Player ratings

Player ratings: Sporting Kansas City 2-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Paul Rudderow

An unlucky performance on the road saw the Union drop their second straight match to start the 2019 season. Marco Fabian was sent off (unjustly in my opinion) and missed a penalty in the loss. Philly had a decent opening half that saw few chances for either side but was unfortunately a skills competition that Sporting Kansas City won with a well taken penalty kick.

Chris Penso sent off Fabian in the 60th minute, giving few chances for a Union comeback and Jack Elliott saw to that with an own goal in the 80th minute. Two games into the season and the Union’s new tactical formation still very much looks like a work in progress and they’ll be a few questions asked of the starting XI as the team prepares to take on defending champions Atlanta next Sunday.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 5

Guesses right but can’t keep out a well taken PK. Unlucky as Elliott redirects one in past him. Not really too much to say about Blake as he was only forced to make two saves on the day.

Ray Gaddis – 3

Ernst Tanner and Jim Curtin are trying to install a system where almost all of the width is provided by the fullbacks, so I’m not fully sure I understand what they expect from Gaddis. He gave away the ball cheaply a few times early on but settled down a little afterwards. Actually makes a great defensive play where KC is awarded their PK, but just doesn’t provide the offensive capabilities going forward that the system requires. If Olivier Mbaizo isn’t ready, why is Keegan Rosenberry in Colorado?

Jack Elliott – 3

Unlucky to redirect into his own net, but I’m not really sure what Elliott is trying to do on that play. He should have done better with an open header from the corner kick in the first half. Did finish with nine clearances and three recoveries though.

Auston Trusty – 3

Wagner is caught up field on the build up to the SKC penalty, and Trusty tries to get way out to the left touch and intercept the ball over the top, only to get beaten. He then retreats back and does make contact with ___ (thought I still think it’s a little soft). I thought Trusty looked one of the most assured players on the pitch last weekend, but this weekend was one of his more uneven shifts in the Union shirt.

Kai Wagner – 5

I thought Wagner provided the most out of the backline. He was willing to run the line all day and certainly provided more going forward than Gaddis

Haris Medunjanin – 4

Again left wanting defensively for most of the match. Medunjanin did find the ball and shuffle it around and forward better than any other midfielder on the pitch. I think Medunjanin can be most effective shuffling the ball and connecting passes in the opponents half, which he was unable to break into for much of the day.

Warren Creavalle – 5

Had a few runs into the box, which were unexpected, and probably not where you hope to see Creavalle either. A workman like effort from the defensive midfielder kept KC from their usual dominating possession at home.

Alejandro Bedoya – 4

A similar performance to Picault, Bedoya just struggled to get involved. Some decent combinations down the right side, but few meaningful touches in the offensive side.

Marco Fabian – 2

Not really a terrific trio of stats for Fabian who had a penalty saved, a yellow card and a straight red card in the match. The Union need more from the playmaker in and around goal, and Fabian was poor there on the afternoon. He has a great chance on the half volley after Creavalle knocks the ball down to him in the box, he fires into Row M with a decent look from distance and then has a penalty saved.

Fafa Picault – 4

Quiet day for Picault, who only completed 10 of 12 passes and struggled to get involved for most of the match.

Cory Burke – 5

Burke was in the battles for most of the day, seemingly more involved than Picault, but found chances few and far between as the Union struggled in the final third. Hit a stinging shot that Melia did well to push away that ended up being one of the Union’s best chances in the match. Also had a decent chance from a header saved where he probably should have done more with the cross.


Sergio Santos (for Picault in the 73rd) – 3

In almost 20 minutes on the pitch (granted, all of it down a man), Santos completed two of three passes and had no shots. That makes two fairly anonymous shifts for the off season signing (save for a clobbering of Drew Moor).

Derrick Jones (for Burke in the 78th) – 4

Jones was two of four passing in a 15-minute cameo.

Ilsinho (for Creavalle in the 79th) – 4

Struggled to find the ball after coming in in the 79th minute.

Geiger Counter

Chris Penso – 1

I’ve seen the arguments on Twitter, but there’s no way I can see that as a straight red card for Fabian. In the red card sequence: Fabian wins the ball, jumps, gets clipped by Russell, and then unfortunately ends up landing on the midfielder with his leg. There’s a good number of people out there who seem to think it’s easy to control how your body lands while you’re mid jump and being pushed off balance, but I just don’t think it works that way. Outside of that, I thought Penso was poor and inconsistent. Zusi should have been sent off for a second yellow card offense. There were at least two tactical fouls by KC (and one from Philly) in the first half that went completely unpunished. I thought the penalty call on Trusty was soft but can see the argument.


  1. OneManWolfpack says:

    Excellent assessment of Penso. By no means am I totally blaming officiating for the loss, but again, the Union were done no favors.

  2. I don’t understand playing Gaddis. He’s a known quality and doesn’t have the necessary skills to work in this formation.


    They traded their starting RB, at least in part, to make room for Mbaizo. What’s the point of him sitting on the bench? Either he’s healthy enough and ready to play with the first team or he should be getting minutes with Steel.

