Player ratings

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 2-1 Houston Dynamo

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Like a week-old bottle of Coca-Cola, the Philadelphia Union were a bit flat in hosting Houston on Sunday night; same coloration, not quite the same verve. But, as has been the case more often than not in 2019, the bounces ended up going the Union’s way and they managed to take all three of the game’s points.

Here are the player ratings from the match.

Player ratings

Andre Blake – 4

Perhaps this is a harsh rating, but Blake was again a liability with his feet and only managed two saves on the Dynamo’s four shots on target. Against a bunkered defense, a good first pass out of the back has to be clean and a great one should be one that eliminates defenders. Blake’s passes are occasionally the former but rarely the latter, and nearly a third of the time end up with the other team.

Kai Wagner – 5

An uncharacteristically quiet night from the left back, Wagner was around for a few clearances and played a role in allowing the Dynamo to bend the Union but not break them. His strength in attack is against a team exposed for space. Houston did not oblige.

Aurellien Collin – 5

After nearly gifting Houston a breakaway in the game’s first sequence, Collin tightened up and had a decent match. He’ll rue missing the far post with a diving header in the 39th minute, though not as much as his spacing and marking on the Dynamo’s goal. In the end, Collin made the XI ahead of Austin Trusty because of his aerial prowess (5 aerials won) and his mastery of the Dark Arts (no bookings, but more than a few “Pobga-on-Pulisic“-style fouls to stymie Houston counter attacks.)

Jack Elliott – 5

Elliott is Audi’s highest rated player for this match and is’s too. With that said, perhaps the defender deserves a higher rating here: he did score the game-winner after all. From this seat though, he needed that kind of cherry to put on top of what was otherwise an out of character outing. More careless with the ball than fans have come to expect and finding himself in no-man’s land on the Dynamo goal, nothing but persistence saved his day. That it saved the Union’s too is indeed a cherry.

Ray Gaddis – 5

Facing a bunker, the Union again rotated Gaddis into the center of the pitch and moved Alejandro Bedoya out wide more than a few times in possession. Save for a nice little dance through three defenders in the 8th minute, Gaddis was his usual self: able in defense (and he paired with the aforementioned captain to all but shut down the dangerous and eternal DaMarcus Beasley) and limited past the halfway line.

Haris Medunjanin – 5

The Metronome wasn’t clicking exactly the way he needed to be in this match but still made his mark. Exceptional in possession, in a match begging for someone to both slow things down and open things up, Medunjanin also led the entire Union in tackles won. Had he truly chased Cristian Ramirez during the Dynamo’s goal instead of jogging, he might have earned himself a 6 or a 7.

Warren Creavalle – 6

The Guyanese isn’t Jamiro Monteiro, but his 21st minute feign-and-go while double-teamed in the midfield certainly made the author look twice. More importantly, as Tommy Smyth so aptly pointed out, he “isn’t a guy you dribble past.” Though not as tidy as the week before, Creavalle was quick, strong, and unrelenting. A noble shift.

Alejandro Bedoya – 5

A difficult match to quantify for the captain, one in which he did his requisite “dirty running” and won a few challenges in the middle and in the air. More often than not, he was throwing his hands in frustration at another Union possession gone needlessly wanting. His emotion was that of Union fans surely, but a win is a win.

Marco Fabian – 6

Fabian’s fitness must be coming around because his defensive work rate was noticeably higher in this match. He won as many tackles as he had successful dribbles and that is the kind of two-way match the Union require from their number ten. No assists or goals, but progress nonetheless.

Andrew Wooten – 4

The summer signing still hasn’t hit his stride, but that will surely come. As of now, he’s doing a lot of what C.J. Sapong used to: trying to hold up play while being pummeled from behind, and only occasionally earning a foul. When Wooten does start to click with his teammates, matches will start to open up.

