Player ratings

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 1-1 San Jose Earthquakes

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Boos rained down on Philadelphia Union as they walked of the pitch Saturday evening, unable to secure three points at home against San Jose Earthquakes.

The 1-1 draw was a disappointing result, and increasing levels of frustration have translated into a decreasing number of fans at Talen Energy Stadium.

Yet that disappointment won’t be reflected in these player ratings. On the whole, the Union had firm control of the match and created a plethora of chances. They produced 22 shots, eight of which were on frame, while limiting the Quakes to just nine attempts on goal.

Philadelphia were the better team, lifted by a number of solid individual performances. That’s reflected in these ratings, even though the collective performance still needs to improve.

Player ratings

Andre Blake – 7

It’s rare when Andre Blake is the second best goalkeeper in a game. Alas, that’s just the way this one broke. While he had no chance on San Jose midfielder Magnus Eriksson’s goal, the Jamaican made one of his patented stops on the Earthquakes’ Valeri Qazaishvili in the 30th minute. Blake continued to display his markedly improved distribution completing 82% of his passes while dipsy-doing twice around San Jose’s press.

Keegan Rosenberry – 8

Rosenberry just isn’t playing like the guy we saw in 2016. He’s playing better. The 24-year-old defender had the responsibility of shutting down Qazaishvili, the Earthquakes’ best player. Not only did he succeed, but he pressed forward with purpose and was dangerous in the Union’s attacking build-up play.

Jack Elliott – 6

Jack Elliott bounced back nicely from arguably his worst professional performance against Colorado. He was often the last line of defense when San Jose countered, and for the most part he was equal to the task. There was a crucial error, however. On Qazaishvili’s first half chance, Elliott unnecessarily went to ground, but he was bailed out by Blake and back line partner Auston Trusty.

Auston Trusty – 8

The first year homegrown player continues to impress. His recovery runs saved Philadelphia on multiple occasions, and his aggressive play often led to quick transitions to attack. There is the a fair question to be asked, however, as to whether that aggressive play was responsible for San Jose’s lone goal. While his initial tackle upfield left a vacuum of space in the Union’s defense, the blame should fall on his teammates’ inability to react and adjust accordingly.

Matt Real – 5

In his first professional start, left back Matt Real was uninspired going forward. That was not the case on Saturday. Real should have had two assists from his game-high eight crosses but Fafa Picault could not produce the finishes. The problem in his performance, however, stemmed from a lack of positional awareness. Real was burned on the Earthquakes goal when he failed to track striker Danny Hoesen’s run. There were reasons the rookie was visibly scolded by Union veterans on three separate occasions.

Haris Medunjanin – 6

The Bosnian midfielder’s on-the-ball ability makes it nearly impossible for opposing teams to successfully press the Union, as San Jose saw. His distribution from deep remains unmatched in MLS. The tradeoff comes when the opposition launches a counter. Haris Medunjanin struggled to shield his defense from the Earthquakes pacey attackers.

Alejandro Bedoya – 9

Union captain Alejandro Bedoya was the best outfield player on the field at Talen Energy Stadium. His performance goes well beyond scoring Philadelphia’s more than deserved equalizer. Bedoya ensured Philadelphia dominated possession and control of the midfield. He tallied 16 defensive actions. After securing the ball, his 94% passing accuracy consistently put the Union in dangerous attacking positions.

Fafa Picault – 7

What a difference Picault made to the Union offense. He was a noticeable improvement over Fabian Herbers. His cross to Bedoya after a wonderful cutback created Philadelphia’s first even-strength goal of 2018. Yet, it felt like Picault should have done so much more on the night: He didn’t capitalize on two free first half headers. Maybe it was rust, but his inability to produce that final product was reminiscent of 2017.

