Player ratings

Player ratings: FC Dallas 2-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Earl Gardner

Where to start?

The Union were outclassed in Texas by FC Dallas Saturday night. The 2-0 scoreline was actually kind to the visitors.

There aren’t a lot of answers to the significant questions. Can Philadelphia’s young defenders go a full game without making a critical error? Will the Union ever score again?

In the run of this young season, the Union easily had their worst performance of the year– which is a significant indictment considering they’ve managed to win only one game. The individual performances were just as bad.

Player ratings

Andre Blake – 9

This is as good as these ratings get– by a wide margin. Andre Blake kept the Union in the game for as long as he could, but even Superman couldn’t couldn’t have helped Philadelphia pick up a point in this one.

Keegan Rosenberry – 5

Rosenberry bounced back from a poor game against Orlando City SC with a slightly above-average outing in Frisco, TX. By no means was the third-year player spectacular, but he did well controlling his flank and pushing upfield.

Mark McKenzie – 5

Mark McKenzie is getting judged on somewhat of a curve because it was his first professional start. The good: he showed good pace and 1v1 defending on some recovery sprints. The bad: a lot of those recoveries came because he was slow to track dangerous runs behind the defense.

Auston Trusty – 3

Just like McKenzie, Auston Trusty was often defending facing the wrong goal. He gave up the decisive penalty, however soft it might have been, and had his worst passing performance as a professional.

Raymon Gaddis – 5

Head coach Jim Curtin went with the veteran to handle the pace of FC Dallas winger Michael Barrios. He didn’t have the same costly mistakes as the player he replaced, Matt Real, but he also offered less going forward in attack. It was the right call on the road, but these type of choices aren’t made in a test chamber.

Alejandro Bedoya – 3

Alejandro Bedoya didn’t take a single shot. He didn’t complete a pass in the final third. He recorded no successful dribbles, interceptions, or tackles. The Union captain was invisible, just like his team’s midfield presence.

Haris Medunjanin – 4

The Bosnian international is pretty good at passing. But when his only key pass comes from a corner, it’s worth questioning his role as the No. 6. FC Dallas were able to pick out passes behind the Union’s back line consistently because they had ample time. They had ample time because the Union don’t deploy a true defensive midfielder that can press opposing midfielders.

Fafa Picault – 3 

It’s never good when a right winger records more defensive actions behind the center line than offensive actions total. Picault failed to complete any of his four attempted dribbles, and his direct style of play was easily handled by Dallas’ talented full backs.

Boreck Dockal – 3

It’s never good when fans are clamoring for the 18-year-old with one MLS start ahead of the newly-signed Designated Player. After another evening without any success in the final third, it’s fair to wonder how much longer of a leash the Czech international will have.

David Accam – 3

Are we at the point where players get kudos for almost scoring? Really, that was a nice little display of skill to turn that volley on frame. Take that away and there is nothing for David Accam to hang his hat upon.

C.J. Sapong – 2

Sapong’s rating happens to be the amount of goals he should have scored Saturday night. His headed effort was poor, and his failure to put away the rebound on Accam’s shot was inexcusable. As the Union press the final third centrally, the striker is often a static figure at the top of the box.


Ilsinho – 3

In his previous substitute appearances, Ilsinho offered a spark off the bench– something different that the straight ahead pace of Accam and Picault. This time, the Brazilian was just as ineffective.

Cory Burke – 3

The Jamaican had just eight touches in over 15 minutes of action.

Geiger counter

Alan Kelly – 5

It was a soft penalty on Trusty. That happens every on every other corner kick in the box. At least it gives the Union another “what could have been.” Outside of that, Kelly was fair in his calls.

Player of the game

Andre Blake

Despite the home side’s dominance, the best player on the night was not on FC Dallas. Most of Blake’s eight saves were of the highlight variety. In a week with more than its share of blowouts across MLS, the Jamaican goalkeeper ensured Philadelphia were only embarrassed locally rather than nationally.


  1. Honestly, I think the defense’s job is made 100 times harder by the fact we can’t keep possession, and even when we do it’s never in the opponents final third. Let alone things like “Giving the defense a lead to work with” or “The best defense is a good offense.”

    Hell besides the first game have we even had a single lead in any game?

    It’s a joke. I think the defense is doing a good job and can’t be blamed for any of our issues. Right now its 100% on the offense.

