Player ratings / Union

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

Photo: Paul Rudderow

A physical and end to end game in Harrison, New Jersey was turned on it’s head due to Matt Freese’s red card and subsequent penalty kick in the 60th minute. Both sides had early chances to take the lead, but were thwarted by good goalkeeping.

Onto the ratings.

Player Ratings

Matt Freese – 3

Was having a good night until his blunder leading to a red card and penalty kick. Freese also hadn’t started a match since the Union’s Supporters Shield clinching win last November. A week from hell for Freese personally, so cut him some slack.

Olivier Mbazio – 6

Not a whole lot of glaring issues for Mbazio on the night, did well getting up into the attack. Also did well moving the ball up the field while a man down and helped create Santos’ goal.

Jakob Glesnes – 5

An argument could be made that Glesnes is partially to blame for Freese’s gaff, but not much else he could do. Gave away the ball a few times while trying to play out of the back, other than that a sound defensive night.

Jack Elliott – 5

Similar outing to Glesnes, was careful with the ball and didn’t get his lack of speed exploited. No bright spots or bad moments to point out on the night.

Kai Wagner – 6

A quiet night for Wagner, but hard not to admire his heart when going into those dust ups. Didn’t get involved much offensively, but was a shut down defender most of the night.

Leon Flach – 7

A good night for Flach back in his preferred midfield spot. Was getting up into the attack and made some great runs back to sniff out any counter attacks. Looked more involved than last time out.

Alejandro Bedoya – 6

A usual outing for the captain filled with a lot of running and passing. Wish he hit the rebound attempt better near the end of the first half, but not much to complain about on the night.

Jamiro Monteiro – 7

Another good night for Monteiro as the attacking midfielder. Should have had at least one goal that was cleared off the line, and another that was saved by the New York goalkeeper. Did well against the press with his skillset.

Jose Martinez – 7

A classic El Brujo performance from Martinez, showing skill to get out of tight spaces and to move the ball up field. Stayed out of trouble in a physical game (which is always good), threw in the talking hand gesture at the end of the match as well which is now his trademark.

Kacper Przybylko – 5

An overall very quiet night for the big man up top. Didn’t get many good looks while the Union were at full strength and had to come back to find the ball. Did seem to gain some chemistry with Gazdag though.

Daniel Gazdag – 7

A strong outing for the Hungarian, who should’ve had his first goal in a Union shirt. Looked the most dangerous of the two strikers on the field, had some good passing combos and runs. Starting to build chemistry with his teammates.


Sergio Santos – 10

Was brought on to bring some magic into the game and that he did. Scored the equalizer in the 85th minute and wanted the ball even more after that. Back-tracked defensively and was showing off his speed.

Joe Bendik – 5

Bendik didn’t have a shot saving a penalty kick after coming off the bench cold, and then wasn’t tested for the rest of his outing. Hats off to him for being ready in a tight spot.

Player of the Match – Sergio Santos

An easy choice, came on for about 20 minutes and was the most dangerous player on the field. Scored an equalizer with 10 men and had a high work rate.

Geiger Counter

Victor Rivas– 6

Let the teams play physical, which is both of their styles. Got the major decision correct but seemed to lose control of the match in the later stages.


  1. Larry Guengerich says:

    I still want to ding Glesnes more for the backpass. While Freese should have just booted it into the stands, he was only in that position because of the soft pass.

    • Tim Jones says:

      I assume Glesnes made the too-soft pass because he was shooting at his own goal mouth. It needed more weight, no doubt. But the man did score an own goal two games ago. And it wasn’t Blake, with whom he is comfortable.
      It is mistake Freese will be unlikely to make ever again.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    I disagree with a LOT of these ratings. Here are the most blatant.
    Glesnes – Way too high. He has to be held accountable for that back pass which put the young keeper in a tough position. That could easily have been a goal against without a yellow. And he frequently looked ill at ease under pressure.
    Elliott – Too low. He was the one making plays in the back and he also had a couple of long passes going forward which easily could have led to more. No way Elliott and Glesnes deserve the same rating this game.
    Monteiro – Way too high. Spent too much time trying to make plays on his own and giving up the ball instead. And whatever he did during the melee is costing him the next game. When you’re one card away from suspension the way to support your teammates is to stay out of the fracas and let them deal with it.
    Martinez – Too high. See the first part of the Monteiro comments.
    Bendik – Probably a point to high given the number of goal kicks which went straight out of bounds. Did anyone else start to worry and think about past images of Bendik when NJPC was given a free kick in stoppage time not too far out of the box? .
    Rivas – Way too high. Missed the red card at the end of the half and then completely lost control of the game at the end by not immediately issuing a card for the push in the back on Santos after the ball was already out of bounds. Unfortunately, his incompetency here is going to cost Monteiro the next game as he somehow was selected as the Union player to receive the yellow.

