Player ratings

Player ratings: Nashville SC 1 – 0 Philadelphia Union

Photo by Marjorie Elzy

Nashville SC soundly outplayed the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night in the Music City, ending the Boys in Blue’s unbeaten streak at 8 games.

It was a match in which the Union looked lost, and though the book certainly isn’t written on how to beat the Philadelphians, after two unimpressive results against Chicago and Nashville there is certainly a storyboard and narrative arc. The two key themes: get wide, and stay physical.

Player ratings

Andre Blake – 5

An early goal conceded, a few judgment errors on balls in the middle, but some key second half saves as well. His formerly stalwart back line is leaking chances like a sieve right now and the resulting chances are hardly his fault.

Kai Wagner – 4

Empty lunges on defense and not enough on the attack, Wagner fell for Nashville’s offensive trap time and again. After the Union’s second half subs, he grew into the match but never made more than a fleeting impact.

Jack Elliott – 3

A comedy of errors in the first half from the Englishman: losing runners on multiple plays, knocking at least three switches directly out of bounds, and slip-sliding on every other step. He was smoked by Leal on the wing in the middle of the second half, creating a chance that looked surely like a goal. He was bailed out by the far post in the end, but still had a night to forget.

Jakob Glesnes – 5

Needed to rotate on the early Nashville goal and didn’t, but largely won the physical battle with Sapong (which is no small feat).

Olivier Mbaizo – 4

Didn’t help Glesnes out on the first goal, passing off his space without seeing the play happening beside him. He’s steadily gotten better this year, but seems to have lost the dribbling dimension of his game in favor of an endless series of crosses.

Leon Flach – 4

Not at all the kind of night fans are used to seeing from Flach, who was late to passes and had decidedly less bite on 1 v 1s. He warmed up early in the second half, particularly after a position change, but looked out of sorts. He’s the odd man out in the midfield with another match or two like this.

Daniel Gazdag – 4

Leaving the positional questions aside, Gazdag needs to be more involved than he was. He certainly grew into the match, but made a lot of redundant movement with Monteiro. Bringing positions back in, he belongs at the 10 and Monteiro at the 8. This shouldn’t even be a conversation.

Alejandro Bedoya – 3

A week after getting the night off, Bedoya looked a step slow. He nearly conceded a penalty late in the first half, and though he built triangle after triangle on the right with Mbaizo and company, it never felt like those shapes did much for the attack. He never quite found the game though and it felt like half his touches were blocked passes. 

Jamiro Monteiro – 5

Ever the string-puller, Monteiro was tidier with the ball on the night than he was in Chicago and continues to be the most important player in Union blue. However, he was neutralized quite a bit by the timeless Dax McCarty (who had an exceptional match) and is still over-reliant on an extra touch. He had one of the team’s only key passes when he played Pryzbylko through in the first half.

Kacper Pryzbylko – 4

Speaking of the Friendly Striker, he seemed not to get his first touch until almost halftime when he parried a half-volley on frame. As he often does, he drifted wide to find possession during a lot of the team’s build up. The Union needed the help in that regard, but it left him out of inevitable crosses back in – which no one else was getting on to.

Cory Burke – 3

A late first half chance reminiscent of his winner against Red Bull was saved, but otherwise Burke was nonexistent in the XI. 


Sergio Santos – 3

A late-arriving run shortly after coming on was parried high, but is a chance Santos has to bury. Santos is the faster, more technically gifted version of CJ Sapong, but he can’t seem to find space or his higher gear right now. Speaking of odd men out, the Union can’t afford to have anyone in their striker rotation who isn’t finding the net and right now Santos is the one who fits that bill most.

Jose Martinez – 5

Not pleased by the yellow card he was issued on his first foul of the night, Martinez still made the Union better when he was subbed in. He might have gotten a second yellow more than once, but at least calmed the Union midfield down. His name should be written in permanent ink at the 6.

Quinn Sullivan – 4

Not a lot from the homegrown, who wasn’t bad, just not particularly involved.

Geiger Counter

Robert Sibiga – 4

A typically uneven performance, with a pick play going against the Union but Bedoya’s handball going for. As the game wore on, Sibiga wore down. The bar is low in this league, and a good match for an MLS official is one where the result can’t be blamed on the arbitrator. In both cases, that was this was that kind of match.

Player of the Game

Jamiro Monteiro

The Union will settle into their midfield again now the Daniel Gazdag is here. When they do, Monteiro’s true capabilities will unlock. Right now, he’s trying to do everything all the time. It’s not ideal, but he’s still the best player on the pitch.


  1. I don’t think Monteiro is best at the 10.

  2. McMohansky says:

    No disagreements on grades
    Certainly agree Martinez is the permanent 6.
    Flach has been vital for the U this season, but all those minutes have taken a toll and the dude looks gassed. He needs a break.
    I was impressed with Sullivan’s cameo- he held his own and didn’t force anything.
    That ref was brutal. Worse than the average MLS dreck.
    Echoing others’ coaching dissatisfaction, it would have been nice to see a formation switch or something to start the second half. Seemed very uninspired throughout.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    Anyone besides Blake receiving a 5 was given too high a score.

  4. Am I the only one who doesn’t see whatever it is in Mbaizo that people praise? He can’t cross, he can’t pass, he does the same dribble that people have caught onto.. He’s only fast. That’s his only saving grace to me. I think he’s below average, he’s a non starter on just about every single team in the league at full back. Serviceable guy to have come on as a sub against tired legs that might not be able to beat or keep up with him. He’s the weakest player in the starting 11 by far.

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