Borek Dockal – 7

Borek Dockal showed why the Union made the Czech playmaker their newest Designated Player. This is the type of performance head coach Jim Curtin is talking about when he mentions a “volume No. 10.” Dockal was the fulcrum of Philadelphia’s attack, registering three shots and a game-high four key passes. Interchanges with his teammates was noticeably improved,  and it’s evident Dockal will get even better as the chemistry continues to grow.

David Accam – 4

This just wasn’t David Accam’s day. That’s a shame because the Ghanaian winger has so much talent yet to show. He did well to find space on the flanks, but Accam was a key component for the Union’s struggles in the final third. He was too stagnant in the box, failing to make runs to pull defenders out of position or present himself in dangerous positions.

C.J. Sapong – 5

Philadelphia forward C.J. Sapong was once again a handful for the opposition’s center backs. His dirty work occupying San Jose’s Harold Cummings and Yefferson Quintana was what created so much space on the flanks for his teammates. Yet, it’s tough to say any striker had a “good game” when he fails to produce a shot on goal. Forwards, as harsh as it can be, are measured by goals.


Ilsinho – 7

Ilsinho might be the “impact sub” Curtin needs on his bench. With the Brazilian’s introduction in the 63rd minute came an influx of creativity. He was once again dazzling in one-on-one situations, embarrassing Earthquake defenders on two separate occasions. He also excelled with multiple short give-and-go passing sequences to unlock a packed-in San Jose side.

Raymon Gaddis – 5

It was a surprisingly negative substitution when Curtin called on Raymon Gaddis to replace Real in the 71st minute. It had to stem from an urge to prevent an increasing number of transitions as the Union pressed for a winning goal. Gaddis helped with that, but really isn’t the type of player that adds much offensively. But imagine the irony if Gaddis had managed to curl in his 88th minute attempt on goal.

Cory Burke – 4

There wasn’t much time for Cory Burke to make an impact after entering the game in the 86th minute, so by that measure Burke did exactly what was expected.

Geiger counter

David Gantar – 3

Why does a player have to go to ground to earn a penalty, as was the case when Picault was fouled in the box. Other than that, Gantar never really had control of this game. He failed to blow the whistle for obvious fouls. He stopped the match when fouls were the product of simulation.

Player of the game

Andrew Tarbell

The ratings started with the mention of San Jose goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell outshining Blake. The replacement for David Bingham also outperformed every other player on the pitch. The Union will be blamed for failing to produce a second goal, but Tarbell deserves an equal amount of praise. His seven saves were highlighted by a denial of Picault’s header. Dockal was also left wishing there was a different keeper in net after an early left-footed chance was pushed away.


  1. I bet the more we see performances like this the more glaringly obvious it will be CJ is always a half step too slow in the box.

    It felt like there were 5 occasions where the ball was bouncing around in the box just past CJs outstretched foot.

    • He also can’t turn with the ball and beat defenders. He’s a solid finisher of crosses or misdirections in the box, but with 3 CMs behind him with great vision and passing range he has to be better with the ball at his feet.

      • Yeah, reminds me when he got a ball at the top of the box and did nothing with it. Not a lot to go on I know, but I swear it happened in the game. He got it, he had 0 ideas, the ball got stuck in his feet, and the chance was lost.

      • I totally agree Steve. I’m back tracking but, what maybe could have fixed that problem last year was trying CJ and Alberg up top together. Alberg was never a # 10 but could have been a hell of a striker and that duo could have been nasty, creating a lot more scoring chances for theU and maybe could have produced more wins for this team. Anyway, that shows the stupidity of this FO.

    • Yeah, “dirty running” isn’t enough. I love his physicality but he’s far from clinical in the box.

    • This will be the number one downfall this year. And he will never be subbed from a game

  2. This is a tough one to wrap my head around. The Union played well, and dominated large stretches of the game, but like you mentioned in Real’s review, there was always one little misstep, or lack of a run, or bad touch that cost them too many chances. They should’ve bagged a 2nd goal (I don’t care how many they COULD’VE finished, they SHOULD’VE finished 1 of them). It’s definitely a bad draw, unlike Columbus, but I guess I can take solace in the fact they looked strong after a dismal road performance, and it’s still early. Right?

