL’s forays forward and tracked back well to stop dangerous breakaways.

Haris Medunjanin — 4

It’s obvious Medunjanin is still adjusting to his position higher up the pitch. His passing was uncharacteristically sloppy. Nearly had a heck of a goal in the 66′, but hit woodwork.

Alejandro Bedoya — 5

Put in his typically hustle-happy shift, but it was just that: a lot of chasing. As MLS’ Matt Doyle likes to point out, Bedoya does so much important work off the ball, but for a team like the Union, he needs to be more of a controlling-presence offensively.

Fafa Picault — 4

Picault tried desperately to push the ball up on the dribble, but his final touch – whether pass or shot – continues to let him down. His decision-making in the final third must improve if he wants to become a truly dangerous attacker.

Chris Pontius — 4

Another tough shift, but the ball didn’t fall to him – which we know is the only way he’s going to score this season.

C.J. Sapong — 6

Sapong was stranded up top for most of the night. Great hold-up play again. Put himself in good positions too, but neither the service nor space were there. Did really well to set up his teammates, but no one could finish anything.


Roland Alberg (70′) — 3

A starkly invisible performance when the Union desperately needed a goal. Must have had less than five touches on the ball in twenty minutes of play.

Marcus Epps (70′) — 4

The rookie is still raw and never really troubled United’s defenders.

Ray Gaddis — N/A

Geiger Counter

Mark Geiger — 5

The eponymous referee called a solid and fair game. Correctly waived off a Hector Villalba goal for an offsides on Martinez.


  1. man i just read that there were offers for alberg this offseason and the union didnt take them

    • Should have sold pontius this off season too

    • i actually read it wrong- there were offers for him midseason when it was already obvious that he can’t play as a 10

    • Here’s the thing. If Alberg was on a mls team where he could a second foward and had a number 10 feeding him, he could score 30 goals. He’s just really bad at what we ask him to do.

      • So you’re saying that Alberg would break the league’s single season scoring record if the Union used him differently…please, go on.

      • 30 is hyperbole, but I agree that he’d notch double digits pretty easy. It’s all academic speculation, but I think this team has a 4-4-2 roster. Has had one all season.

      • We have nominally played a 4-4-2 whenever Alberg is in the game anyway because he sure doesn’t play midfield.

      • True enough, but this squad has played a lot more minutes with a players trying to play the 10 who can’t. I know some his goal total is PKs, but he has a goal every 140 minutes. CJ has one every 180.

        Not sure why I’m putting energy into discussing the point — it’s beating a horse that’s already been beaten to death, resurrected and beaten to death again — but this team can’t possess and can’t press terribly well, so it would seem defend first and attack on the counter with a pair of strikers — one a good hold up man, and the other a guy who can score from anywhere in and around the box — is the way to go. But it’ a waste of words. We’ll never know, because it wasnever really tried.

    • In re: Alberg.
      For what it is worth I sat quite close to him at YSC’s graduation ceremony. He came in slightly later that the rest of the first team, and sat on the other side of the center aisle, together withGili Wijnaldum.
      He seemed uninvolved with the group. He comes from a different culture so I may be misreading th signs, but I did not get the impression he was especially happy to be there.
      There are all kinds of ways to interpret what I saw, and the chance of my misreading something is quite good.
      Which that said, he may simply be waiting to go back home. If he doesn’t want to be here, he won’t sign here.
      Again, purely speculative, with considerable potential for error.

  2. These don’t seem like the ratings for a team that lost 3-0.

  3. I did not see the game. Any word on Rosenberry?

    • Rosenberry had a strong game relatively speaking. He was one of the few who was trying things offensively, had some trouble with speed on D, but did decent in recovery and was fairly solid otherwise. He was right behind the scorer for the first two goals, but not necessarily his fault on either (WC gets beat for both).

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