Kacper Pryzbylko – 7

There isn’t much left to say about the hot-dog loving German that hasn’t already been said: he shows up to matches and finds the back of the net and is tied for third in the league in goals from the run of play. Though his tally in this match might fit in Pablo Maurer’s “We’ll be right back” thread of MLS mistakes because of some suspicious goalkeeping, it counts all the same. Six aerial victories is impressive too, but is made even better because his tendency is to chest the ball to a teammate instead of wishfully heading it in the general direction of a soccer player.


Jamiro Monteiro – 6

Immediately impactful for pace and positioning, Monteiro is credited for the assist on Elliott’s game-winner and won more tackles in thirty-six minutes than his predecessor did in fifty-four. Knowing Creavalle can cover for him should allow the Union star ample time to get well, but he must do so with relative haste because he is truly the engine of this team’s midfield.

Ilsinho – 5

This is probably high for the Brazilian, but he was a team leader in passing and drew a packed defense his way. Not much came from the work he did, but that can be attributed to a Union side more content to watch him dance instead of making smart runs around him.

Fafa Picault – 4

Tough to do much with such a short cameo, Picault can rightly feel frustrated the handful of opportunities that appeared to send him through were undone by poor passes. There will be times when he is the better match up than Wooten up top, but against bunkered sides on road trips is not one of them.

Geiger Counter

Marcos DeOliveira – 7

DeOliveira kept a truly tidy house in this match. He let enough chippy fouls go that the game had some edge to it, but didn’t let too many go without a booking that it boiled over altogether. Perhaps most timely of all was the fact that he quickly made his way through conversations with the fourth official to get calls right and keep the match going.

One quick thought about replays

Soccer fans watching at home get a very solid broadcast from the Union and their television partners. Considering the amateurish productions at more than a few places throughout the league, this is worth regard and praise.

One place where the game day experience can improve is on replays. On Sunday, fans watching at home never saw if Jack Elliott was offsides when he scored the first of his match-winning goals. The apparent tally was called back with no real explanation, verbal or video. Shortly thereafter however, fans at home were treated to a slo-motion replay in which an unremarkable foul at midfield was shown while play continued.

There was no card on the play, nor was there an injury. There was, for some reason, a replay.

There are very few times when soccer fans need to see a replay of action on the field, particularly while play continues. That so many replays of meaningless moments are shown throughout the various leagues on American television is one consistent gripe of fans. One of the moments in a match when a replay is crucial however, is when a goal is called back and there is no explanation.


  1. These are some incredibly generous ratings. But a dub’ a dub

  2. would have given Creavalle and Colin another point each. Collin kept them organized in the back and Creavalle was sweeping up everything in the first half on his side of the field.

  3. Gaddis is still too high. Beasley was producing Houston’s most dangerous moments with his crosses, one of which ended up a goal.
    Medunjanin with another Bradley moment on said goal where he’s 5ft behind the guy and stands while watching him take an uncontested shot.
    Overall they seemed slower on their build up last night. Collin has a little to do with that as it seemed like he was stepping on the ball a lot.
    We still got three points though, and I’d give the crowd an 8-9 on the night.
    I think Jim did all right with a 6. Decent timing on subs, and the game plan looked solid if not fully well executed.

  4. Gaddis is the easy target all teams game plan for. Sooner or later we need to realize we can and should take the next step and that involves getting a RB in there who isn’t a net negative on offense and doesn’t allow the opposing defense to play against 9 players.


    Have to agree on the replays by the author.Sitting in the stands and the 60′ minute goal is called back and no replay,explanation, WTF? This is where the No Fun League at least get’s it right and explains the calls on the PA system to the paying fans @ the game.

  6. Jack also saved one off the line and dealt with manotas well. More than a 5. Creavalle is a true destroyer but passing and dribbling are liabilities. Lower in my book. Giving him a 6 over game winner and goal saver jack doesn’t work for me.

