Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 5 – 1 Minnesota United

When a team outplays and outclasses another team like Philadelphia did to Minnesota this weekend, it can be kind of hard to rate the winning team’s performance. Not because players didn’t do things well (because they absolutely did) but because they really weren’t punished for doing anything wrong. The Union made a lot of bad passes, and lost possession of the ball all too easily on Saturday night. Against the type of opposition they’ll be facing come the MLS Cup Playoffs, those mistakes will cost them dearly. But against the hapless and hopeless Loons, the Union only had to wait for the visiting team to make their own, bigger mistakes.

So take these player ratings with a grain of salt. Probably a bit more than a grain if we’re honest. Because the team played well and deserves to be happy, but this 5-1 win wasn’t anywhere near as impressive a performance as the 1-0 over Seattle a few weeks ago.

Player ratings

Andre Blake — 5

Maybe the defense should have done a better job covering the run, but Darwin Quintero’s goal lies solely on Blake’s shoulders. He managed to make contact with the ball, but it bounced off his left hand and into the goal. Controlling hard-hit balls like that has always been one of Blake’s weaknesses, luckily it didn’t cost the team anything this time.

Ray Gaddis — 6

A good game for Gaddis, who read the game well cutting off several key passes.

Auston Trusty — 5

A few slow reactions and a few mishandled passes would have cost the team against stiffer opposition, so Trusty is lucky it was just Minnesota.

Mark McKenzie — 6

Great game from McKenzie, who stepped up and shut down Rasmus Schuller more than a few times. His play wasn’t without mistakes though, and he’s another player fortunate that the opposition was as soft as it was.

Keegan Rosenberry — 7

A very good game for the outside back. He really showed the offensive side of his game quite well, crossing the ball into the box multiple times, earning two assists and threatening with several more. But his defensive game was great too, keeping Rasmus Schüller and Maximiniano quiet pretty much all game.

Alejandro Bedoya — 6

Bedoya did what he does best in this game- played as a more attack-minded box to box midfielder. Whether it was hitting Sapong with a well timed through ball or scoring an all too rare for him goal, the captain showed once again why he is such an asset for this team.

Haris Medunjanin — 5

Another game where Haris just kind of disappeared for long stretches of game. Partially that’s just because the Union were playing so front-footed that deep-laying players like Medunjanin just weren’t near the action, but the Union are objectively a better team when Medunjanin is on, so hopefully he’s rested and ready for what remains of the season.

Fafà Picault — 8

Performances like this are perfect examples of why Picault shouldn’t have needed other players to get injured before he gets invited to USMNT camp. Granted, Minnesota’s defense allowed that second goal more than he scored it, but the first goal and his assist for Ilsinho were signature Gazelle hustle.

Borek Dockal — 5

The central attacking midfielder did earn two assists, so his performance was far from awful. But other than that his play lacked the organization and control the team needs from him. Between mis-timed passes, and over-confident attempts to just dribble around defenders, the Union would be punished severely if he had played like this against stiffer competition.

C.J. Sapong — 4

It appears Sapong is continuing the fine Union tradition of wingers let down by their first touches. More than once on Saturday the ball got to Sapong in the attacking third and he lost it due to an inability to control the ball as it arrived.

Cory Burke — 7

Easily the most impressive of the Union’s five goals was the one Burke scored to start the night. I mean, look at this. Burke is the only Union player on screen until Dockal appears right before the goal. That means the Jamaican striker was on his own, taking on multiple Minnesota Defenders. And he still found the net.


Ilsinho (on for Sapong in the sixty first) — 6

He displayed impressive technical skill dribbling around opponents, scored a crazy goal from distance, and squandered a few opportunities by doing something cool instead of just passing the ball. It was a textbook performance from the Brazilian, assuming the class was Ilsinho 101.

Warren Creavalle (on for Dockal in the seventy seventh) — 6

Replacing an offensive player with a defensive one isn’t a move than needs explaining when your team is ahead by three goals. Creavalle calmed things down for the Union defense as Minnesota started to turn the tide late in the second half.

Jay Simpson (on for Burke in the eighty sixth) — 7

A high score for such a short appearance, but earning a foul and taking a dangerous shot is pretty good for four minutes.

