Player ratings

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 1-0 NYC FC

Photo Credit: Philadelphia Union

The Union returned to play yesterday morning, kicking off the second day of the MLS is Back Tournament nice and early. It wasn’t the prettiest soccer you ever saw, but it was enough to get three points.

Full disclosure, I was at work yesterday at 9 a.m., keeping one eye on ESPN’s live stream and the other eye on my inbox. Anyways, my player ratings are a combination of my own observations and those of other people who posted their thoughts on Twitter, so bear with me.

To kick it off, I’m going to do something unusual and give the team a rating of 10 for their extremely powerful and honorable decision to wear the names of black men and women killed by police on the back of their jerseys in place of their own names. It was beautiful to see the team in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and keep it so well under wraps that Taylor Twellman wasn’t sure what was happening once the warm-ups came off.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 8

It was good to see the Andre Blake Union fans love. He had to shake off the rust a bit, but there were no serious blunders in his performance, and honestly, his brick wall performance was the whole reason his team kept the lead in the last ten minutes of the match.

Kai Wagner – 5

Solid performance from the defender, but he didn’t press and generate counterattacks as much as we’ve come to expect him to. Still, he had some great tackles, which we’ve also come to expect from him.

Mark McKenzie – 6

Took him a little bit to get into the match, like pretty much everyone else on the pitch, but McKenzie started to hit his stride as a center back again. It was nice to see him stepping back into the position, moving the ball up the field cleanly and shutting down NYC FC. Both he and the Union as a whole struggled on NYC FC’s set pieces though, which is a concern and hopefully the last bit of rust the Union can shake off in the tournament.

Jack Elliott – 6

Much like McKenzie, it took Elliott some time to find his way, but he got there and it was a nice, solid performance. No bad blunders, good aerial control as expected, and the only complaint is he was a bit too slow and always behind the play on set pieces.

Ray Gaddis – 7

Gaddis was one of the few on the pitch who looked sharp from the tap. He was pressing and generating counterattacks all match. There were some issues covering Valentin Castellanos, as well as struggles on set pieces, but overall a good performance from Ray Gaddis.

José Martinez – 6

A little bit of a rollercoaster match for El Brujo who showed us he could be a true force to be reckoned with in the league. Overall, it was a pretty good game, just with some unnecessary fouls, but he had some great passes and touches as he settled in. I would not be surprised if Martinez takes himself out for accumulation in this tournament.

Alejandro Bedoya – 8

One of my favorite things about Bedoya is that he doesn’t have to really stand out to have a great match, he’s a fantastic background player who initiates so many plays and waits in the wings. Pretty much like how he scored the only goal of the match. It was a very strong performance from the captain in the background, winning balls, pushing the counterattack and leading the team with his powerful captain’s armband full of the names of the black men and women killed by police.

Jamiro Monteiro – 5

He had a few bad passes and it seemed to take him a bit longer than most to shake off the rust, but still not a bad performance from Monteiro as he got better as the minutes ticked by. Not many brilliant moments from him this match, but an average game overall. Hopefully he can step in more in their next match against Inter Miami.

Brenden Aaronson – 6

A bit of a quiet game from Aaronson. His adjustment period was like most, finally getting into the game about 10 minutes in, but he didn’t have his usual impact. He had a lot of good balls, and some bad ones, but no serious chances and not a huge threat much like Monteiro.

Kacper Przybylko – 5

It was also pretty quiet from Przybylko yesterday. Not bad, but not great; had some chances, but nothing too serious or threatening to City.

Ilsinho – 4

Weird to see Ilsinho starting a match, but with so many minor injuries and this being the first match back, Curtin did what he had to do. But yesterday morning was not Ilsinho’s morning. He was no threat to NYC FC and had the ball so rarely that we never really got a chance to see his magical footwork. It’s very obvious that Ilsinho is meant to be a sub you bring on around the 75th minute when the other team is slowing down, not a starter.


Anthony Fontana – 5

Fontana was the first sub, replacing Ilsinho in the 55th, but like all of the Union’s attackers, was not very impactful. He never really stepped into his own and found his stride yesterday to make any serious moves, but he also didn’t have any bad missteps. Like most of his teammates, an average game for the young Fontana.

