Player ratings

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 3 – 0 Montreal Impact

There was plenty of praise to go around after Philadelphia Union’s victory against Montreal Impact Saturday in Chester. With three goals by three different players and a shut out, virtually every player that stepped on the pitch for the Union played well. Let’s take a look at the performances that put the Union at third in the Eastern Conference table:

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 6

It’s always tough to see players leave the match injured. Andre Blake looked to be in serious pain after leaving in the 54th minute with a groin injury. Before that, however, Blake put in a typically solid performance. Largely untested, Blake saved Montreal’s only shot on net and intercepted a cross that could have been a goal otherwise. Union head coach Jim Curtin does not yet have a time for Blake’s return, but we wish him a safe and speedy recovery in the meantime.

Ray Gaddis – 6

Solid as always. His link-up play up the right wing has really improved, not only over the years but this season as well. Some have called for Olivier Mbaizo to take Gaddis’s place, but as of this Montreal match, there really is no reason for it.

Jack Elliott – 7

Elliott got beat once to give the Impact one of their most dangerous opportunities. It wasn’t a very good opportunity, though, and that was Elliott’s biggest mistake of the night. The Impact only had one shot on net, and that’s largely because of him. In addition to his stalwart defense, his distribution was spot on. His only passes that failed to connect were long balls down the pitch.

Aurelien Collin – 6

Making his Union debut, Aurelien Collin didn’t play the perfect match. The French center back had several mis-touches, though nothing too costly. Playing from the back, he rarely split the lines, if ever. Still, Collin obviously brought a veteran intelligence and tranquility to the backline. In his first match of the season, he preserved the shutout — worth at least a “6.”

Kai Wagner – 7

Yes, he got a red card. Yes, he hit Choiniere right in the shins with his spikes. Still, Wagner continues to be an asset on defense and a key to the Union’s offense. Not only did the German left back help them get the ball into Montreal’s half as quickly as possible, but he also helped them keep it there, providing a reliable outlet on the wing when the build up hit a wall. Wagner also did well to get a foot on Medunjanin’s pass leading to the Union’s second goal. He will be missed next week.

Haris Medunjanin – 8

It’s tough to say if Medunjanin’s defense is improving because the Union are doing a great job of spreading his defensive load and drawing men away from him in the first place. In possession, however, Medunjanin dominated this match. With Collin behind him, Medunjanin truly began the majority of the Union’s attack on the night — an attack which scored three goals.

Alejandro Bedoya – 8

El Capitan strikes again! Bedoya notched his second goal of the season in a match well-played. True, Burke should have had it first, but that’s exactly why Bedoya was positioned where he was. Solid play from the captain on both sides of the ball for the entire match.

Brenden Aaronson – 8

Is there anything this kid can’t do? Like virtually every other team the Union have played, Montreal’s attack had no hope of developing if they got the ball on Aaronson’s side. On defense and in transition, Aaronson is the team’s most intelligent presser. With the ball at his feet, his light touch and visionary passing continue to impress. Off the ball, his runs stretched the Impact’s defense and created options. The Medford native is the real deal. All he has to do now is bulk up.

Jamiro Monteiro – 9

Between Monteiro, Aaronson, and Marco Fabian, Jim Curtin has some serious options. Monteiro stepped into his new role as No. 10 quite comfortably, coming back to give Medunjanin a forward option in the middle when necessary and creating unique chances in Montreal’s half. His distribution was creative and, for the most part, precise, though he did seem to find it difficult to move the ball forward at times. He read Montreal keeper Evan Bush perfectly on the penalty kick. It will be interesting to see what Curtin does next week.

Ilsinho – 6

Perhaps, Ilsinho works better as a sub. In fact, he may be the best sub in MLS. That being said, Ilsinho still managed to disrupt Montreal’s defense during his 68 minutes on the pitch. No killer goals or assists for the Brazilian in this match, but he worked well with everyone on his side to consistently move the ball up the pitch and into the box.

Cory Burke – 7

The pros: Burke placed the ball perfectly on the ground, from distance on the Union’s first goal. He also continued to be a threat throughout the whole match. The cons: He should have had the Union’s second goal; he was lucky Bedoya was behind him after wiffing at Wagner’s cross. Plus, if some of his passes were more accurate, the Union may have had more goals. All-in-all, the striker’s game has improved since last season, but the bottom line is this same — Cory Burke isn’t a perfect player, but he scores goals. Nothing is more valuable.