    • Just think of it as progress. We have looked decent in all our matches so far. The the o looked a lot better with Fafa back and Dockal getting more comfortable. As long as that continues we should be ok.

  3. It’s interesting that Accam has looked like a completely different player when Fabinho has played and when he hasn’t.

    • Noticed that too. They had immediate chemistry, we saw it in preseason. Fabi’s injury was not opportune. Not to mention Accam’s lack of commitment to defense is painfully obvious.

    • Because Fabinho can get forward and play off a winger.
      If Real can we don’t know because the team doesn’t trust him enough to try.

      • idk, I think Real has done really well considering he is 18 on his second start. I know one instance of Bedoya yelling at him seemed to be more due to Real not pressing at midfield and nothing to do with getting forward.

        Also Reals crossing > Fabinhos impotent ground crosses.

        I wonder if Accams lack of play recently is due to teams dialing in to him. I think he is THAT good.

  4. The Quakes’ goal happened in Trusty’s zone. He’s way out of position when Eriksson gets that space. Not an 8 in my book. A 6 for him, tops. He and Elliot had an equal match in terms of successes and failures (and I’m still completely satisfied with their performance overall).
    Rosenberry and Bedoya had their best matches of the season. Pure, unbridled hustle. Love having these two on the squad.

    • ^^THIS. That goal is on Trusty for being way out of position. I mean, I’m not crucifying the kid for one mistake. He’s had a great season so far. But an 8 is definitely too high. Also agree that Keegan and Ale were superb.

  5. Zizouisgod says:

    OT, but Ilson Jr. looks very fit. He’s definitely dropped some lbs. Nice to see him in his more natural position on the outside.

  6. QuillosMyCat says:

    RE: CJ, and I know this may sound crazy, but maybe give Simpson a few games? I know, we haven’t seen anything from him, but he never got the same chance we give folks like Dockal (who was terrible his first 2 full games and is just now starting to look good). He’s at least better with the ball at his feet.


    • I would not mind seeing Burke or Simpson get a start at top.

      At the very least it’s to rest CJ, lord knows Curtin never gives him a break otherwise.

      • I would mind seeing Simpson get a start for Steel let alone the Union. Burke should probably get a start in the next few games and definitely get more playing time than 5 minutes at the end.

    • Simpson is not a good footballer.
      That is all.

    • Good God Man! There is a reason why Simpson doesn’t even make the 18 anymore.
      Maybe Burke has earned a start, but I think the problem lies back on the midfield line. I don’t think I would have given Dockal a 7. His passing map is not impressive.

    • Yup sounds crazy. Just go with the men in the white coats, they have candy for you.
      You’re comparing Simpson to Dockal, a 4th tier (team dropped to tier 5 as he left) English player to a starter for his national team and in champions league. Really?
      Yup Crazy.

  7. Maybe its just me, but Dockel didn’t look like a 7 Saturday night. I would like to see more Cory Burke, try him in CJs role late in the game if we aren’t getting anything done in front of the net.

    • I disagree. I watched him the whole game, he was in better position, developed a better relationship with his wingers, had more efficient passing, got off a couple of shots, etc. I could go down to a 6 but for sure I see his strengths. The reason people have not warmed up to him entirely is because our coach does not know how to properly coach this system we are running. Majority of forward movement needs to go through the 10 and these guys have not all figured it out yet. Dockal sits there scratching his head sometimes trying to figure why these idiots are playing the ball back when he is sitting there uncontested waiting for it. He should not have to run his butt off to get the ball.

      Curtin is not the right guy for this team. I love his ties to the city and would much rather see him in an executive position and bring in someone who can get the most out of our players. He is outsmarted every single game by the opposing coach, even when we win his weaknesses are obvious.

      • I noticed Dockal calling for the ball a lot, even at times where he seemed to be somewhat covered.

