Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 0-0 Seattle Sounders

Photo: Rob Simmons

The Philadelphia Union and Seattle Sounders played to a scoreless draw in front of a sold-out crowd at Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday night. The result was both good and bad, and the ratings below reflect that.

The starters

Andre Blake – 6

Returning from injury, the Jamaican continues to be difficult to beat in front of his 8 foot by 8 meter cage. His rating would be higher had he stopped more shots (a problem all keepers and all Union fans will be fine with).

Kai Wagner – 6

Wagner was very good, as usual, combining well on the left with everyone who came near him, all in an attempt to break the Sounders down. He led the team in possession in the process, no small feat for any player on a sideline. As the visitors bunkered though, Wagner’s contribution crossing the ball was all but eliminated.

Austin Trusty – 5

A clean sheet keeps the homegrown at a 5. In the span of seconds, it seems as though Trusty can go from aerial victory (of which he won 4) to unnecessary turnover, brilliant interception to unconscionable positioning, and back again. Clean sheets count for something though, especially against an attack as potentially potent as Seattle’s, and just because he might turn the ball over, get caught out of position, and have to scramble back to save the day… doesn’t also mean he doesn’t save the day.

Jack Elliot – 7

Seemingly better every week, Elliot was part defender part “English Haris Medunjanin” in this match. His distribution was sublime (connecting on 9 of his 11 long passes), his 1 on 1 destruction of Nicolás Lodiero should be its own meme by now, and the 0 on the score card is probably worth a bonus in his pocket (at least if one is goes by the rules instituted in the FIFA video game franchise).

Ray Gaddis – 4

The future Ring of Honor honoree played some wonderful defense in this match, and his passing accuracy was second on the team. His rating is undone by his inability on Saturday to contribute to the attack. Because the Sounders were bunkered, time and again the ball died on Gaddis’s foot in the final third. Crosses weren’t on the menu for the Union (given Seattle’s choices in defense), and thus the mountaineer was left searching for a defender who might let him attack with his right foot. Alas.

Jamiro Monteiro – 6

Monteiro is a stud who played well on two thirds of the pitch Saturday. In the final third, it was fans in the stands catching his errant shots, save for one he flubbed and another he blasted hard enough to create a rebound chance for the side. He earns an average score because “average” for demigods is still occasionally saving the world.

Haris Medunjanin – 7

The look on Medunjanin’s face at the final whistle was one of an exhausted chance gone wanting. The ageless wonder sprayed passes in every direction on Saturday (115 in total, with an 89.3% completion rate), doing his darnedest to crack the Seattle safe. His second half ball to the far post that found Prybkylko but not the net was a scrumptious as they come.

Alejandro Bedoya – 6

The captain did what he always does: create space for others in the final third, create traps for the opposition all over the field, and set the tone for his side from the first whistle. His exasperated hand gestures are often derided, but this week represented all of Union fandom in what might have been.

Brenden Aaronson – 5

Jim Curtin thinks this was Aaronson’s best game as a pro, and in moments the youngster was at his swashbuckling best. To paraphrase Billy Joel however, though Curtin “may be right, I may be crazy.” Aaronson put the Union’s two best chances not in the auld Onion bag but rather in the seats. Keep them down and on frame? Perhaps he gets himself a 9.

Sergio Santos – 4

Santos was the right choice for unpacking a defense bent on frustration. His combination of strength and speed should have done more offensively. In the end, he couldn’t find his space or his shot, nor the ball (the fewest touches of all the Boys in Blue), though his hold up play was solid.

Kacper Przybylko – 5

Another entry in the “what might have been” category. The striker found the frame on two exquisite chances, only to slam both directly at Stefan Frei. Now Frei is obviously good and his positioning is superb, but Pryzbylko knows he needs to be better. Like Aaronson, he’ll rue his chances gone wanting. A 9 would have been in the cards otherwise too.


Fafa Picault – 4

Active and involved, Picault was an inch away more than once. Like Gordon Bombay in the move, “The Mighty Ducks” though, an inch away still means second place.

Ilsinho – 8

Using the greatest cheat code since up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-B-A-B-A-select-start, the Brazilian made absolute mince meat of Nouhou Tolo. Only a resounding, yellow-shirted chorus of “Three Blind Mice” and a desperate and timely substation saved the blushes of Seattle’s entire right side from complete annihilation. Supersubs look exactly like Ilsinho in this match: changing games in their side’s favor and bringing fans to their feet, figuratively with his moves and literally with his urging on of the sellout crowd.

Geiger counter

Marcos de Oliveira – 3

Slow to show cards, blind to not show the most crucial one (or at least review it on Tolo’s foul on Ilsinho while already carrying a yellow), and generally looking not up to the task of a top-of-the-table clash, Oliveira seemed unsure how to manage a match.


  1. The Truth says:

    Officiating was poor, Santos was poor, Gaddis was offensively invisible (except to cycle the ball to and from Ilsinho). Gutted to see Aaronson botch that chance. Frei had quite the game. One of the best keepers in the league doing what he’s paid to do. I can’t be mad at that.
    On a positive note, as many have said already, it’s a sign of respect that Seattle bunkered in the way that they did. It’s unfortunate the boys couldn’t grab all 3 points but I’m not completely unhappy with the performance against a western conference power. Bring on the next foe.

