Player ratings

Player ratings: Atlanta United 2-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: 215pix

After a huge comeback win on Sunday, the Philadelphia Union were unable to pull off another one last night in Atlanta. Still, it was the best post-season performance the Union have ever had.

Despite going down early, the Union looked to be the more dominant team, but once again, couldn’t finish. It was a solid effort from the boys in blue, but there a lack of energy, especially in the second half that dragged the team down.

Now that their season is done, it’s time to dive into some player ratings and post-season content.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 4

Looking more like his usual self, Blake looked much better last night than on Sunday. The first goal wasn’t really his fault, and the second goal he had no chance on.

Kai Wagner – 5

While it was a solid night for Wagner, it was also a bit of a quiet night. He didn’t seem to create strong combinations with Monteiro on the left side, and he did a fine job in defense. The number of soft calls that were given to Atlanta really limited his physical playing style.

Mark McKenzie – 4

Appearing to be the weakest of the four defenders, McKenzie was still okay, but did nothing notable. He seemed to get beat by Gressel and Barco a bit too easily, and his lack of coverage definitely helped Atlanta go up early.

Jack Elliott – 5

Didn’t have any giveaways leading to a goal this match, but he also didn’t get that redeeming header goal either. Another solid, but quiet night from Elliott who definitely wants a redo on that corner.

Ray Gaddis – 7

Another strong performance from the right back, who once again defended stoutly and offered more going forward than we are accustomed to. He lost a point from Sunday’s match just because he looked a bit tired out there last night after a short rest between matches.

Haris Medunjanin – 3

While Medunjanin looked strong on Sunday, it was pretty much the opposite last night. With too many poor touches and poor passes, he gave away the ball too much and couldn’t really generate attacks. Plus, his shots and free kicks were all over the place.

Alejandro Bedoya – 4

It was a quiet night for the captain. Bedoya’s lack of energy may or may not have been due to injury, but his poor ball control and soft yellow card did not help his confidence and energy.

Jamiro Monteiro – 6

Quiet but solid performance from Monteiro. Showed up all over the pitch and combined well for the Union in possession.

Brenden Aaronson – 7

Did a ton of running and led the press for much of his time on the pitch. He didn’t have as many chances as Sunday, but he worked hard for balls and pressed Brad Guzan, and will regret not finishing his golden chance early in the first half. It was a shame to see him leave the match before he got to cement that fear in Guzan with another goal in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Fafa Picault – 4

Solid but somewhat quiet night for Fafa who got the start over Wooten after scoring Sunday’s tying goal. While he had some chances and made some runs, he couldn’t finish. He also seemed to be a bit tired this match, compared to Sunday.

Sergio Santos – 5

Santos put in effort once again, but like many of his teammates, he just didn’t have as much energy and couldn’t finish on any chances. Also, once he noticed that Elfath was giving Atlanta some soft calls, he started going down a little too much.


Ilsinho – 4

Ilsinho wasn’t as big of a threat to Atlanta as he was to NYRB, so he didn’t easily pull defenders and spread the field last night. While he did have a few good moves and passes, it took a little too long for him to get the ball to his teammates. All in all, Ilsinho didn’t help generate as many plays as normal.

Marco Fabian – 5

Scoring the game winner on Sunday meant Fabian had some big shoes to fill yesterday. Fabian was really the only Union player taking shots at the end of the second half, when the whole team looked less energetic and content to ride out the loss. While he had some good chances, he definitely wants a few shots back.

Andrew Wooten – 3

Not much Wooten could do in the 10 minutes he was on the pitch. He looked too quiet and unremarkable, which was not what the team needed at all.

Man of the Match – Brenden Aaronson

While this wasn’t the kid’s best night in Atlanta, he so very much looked like he was going to score at some point last night. But really, I’m naming him man of the match just because of that one play where he hassled the defender so much, Atlanta had to turn and go back down to their own left corner. Aaronson didn’t win the ball, but that pressure was exactly what was needed to remind Atlanta that even though they were winning 1-0, the Union were still coming.

Geiger Counter

Ismail Elfath – 3

It started out well, much better than Penso on Sunday, with calls going both ways. But then it got too inconsistent, and too many soft cards were shown. Also, don’t even get me started on Atlanta’s diving that he always fell for…


  1. I think the real difference in the game was that Guzman was able to make himself big and stop Aaronson’s shot while Blake couldn’t do the same on the first goal.

    • Guzan’s save was a 50/50 ball while Gressel’s goal was an unmarked player with the ball at his feet. Totally different context TBF to Blake.

      • I agree Blake’s was much tougher (and even made a comment on the game summary page in response to someone saying Aaronson needed to chip the ball) but I do think Blake was a step slow off his line and that made all the difference.

  2. Anyone notice Aaronson being physical? I remember one play where he threw a ATL defender down on the far sideline in frustration, and then the one defensive play where he hounded a ATL defender back to the ATL goal from midfield.

    He has been so much more physical these past few games, and thats an amazing sign of growth when early in the season that was something he needed to work on.

    At this point I’d be ok with going into next season with him as our 10 – and only a veteran proven option as a back up and a rotation option.