        And its like damn, is that what a guy who is comfortable playing in tight spaces looks like?

  8. I would also rate Trusty a little lower. “His recovery runs on multiple occasions” is not a positive – it means he has some positional issues. The best review you can give a defender is one in which “the ball never came his way.”
    Real deserves a rating significantly lower. Defensively, he looked completely lost. He wasn’t just getting yelled at by Bedoya, Medujnanin and Dockal – he was getting yelled at by Trusty as well. Whether it is a failing of Curtin or him, he often seemed unsure about his duties and when to transition – frequently absent as a wide option in the transition attack and late getting back a few other times.
    I thought Dockal looked MUCH better this game – partly due to better individual performance, but especially because the spacing was so much better with Fafa giving width and opening up the midfield for him.
    Bedoya remains the most underrated player on this team. If Medujnanin had just a little more ability to play the defensive part of his job, Bedoya would really stand out.

    • Fabinho is routinely crap at defense and gets beaten plenty but doesn’t stop him from getting good ratings and love from us.

      When I look at Reals performance my only take away is “Wow, he put two assists on Fafa’s head and Fafa could not deliver”.

    • Nick Fishman says:

      I can see the argument for Trusty, but a decent amount of those runs were to cover for the mistakes of others.

      I don’t know how you can on lower on Real. While he was bad defensively, imagine if his pinpoint crosses produced two assists. A “5” would then look comically low. I can’t hold Picault’s failure to score against the LB.

    • I couldn’t agree with the Real assessment any more. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one player get yelled at by so many different people, and he spent most of the game worrying about how cold his hands were.

  9. Zizouisgod says:

    Kinda funny that CJ has a goal and an assist for a team that has scored a total of three goals. All accomplished while playing with a 2nd string winger starting (and not playing well) for three of those games (Herbers) as well as two brand new teammates who are admittedly underperforming (Accam & Dockal).

    Yet, CJ is seen by some people on here as the problem and should be replaced by a guy who has scored exactly one MLS goal over a year ago (Simpson) or another who has never started or scored in MLS (Burke).

    • This is the perfect comment.

    • I agree with you. The problem is that the team is not two-deep at every position. They line up in a 4-2-3-1 and there is only one guy capable of playing that 1. And sometimes he needs a break. I am 100% positive that Simpson cannot play that position on this team. I have no idea whether Burke can. He’s looked good in limited minutes on the wing. He is strong and skilled. But it is completely speculative to think he could play even sixty minutes at the tip of the spear.

      • Tim Jones says:

        He could play it without any doubt. Went 75 the next day for the Steel there. Whether he would play effectively at the MLS level is the doubt.

    • +1 and then some. All the guy does is produce — not this match, obviously, but it is likewise clear that the dude is no flash in the pan. The Sapong Hate on this blog makes me SMH. He is simply NOT our problem. The problem is that we need more scoring threats so teams can’t blanket him all the time and snuff out our offense!

  10. John Harris says:

    Does anyone else think there might be team apologists from the club on these boards?

    • I sometimes feel like one.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      FWIW, the perfect cover for a team apologist would be to ask this type of question.

    • John P. O'Donnell Jr says:

      Not much different than some people being overly critical. Meh

    • Like I’m imagining you could be a 73 year old chain smoking grandmother with a “Wheel of Fortune” habit you just can’t break, and a fixation for much younger men in nylon shorts? Perhaps…”John Harris”
      (If that’s your real name…)

      • Someone strike a nerve?

      • Nope, honestly just poking a little fun. No harm intended.
        I love soccer and the Union, but I don’t all angst-ridden over the team not winning every game, or even many games.
        (I would appear to me THAT strikes a nerve somewhere…)

    • One poster I saw the other day gave me that impression, but I don’t get that feeling often. Though when Curtin was first hired I tried to take an open honest approach to it here, and was called an Union intern (which I most certainly am not), so….