    The offense is full of veterans for gods sake! With a coach that has had 4 years to implement his plan!!! What the fuck!

    Poor defense.

    • “besides the first game have we even had a single lead in any game?”
      No. The only other goal the Union have scored all season (pathetic) was to tie SJ 1-1 after going behind.

    • Completely agree. Back line of rooks is apparently responsible for scoring goals too!

    • I am very critical of the team, but in fairness, we end had more possession this year than in union history. The problem is that nothing comes of it. We play a high line, and the midfield, outside of bedoya, can’t cover. So Dallas moved it around until they found time to put it over the CBS heads. Accam and Picault only sprint forward, CJ (on offense) only moves within the CBs without drawing them away. The team is lost.

    • Curtin deploying Medunjanin in front of this young backline is flat out stupid. He’s got talent, but protecting a backline isn’t it. All those runs behind were onto passes from an unpressured FCD midfield. Medunjanin’s long passes to no one are not needed. Bench him. Bedoya is the only one in midfield with the engine to cover defensively and Dockal couldn’t make an intelligent run or pass to save his life so Bedoya has to do that too. It’s too much for one glue guy to hold together. There are too many options to make it work to keep running out the same lineup. Bench Accam for Jones and move Bedoya to RM. Bench Medunjanin for Jones. Bench Dockal for Fontana. Bench Medunjanin and Dockal for Jones AND Fontana. AND FOR LOVE GOD BENCH SAPONG FOR AT LEAST ONE GAME. Sadly Curtin appears to have zero idea how actually manage.

  2. These ratings are still too high. The team looked like absolute Swiss cheese, and people need to be graded accordingly. You are certainly being too generous to the defense.

    Keegan looked good going forward, and wasn’t the worst culprit, but they had an awful lot stuff going down his side, and he should get a 4. Ditto Ray. I agree with grading McKenzie on a curve for his first pro start, but he and Trusty let strikers get behind them again and again and again, and got bailed out by Blake and by Dallas’ awful finishing. Each should be a point lower.

    And, as even Tommy Smyth noted during the broadcast, much of this can be laid at the feet of the midfield, who were chaotic and terrible. In particular I was disappointed in Medunjanin, who is contributing absolutely nothing to the squad right now on offense or on defense. He should get a 2 for last night’s effort.

    • “but he and Trusty let strikers get behind them again and again and again, ”

      Yes, but jesus they get 0 help form the tactics or the midfield, don’t they? We play a high line pressing style with a invisible midfield, and you’re going to get running behind your defense no matter who you are.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        excellent excellent. carry on teacher.

      • The thing is it’s not a horrible strategy when we have defenders who can run and a superman in goal. The games should be exciting 4-3 affairs but our offense has been so pathetic even with everything set up for them to be able to have a ton of chances and possession they can’t even score.

      • I did mention that, in the next paragraph, you’ll notice. But when it happens THAT many times, you have to lay some of it on the CBs themselves too.

  3. Chris Gibbons says:

    This one hurt more than most others…

  4. It is no surprise, but the central midfield deployed by the Union is a step slow. Dallas’s central midfield speed exposed that.

  5. FWIW I don’t think it’s Trusty and McKenzie’s fault they kept getting beat on runs behind them. They’re told to play a high line bc Curtin thinks “continuous high press” is a philosophy, mantra, and style of play. But without a true defensive midfielder like Jones out there, the Dallas midfielders had all sorts of time to pick passes through the Union’s back line. Curtin’s grade should be negative. And Earnie’s should be zero.

  6. Thanks for stressing what I’ve been saying since the season stared. We do not have a D mid in the middle of the pitch. Give me D Jones or Creavalle. Sit Bedoya, Harris can still present danger when passing. Oppositions are having a field day in the middle of the pitch. Ex.. Sasha Klesjian….
    – I also can’t understand how Picault has not developed the touch needed to keep the ball at his feet and to create success with the final pass. If he has not learned it at this level yet then there is no hope for him.
    – Lastly. Try two forwards up top ! You had your chance with Alberg and Sapong but Curtin, you’ve wasted that opportunity. Sapong needs support up top. This will allow him to relax more and not panic. He’s set up to do too much. As my brother and I have been saying , “ drop the Curtin ! “

    • Two strikers? On the Union? Under Curtin? Surely you’re joking.