Matt Freese – 5

After coming on for the injured Andre Blake, the 20-year-old Freese wasn’t really tested. He didn’t make any saves because he didn’t have to, but he also didn’t an ass of himself either, preserving the shutout. Good job, kid.

Fafa Picault – 5

It was difficult for Fafa to make an impact as the Union had already begun to ease up on the pressure by the time he took the pitch. Still, Fafa performed his role well, coming on for Ilsinho.

Kacper Przybylko – 5

Pzybylko wasn’t spectacular in his debut. He had a few poor touches to be sure. But he wasn’t given too many opportunities, and it was his first MLS match. It was good to see him get the minutes.



  1. Chris Gibbons says:

    There was a moment in the first half when Medunjanin’s man beat him and he started to point. It had my curling toward the fetal position. Instead of slowing down and passing the attacker off to Collin though, he put his head down, hustled with his man, and won the ball back. I want a GIF of this but sadly didn’t record the match.

    As for Wagner, I give him a 3 or a 4. His play in the match was 6-7-worthy, but that Red was so careless and unnecessary as to negate his sublime touch on the team’s 3rd. It will be fun to have Matt Real out there (because he’s more than earned a start at Left Back again), and it will save Wagner the wear and tear of a trip out West, but it could have been a disastrous outcome earlier in match or in a closer contest.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      I have done no work analyzing Vancouver.
      A possible way to cover Wagner would be Gaddis left, Bedoya to right back and spread the wealth among the remaining midfielders.
      Real did not have a spectacular game against Indy.
      It might be Fabinho.

  2. Vince Smith says:

    Collin was a 7 in my book. I felt he stepped forward and won balls in crafty ways that Trusty usually doesn’t. His passing wasn’t on the level of Elliot’s, but his ball winning and defending overall was high quality.

  3. Unless it’s with Fabian as a withdrawn, second striker, I can’t see how the U go to back to a 4-4-2 regularly. With nobody lighting the world on fire up top yet (though accam deserves a little more time), you’ve now got 5 midfielders who shouldn’t be coming off the field much. Monteiro was so much fun to watch this weekend, as was aaronson. Both need to play regularly.

    • This week, Curtin could take the opportunity to leave Haris home, since it’s an incredibly long trip and (if I recall) Vancouver is a turf field. That’s an ideal spot to sit your aging #6, and Curtin now has the resources to be able to do so without really skipping a beat.

    • Or Bedoya could go to RB since he dominated there when he swapped back a few games ago and we are still not getting nearly enough out of Ray there. Although I would probably wait for this until Santos is back. The midfield is definitely stacked though and all 5 should be starting most games for sure.

  4. Monty is a revelation in high pressure.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Unless you’re planning on adding him with a negative rating for the next match or two, Wagner needs a lower score just due to the liability he is causing for the next two games.
    I would also lower Burke’s score a point for missing the sitter that Bedoya put home. It didn’t hurt the Union this time but it certainly could next time.
    No Geiger counter but I thought it was one of the better efforts we’ve seen from a ref this season. He got the major calls correct and handled the red card well (giving the yellow and looking at the video rather than giving the red and not looking at all).

    • Agreed. I like Robert Sibiga as a referee. He doesn’t have a big ego and never tries to insert himself into the match and loses control like some referees (Geiger). His games always seem fair…in fact, I usually don’t notice him, which is the sign of a good referee. He got the big calls in this match correct, but my only complaint is I thought he fell for Montreal’s flopping and diving too easily early in the match.

  6. I am not coming down on Wagner for the red. Yes, it was foolish, but he is young and hopefully it is a “one and done” situation. Jim was pissed enough show it in the press conference, and I’m sure “the machine” will get some flack.
    But, as has been shown every week, this kid is a machine. Runs for days and he can shut down the flank like nobody in Union blue EVER has in the LB position.
    Bright side: we get to see Real in action.

  7. Barry Evans says:

    Id drop Wagner for the red card, it wasn’t just a red card but a red card late in game from a tackle that didnt need to be made, and it was a really bad tackle. Curtin was right to say how upset he was at it.

    Think Ilsinho is just a 6 because we won so nobody should be less than 6? Thought he was poor and didn’t bring anything to game (we only had 2 shots at goal in whole first half).

    Id also up Elliott. He won the penalty and was very good defensively the majority of the night, it was a better defensive performance than attacking on for me as strange as that sounds.

  8. Andy Muenz says:

    I forgot to mention earlier that I’d go up a point on Freese. Yes he didn’t need to make any big saves but he did do a good job at killing the game and made smart decisions for his first start. Just the fact that on a couple of occasions he waited until the Montreal players came up to him before picking up the ball. Not something you’d normally notice but also easy to forget to do in the excitement of your first game.

  9. Great outcome but I think the scoreline was really flattering for what was an otherwise rough game by most of the team individually. I thought the first 2 goals of the game really came against the run of play (PK was certainly earned though). Through most of the 1st half we seemed to struggle in position and settle for long clearances on defense while Montreal maintained much of the possession. I also thought Collin was noticeably rusty with his touches, passing, and decision-making though it never cost us. 2nd half was a more even performance. Man of the match in my opinion was #6 for Montreal, Piette. Guy was everywhere and snuffed out attack after attack for them through most of the day and played very efficiently out of the back. Really hoping Blake’s injury isn’t too bad and Wagner’s suspension stays at 1 game.

  10. pragmatist says:

    The point on Ilsinho has been repeated, but is no less correct: He’s best-suited as a sub. His skills are magnified against tired legs with 20 minutes to go. He shouldn’t be in the discussion for a starting midfielder unless pressed into service through player absences. But, damn, is he awesome to have available at the end of a match.

  11. I attended this match, right at midfield, and I find some of these ratings… strange.

    Ray Gaddis was right in front of me for half the match and was outstanding. Deserves a 7. Colin was also outstanding and deserves a 7, especially for his first-ever minutes, on short notice! Wagner has got to be docked at least a point for that ridiculous red card. (I won’t get down on him overall because he’s been such a stud this year.)

    Meawhile in the midfield I thought both Ilsinho and Aaronson were largely invisible. I will give the kid credit for his defensive work, but no way he deserves more than a 5 or 6, and Ilsinho gets a 4. Agree that Medunjanin was excellent — he seems completely revived after a couple of horrible matches to start the season — and Monteiro is an absolute revelation.

    I do have to respond to what 610 says above, though: I agree that the scoreline was somewhat flattering in that 2 of our goals came from bonehead Montreal mistakes. However, I do NOT agree that they were against the run of play, and the victory was clearly earned. The Union were unquestionably the better team throughout the entire match except for the first 10 minutes of the second half, when they went through a horrendous stretch that, strikingly, turned around completely when Blake hobbled off the field.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      The Union had more possession in the first half overall and more in two thirds of the 5-minute intervals in the half as well. Yes, both goals were irregular, but neither was undeserved: pressure is supposed to create turnovers (it did, and Burke’s goal itself was a thing of unexpected beauty), and being the aggressor is supposed to create problems for even a highly-compacted defense.

    • I see what you did there.

  12. On Burke…I took special note of him and Ilsinho during the buildup to the third goal. They were able to play off each other and maintain possession while trying to bring the ball into a threatening position. What stood out was how they were both patient enough to turn away from their defender when blocked, rather than just trying to power through into a low-percentage try at a cross or pullback. It brought home to me that we’re watching a different level of play than we’re used to seeing…and that it is extending to just about every position. This year’s team just might be a different animal.

    • Yes, there seems to be an evolution in decision making. There were a half dozen sequences yesterday at the top of the Montreal box where the boys took their and executed professionally like I’ve never seen before. It’s a joy.

  13. bulk up –> slow down

  14. I’m new to all of this, but what I saw of the small sample of Kacper Przybylko is a player who is very comfortable on the ball; not stumbling around looking for it, or wondering where his feet were, etc. as CJ did last year and as Corey does some this year. I think he has some of the calm style of Jack Elliott. I’m hoping to see more of him this season to see if my assessment is accurate. Contrast his movement with Collin,e.g., who, though he played well, often looked like he was kicking with plaster casts on his legs. (ok, you can all laugh at the newby.)

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      We don’t laugh at newbies here. We welcome them into the circle of trust and embrace them like family.

    • Your observation is spot on. I will make a prediction that before season is over, he will replace Burke as our preferred “big striker”.

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