Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 4 – 0 Vancouver Whitecaps

Photo by Earl Gardner

Before I get to the ratings themselves, I’d like to make a quick note about how I prepare player ratings. Before each game I write out the starting eleven, leaving space underneath for notes. This helps me keep things organized throughout the game, but the real reason I do it is because it makes it easy to see who I need to pay closer attention to. Sometimes due to the way a particular player is performing in a given game, or just the nature of their role on the field, I’ll notice I haven’t made notes for a particular player yet. Seeing that I’ll make sure to focus on them a bit more so I can be sure to have something slightly intelligent to say about them in this column.

But that wasn’t a concern this game. I had made note of everyone on the field by the twenty fifth minute of the game. And even more remarkably every note was a good one. Jim Curtin has said multiple times that he needs everyone on the field to have a good night in order for the Union to be competetive, and we saw the truth of that statement on Saturday night.

Reminder: Players start with a score of 5, which represents and average performance. Points are then added or removed from there.

Player ratings

Andre Blake — 6

Vancouver didn’t spend much time making the Union defend, so the Jamaican keeper wasn’t really asked for much. But he did his job well enough to keep a clean sheet, so there’s no fault to be found here.

Ray Gaddis — 6

Ray’s performance at left back is really beginning to make me wonder if he ever really was a right back. In a closer game we might be lamenting the scuffed shot in the fifty ninth minute, which squandered an advantage-played foul. But the Union weren’t wanting for goals on Saturday, so instead we can focus on things like him opening up his somehow still surprising speed to shut down a breakaway by Vancouver substitute Jordan Mutch.

Auston Trusty — 6

If the scores for these defensive players seem low, it is more a product of the Union keeping Vancouver in their own half (and thus not asking much of the defense) than it is a negative reflection on the performance of Union defenders. Trusty had a fine game, he just didn’t have to do much when the ball was down near Vancouver’s goal.

Mark McKenzie — 6

Good awareness and response to shut down breakaways, including Techera in the twenty first minute.

Keegan Rosenberry — 7

Good to see Keegan back to his overlapping ways, especially as there was so little needed from him back on defense. He didn’t find the scoresheet, or even an assist, but he earned a few corners for the Union and more importantly kept the Whitecaps’ defense distracted, giving other attacking players room to work.

Alejandro Bedoya — 6

A quiet night from the captain, where most of his work was moving to another side of the field to set up the next Union assault.

Warren Creavalle — 6

Filling in for the suspended Haris Medunjanin, Creavalle was more than up to the task of keeping a beleaguered Vancouver in their own half.

Borek Dockal — 8

This is the player we’ve been waiting for the Czech Designated Player to be. Two goals (from just three shots on goal), plus nine corner kicks that laid siege on the Vancouver goal.

Ilsinho — 7

The Brazilian was doing what he does best all night long. Taking on multiple opponents and making them looks silly with his dribbling skills. Unfortunately, he also squandered those impressive possessions more than once, taking never-going-to-make-it shots or passing to no one. But hard to complain with a goal and an assist. And his tendency to drift to the center perfectly complimented Dockal’s tendency to drive wide, keeping Vancouver’s defense disorganized.

Fafà Picault — 6

The Gazelle worked hard all game, earning corners, setting up crosses, and taking more than a few shots of his own. He also earned and converted a penalty when Yordy Reyna committed a completely unnecessary foul in stoppage time.

C.J. Sapong — 4

The sole bel0w-average performance of this game. At this point, he’s not helping the team, and consistent starts clearly aren’t helping him.


Cory Burke (for Sapong in the sixty sixth) — 5

It’s clear C.J. isn’t cutting it as striker, but Burke doesn’t appear to have the power to replace him either.

Marcus Epps (for Ilsinho in the seventy sixth) — 5

A fine performance, and smart management by Curtin to give Ilsinho’s legs a rest and keep Epps in sync with the rest of the team.

Derrick Jones (for Dockal in the eighty eighth minute)– 5

More about killing off time late in the game than changing tactics or talent. But he did allow Dockal to come off the field to the ovation he deserved.

Geiger Counter

Allen Chapman — 3

A lot of his calls (including a few that went in the Union’s favor) were soft. But not all of his calls. It’s one thing if you’re going to call everything, but the complete lack of consistency was clearly frustrating to players on both teams.

Player of the Game: Borek Dockal

So much of the Union’s success this game is a result of his work. He’s clearly a threat on goal himself, keeping defenses from ganging up on other Union attackers. But he’s also perfectly capable of setting up other players to score, preventing defenders from ganging up on him. If the Union don’t already know who will be replacing him next year, they need to convince Henan Jianye to give them an option to buy.


  1. Ilson and Borek don’t seem to have good chemistry. Am I the only one who notices this? One zigs, the other zags. It was painfully noticeable in the Open Cup against Rbulls. I couldn’t watch this game (so of course they put up 4 goals) but I want to bring it up for debate. Compared to Ilson’s chemistry with Rosenberry or Bedoya, I don’t see the same with Borek.

  2. Ilsinho only gets half credit for the goal as he did convert the penalty but didn’t earn it. He is still lacking that final pass/shot though and at this point it’s hard to say he will ever learn it.
    Sapong is worthless out there. Burke comes in and is immediately better. Earns another penalty for the team. As I said before, Burke is not a starter in MLS (a great backup though) and yet he is better at literally every aspect than Sapong. Burke needs to start or we need to put Fafa up top with 2 of Ilsinho, Epps, or Accam on the wings.

  3. I’m going to disagree with you a little, Jim on what I think are low scores. Crevalle was constantly Johnny on the spot on defense making me raise the hypothetical question: are the Union actually BETTER with him on the field? A topic for another day.
    Also Fafa was “mayhem” out there. A real headache for Vancouver for the entire game. Never stopped attacking. Hmm, he wears no 9…

    • The Chopper says:

      A point I raised in the post game thread. With Dockal now in firm control of the offense, the Union may be better off sacrificing Medanjunin’s technical skills, superior passing and set pieces for Creavalle’s superior defensive positioning and ball winning.

    • Regarding Creavalle: I did not see this match, so I cannot answer specifically, but for most of this season Medunjanin had simply not been contributing.

      Now, I DID see the last Open Cup match against NYRB — live in the stadium — and that was probably one of Haris’ best performances ever in a Union kit. If he played like THAT most of the time, he’d be a clear improvement over Creavalle.

      Meanwhile Haris is 34, and I have to think that next season it would be in the Union’s best interests to have a true destroyer in that position. That would mean either going out and getting one, or (preferably, if possible) handing the reins to young D. Jones.

  4. I think Picault is too high, if only for the temper tantrum he threw that resulted in getting a yellow-card, and maybe more if rumors of an “altercation” in the tunnel after the game are founded.
    I don’t mind him playing angry. I mind him taking stupid and avoidable yellows.

  5. Crevalle should be higher IMO. He was a beast out there.

  6. “Players start with a score of 5, which represents and average performance”
    Just FYI – “and” should be “an”.

  7. Andy Muenz says:

    Those numbers don’t seem to reflect a team that won 4-0, had 90% pass completion, almost 60% possession, and held the opponents to 2 shots, neither on goal (and it was all inflated by the red cards). There should be a lot more 7’s.

    • I hope we have this problem every week. 🙂

    • Devil’s Avocado: Vancouver were content to cede all the possession they could, save for 15 minutes after half. Thus, both percentages would have been high regardless of quality. As for the shots on goal, give me Warren C. at an 8 instead of a 6. That’s my final answer.

      • As possession goes. If you discount the time Vancouver possessed the ball in their own end, their possession number was even worse. A lot worse.

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