Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 4-0 Deportivo Saprissa

Photo: Paul Rudderow

The Philadelphia Union won their first ever Concacaf Champions League match at Subaru Park with a comfortable 4-0 (5-0 aggregate) victory over an undermanned Saprissa side. Jamiro Monteiro controlled the match in the midfield and factored into each of the Union’s four goals. Anthony Fontana found the game much more easily than in the first leg and it was promising to see both Fontana and fellow striker Kacper Przybylko both find the back of the net.

Importantly for the Union as a club, they never let the occasion seem too much and the match felt like it was in control from the first whistle. With Saprissa in terrible form and not having a number of first team players available, the Union dominated proceedings and the result never looked in doubt.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 7

Wasn’t forced into a single save on the night and patrolled his area well.

Olivier Mbaizo – 8

Most of the Union’s best attacks in the first half came through Mbaizo and Bedoya down the Union’s right side. Mbaizo’s crosses have been quality so far. Consistency will be key for the right back this season – picking his opportunities to go forward and also making sure his side is defensively secure when he does.

Jakob Glesnes – 7

Solid from Glesnes again, who seemed to win everything in the air for a second consecutive game. Did very well to read Saprissa’s passes out of the back and made more than a few timely interceptions to keep the Union in possession. Unlucky not to score from a good effort in the first half.

Jack Elliott – 7

Like Glesnes, Elliott seemed to win everything that Saprissa flung at him. Looked comfortable playing in the midfield for a portion of the second half.

Kai Wagner – 6

Fairly quiet night for Wagner, who smartly stayed away from most of physical stuff. His chemistry with Flach is still very much a work in progress.

Jose Martinez – 7

Another strong performance for Martinez in the center of the park. His pressing and ability to make interceptions in the first half kept Saprissa from advancing into the Union’s half for much of the opening 45 minutes.

Alejandro Bedoya – 7

Combined well with Mbaizo in the first half. Typical workman like performance from the captain who covered a ton of ground, mostly running off the ball.

Leon Flach – 5

Needed to make better decisions with the ball. A few times he tried to cross when holding possession was the better move. Early days for the new arrival though and his technical prowess is clear. Hopefully a little more time will aid his chemistry.

Jamiro Monteiro – 9

Two goals, two assists. More than the stats, Monteiro was easily the best player on the pitch for either side. He controlled the midfield and most of the Union’s best moves came through him.

Anthony Fontana – 7

Thought Fontana found the game much better than he did in the first leg. Did well to force Saprissa to foul him for the PK. Better than that though was his goal, which he dispatched calmly after making a clever run behind the defense.

Kacper Przybylko – 7

Think everyone would have felt a lot more comfortable if Przybylko had netted his first half opportunity. But did find the back of the net with a good header from a corner and found himself in dangerous areas in and around the box most of the night.


Stuart Findlay – 6

Debut for Findlay, who got just over 20 minutes. Did well to snuff out one of the more dangerous Saprissa attacks with a well timed tackle immediately after coming on the field.

Jack McGlynn – 5

Not a lot of the ball for McGlynn.

Quinn Sullivan – 5

Looked confident on the ball and willing to take players on.

Sergio Santos – 5

Good to see Santos healthy. Didn’t get much of an opportunity to make his mark with the result already decided in his 15 minutes on the field.

Aurélien Collin – n/a

Late cameo for the veteran.

Player of the Match – Jamiro Monteiro

Involved in all four goals, but more than that, Monteiro dominated the match and was everywhere in the midfield.

Geiger Counter

Fernando Guerrero Ramírez – 6

The bar was low after the disaster in the first leg, but Ramirez kept the game in check most of the evening. Could have shown red for the harsh tackle on Monteiro in the first half.


  1. Chris Gibbons says:

    Kacper is finding his feet this preseason, and had a woeful first half in front of goal. That he put those efforts aside and found a goal in the second is a good sign and a healthy Sergio Santos ought to open some space up for him.

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    The flat ball Findley delivers was next level center back delivery.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Even if Kacper misses some sitters, I’ll take it if he continues on a goal a game pace.
    If they play the way they did the second half, they can give Columbus a run for its money Sunday. But if they play like in the first half, it could be tough going. The good news is that Columbus will have one fewer day’s rest which could be big at this point in the season.

  4. Mike – would Jamiro have earned a 10 if we had played a stronger side?

  5. Was a joy to see Jamiro play. Was so happy he could continue after that terrible tackle in the first half.

  6. Mbaizo gets an 8 and I cannot disagree.
    Jim Curtin may not concur with this, but I think Gaddis did the Union a favor by retiring.

  7. Knowing we get to see more of this every game is exciting:

    Mbaizos skill on the ball will simply open up defenses in a way never possible before. I love how he is also no stranger to using the outside of his foot to pass AND cross. If he grows into the starting role and develops he can really do great for us.

  8. Atomic Spartan says:

    Concerned about just one thing: the U are too often deep-cross happy. While it is great to get such deep penetration and go for the cross, it can get predictable and costly in terms of possession loss and counter attacks. Change it up a bit more often or use it as a lure every now and then. I just have too many memories of fizzled Sun Rocket crosses.

  9. el Pachyderm says:

    you sir, have a picture of the game.
    cruyff once said the ‘served cross’ is the solutuion for teams who do not have the sophistication or wherewithal to do it by outplaying teams through the middle.
    ….people can come at me about it… but it was Cruyff and it is a tendency of Union first team through Academy.
    I’d rather see a player go 1v1, set up a 2v1 or attack the end line.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      this comment is a ‘response’ to you AS. sorry.

      • El P’s comment summarizes my assessment of Mbaizo. Excellent crosses, but missed connections with Bedoya at least twice. He did not make the run that Bedoya anticipated at the time he should have made it.

      • I think Tim’s comment about Flach and Wagners offensive coordination is to some extent the same issue with Mbaizo and Bedoya. While they have been on the same team longer then Wagner and Flach through most of that time Bedoya was working with Ray over there.

  10. Andy Muenz says:

    Just finished watching the FS1 broadcast after being at the game and the one knock I have on Monteiro was that although he scored, that was not a great PK. He blasted it straight down the middle so if the keeper had just stood there it would have been an easy save. I much prefer putting it in a corner of the net so even if the keeper guesses correctly it’s still past him and in the goal.

    • Andy- shots down the middle have the highest success rate. You look like an idiot if the keeper stands still, but that rarely happens.

  11. I agree with Mike that offensively Flach and Wagner need to work on their coordination.
    Defensively Flach anticipated when he needed to cover for Wagner pretty well. Several times he was already back and in place when Wagner was caught upfield. I suspect that characteristic is very attractive to Jim Curtin.

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