Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Atlanta United 2-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Rob Simmons

The Philadelphia Union managed to keep all 11 men on the pitch during Saturday’s rematch with league power Atlanta United, and it didn’t matter one bit. A young, disorganized defense coupled with wasted opportunities in the final third and endless turnovers led to a 2-0 home setback.

Jim Curtin called it “devastating” to not get a result, but the Union simply deserved to drop this one.

Player Ratings 

Andre Blake — 6

If not for Blake, the match very easily could have ended 4-0 or 5-0. He totally bailed out three defenders in the 12th minute, when Atlanta’s Miguel Almiron somehow weaved through and shot a bender bound for the side netting. Blake, who also got big and denied a Josef Martinez breakthrough just before halftime, finger-tipped it to the right.

He came up large again in the 48th on a set piece and kept a Martinez brace off the table with about 30 minutes to play. Sure, he brought down Almiron and was carded for a penalty, but he shouldn’t be in that spot alone. The Union still lose without that sequence and Blake had nothing to do with it. He was visibly frustrated and it’s easy to see why. He’s got a mere five clean sheets on the season and we all know he’s much better than that individually.

Keegan Rosenberry — 4 

Overall, it was a pretty quiet night for Rosenberry. He had his normal bursts forward, but nothing came of them. One shot he blasted over the bar from distance and another he struck lightly right to Brad Guzan after a brilliant run from Ilsinho. It felt like he extinguished the Brazilian’s flame immediately.

No glaring mistakes on defense, but he seemed to be caught out of position quite a bit. Almiron and others were often in acres of space out wide.

Mark McKenzie — 3

McKenzie had a rough night. It started with a dumb giveaway in the 17th where he passed the ball directly to Atlanta in the middle of the field. A few minutes later he gave up a dangerous free-kick outside the box and he was just frantically running around all match. Almiron blew right by him on the penalty.

Auston Trusty — 3

For maybe the first time all season, Trusty looked like he had no business being on the same pitch as the opposition. Martinez, who easily took the ball from him in the box early on, bossed him around all night. In the middle of the first half, he turned back toward Blake and just rifled one over the end line for a corner. Nervy, amateur stuff.

The two young center backs have done very well this season as a whole, but they were both totally exposed in this one. Credit to Atlanta for being that potent on offense, but Trusty and McKenzie looked like a couple of average collegiate players out there.

Raymon Gaddis — 4

Gaddis was…fine? Similarly to Rosenberry, he darted forward plenty and got off some forward passes, but nothing happened. There seemed to be even more space on the right throughout the game and Gaddis was nowhere to be found. At one point, an Atlanta player was literally just standing in the box with the ball for  a  good five seconds — no one was around him at all. In the box. How does that happen?

Alejandro Bedoya — 4

The captain’s highlight came in the 54th minute, where a brilliant turn left him wide open heading for the end line on the right side of the 18. He drove one back perfectly, only to watch Borek Dockal bang it over the bar. Bedoya had a right to be pissed on that one, but he gets upset with teammates too often for my liking. He’s not good enough to be constantly throwing his arms up in frustration and he wasn’t good enough against Atlanta.

He also lost his cool and needlessly fouled a 19-year-old on a retaliation tackle late on. Remember what happened in Atlanta, Ale? Less talking, more playing would be great. His good play is being overshadowed.

Haris Medunjanin — 3

Medunjanin is incredibly frustrating to watch sometimes. He’ll whip in an absolute peach of a ball and show flashes of total brilliance, and then pass the ball to an opposing forward in the middle of the field. He does this multiple times a match and he did it again Saturday. In the 12th minute, he casually received a ball from Blake in front of goal and coughed it up immediately as an Atlanta player came running in from behind. Numbers were forward and he was lucky nothing came of it.

Even though the match was practically over, Medunjanin also lofted one up to God knows who in the 84th and Martinez pushed a favorable rebound wide, otherwise it would have been 3-0. A player with his experience should rarely give the ball away — it’s like he does it on purpose.

Borek Dockal — 4

Not putting that Bedoya pass on frame is inexcusable. Score and it’s 1-0 and the match shifts entirely. Dockal was all alone and he didn’t even come close. He utterly wasted a free-kick early in the opening minutes and it’s not the save he forced on Guzan before halftime that you think about. It’s not the pretty little combo plays or nice through balls. He just has to be better.

