Player ratings

Player ratings: New York City FC 2 – 1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

In the regular season finale, the Union had a first half to forget. Things got better in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to dig them out of the 2 goal deficit they had dug themselves at halftime.

Player ratings:

Andre Blake – 6

Blake didn’t have to do much: there was nothing he could do on the first goal and the second was an unlucky deflection off Jamiro Monteiro. Got an extra point for hustling back with Gaddis to stop Maxi Moralez’s breakaway at the end.

Kai Wagner – 5

An unusually quiet night for Wagner down the left side. Recovered defensively and had good defensive positions, as he should. His crosses weren’t getting up in the first half, but improved throughout the night. Less of an attacking threat than we are used to seeing.

Mark McKenzie – 6

The first goal, the blame goes to everyone on the defense. McKenzie was relatively quiet in the first half and seemed to be a step behind. In the second half, he was much better, standing up attackers at midfield, fighting for second balls and clearances out of the back.

Jack Elliott – 6

Tried to step to Matarrita on his goal, but like the rest of the team was a step too late. Much like McKenzie was much better with his decisiveness in the second half. Got to play a little bit of emergency attacker in the later stages of the game.

Ray Gaddis – 5

New York attacked the right side, and found their first goal from it. Bedoya’s absence was the hardest on Gaddis, especially leaving him with Ilsinho, who focuses more on the offensive side. Gave him an extra point for the hustle and heart he showed at the end helping Blake track down Moralez.

Haris Medunjanin – 4

Was stripped of the ball in the Union’s half which led to second goal. Had another bad giveaway near the end that almost resulted in NYCFC’s third. An uncharacteristically bad night for the Bosnian, who had been reliable in the middle of the park for most of this year.

Brenden Aaronson – 7

Back at the 10, Aaronson was the brightest spot for the Union at the end of the first half. Should’ve had at least one goal in the second half, but it’s been established that finishing is something Aaronson still needs to work on.

Jamiro Monteiro – 5

A lot of running and some missed passes for the energetic Monteiro. Lost the ball in attack and around midfield a couple of times in the first half. Had a nice shot that tested Johnson in the second half.

Ilsinho – 4

We all know that Ilsinho isn’t a starter. Didn’t backtrack on the first goal, leaving a 2-on-1 with Gaddis. NYCFC seemed to figure out how to deal with his magic, always double or triple covering him. Couldn’t work the short corner routines with his usual skill.

Fafa Picault – 3

A frustrating night for Picault, who didn’t get involved with the attack as much as usual. Didn’t seem to have the energy that he normally brings to the Union press.

Andrew Wooten – 4

Not a whole lot for Wooten to get to. Should have scored the header, if not for a great save by Johnson. Still waiting for his breakout game, Wooten seemed a little behind with the rest of the attackers.


Anthony Fontana – 5

Provided some good energy for the Union in the 2nd half, pushing for the goal and then equalizer. Made some good passes and linked with the attack better than Picault.

Marco Fabian– 5

Took some shots that were off the mark from outside the box. Buried the penalty to get the Union within one. Still seems to be off a step with the rest of the attack, resulting in a few giveaways.

Matt Real– 4

Not a whole lot for Real to do on the night as a late sub. Played out of his normal position as defender and was more of a midfielder. Pushed up and made some passes within the attack.

Geiger Counter

Drew Fischer – 7

A good night for the referee. Got the majority of his calls correct, and got the handball that lead to the penalty.

Man of the Match : Sean Johnson

The NYCFC keeper made big saves when his team needed them, denying both Monteiro and Wooten to keep NYCFC’s lead. He showed why he gets called into USMNT camps on Sunday.


  1. Chris Gibbons says:

    You’re a generous man, Sean.

    • I agree. If you deducted 3 points from the ratings across the board, few would probably disagree. That was an awful, awful game.