Geiger Counter

Allen Chapman — 7

Good, but far from perfect. He let play continue for Burke’s goal, allowing the Video Assistant Referee to do his job and eventually coming to the correct conclusion. And neither Picault nor Gomez can complain about their cards in the seventy second minute. Though I do think Gomez deserved more for his blatant embellishment, and I’m not sure Gaddis was actually fouled in the fifty ninth minute.

Honorable Mention

Fox Sports North Broadcast Team — 9

Being out of market means watching on ESPN+, and that apparently means never getting to enjoy the Union’s own impressive broadcast team. The experience ranges from the bad (RSL) to the insufferable (LAFC), but then there is Callum Williams and Kyndra de St. Aubin of Minnesota United. Between doing more opposition research than most MLS broadcasts, and providing relevant information for those less familiar with soccer (without being patronizing), this pair is exactly what is needed to grow the game in “new” markets like the Twin Cities (or the US).

Player of the Game

Fafà Picault

Could it have been anyone else? The speedy winger played with all the passion we’ve come to expect from him, and it payed off with two goals and an assist. He’s stepping up his game right as the Union need a hero, and that’s something to be very excited about.


  1. I would argue that the Union’s most impressive win (so far) this season was the one against Vancouver. Yes, Seattle is a better team than Vancouver, but the Union did not dominate the game the way they did against Vancouver.
    Regarding these ratings, I would probably bump Rosenberry up another point. Both of his assists involved pretty much perfect passes.

    • Rosenberry’s assist to Fafa as Keegan dribbled through the center was amazing.
      The pass was against the grain, slotted between defenders, and in stride with Fafa to get a clean finish. Such a tough combination and he made it look effortless. Great work from the #AmishMessi.

      • Peanut Gallery says:

        It’s true. His assist to Fafa was sublime; a moment of brilliance. But I’m okay with 7 in light of a bad turnover to the middle of his own defensive third.

  2. so in a game the union won 5-1 they collectively(excluding subs) rate <6. ok.

  3. In a game where you should win. This team is doing just that! The Union of the past may not have dominated or even won. Fafa is definitely the man of the match.

  4. John O'Donnell Jr says:

    Sapong’s pass to Fafa was worth another point. Four is just to low for a player who didn’t make any mistakes. He held the ball well for most the match, was good at pressing on defence and probably played the game he was meant to play with this team as he comes out to let Ilsinho finish Minnesota off.

  5. Did we watch the same match?? The Union allow only a single goal, and Blake was, atypically, largely responsible for that (as you said), but the backline gets a mean grade of 6??

    Borek Dockal puts on a beautiful display of passing and running an offense, and he gets 5??

    You are basically stipulating that, because Minnesota played quite poorly, you won’t be too impressed by a strong performance. Even though the Union POUNDED this team into submission.

    Most of these ratings should be 1-2 points higher.

    • Have to disagree on Trusty at least (and maybe McKenzie). Trusty is getting more and more sloppy, and against that pop gun offense it’s inexcusable. It’s already cost them a USOC final, and that was a bad opponent as well.
      A playoff win isn’t going to happen the way that back line (mostly Trusty) has played the last several games. Kid has go to get his game simple and solid again.

  6. Zizouisgod says:

    Jim – here’s what you miss by not hearing JP and Tommy each week:

    Tommy hates any player trying to play out of the back. He would prefer that everyone just hoof the ball forward and not “mess around”.

    JP has trouble seeing the entire pitch at times. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a legend who I love to listen to. It’s just another reminder that nothing is forever.

    “Bulging the ol’ onion bag.”

    Assorted wide-eyed ramblings by Dave Leno, Marisa Pilla and Matt Kassel.

    No graphics and very little stats

    • To be very fair: JP can’t “see” the entire field (for away games at least) because he is watching it from a studio monitor uy=using the same feed we see at home. If he’s not in the stadium booth, he has no chance to see the whole field.
      This is also true for some of the Int’l games he is often called to do.
      The guy is VERY good.
      Tommy is charming but a “master of the obvious”. I’d like a more informed and truly analytical person in that seat.

      • The union did great having JP paired with an up and coming guy when they first started. They should go back to that style.

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