    • If they are switching to 2 forwards (which they aren’t), they need a diamond midfield with Jones in the back, Bedoya and Fontana in the middle, and Dockal up front. It’s our best formation with this team and would help our press so much. Medunjanin is such a black hole defensively and athletically and his passing has been average at best this year.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Excellent comment.
        With every incarnation of players this manager has been given a diamond 4-4-2 has been the best formation for this team and a stabilizer to ensure solid defensive structure while maximizing individual ‘talent’
        This has been an argument made here off an on for years.
        el Poacher

      • Unfortunately a diamond 4-4-2 diamond will get overrun in MLS these days. Nearly every team uses 5 midfielders. Even Kreis has moved away from his preferred 4-4-2 diamond.
        Plus the players you are suggesting to use in it are all defensive in nature except for Dockal. Who’s the second striker in that setup? Plus it’s still a slow lineup and will get exposed on flanks.

      • Accam or Burke is the second striker. And that lineup is getting run over much less than our current one is I can guarantee that.

    • I think medunjanin should be sat over Bedoya. Bedoya and Jones would work well together and provide tons of defensive cover and movement to link it to Dockal. I love Medunjanin but he just doesn’t fit on the current roster unfortunately.
      This game was a great example. Dallas knows Bedoya is the only midfielder moving for defense, they just kept it from his direction until they could play over the back line.

      • I’ll take your point Great One, but Bedoya is a disaster at defending. He fouls way too much and can get beat very easily. When that happens there’s no recovery. Yes Medunjanin has not been up to par so far but i think with the right pieces in the midfield he can become comfortable again. Either way , we need Jones or Creavalle as the D mid.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        Correct…..start the young back four then castle to the king side and lets fucking go.

  7. We watched two different games. You could probably deduct 2 points from every grade. I thought 5s were “average MLS” talent or something? They should video clips of our average MLS CBs to every overseas striker contemplating a move. They wont be able to pack fast enough.
    Also, Keegan was active, but by no means did he have a good game. He turned it over a number of times. Is that down to the spacing from Fafa or whatever Bedoya’s doing or his CB partners running amok or the garbled directions from Coach Tightpants? Maybe. Sure. But he still was lose with his passing. Full marks for trying I guess.

  8. i would have gone lower with most of theses scores. dockal really put himself on my bad side with this game. absolutely mediocre. i feel like he turned it over every time he attempted a forward pass. and every time the offense turned it over (which was many times) dallas would break with a quick counter and almost score. so pitiful. there was nothing fun or remotely enjoyable about watching that game

    • I’ve been really really trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, Bc I think he sounds like he has the right attitude and has played well before, including internationally, but he isn’t just not playing well right now. I’m not sure if it’s the system or the guys around him, but he’s just not doing much when Wei need a hero in that position.
      I’d love to see him with 2 Forwards ahead of him and someone to clean up and move behind him to see what he can do. At the moment not much is working.

    • I don’t think it’s Dockals fault. He has been making good runs, finding space and good spots for shots but this team is not on his level. So yes he’s going to struggle and play with panic when no one moves with him. I honestly think if they move more on and off the ball it would make a huge difference

  9. el Pachyderm says:

    Been dividing back into my Postmodernism reading: Focault, Derrida and the criticim to make sense of this Information Age where relativism abd absolutes no longer exist
    I’ve arrived at a relatively absolute truth, this team is a simulacrum of soccer….
    Or in other words.. an unacceptable imitation.
    Postermodern teaching from the elephant over.

    • i think this post was facetious but its true that a lot of american ‘soccer culture’ is definitely a simulacrum of european soccer culture. a hyperreal manufactured fake. the way this team is playing doesn’t even rise to that level. there isn’t any imitation of anything, not even insincere imitation

      • el Pachyderm says:

        ….it was grounded in honest observation, albeit, sardonic criticism- between stop lights on The Superhighway.

  10. Not sure about anyone else, but it’s almost become tedious to come and try to analyze or complaint about this team. We all know exactly what will happen against DC. We’ll see the same lineup, except maybe Elliott and/or Fabinho is back. We’ll see the same formation. We’ll come out fast and hustling and moving. DC will adapt and play to our weaknesses, we’ll lose 1/2-0. Cue Monday when we have the same comments and match report.
    Tedious stuff to the most engaged of us. Non starter for outside fans. Sixers keep making a run, Phillies young players keep stepping up, training camp starts, the Union fall into 8/9th place. No US in the World Cup to artificially bolster interest. Bye bye any bit of attendance that was left.