  2. Great ratings; great comments! Well done!

  3. From my vantage point in the River End…
    Santos has a rocket of a shot. If he puts it on net, the ball will go through the net and into the stands before the keeper has a chance to say “WTF was that?”
    I’m not sure if the analogy is apt, but it seems as if our attackers are going for a flashy dunk when an easy lay-up would do.
    The U got very lucky that the score ended up tied. There was one sequence in particular that Seattle took one too many touches on, allowing Elliot (I think) to close on their 10 and shut down the play.
    Gaddis had loads of room to run all night, and he proved Seattle right in giving it to him by not using it.
    You are too kind to the ref. He made me long for Geiger.

  4. Andy Muenz says:

    Too high for Haris. As I pointed out in the game recap, he had two chances on free kicks that were from places within his range to score and on neither did he even attempt a shot but instead opted for a pass which led to nothing. When the kick is within 25 yards of goal, especially on the better side of the field for the kicker, he NEEDS to take a shot towards goal, especially against a defense that has bunkered in. These are your best chances at scoring and with 11 opponents in the box, razzle-dazzle is not the way to go.
    I don’t think the ref can review his lack of card on Tolo (at least through VAR) unless it would have been a straight red. Whether or not to give a second yellow is not reviewable.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      Both were designed plays though. Can you fault a player for trying to implement something the team worked on in preparation?

      • Andy Muenz says:

        If he tries it once, I don’t fault him. But the second time, especially given the state and quality of the match, he needs to save the “play” for next week. So far, set piece attack has been the weakest part of the Union’s game this season so it might be time to realize simplest is best until they start scoring.

  5. I thought the ref could have handed out an early yellow. There was a weg whip at the knees of Arrinson. No ball just a hacking foul. That may have nipped the later chippyness into bud. Over all I think the ratings are spot on!

  6. el Pachyderm says:

    So Ray gets a FOUR because his excellent passing and excellent defense was unable to break down a bunkered side?
    the hell is that.
    everyone pretty well knows by now, because I see him in Giant and both have a sweet spot for Entenmann’s and we exchange pleasantries and he is just so freaking humbled to know someone recognizes him, Ray is infallible to me… and I argue thusly… but come on… a 4?

    • Which Giant? If it’s near me, I’ll start keeping an eye out for him when I’m there.

    • Ilsinho should have subbed in for Ray with Bedoya going to RB.

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      I’m not sure I know an answer to the Ray conundrum in games like this. He is essential in preventing a counter attack, listless in adding to the attack, and perhaps just a chess piece left on the board in a stalemate.

    • I tend to agree that 4 is too harsh on Ray, and think that Ray comes in for more criticism than is due. Of course he isn’t breaking people down on the dribble like Ilsinho or playing the final pass like Haris. But if you take out the Toronto opener, the Union have conceded 4 goals from open play in 12 games. Four! And one of those was an own goal. (They’ve given up other goals, obviously, courtesy of set pieces and penalties.)
      Ray is a big reason for the defensive resilience, and should get more credit for it. I know we all love fullbacks who get forward, make overlapping runs, and beat guys to the endline (I do too!), but that isn’t Ray. In the meantime, we’ve got a solid defender who plays the game in a way that maximizes his strengths and minimizes his weaknesses. That’s worth a good bit in this league.

    • Logged on to player ratings today thinking it was going to have as many opinions about Ray’s performance as the GoT finale. If they had finished their chances and won the game Ray would have gotten all good ratings. I think that since they didn’t win and Seattle game-planned to let him (and to some degree Trusty) advance unopposed until the final third he gets a lower rating.

      I think Curtin also shares blame knowing what he’s going to get from Ray and not having another option on the bench. Should have taken Ray out for Insinho and moved Bedoya to right back as mentioned elsewhere in the comments (or had Mbaizo as an option in the 18).

      Suspect Tanner saw this as well and is looking for options. I would think a right footed defender with offensive and defensive skills would not be too big a hit to the budget and has been demonstrated to be aan area of need going forward if there is not a really good prospect in the pipeline. I haven’t seen enough of Mbaizo to know if he is the future.

      • Darth Harvey says:

        That RB is already on the roster… a guy who needs minutes but not the pressure of scoring and needs to find the game and provide speed and pressure…. rhymes with Shma Shma Shmeeco

    • Can’t believe nobody picked up on the real concern of this comment: the Union are sponsored by Bimbo, who own Entenmann’s, and yet Ray is forced to shop for his own??? At Giant??? The horror.

  7. Any striker that doesn’t score on a point-blank header deserves no higher than a 3. Defensive work rate on the high press aside, your one job is to score goals and you will be judged thusly.
    Also, I’ve been critical of Ray’s offense, but he worked neatly in possession, some times in the face of pressure, and he didn’t allow much on the counter. He’s gotta be higher than a 4, right?
    Haris needs to shoot more. Be a little selfish, dude.

  8. I disagree with the Bedoya-to-right-back idea with the game at 0-0. Seattle had their best attacker on the bench, and everyone knew he would come on at some point. The Union were bossing Seattle around and creating chances with the personnel on the field. It was perfectly logical for Curtin to conclude that subbing Ray was a poor risk. It would have increased Seattle’s chances of scoring more than it would have the Union’s in my view.





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