  2. Aaronson looked fired up from his national team call up. He needs to bulk up this off-season or he’s going to get injured badly. His play is spirited but it’s missing the kill instinct.
    Haris looked like a 35 year old with no rest. Fafa looked like he always does – speedy flair with no finish. Wooten appeared scared to shoot. Monty hasn’t looked the same since his ankle knock. Ray Gaddis looked like a 1.0 MLS defender having a bad night (shocking).
    In general this team isn’t ready for the postseason. Curtin better be spending all his free time in a Villanova church asking for some celestial help against NYRB. No clue what else the man can do.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Medunjanin is 34 not 35, but that does not detract from your point.
      The minutes he plays illustrate more conclusively than any words that there is no one else with the instant long-range vision and touch to distribute the ball from deep.
      He has work extremely hard over his time here to improve his athleticism (as has Ilsinho.) But he is not an elite athlete. That’s why he was playing in Israel when Earnie Stewart made contact.

  3. Wooten had so many chances: the header you mentioned and the scramble in the first half and then the rebound of Monteiro’s goal. Should have scored at least on one of those chances.
    Same with Aaronson: so many chances but just unable to finish.
    Was glad to see that the Union at least had many scoring opportunities. Did not look like they would after the first 20 minutes.

  4. You know why Wagner had a quiet night, and why he has had more quiet nights than not recently?

    Because good teams just ignore his side. They don’t bother. Because Wagner is THAT good.

    And because Gaddis is THAT bad. Not only his is defense vastly overrated (because “he’s fast” stopped being the sole aspect of defense 10 years ago), but teams know that you can let him have the ball and nothing bad will happen. That’s why teams are so easily doubling Montiero and suffocating everyone else – because they know they can cheat away from Gaddis all game long.

    This is being more and more obvious as we struggled more and more now that we are a good team worth game planning for. And Curtin has done absolutely nothing to show he can coach out of this.

    • Instead he doubled down, sending Ray higher up the field…
      I have been incredibly frustrated seeing Ray get balls outside their 18, while Bedoya sits back to cover for him. In no world should Ray be consistently higher up the field than Bedoya, but that happened this year.

  5. Gaddis had a very tough night until the last 10 mins or so. Can’t discount his heart and hustle at all, but that’s an upgradable position next year, although having Ilsinho there hurt him. Haris looked very tired, and Monteiro looked a little more beat up than usual.
    The question for this seasons end will ultimately be, why didn’t we have more squad rotation, and why did we revert back to the 4-2-3-1? Neither have seemed to help.
    The squad rotation thing is about Jim’s loyalty to certain guys each year, and we always seem to be a little slower at the end of each year, definitely something he can work on in an otherwise great year.

  6. Disappointed season ticket holder says:

    A great year means nothing if you fade at the end of the year when it counts! I am not optimistic about their playoff game either. Unfortunately Curtin just can’t get it done as he continues to get out coached in big games. Very disappointing.

    • Yeah it sucks to blow chances and fade at the end of the year, but if you’re going by how teams finished the year, I’m very confident we can at least beat the Red Bulls the way they’ve finished the year. Let’s hope Bedoya and Kasper are back and we’re at full strength to at least do that.

    • Old Soccer Coach says:

      Kacper being hurt in warm-ups was a bad break.
      That it was a surprise is illustrated by some aspects of both the Union’s bench and the positioning the Steel’s lineup against Charlotte.
      It is a compliment to Matt Real indicative of what the club thinks of his progress this season that he subbed on at his third-best position for the first team. I would guess that he was slated to start at his second best position — left center back — for Bethlehem against Charlotte, and was pulled into the first-team bench when Kacper went down, but I did not see the entire of the Union’s warm-up. And I have no evidence except Where Cole Turner started and knowing that Turner has done okay at his secondary position of center back. Feels like a last minute improvisation. No criticism of any technical staff intended. AS the Daily News once headlined, “Spit Happens.”

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I am every bit as disgusted and disappointed as everyone else. I wanted that game to be positive.
    But that game changed nothing of meaning for the playoffs. Atlanta took care of business.
    Let us see how they do on the 20th against the enemy most deserving of hatred on the planet.
    That match will need one of the league’s very best referees. Or else it will end in blood.

    • It means that barring an MLS Cup we will miss CCL though.

      • I question whether missing the CCL is a bad thing, though. I honestly need a refresher on what benefits the CCL would bring to the Union.