Warren Creavalle – 5

Looking for some stability and possibly more consistency, Curtin put Creavalle on for El Brujo in the 73rd. Creavalle didn’t do too much, but he did limit the number of fouls and cards for a period of time, so that’s always a plus.

Jakob Glesnes – 5

Came on for Aaronson later in the 83rd. At this point, NYC FC had taken the lion’s share of possession and was hitting Blake hard, so there wasn’t many opportunities for Glesnes to shine. He did his job and didn’t let City score though, so that’s always going to win you points.

Jack de Vries – n/a

Another late change during a time when NYC FC was controlling the match, de Vries replaced the captain in the 84th. This was his debut performance for the Union and for the 10 or so minutes he played, it looked good. Hopefully he earns more minutes later this tournament and shows us what he can really do.

Geiger Counter

Armando Villarreal – 4

While not biased, he was a bit inconsistent. Twellman continuously asked “well if that earns a yellow, what about this other foul a few minutes before?” and he was not wrong. The calls weren’t biased towards anyone, as both teams were sometimes carded for some fouls, but not other fouls. Still, none of his calls impacted the score of tone of the match.

Man of the Match – Andre Blake

This was a tough one between Blake and Bedoya, but I have to give it to Blake since he single-handedly (literally) kept the Union in the lead and gave them this result.


  1. I loved the saves from Blake but he still kicked a few directly out of bounds so distribution is a limiting factor.

    Hard to blame El Brujo for fouling after having his junk grabbed twice while the opposing player was fending him off. He ought to know better than to strike out in that situation though.

    No reason Blake should be called on to make those amazing stops at the end of the game. Central defenders should not be letting players get in behind them like that. The one-v-one that Blake stopped at the end should never have gotten that far. I think it was McKenzie’s man but not sure. Should have been grabbed and held to prevent the break away like Glesnes did earlier when his man was about to get around him. Worked out okay as the City player’s touch was enough to allow Blake to snuff it out but should not have gotten to that point. City also got too many uncontested headers off corner’s/free kicks. Players have to be a little sneakier/nasty in their defending.

    Overall not a bad first game back after the delay but those issues need more work. Now if we can get a result in next game the 3rd game can work on issues and rest some of the starters.

  2. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Blake definitely gets MotM for me. And I wish more of our players behaved like Martinez in a way. Yes, he needs to dial back the unnecessary fouls, but he is Philly tough. No doubt about it.

  3. Chris Gibbons says:

    I thought McKenzie’s match was a bit higher. He was so smooth and confident on both sides of the ball and cut out passing lines like a real pro.

  4. Tim Jones says:

    Others who are more technically oriented need to correct what may be an erroneous observation. I thought I saw a move from Aaronson when winning and shielding that I had not seen from him before.
    At first I wondered whether it was Ilsinho’s elastico, but the ball changes its path at an angle of 90 degrees, so I’m wrong to cite the Brazilian. It goes out and back in on the Y axis and then out and back in on the X axis, and not quite as fast as the elastico, but the speed and quickness are pretty close. And it seemed very effective, but that may be that opponents had never seen him do that before.

  5. Tim Jones says:

    I wish TV producers who never played this game would give the Man of the Match decisions to people who did.
    Bedoya’s goal is important. But Blake made victory-preserving saves twice.
    The award that would most accurately reflect the match would be to give it to both of them.
    Compare Bedoya’s goal past Sean Johnson to Blake’s save on Heber. Both goals are at an extreme angle. Both balls are pulled onto the inside foot. Both shots are struck hard and low for the far post. Both keepers are at full extension to get a touch, and both succeed. The difference is that Johnson’s touch is on the bottom of the ball. which chips up off his hand and in. But Blake’s is in the center of the ball deflecting it wide..
    On such miniscule technical precisions do the differences between three points and zero points rest.

  6. No argument on the ratings. Really great to see the boys back at it! I know he was quiet as far as impact but Arrinson is really fun to watch!

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