    • Completely agree. He has grown so much this season. It’s a shame he was subbed out, I’m almost positive he would have gotten one past Guzman eventually.

    • If he’s going to be that physical, he needs to spend the winter in the gym; and maybe eating a cheesesteak or two.

  3. That’s a bit harsh on McKenzie, especially when Gressel and Barco are primarily the responsibility of the outside backs. And on the first goal, Elliott’s missed interception forced McKenzie to cover for him as Pity broke through, Wagner then followed Josef Martinez’s direct run and Haris pointed to the area where Gressel was while he ran in the opposite direction. So that goal was not solely on McKenzie, it was a jailbreak with individual mistakes all around.

    I thought that McKenzie defended Josef Martinez very well when he was matched up with him.

  4. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I think Curtin made 2 mistakes last night. 1) taking Aaronson out too soon. The 4-4-2 hadn’t tired Atl yet and Aaronson was doing a solid job pressing. He also played more physical, as mentioned by someone above. 2) I understand that Wooten offered nothing in the last 3 games, but Fafa should’ve been a sub. The team was tired and needed all the energy it could get off the bench. I think Curtin felt pressured because of Fafa playing almost perfectly Sunday. I just wish we had Kacper. Imagine he and Santos, with Picault coming off the bench. Totally different game.

    • I agree with Aaronson….he’s young, he didn’t play the full match on Sunday and he still appeared to have lots of energy. I would have rather seen Ilsinho come on for Santos instead of Aaronson.

    • Good points, especially the 2nd one. Wooten’s hold-up play is better to have as a starter than off the bench.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Exactly. But I don’t want anyone to think I’m criticizing Curtin, it’s just what I would have done. But if he starts Wooten and they lose, we crucify him for not adapting like in years past. Coaching is very cruel. You’re a genius if it works, a fool if it doesn’t.

    • What has Wooten shown that merits starting? Starting means committing to him for about 60 minutes…and he hasn’t earned that, not in matches at least. Fafa was the right call, especially if looking to bring higher pressure.

    • I thought I saw BA with an ice bag on his knee after the game. I had walked away before he was subbed out, and didn’t understand his being pulled at the time, but maybe there’s something to this?

  5. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I’m surprised everyone was so high on Ray last night. Despite the fact that I usually support him, I thought he had some key giveaways. I’d give him a 5 or 6. I’m curious, what’s everyone’s opinions on an upgrade at RB? I’d like one, but it doesn’t seem as important as it did as recently as a month ago.

    • I agree. I feel like our standards for him are so low we got crazy happy that he was finally present in the final third and completed a handful of passes in it.

      Honestly I’d put RB as the #1 position we need to upgrade.

      An actual offensive threat at RB changes everything.

      Imagine everything Wagner did for us at LB but at RB now too.

      OMG I get happy just thinking about it.

      • John P. O'Donnell Jr. says:

        The biggest difference I observed in Ray’s game was instead of turning and passing backwards or trying to beat his man on the sideline, when he turned to pass, instead he now used his speed and carried the ball into the middle of the field.

    • I thought Ray was one of the best players on the field for us in both of the playoff games (especially last night). I can understand wanting to upgrade the RB position to add more offense, but to be far, that will require a larger portion of the salary cap to be spent there (and not elsewhere). For what Ray gets paid, Inthink he far and away exceeds expectations.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Very very true. I’d like an upgrade, but it’s no longer a nightmare if it doesn’t happen. Gaddis works as hard as anyone. Maybe the playoffs are a sign of things to come?

    • Vince Devine says:

      Ray is still a problem with the ball. He generally has no idea where to pass. Now he’s going forward but blindly kicking the ball into the box. His no- look cross last night went directly to a defender who sent Josef in for the second goal.

      • Correct. Lousy cross back across the 18 top nobody sprung the counter. Ray would be a great 3rd outside back, but definitely should look to increase offensive output at that spot if we can.

  6. I still don’t see how Elliot did not get a PK on that header. the defender played the man, not the ball and brought him to the ground. Overall the ref was horrible.

    • That’s the first comment I’ve seen on the PK and I thought the same thing at the time but didn’t want to be seen as whining about the referee again.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        Ref was soft and biased. Were we outplayed? More than likely. Could a few calls have changed the game? For absolute sure.

  7. O captain my captain crunch is gone says:

    As far as the ref is concerned… Atlanta was diving? Look at the manager. These euro puffs work on diving as much as overall fundamentals. For them it’s part of the game, like special teams in the NFL. I hate to say it as a ten year season ticket holder but diving is the number 1 reason why the sport get shit on in my country. DeBoer is all about it. They did a ton of that here 8 weeks ago. Cheers to Ray! Hell of a good fella and really stepped up his game the last few months. You have to wonder if Blake did his job and we won in regulation on Sunday would we have played better last night….? Such a shame. Why they couldn’t play Saturday I’ll
    Never understand. A weeks rest would have done us good. Cheers to the U as I drown my sorrows in Svedka.

  8. Not sure how Elliot didn’t get the blame for the first goal as he stuck his foot in and was beaten causing the defense to fall apart. RB isn’t the #1 position upgrade, midfield is. Lastly Blake made a couple of huge saves to keep the night interesting.

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