Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 2 – 0 Chicago Fire

Photo credit Paul Rudderow

There’s no wrong way to get three points on the road. And that’s just what the Union did on Saturday, playing a game that wasn’t particularly spectacular against an also not particularly spectacular Chicago Fire. The Union put together a team performance that felt confidently comfortable after the obviously-distracted previous three rounds of MLS play. There weren’t any fireworks, no heroic performances, just a team working together for a common goal with every player doing their part.

These ratings reflect the workmanlike quality of the match. There’s really not a lot of fault to be found in any player’s performance this weekend, but there’s also not a lot to praise either. No heroic performances means no heroic scores, just solid grades for solid performances.

Player ratings

Andre Blake — 7

A not particularly high grade for a clean sheet, but Chicago never really asked much of the Union’s #1 keeper.  However it’s worth pointing out that despite his reputation for mind-blowing acrobatic saves, Blake is also a very smart goalkeeper, who defused several potentially threatening Chicago attacks by making bold decisions to come off his line and snatch a pass out of the air before it could get anywhere near the goal. Stopping shots may make the highlight reels, but preventing shots from ever happening is even more important.

Olivier Mbaizo — 7

Possibly the best performance we’ve seen from Mbaizo, who was really connecting with Monteiro in a way that has very exciting implications for the future. He was, however, less in-sync with Bedoya, leading to a few wayward passes and eventually visible frustration from the captain. And his shove in the seventieth minute was a careless foul, especially with how tightly the game was being called. Still, promising development from a player still just twenty-three years old.

Jakob Glesnes — 6

Not a great game from the Norwegian, but if you’re going to have a not-great game the Fire are a great team to be facing. When the competition gets stiffer, he’ll have to avoid mistakes like the possible handball in the twenty-sixth minute, or failing to cover Beric in the fifty-second.

Jack Elliott — 7

This game highlighted some of what Elliott is best at, including his ability to read the game and intercept passes as well as high-pressure defense to smother an attack. It’s exactly the kind of thing that makes him a plausible defensive mid candidate, and allows José Martínez greater freedom to get upfield (when he’s not serving a red card suspension).

Kai Wagner — 6

A fairly quiet game for the German, who didn’t get to flex his offensive capabilities since the Union were finding so much success overwhelming the Fire on the opposite side of the field. In fact his biggest contributions to the game came when he was well over the centerline of the field, allowing Mbaizo to get even more aggressive on the attack. That did leave the Union vulnerable on a few counter-attacks, but the center backs (and Flach) were more than equal to the task.

Leon Flach — 6

His ability to influence a game was hidden under a bushel on Saturday, both because of his needing to fill in for the suspended José Martínez, and because Chicago never really asked a lot of him. Still, he showed his speed more than few times, and his positional flexibility shows just how valuable this twenty year old can be.

Alejandro Bedoya — 6

No shining moments for the captain, but his fundamentals (great passing, in-your-face defense) got the job done.

Jack McGlynn — 8

An absolutely spectacular first start for the seventeen year old. This minor was out-playing opponents far more experienced them him, and not just with the physical advantages of youth but also an ability to read the game and make decisions quicker than the players around him. That’s an impressive thing when an experienced player does it, so it bears repeating that Jack McGlynn is seventeen years of age.

Jamiro Monteiro — 7

A great game from Jamiro, despite bearing the brunt of Chicago’s defense when things got physical. But Monteiro never backed down, coming to a head at the beginning of second half stoppage time when 5’7″ Monteiro went chest-to-chest with Chicago’s 6’2″ Boris Sekulić. “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight”.

Cory Burke — 7

If it wasn’t for the goal, his score would be lower. He didn’t do much wrong outside a sloppy pass to Przybyłko at the end of the first half. But he didn’t do much before that, and when he was replaced by Santos (more on that in a minute) his absence wasn’t particularly notable.

Kacper Przybyłko — 6

When he can get a header, he’s one of the scariest strikers in the league. But when the ball is at his feet he just can’t seem to find the confidence to take shots, let alone score goals. A perfect example of this problem include the bobbled reception in the eleventh minute, when he waited too long for the ball to settle after failing to control it when it came to him.

Substitutes

Sergio Santos (on for Burke in the sixty first) — 6

Santos showed why he’s the usual first-choice patner for Pryzbylko, challenging Chicago’s defense (physically and verbally) in a way the Jamaican just doesn’t. Were it not for Burke’s strange propensity for scoring against Chicago, he probably would have started.

Anthony Fontana (on for McGlynn in the sixty first) — 5

It’s been a quiet start to the season for Fontana, which isn’t to say a bad one. But he hasn’t quite shown the shining capabilities we saw from him in 2020. Still, with a schedule as dense as the Union’s he’ll no doubt find time to work it out.

Matt Real (on for Mbaizo in the seventy eighth) — 5

No doubt a game management decision for head coach Jim Curtin, taking time off the clock and saving Mbaizo’s legs for Wednesday against New England.

Geiger Counter

Marcos DeOliveira — 8

He called a lot of fouls. A lot of them were soft fouls. A majority of them went against the Union. But that’s not what matters. What matters is he was consistent. Sure there was some consternation early in the game as he called fouls players thought were ridiculous, but before the game was even fifteen minutes old everyone had adapted and everyone knew what was going to be a foul. Players can adapt to that, and it allows the game to be played on an even, predictable field. Much like rain it may not be what you want, but both teams have to deal with it so it’s perfectly fair.

Player of the Game

Jack McGlynn

Brenden Aaronson better not get too comfortable, because his “highest homegrown transfer” record might not last long.

6 Comments

  1. Nice recap and ratings, Jim

  2. McMohansky says:

    I don’t think I watched the same match.
    Flach 6 and McGlynn 8??? You sure you don’t want to flip those?
    The kid did alright. Didn’t get embarrassed. Yes, showed positional awareness and shielded the ball to win a foul in a tight spot that one time.
    But let’s not grade on a curve

    • SoccerDad says:

      I have to agree. I wonder what his score would of been if he had actually converted on his two prime opportunities to score.

  3. 8 is too high for McGlynn. Yeah, he did ok and showed some good football acumen, but Chicago clearly didn’t consider him a big threat. And his shots on goal were weak. I’d give him a 7 at most, maybe a 6 (still good ratings though!). I’d bump Flach up a notch too.

  4. Glesnes gets a 6, and he scored a goal??? Bedoya a 6? He was positionally sound, and did a lot of the little things that win teams games yet go unnoticed.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      Both also took completely unnecessary yellow cards at the end. How will you feel when they are missing a key game because of that?

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