    • Pretty much. But I look at them more like the negadelphian’s negadelphian. When people start agreeing, the knee jerk reaction is to disagree, stridently.
      So, are they apologists, or are they Philly through and through?…”whatever you said, I’m against it”? 😉

  11. the bedoya rating is ridiculous. was a nice goal though.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Fair comment.
      Ale is always strong with the little things and his movement is excellent…but his constant drifting to the outside right flank channel leaves ENORMOUS gaps in the midfield in possession. EVERY GAME there is a hole in the middle of the field. Either Haris needs to step higher and play higher or Dockal will need to drop deeper which then limits his effectiveness up the field.
      In my opinion Ale is a big reason why this team struggles in the build up and finishing third….
      Or we could just shake our head at a manager who doesn’t play his best player in the position of which every heat map indicates he needs to be in. Which then…what of Derrick Jones…. he must just not be showing he’s able to play the way Union envision it….
      I’ll stand by and wait for arguers….

      • Tim Jones says:

        Two thoughts, el P.
        The organization has a concentration injuries in three related places right now, LB, LCB, & DCM on the Steel. Chambers could not go yesterday from the proverbial anonymous sources with direct knowledge of the situation.
        As you , I think, noted concerning the Richmond game, Jones has begun to show devastating individual attacking on the dribble. The passing offensively is not to that level, as Adam Najem illustrated by providing it.
        The other idea, and I have no proof of this only a sneaking suspicion, is that aside from injury rehab the organization seems to be reserving Steel development minutes for those 24 or younger who are field players.

        At the moment, there are two healthy left backs. There were only three true center backs because of Brandon Aubrey’s red card suspension. The Steel were bailed out by Matt Mahoney’s Versatility and soccer intelligence. The had no defenders available for the bench Sunday, with Eric Ayuk playing right back.
        So part of it is managing a depleted squad list, one that is compounded by there not being an MLS or USL ready CB on the Academy u18/19s.

      • If you pull up the passing map from the Colorado game there is a literal whole in the middle of the field. You could count on one hand the number of passes in the center circle.

      • Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.
        – a literal ‘hole’….
        Which gets even worse when you only show Medunjanin, Ale & Dockal.

  12. el Pachyderm says:

    Appreciate the effort but correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t Rosenberry caught out of position on the counter gol by SJ…. and didn’t I see him dribble a ball directly into a SJ player, getting dispossessed then running for his life backwards to make up for it?
    8 is reserved for nearly flawless footy.

    • Tim Jones says:

      That was not where i saw the breakdown starting, but you may be thinking one step earlier in the process.
      To me, Trusty’s failure to maintain possession with his temp forward begins it, and then he slip and fall means Eriksson had time for a nap before his shot.
      To me it’s a high risk high press and the CBs have to be perfect.

    • Nick Fishman says:

      Nah, Rosenberry was exactly where he should have been on the goal— tracking the run of the winger over his one shoulder while keeping close to the forward upfield.

      As far as the dispossession, I could have missed that.

    • Keagan sleep with your girlfriend, cut you off on blue route, or something? Your hatred of him borders on pathological.
      Yes you are the elephant in the room and you put forth a lot of great discussion but when it comes to KR your attacks are more vicious than an entire pack of pitbulls with rabies.
      You are determined that he not only not play for one of the worst teams in MLS but that he never play soccer again!

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I also ask again for you to stop putting the word hate in any sentence that relates to me my point of view or comments. Most vile of words. There is only fear or love on this planet. Hate resides in fear. Engage me all you want, ignore altogether but respect this request please.
        I’ve asked this before.
        For the record just two weeks ago I complimented the RB for being one of best players on the field.

  13. I would respectfully rate everyone about 3 points lower across the board. They played at home against a below average west coast team that had just traveled across the country, and whose only win was (at home) against Minnesota. They barely drew. It’s great that they “looked good,” but if they keep looking this good, they’ll be out of the playoff picture by August.

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