  7. I’ll go ahead and point out a Gaddis positive. But I’ll preface that by saying that A) I think his rating here is fair; and B) I suspect he’ll end up in the Union’s Ring of Honor some day (deservedly so), but I really cannot wait until the day we replace him at RB comes along. OK, that said…
    It was in the first half; don’t recall when exactly, but the latter part. There was a ball deep in Houston’s defensive 3rd and the defender appeared to have plenty of time and space to control, turn, and lump it forward. Then Gaddis put on perfect pressure – hard sprint right at the Houston defender, arriving just as the defender was getting to the ball. The defender simply blasted the ball over the sideline, giving the Union possession deep in Houston’s end.
    Again, I’m not arguing that Gaddis should be rated any higher for this game; but it was a very good play, and is worth pointing out.
    Also, in Jack Elliott’s favor: didn’t he clear a Houston shot off the line after it beat Blake?

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      he did make the goal-line clearance John Ling mentions.
      It was excellent , workmanlike, and does not hold a candle to the one made the night before in Nashville by Walter Cortes.
      Cortes bicycle kicked a ball that was going into the net, upwards into the lower edge of the crossbar whence it deflected out of the box. Simply amazing.
      Cortes’s play ought to be USLC save of the week, but because USL does not like player development sides it may not even get nominated.

  8. Dude, I attended this match, and you must’ve accidentally switched Elliott’s and Kacper’s ratings.

    Elliott scored a goal, made a save off the line, and was his usual excellent self on defense all evening. Guy deserves at least a 7, maybe an 8.

    Kacper, OTOH, got lucky that his shot went through the keep’s legs (though I’ll give him credit for putting a shot on frame), but made terrible pass after terrible pass, multiple times losing possession for the U. in really lousy positions. He did do his usual strong defensive work, so I’d give him a 5, but no higher.

    • Agreed here. I think the telling thing with Kacper was when he made a header in the wrong direction around midfield that led to a Houston chance. After the play, both Bedoya and Collin were livid with Pryzbylko and were gesturing at him from 40 yards away.

    • Agree on Kacper being way too high. He scored a goal that any of us would’ve saved. He must have had 4 or 5 backpasses in the first half that were hit to a Houston player. Stop passing backwards, turn and go with the ball or at least pass it sideways. Thankful to get out with a W and keep this great season going.

  9. Going a bit of of scottso above, I agree that Elliott and Przbylko should probably have their point totals switched. And on the issue of terrible passing, maybe I feel like poor passing is a bit of a league-wide issue. There are a lot of turnovers.

    Maybe I’m being more critical when I watch the Union, but I see a lot of poor passing that drives me nuts. Even our best player, Monteiro, is good for some mind bogglingly poor passes. I think every game he’ll completely misdirect a back pass to the defense and turn it over. MLS tells me the Union had a pass accuracy of about 80%. I guess that’s OK? Look, the team is better than any prior version, so I don’t want to complain too much.

    Also, Andre Blake is having a sub standard season. Not sure what he’s doing half the time. Hope it’s a one-season blip.

  10. Regarding the replays, I’m not sure what you are looking for. The linesman’s flag was up right away indicating that the play was offsides. There was a replay on the board which wasn’t very clear, but I don’t think it makes sense to try to show a bunch of slo-mo replays at the stadium when we’re going to be paying attention to the field. Also, I’m not sure what the rules are about showing replays at the stadium while VAR is reviewing it. My understanding from a few years ago (before VAR) was that on potentially controversial plays they were only allowed to show one replay.

    • CG was talking about the television broadcast:
      “One place where the game day experience can improve is on replays. On Sunday, fans watching at home never saw if Jack Elliott was offsides when he scored the first of his match-winning goals.”

      I know he led with “game day”, but he was talking about the TV broadcast. And I recorded the match – watched the highlights when I got home, and was absolutely floored they did not show a replay of Jack’s offside goal. His criticism is spot on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


%d bloggers like this: