MLS / Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Philadelphia Union

photo: Paul Rudderow

The Union will probably be content with a point after a cross country trip to Vancouver, especially playing with an undermanned squad, including two players making their first MLS starts and another his second. The match was a sloppy one for both sides, that seemed to be crying out for a touch of quality (the Union really missed Marco Fabian and Ilinsho in this one).

Vancouver’s goal came from set play and Auston Trusty will be disappointed to have been beaten to the ball by Doneil Henry. Matt Freese looked reliable in goal in his first MLS start and made a number of saves. Olivier Mbaizo still looks to be a work in progress. We’ve been hearing that Kacper Przybylko has a clinical finish on him, and the striker showed it with a fine first goal for the club.

Player Ratings

Matt Freese – 7

Solid debut for Freese, making his first MLS start. Not at fault on the goal and off his line a few times to snuff out some dangerous Whitecaps attacks. Probably bought Ray Gaddis dinner for the defender’s goal line save late in the match.

Ray Gaddis – 7 

Huge play from Ray when it counted. With Freese off his line right after the Union equalized, Gaddis was in the right place to clear a goal bound shot from Joaquin Ardaiz. Deputized as a left back for this one, Gaddis was reliable in defense with only a few forays into the attacking third.

Auston Trusty – 4

Uncharacteristically poor performance from Trusty. Got beat one verses one on the Vancouver goal. Usually a pretty cool performer, the center back seemed out of sorts and forced into a number of last ditch tackles.

Jack Elliott – 6

Steady as she goes for Elliott, who has really claimed the right center back job. Looked the most composed to of the back line for much of match. Finished with five recoveries and two clearances, both from inside his own box.

Olivier Mbaizo – 4

I’ve been waiting to see what the Union would get out of Mbaizo this season after the trade of Keegan Rosenberry. The right back did not impress in his first start of the season though, and he was particularly poor in the final third, making some poor decisions and crossing in some really poor balls at times.

Haris Medunjanin – 6

Saw more of the ball than most Union players. Finished with three key passes, more than anyone else for either side.

Alejandro Bedoya – 7

Worked his socks off like usual. Unlucky not to nip in another headed goal from the near post on a corner kick.

Jamiro Monteiro – 8

The midfielder seemed to be everywhere again in Vancouver. I’ve been waiting for a bigger sample size to say it publicly, but Monteiro really reminds me of watching N’Golo Kanté sometimes. The way he works to win the ball back and pester players is impressive, but the fact that he does it for the full 90 minutes is the thing that makes him almost impossible to replace right now.

Brenden Aaronson – 6

Struggled to find the ball a little in Vancouver. Still one of the more positive players with the ball when he did find it though, looking to break the lines and bring the forwards into the match.

David Accam – 6

Maybe more like 5.5. Similar to Aaronson, Accam slipped out of the match for stretches and found little space to run at defenders, his biggest strength. Had a couple of deft touches around the box, but on a night when the Union needed Accam to be more of a talisman, he wasn’t quite firing at 100%

Kacper Przybylko – 7

Pryzybylko was uneven for much of the match but took his opportunity when it came. Pouncing on the turnover caused by Monteiro’s pressure, the striker showed some impressive speed to break in behind the Vancouver back line before picking up his head, assessing the goalkeeper and finishing perfectly into the far corner.


Fafa Picault – 6

Decent cameo for Picault, who got 30 minutes of time after replacing Aaronson. Definitely brought some positive possession and movement after coming on, had a decent shot curl just wide of the goal.

Warren Creavalle – 6

Brought on to clog the midfield, replacing Accam on 75 minutes.

Man of the Match – Kacper Przybylko

Scored the lone goal for the Union in his first MLS start with a fine finish.

Geiger Counter

Chris Penso – 6

Not too much to say about the referee in this one, which is always a good thing. Thought that the yellow card on Bedoya was a bit soft, but not too many complaints otherwise.


  1. Chris Gibbons says:

    If you just read stat lines and couldn’t see players faces or their positions, you might mistake M’Baizo’s outing for “Sun Rocket”-era Fabinho. Lots of fast running and crosses to nowhere, AND a dribble out of bounds.

    Creavalle is a 3 or 4 for me. He earned a foul and won an interception, but turned the ball over nearly a third of his touches in a match that required possession, including dribbling directly into three defenders with only one Union player around/in front of him and really no pressure, turning the ball over.

    I was glad to see Jones on the plane, if only out of necessity, and disappointed to see him rooted to the bench in a match that begged for his skill set.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Oh man that “dribble out of bounds”… it came after a passing sequence that was just fabulous… and it opened up the Vancouver defense. I was screaming at the TV on that one. For now, Gaddis is still my guy at RB.

  2. gaddis is too high. his play showed the gap between wagner and everyone else we seem to have at LB. I’d give him 1 point back for the clearance but that would probably bring him back to a 5 for me. defense looked awful. aaronson is probably also high for me. he looked sloppy and caught between minds most of the time. monteiro and freeze had good games w/ bedoya and pryzbylko better than average. mbaizo looked awful getting forward. union need to develop a second way forward if wagner isn’t in the line up.

  3. Wagner seems to be the only fullback on the team that gets the program. Gaddis and Mbazio will push forward a bit and stall somewhere in the midfield and will pass backwards more often than pushing for the far endline and putting in a cross. Maybe the pair got forward more often than I remember — I haven’t looked at heatmaps or opta stats for crosses delivered. Maybe they were under orders to be conservative…. But they’re not offering very much.

    • When they traded Rosenberry I said I’d be ok with it if Mbazio started most of the games. At this point it’s clear, they shouldn’t have traded Rosenberry.

      • OneManWolfpack says:


      • Trading Rosenberry was clearly a business move. It was getting the most Tanner could for an asset and deciding the money was better spent up front. But yeah, I think Rosenberry would be better than Mbaizo and/or Gaddis.

      • Chris Gibbons says:

        I can’t say “it’s clear they shouldn’t have traded” him. It’s clear the two players behind him have more limitations than he does, but it’s also clear that the defense is substantially better this year than it was with him last year. Those are obviously not like-for-like, but if the Union swapped him for a better overall 11 or 18, then it’s well worth it. It seems so far that they did.

  4. I was shocked to see Gaddis in the lineup instead of Real or Fabinho. I can’t believe Matt Real is [i]that[/i] bad in practice that the coaching staff views Gaddis as the better option.
    Also a bit disappointed for Curtin to leave a sub on the bench in this one. With the long cross-country flight back home, and games Wednesday and Saturday, leaving a sub on the bench seems a bit silly to me. That said, I do know options were limited due to player availability and such. The only reasonable move left would’ve been Jones for Medunjinin. But there are quite a few good reasons for that move, aside from killing time with the sub. Haris is the oldest player on the team, and for better or worse a player our midfield relies on. With the travel and the game being played on turf instead of grass, getting him off a little early would’ve made some sense. (I’d go so far as to say that’s who should’ve come out for Creavalle; at that point, you can slide Monteiro back to the 6. Then you can use your final sub to bring off Aaronson and bring on Jones.) Hopefully, this isn’t something we see the effects of come Saturday – if Haris gets Wednesday off, for example, then I have no issue with him otherwise staying on for this whole game.

  5. Atomic Spartan says:

    Why not try Fafa at RFB? He has shown decent defensive instincts and would be a serious attacking threat. And who is going to outrun him on opposing counterattacks? Discuss.

    • Honestly if we had full roster health my RB would be either Fafa or Bedoya at this point.

    • I think if you put him at FB he will play Right mid which will lead to a lot of emergency defending from Elliot

    • This is not a bad idea at all. I think he might make a magnificent, modern fullback. He has the pace to play the whole pitch and seems to me to be better at creating a chance for someone else than actually finishing one. Not sure if he has the sense or discipline for defense. If he did, I think he’d be remarkable there.

    • Pretty sure in the recent past, some on these boards were criticizing Fafa’s defensive contributions as a winger. Now he should be a right back?
      What a time to be alive!

  6. The Chopper says:

    No one is infallible, and every Sporting Director will make a mistake, but based on what we have seen so far from Ernst Tanner, he clearly has an eye for talent and shaping a roster with the resources at his disposal that is exceptional. Thus, I will not bemoan the Rosenberry trade. I am guessing he had solid reasons beyond what we understand.

    Curtin this season has shown a willingness to adjust the lineup and formation and give younger players a chance to step up. So if in a game like this, he doesn’t feel comfortable putting Derrick Jones out there, there are reasons and I am guessing that Tanner concurs. He likely will see a chance somewhere, but the fact that the staff doesn’t trust him with a point or three on the line late in a game speaks volumes about what they think.

  7. Vince Devine says:

    Gaddis rating too high. Had a nice clearance off the line, but was beat all game on the left side. Has a tendency to play off wingers and allow crosses rather than press and defend (when he does press he gets beat to the endline).

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