Ilsinho — 5

Ilsinho managed to put some Atlanta defenders on their heels, which is more than anyone else can say. His trickery was in top form and when your striker is practically sleeping, it’s a real boost. Multiple times, the Brazilian made a flashy move, dumped it off to someone else and then watched the play die. He’s an ideal contrast to Fafa’s pace on the other side.

The only issue was his final product wasn’t there, either. He took a few shots and none of them tested Guzan at all.

Fafa Picault — 4

Pace, pace, pace. That’s all the Atlanta commentators kept talking about while Fafa was on the ball, but a defender was always close behind in this one. His best ball from the left came in the 15th minute, when he whipped a low driver across the goal, but no one claimed it.

Fafa can be a handful for defenders, but he’s also not going to do it alone very often. He found his space and put in some decent deliveries, but didn’t have proper help.

C.J. Sapong — 2

Sapong looks deflated. He looks like a tired version of himself. His name was hardly called in this one and by all accounts, his confidence is down. Curtin will almost certainly back him through a drought like this, but you can make the case that Burke should be starting at this point.

“The Union have got to go out and get a striker.” The road commentary team saying this is a bad sign. Sapong is the striker.


Corey Burke (63′) — 5

Burke’s one real chance came late when he slipped by the line and shifted left before firing low on Guzan. It was saved and Burke was called offside, but a reply proved he was on. A good take and a well-timed slip were more than Sapong did all match.

David Accam (77′) — 2

Is Accam going to keep coming off the bench and doing nothing? That’s not really any better than starting and doing nothing.

Marcus Epps (83′) — 5

Epps comes on for a third like-for-like down 2-0 at home to one of the league’s best teams and it’s just kind of like “What’s the point?” Aren’t subs in a match like this supposed to provide a spark and change things for the better? Nothing changed and that goes back to Curtin.


  1. The Chopper says:

    A two for C.J. might be generous. Did he make a run? Did he generate a chance? I know he works hard on the press, but so what. Forget every other problem with this team, you can not win without goals. His principal responsibility is to score. That’s his job. At least when Pontius was slumping last year he was actually shooting. Just not scoring. At this point CJ is not even getting off shots.

    This club now creates enough chances through possession and movement. The striker is missing in action. ENOUGH.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Much too high for Ilsinho. There were several times in the first half where a teammate laid a pass off for him expecting him to make a run only to find out he was just standing around. Plus a couple of his shots were horrendous.
    Shots need to be on goal to beat a team like Atlanta. 18 shots is good but only 3 on target is unacceptable.

  3. John Harris says:

    I think the above question about Sapong is correct. Perhaps lower than 2.
    Re Ilson, I thought he was wearing his defender out but reasonable minds can differ.
    Again, no coaching and ownership rating so I will volunteer.
    Jim Curtain – 2. There had to be some game planning and strategy but they were not apparent. No excuse for starting Sapong. At this point the manager is cutting off the Union’s nose to spite the fans’ face. It’s arrogant and unjustifiable.
    Ownership – 1. The lack of investment, both in money and care, were in stark contrast to a well-funded, enthusiastic, and optimistic Atlanta United organization. The contrast, Gemütlichkeit vs. hostage situation, was an example of why MLS may need to get back to its forced parity league roots. American fans appropriately should not put up with the situation in Chester.

    • Union fan says:

      The sad thing is I can just see Earnie (assuming he still comes into the office) telling Jim : “There’s no reason to change for change’s sake Jim. You’re doing the right thing by starting CJ.”

  4. The gaffer says:

    It appears to me that CJs teammates don’t want to pass him the ball as they do not have confidence either. Only Curtin thinks he should start. How many losses will it take before he is fired?

  5. Great One says:

    I’d argue some players higher or lower by a point or so, but what’s that point. The team actually looked dangerous at times early. Rosenberry/Ilsinho/Dockal and sometimes Bedoya played well off of eachother several times. Sometimes shots miss, it happens, but starting CJ continually is unacceptable.
    Atlanta is a great offensive team, and eventually they figured out and beat our young defense. These things will happen sometimes.

  6. Philly Fan says:

    Fafa Picault should be your highest ratted payer every game…

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