  3. I don’t understand, at all, how Curtin waits 13 minutes after Fabian is sent off before making a sub. And then when he does finally make a sub, it’s effectively a “like for like” with Santos coming in for Picault. He doesn’t do anything to cover for the loss of his #10 until 5 minutes later when he brings on Jones and Ilsinho and takes out Creavalle and Burke – and even after that move, leaves Haris at the 6 with Jones being a like-for-like on the left side.
    I also think the straight red call was harsh. Yellow seems reasonable to me there. On one hand, it would’ve been Fabian’s second yellow, so same result; however, on the other hand I vaguely recall that VAR can’t be used to assess a yellow. Just a straight red. So I’m not sure what happens there if Penso does decide the foul would warrant a yellow instead of a red.
    Lastly, I’ll just point out that Sapong is, at the moment, outscoring the entire Union roster. (And I say that as somebody who thought moving on from him was a good move.)

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      The point about Penso is great. He backed himself into corner on that. Not to mention he was standing right there, a few yards away when it happened. He saw it clearly. Why did he have to review it?
      And your point about Curtin and his lack of subbing is also spot on. He cannot think tactically or on the fly. He is pre-programmed all the time. It has been hurting this team for a long time

  4. Creavalle‘s nifty knock down to Fabián actually got me out of my seat.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      I appreciate you have highlighted this as it was one of loveliest runs and touches in 10 years of this franchise. I think I’ve missed less than 5 games total so I have almost every game on file in the brain.
      a run and touch and creation of space in the box that happens ad nauseam other places but is so seldom seen in this environment. The late run….is there anything better than late movement on a breaking ball and late movement into the box— let alone the poetic outside boot touch to leave it wanting and on a platter in the tiny space he had just created.

      It was exquisite and I remember knowing immediately it was Warren as he has a distinctive running style…
      someone commented in another thread, Marco simply has to finish that chance. He’s The Guy. That’s His Spot. He’s the Big Signing.
      That goal goes in —one moment of perfection– the union of like-mindedness possibly clicks in a team-swagger and a parallel universe opens up.
      as it is, we got a second game of near misses, and Nothing. And never knows.

  5. 1. Totally agree with John Ling about Curtin’s appalling use of subs. I mean, if you’re not scoring with your full XI, and your playmaker just got sent off, and you’re a goal down, what the hell are you waiting for?!? He should’ve pulled Gaddis immediately for another offensive player, because you’re already looking at 0 points, so what do you have to lose??

    2. Despite the frustration of this game, I think several of these ratings are far too low. Wagner was MOTM on our end, doing an excellent job with a new team, in a new league, in a tough road game, with a really difficult assignment. I would’ve given him a 7. Also, Jack Elliott was having an excellent game until the unfortunate own goal; he has to take the blame for that, but I would still give him at least a 5. Lastly, I thought Bedoya had a very strong match; the guy was EVERYWHERE — in part because others don’t do their jobs so well — and I’d rate him a couple points higher.

    • Yes! I fully expected Gaddis to come out. I expected Ilsinho or Aaronson, though. Probably Ilsinho because we all know we can’t put our kids in a tough spot – unless they play center back, that is.

  6. Picault has great speed and hustle, but doesn’t finish. Move him to the left side of the midfield diamond. Try Santos as the other striker…with he and Burke we would have a lot of size and strength up top.
    And our CB’s need more help than Medunjanin offers; let’s give Jones the opportunity.
    And sub out Bedoya at the 60th minute so he doesn’t wear out by August.

  7. Trusty was bad. He has been bad last season and this season relative to the club and fans hype on him. He’s not a great defender, at least right now. Replace him with Collin who has a better record than any other defender on this team and experience in this league. Let Trusty sit on the bench and learn. He’s not getting it done so far.
    Medujanin had some good passes here and there but it wasn’t very effective. He made a huge mistake when i guess, trying to clear the ball and instead hit the ball towards our own 18 and KC posses the ball and ends up costing us a goal.
    Fabián has a bad game as well, although both cards were BS. My opinion , he shouldn’t have any cards for the whole match. ( MLS Refs are a joke ). He should have had 2 goals in this one. Creavalle’s fantastic heal flick to Fabián to have a clear shot on net and the PK he should have put away. The Union should stop insulting our intelligence and making excuses and go out and buy a big name , a big star no matter what it’s worth. Someone who will be worth the big money. I’m done getting excited for no names that we bring in thinking they will change this club. Lastly, if Curtin isn’t fired after mid season or before next season i will not be renewing my season tickets which I’ve had since 2010. If this organization won’t give it their all and takes risks to truly make this team better then why should I pay my hard earned money for mediocrity !

    • Let’s see how the Club back bends to excuse yet another desultory performance from the Academy poster child.

      It is sad that Tommy Smith is drinking the Kool Aid on Trusry as well and carrying his water.

      • If and when they make a change, it will be interesting to see if they sit the 20-year old “Academy poster child” or the 23-year old 4th round SuperDraft pick, who has been the better player of the two.

      • Soapy Souter says:

        Couldn’t agree more. Maybe Jim’s new glasses aren’t tinted Trusty??

  8. Chris Gibbons says:

    Warren Creavalle has been waiting for all of years he’s been here to make that run and deliver that pass on that platter. He’s known, because he’s a Trafalmadorian and sees time as it exists, past, present, and future, that he would make that run, the pass would be perfect, and the subsequent shot by the team’s most important signing ever wouldn’t even strike the target. He’s known that failure was inevitable on that play and yet he still made the run anyway. It was never a question of “if” he would make the run. Time simply is. The run simply is. It has always been and will always be, beautiful and incomplete.

  9. From
    “This year, following Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Sporting, they have one goal on a league-best 4.62 xG.
    They’re generating chances, but not finishing them. Union fans know the drill.”
    So we have the best xG but can’t score….

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