    • I think we did adjust at half time because the fast breaks we were giving up became much less frequent. The problem is our highly paid players (front 6) have all been completely useless at everything this year. It’s honestly pathetic how bad they have been. I’d probably bench 4 of them next game.

      • yes, to me that is what needs to happen. i’m not sure what is wrong with the front 6 but they seem totally out of ideas and they seem to not have the right mental motivations to find them. play all the young second stringers and see what they can do. the veterans can try play themselves back into the starting lineup if they’re interested. in my opinion it can’t get much worse

      • No argument can be made against that. The front 6 have woefully underperformed

    • el Pachyderm says:

      i’d argue, this team actually breaks out and posts 3 goals. Then we can read about how its getting better. How its darkest before the dawn, how idioms explain the world.

      • Agreed. Curtin has a weird sorta luck past 3 years that when cries for his dismissal reach a peak team pulls off 4 game win streak or beats to a pulp a group of third stringers to allow him_and Earnie_ to crow confidently “trust the process”.

  11. Chad Boardman says:

    You need at least 2 players in midfield to defend. Preferably more. Right now Bedoya hustles. Accam is a black hole. Fafa isn’t much better. Dockal doesn’t offer much at the 10. Haris is too slow and lacks bite. These guys are veterans. The book is out on them – they aren’t going to suddenly start defending. This would all be fine if we were scoring 4 a game. But we aren’t and the offense seems to be regressing. At a certain point the coach needs to take action. I remember Keegan getting a hook pretty early on last year. Let’s see if Jim can remember where he left it.

  12. It can’t be a coincidence that all of the veteran players are underperforming at the same time. Did they all suddenly forget how to play? Putting aside the rookies, no one except Blake is actually having a good year.

    That is either team leadership or coaching.

    • Or we have 2 players coming off career years (Sapong/Accam) who can recreate it, a player the league figured out in his second year (Fafa), a new player who doesn’t fit yet (maybe ever, Dockal), and midfielders who maybe hit an age wall (Bedoya/Medunjanin). None of these players are lethal goal scorers or even really noted for their offensive movements. Maybe we have created a roster than just doesn’t work attacking at all. I think a lot of things are wrong with this team but there is rot everywhere on offense and it’s time for a major shake up because no one is getting the job done.

      • Under this view its Earnie’s fault for essentially overvaluing everyone, and Curtin’s fault for not sitting players and/or changing formation

      • Yeah. I think basically everyone is at fault from the owner on down, except for the guys on defense and Blake.
        But the thing is our expected goals are pretty high so who knows.

    • I think we need the Hanson brothers or maybe Wild Thing at this point. Or at least one of the players needs to get in a fist fight during a game, I don’t care with whom. Someone’s gotta show something.

      • I agree that some player anger could help, it sure couldn’t hurt. Harris has some comments after the San Jose game, but there does seem to be a lack of emotion. Maybe some benchings would help that…..

  13. Desh Bouksani says:

    the youngest back line in all of MLS—-but no defensive midfielder.
    criminal neglect.

    • Fully agree here. The problem seems to be an ill conceived midfield mix. Your most talented players don’t complement each other well. I love watching Medunjanin, but if he’s your 6, then you need more defense from your wings. Bedoya works as hard as anyone, but ends up covering all over the place instead of focusing on shuttling and better connecting front and back lines. I’m hopeful Dockal is just taking time to come up to speed, a la Barnetta a few years back, in which case the offense would have some upside. Right now, this is frustrating, and it’s hard not to feel bit hopeless about the direction of things.

  14. Curtin has got to go. He should be fired tomorrow . Ernie you created this mess of players now Come in and coach . You have to turn it around so we can see the genius you are…… or are not… Dockal is no Barnetta… Fafa is the skinny version of Danny Cruz. Accam has been totally ineffective. I am not sold on Trusty or any of the young backs. You guys are way too easy on them… Like I said Ernie step in and coach this mess you created it. You have to hire a real coach who has had success at a high professional level not a yes man former MLS mediocre player who has roots in Philly. That hometown horsecrap is not acceptable.

  15. I was at this game

    It was … not good

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