      • THIS is what killed me. Blowing the CCL spot, which they had well in hand.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      The last time we played the Pink Cows here, it was a game to remember. Hopefully we won’t need a comeback this time. This team plays well in the big home games. Hate to say it, but the crowd for NYC was dull, and the crowd for NYRB was electric just about the whole game. Long story short, they didn’t seem as motivated for this game, but they’ll look to rip the Pink Cows apart on Oct 20. Gonna be fun.

  8. Same for me Scott. They had to work hard not to make it this time with the leads and avenues available. But hey, if we or Seattle win….nah, we blew it.
    Ray: I have no illusions about the team winning the MLS Cup in any year so far including now. Until we get ownership willing to pay for an MLS winner, that’s how it’s gonna be.
    I would, however, like to come away with a USOC trophy and/or appearance in the CCL once in awhile. These things give the team confidence, accomplishments, higher profile, and broader fan and player experiences. It’s like asking a European team why they wouldn’t want to compete in the UEFA Champions League, and anything can happen in a tournament much easier than a full season.
    As it stands, we are set yet again to just be filler like a Partick Thistle, Norwich City, Celta Vigo etc., for entertaining high profile achievers.

  9. Sorry I meant Rob.

  10. I have never believed in playing your DP at right back, but with Ale coming off an injury and Gaddis becoming the preferred target to neutralize Wagner and double Montiero, wonder if the Red Bulls game might not be the time to try it?
    Ilsinho proved again he is not a starter though, so if Ale starts at right back, the next question would be who starts in Ale’s right mid spot? I would love to see Fontana given a try, but am told he’s not ready.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      The playoffs are not the time to try this, although next year may work. I firmly believe we could’ve won with a healthy Bedoya and Kacper. What were our 2 biggest issues Sunday? Wooten’s inability to finish and Ilsinho’s inability to provide Gaddis with support defensively. We are a better team than anyone in the East at home when healthy, we just have to worry about our past playoff failures. That’s my only major reason to be a Negadelphian right now.

  11. el Pachysandra says:

    $$$ does not equal MLS success.
    It has been proven many, many times. Including this season.
    You one dimensional whining idiots.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      slow clap. thank you for setting me straight, clearly the intended unintended target. this is brave stuff. at least have the courage to hide behind your avatar… wait a minute.

  12. The author and the couple of Gaddis posters must be the same Gaddis haters that sit behind me in the River End. He played well. He was burdened by having a listless Ilsinho…

    You get the feeling after last night that Wooten is never going to score. One wonders how much different the year would have been if Burke had his papers in order. You could have used the money for Wooten on a midfielder instead.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      My biggest issue with Gaddis was on the first goal.

    • in fairness the gaddis haters sit in front of you and beside you too

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      We need to find an attacking RB in the offseason, but people calling for his head are so nauseating. We’re aware of his lack of certain abilities. Stop expecting him to be something he’s not. He’s a fantastic person and plays with a lot of heart. He is what he is. Maybe spend more time criticizing people who are supposed to be better, such as Curtin, Wooten, Fabian, etc. Leave Ray alone geez.

  13. As I thought about the game later, I realized the chances we had, of which one more surely should’ve gone in. And I thought about how the NYC 2nd goal was mighty lucky.

    Sure enough, the xG for that match was well in our favor. We should’ve won that match by a goal, not lost it. Soccer is a cruel sport sometimes.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      It feels like this team is past Union teams on steroids. The chances we create are so numerous, better than anything in the past, but we STILL can’t put the ball in the net. Aaronson had a great game outside of the 2 huge chances blown, and Wooten offered nothing. Even his header could’ve been directed toward the wide open part of the net, but it went straight to Johnson.

      • Feels like putting the Satnos/Wooten money towards one stud striker would solve that.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        That idea makes sense, but I get the feeling the front office will keep both in hopes that one of the two work out. That may not be such a bad idea either. We’ll see

      • I could see either one of them clicking next year and adding 6-7+ goals. Santos needs to stay healthy though. Wooten needs to get his confidence back. He had multiple open looks that he passed off on Sunday.

    • Their fluke goal off of Monteiro killed us. The ball was certainly not bouncing our way on Sunday.

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