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Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 3-2 New York Red Bulls

Photo: Rob Simmons

After an ugly first half that saw New York Red Bulls grab a 2-0 lead, Philadelphia Union ignited a sellout crowd with a three-goal second half. All three goals were produced by Ilsinho, who came on in the 53rd minute and produced an all-time performance for the Union.

One quick note on the player ratings: many of the numbers will be lower than you’d expect given the caliber of this win. This game was the equivalent of a baseball player hitting three homers or a basketball player dropping fifty points—the rest of the team doesn’t need to play too well to get a dramatic result.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 4

Taking a break from Gold Cup service with Jamaica, Blake made an uncharacteristic error to concede the Union’s second goal, getting caught in no-man’s land on a ball over the top. Made a classic reflex save early in the second half to keep the Union’s deficit at just two goals.

Ray Gaddis – 4

Not at fault on any of the goals, but—aside from a few solid tackles—seemed a step off all night long. Ilsinho’s night was even more impressive given that Gaddis does nothing to help him create space.

Jack Elliott – 4

Some good moments of individual defense. Failed to get in front of Brian White on the looping ball that led to NYRB’s second goal. Couldn’t stay in front of White on a 65th minute breakaway that, but for a poor shot by White, would have given Red Bulls the lead back.

Auston Trusty – 4

See the entry for Elliott.

Kai Wagner – 4

Didn’t do enough to close down Kyle Duncan on the first Red Bull goal. Otherwise a quiet night for the MLS rookie, who managed just one cross and no passes in the attacking third.

Haris Medunjanin – 5

Not Haris’s best night—a high-tempo, physical midfield battle doesn’t suit his game well—but he created a few good moments with his passing. Would be harsh to assign him too much blame on the first goal, as he did enough to slow down Rzatkowski that the rest of the Union should have been in their shape.

Alejandro Bedoya – 6

Created the Union’s penalty through a really nice combination with Ilsinho, forcing the Red Bulls player to make a dangerous attempt to block the cross. After a first half when the Union didn’t have much control in the midfield, Bedoya seemed to be everywhere in the second half.

Jamiro Monteiro – 6

Eventful evening for the Union’s do-everything midfielder. On the negative side, Monteiro failed to track Kaku on the first Red Bulls goal, had a weak penalty saved, and couldn’t finish two golden chances to put the match away  in stoppage time. However, Monteiro’s goal to open the scoring was well-taken, and his industry was a big part of the Union’s second-half dominance.

Brenden Aaronson – 3

Rough night for the Union’s homegrown midfielder, who regularly found himself in good positions but couldn’t generate the final ball or a decent shot on goal. Marco Fabian’s return from injury will be key to the Union’s second half of the season, because they cannot rely on Aaronson to bear his current heavy workload for another seventeen matches.

Sergio Santos – 4

Should have opened the scoring when he got behind the New York defense in the first half, but his clip of the keeper hit the bar. Santos troubled the opposition with his speed and drew four fouls, but couldn’t connect with either his midfielders or his strike partner on a consistent basis. Would like to see him go a full 90.

Kacper Przybylko – 3

Plenty of work rate, as usual, for Kacper—and, as usual, not much to show for it. Anonymous for most of the match and, when the chances came, the striker never really troubled Luis Robles. Przybylko, who has played 809 of the Union’s last 810 minutes, needs to show more to deserve his current status as a player who never leaves the pitch.


Ilsinho – 10

Created all three goals, including a picture-perfect assist for Monteiro’s goal and a nifty finish for the equalizer. Came a full-stretch save from Robles away from picking up a hat trick. Ilsinho, who also created the Union’s winner against Minnesota, is good at soccer.

Fafa Picault – 4

Coming on with about 15 minutes left in the match, Picault seemed somewhat lost when he tried to get forward. Absolutely bungled a 2-on-0 chance with Monteiro that would have put the game away.

Man of the Match – Ilsinho

With the best substitute appearance in Union history, Ilsinho almost single-handedly won this one for Philadelphia.

Geiger Counter

Kevin Stott – 5

Got all the big calls right, including the handball that gave the Union their penalty. Did well to manage a physical match that never felt in danger of boiling over.


