Player ratings

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 1-0 New York Red Bulls

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Philadelphia Union capped off a grueling stretch at the start of the MLS season with a 1-0 victory over New York Red Bulls on Saturday night.

The home side came out strong, picking up a ninth-minute goal from Cory Burke that would prove to be the game-winner. The Union controlled the match for the better part of the first 70 minutes, before the Red Bulls began to exert pressure in search of an equalizer. Philly’s defense held the visitors to just one shot on goal on the night.

Player ratings

Andre Blake — 6

Not needed much on the night, made the plays he needed to make.

Kai Wagner — 6

A solid night going up and down the left flank. Wagner’s delivery on corner kicks still leaves something to be desired.

Jack Elliott — 7

Another really strong performance from Elliott, who’s been the club’s best central defender so far this season. Stood out for both his defense and his impressive long balls to the flanks. Good to see him avoid a concussion in an early collision with Blake and Fabio.

Jakob Glesnes — 6

My colleague Mike Servedio has observed that Glesnes has had a mistake in him each game this season. Thankfully, while the Norwegian had one or two shaky moments, none of them cost the Union, and he otherwise played a very good game.

Olivier Mbaizo — 7

I thought this was one of the young right back’s better outings. Did well defensively and showed off some neat moves going forward. One impressive drive into the box in the second half stood out. Mbaizo remains a polarizing player, but he’s done enough in the early part of the season to lock down the right back spot.

Leon Flach — 7

Already seems like one of Ernst Tanner’s best signings. Flach has filled in more than ably at the No. 6 spot with El Brujo suspended. Good positioning, strong tackling, and a bit of spikiness to boot as seen in the late game dust-up with Dru Yearwood. When Martinez and Daniel Gazdag are both ready to go, Jim Curtin will have the good kind of selection headache in midfield.

Alejandro Bedoya — 6

The captain never seems to miss a beat, even when he was clearly cramping at the end of the match. Maybe Curtin should have pulled him 10 minutes earlier, but the decision did not cost the Union.

Jamiro Monteiro — 7

Monteiro may wear the No. 10 shirt, but he’s so much better in one of the shuttler roles in the diamond. His energy, range, and ball skills shined on Saturday night, and I felt his play was essential to the Union winning the midfield battle. Nice assist on Burke’s goal, too.

Anthony Fontana — 6

A solid night for a player who hasn’t staked a claim to a starting role yet this season. Fontana was engaged defensively in a way that will make his manager happy, and he found the ball in dangerous positions even if his finishing touch wasn’t there. Had a hockey assist on the game-winner.

Cory Burke — 7

Easily Burke’s best game since 2019. He’s looked a bit lost since finally returning to the United States late last season, but Saturday showed him at his best — using his pace and power to torment the Red Bulls defense. Shrugged off a few would-be tacklers like they weren’t even there. The goal wasn’t a world-class finish but he got into the right spot and did what he needed to do to beat the keeper.

Sergio Santos — 5

Relatively anonymous night for Santos, who has struggled this season. Seemed disconnected from the rest of the squad. Has spent too much time exaggeratedly rolling around on the ground for my taste in his game time this year.


Kacper Przybylko — 4

Not his fault that he was inserted as the No. 10, a position he’s never played for the Union (and, per Burke postgame, where they’ve never tried him before in training). But it didn’t work. Didn’t have much to do once he moved up top.

Matt Real — 5

Came in as a midfielder late in the match, not much to say one way or another.

Quinn Sullivan — n/a

A cameo for the Homegrown in place of Alejandro Bedoya.

Geiger Counter

Allen Chapman — 4

Like most MLS refs, inconsistent in his foul calls. But he didn’t negatively affect the match.

Player of the Game

Cory Burke

You could make an argument for a few players, but I thought Burke stood out up top — not just because of the goal. Good to see him rounding into a form after such a tough patch.


  1. Chris Gibbons says:

    Fontana should be one higher for me and Santos one lower. The change in game flow after Tony Two Goals left the match was enormous, and given what Santos is capable of and the space the Red Bulls concede in defense, that he was barely mentioned on the broadcast just isn’t good enough.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    One comment about Santos is that he did win the header on the long ball from Blake which eventually ended up in the back of the net. That was despite getting hit hard on the play (he went down but I think it was legitimate given that he didn’t get up until well after Maria (I Like It Loud) started playing.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    spot on assessment. nary a word to the otherwise.

  4. So how many games do you have to play for the Union before you don’t get the “Sucks” during visiting team introductions? Obviously Red Bull GK Coronel didn’t play enough. Was it 4 games? Felt kind of bad for him because I really liked his play for us. Plus that is a real mans beard.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I don’t think there’s a specific number so much as how much you contributed to the team and how you left. As I recall, Coronel left midseason in his first year because Freese had passed him for the number 2 spot.
      Personally, I didn’t give him a “boo” (my preference over sucks when there are kids around) and actually gave him a minor clap.
      When Haris arrives later on this year, I plan to give him a more significant positive reception.

      • I don’t think Freese passed him. I think Red Bull Salzburg had a injury crisis and needed him back. Ernst agreed to let him go. I think he got to play some Championship games to boot

      • when children are around, which, where I sit, is always, my preference is “PLAYS WITHOUT HONOR” which I find hysterical, and no one else does

        a working definition of a dad joke if ever there was one

    • Chris Gibbons says:

      There’s not much I would change about Union game day, but if I never hear another “SUCKS” when an opposing player is announced that would be an improvement.

  5. Mbaizo has made some giant strides already in this young season. It seemed like he was a real liability the first game or two, but he has improved dramatically since. I think this one was his best yet.
    As the Elliott/Glesnes partnership solidifies, you could make a case that the Union has as good a back 6 (including Martinez and Blake) as any team in the league.

  6. I agree that this Mbaizo’s best game yet, and I am hopeful for his upside. We have to remember that the season is still young. IMO, the improvements are a result of growing confidence in the position. We have to remember that the season is still young, and he jumped into this position as “his own” while being under constant attack from opposing teams (in part due to the fact that Kai and Jack have been manning the left).
    Honestly, I am hopefully enthusiastic about his upside and what he can bring to the team as the season progresses. He must be showing the team something in training, because one of their top academy kids is also a RB if I remember correctly.

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