  1. Barry Evans says:

    Was going to say if Ilsinho isn’t a 10, you’re doing this wrong lol.

    Think Gaddis should be less than other defenders, we were lucky with 2 or 3 of his giveaways not leasing to goals, and strangley wondering if ref is not allowed to be more than5 as think he had a good game?

    • You know, I’m so used to the refs being bad that 5 feels like a good game. But I think you’re right, that might be a shade low, I was impressed with Stott overall.

      Of course, Tommy Smyth felt that every Red Bull player should have been sent off every time they tackled a Union player. So maybe 5 is a middle ground…

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I agree with Barry that Stott had a very good game simply by not being noticeable most of the time in a game with a lot of duels where there was the potential for things to get out of hand. I don’t recall any of the players having significant beefs with him which is another good sign.

      • Yeah. I thought he could have given a yellow or 2 to the red bulls a little earlier as there were a couple of late hard challenges that were not carded but overall can’t find much to complain about, which is a refreshing change.

    • Ilson jr jr says:

      Agree but if were putting gaddis as a 2-3 kai feels like 2-3 as well.

  2. I think the dial for Ilsinho goes up to 11

  3. No problem with the pair of 3’s you gave out (fully agree with them)….but if they got 3’s, then so should Ray and Andre. They were any bit as poor. It’s weird to be saying that about Andre (as we’ve come to expect superhuman efforts from him week after week), but he really was poor on Saturday night.

    • Agreed that Ray had a bad perfomance. Should have been a 3 or worse. Love the man for all he is, but it is time for Mbazio to get a chance.
      Imagine if Curtin had pulled CJ a few games earlier last year for for Burke, or Fafa this year for Santos/Casper? Results matter.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I believe Santos and Kasper were injured earlier and basically started playing as soon as they were viable options.

    • I agree that Blake has been better. Yes he shares the blame for the second NYRB goal, plus there was a situation in the second half where I thought he started to rightfully come out of the box to stifle a NY breakaway then retreated. I wonder if the upcoming Gold Cup was on his mind. I think I read a quote from Andre that he didn’t want to get hurt in this game and that made him more timid that he should have been.

  4. A ranking of 10 is very rare for this column, as it should be. Ilsinho definitely earned it. I wonder how often this has occurred before now?

    • Union fan says:

      I think I remember Blake getting a 10 a few years ago for that match up in New England when he had 5-6 truly incredible saves. That was when New England was really good too. That’s the only one I recall for what ever that is worth.

  5. We really need to start giving Mbaizo real minutes.

  6. One of the few times I’ve ever seen a 10 warranted. Ilsinho was on another level Saturday. The greatest game I’ve ever seen out of a Union player.

  7. This was weird game in that for the fist 50ish minutes its what we have seen for alot of the last 4, the Union looking clueless in the final third. I’m still really worried about our strikers (and even mid-fielders) able to even get a shot on frame.
    If it was not for the spark of Ilsinho, well..
    Also, I’m still digging Kacper Przybylko but especially from my view from Sec 114 in the first half, the man was dropping too damn easy trying to draw (ungiven) fouls instead of using his big frame to swap people away…

  8. First comment on here, I’ve been lurking for a few years though…

    Outstanding game and I always enjoy the ratings afterword.

    I think Wagner deserves a little more flak for the first goal. This is the second time in recent weeks that he has been far inside, practically on top of Trusty, when an opposing player found wide open space on our left (last time it resulted in a goal too, sorry that I can’t remember which game right now). To me this is unforgiveable for a professional back to make this mistake repeatedly; Trusty and Blake should have been hollering at him imo. Gaddis gets a lot of hate (sometimes deserved), but I at least haven’t noticed him blow coverage like this.

  9. Monteiro should be a 7. That finish is not easy and for that an extra point. Nit picking but 4 for Santos is a little harsh. He made good runs and was a handful for their back line.

  10. I think most of these are low. A hard fought victory against a strong team that was undefeated in the last five, there should be more above average (over 5) performances, in my opinion. One example, we had a center back earn team team of the week honors, but here he only got a 4?

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