    • +100 on the Monteiro point. And that is why I just don’t think his play style fits for the 10. Curtin must love him there because of his defense because his offense is slow, prodding, and deliberate. He is more likely to dance on the ball and pull it back than he is to keep the transition moving.

      That type of stuff is why he is great, best XI MLS level at the 8 but why he is only a good 10. Doesn’t play fast enough, and lets himself get swarmed on the ball.

    • Vince Devine says:

      I’m mostly in agreement with Andy. Much too generous on the ratings, especially for Montiero. Team is built for quick succession passes to hit on the break and he is constantly standing on the ball waiting for a defender when forward passing options are available. it’s not a 1 v 1 game, you get no individual points for enticing duels.

    • Agree with you on just about all of these, especially Monteiro and Glesnes. Love Monteiro’s play, most of the time; trying to do too much at times leads him to give the ball away. But for Glesnes’s back pass, no red card and no PK. Should Freese just have booted it? Sure. But he should never have been put in that position. Glesnes needed to do much better with that pass, knowing that Freese is not as experienced and comfortable back there as Blake.

  3. Sean must have woken up in a very good mood today.

  4. Agree with Andy. I’m usually happy silently comparing the ratings to my own opinions as an interesting reflection on what I saw or missed but this time there so much discrepancy that I can’t reconcile. To the above I’ll add Mbaizo. I’ve held my tongue on him from day one but I’m sorry, as a defender, it’s frustrating to watch him. He doesn’t play or position himself like a defender and it seems to be his lowest priority. Aside from the occasional good cross he’s also frustrating to watch going forward as he seems most interested in trying to turn around his defender than actually contributing to the attack. He kills any forward momentum and then if he gets stuck he just dumps off the ball, hopefully to someone but often times not. It’s like he fancies himself like a Monteiro or Martinez type of player but without the skill or vision to match. The times he tries to actually play in a productive pass he generally sends the ball no where for an easy turn over as if he’s never practiced with the team and has no read on the runs they’ll make. Like, well I have nowhere to go so I’ll dump it into space and then blame whoever didn’t decide to run into that space. At this point I’m not even sure he’s an MLS caliber player. I know he’s still young and I keep waiting for him to grow into the position and show an improving read on the game but so far week to week I see more of the same. All you have to do is look at his positional partner on the left to see the stark contrast. You could argue that Wagner hasn’t produced the same assists so maybe they’re getting what they want out of Mbaizo, but from my viewpoint I’d rather see a solid defender first who picks his opportunities to push up and support the attack rather than just taking any space as an opportunity to dance aimlessly up field and stall the attack by standing over the ball trying to juke a defender or just dumping the ball when he gets stuck.

  5. Flach is a champ!
    freese made two nightmare decisions (not clear and then tactical foul) he will learn from…but damn DC united at home wouldve been a great game for him.

    With Jamiro out I would like to see a new formation with elliot pinging longballs to kasper and sergio. we have to be able to use his pace better. and gazdag looks to be able to play direct through the middle.

    • Tim Jones says:

      You might see a formation change late in the game if Ilsinho is fit enough to dress and get the final 20 minutes.
      Please note that I said “IF.”

  6. I have to defend Glesnes here, for those that are faulting him on the back pass. Did we watch the same game? If I remember right he had to literally dead sprint from the midline to even get back into the play, and we’re complaining his touch wasn’t just right on a wet field to a new goalkeeper? Freese is a competent backup but he owns 100% of the error, just clear the ball.

    • Gotta respectfully disagree. First, I was at the game, behind the Union bench, and watching it live I thought Glesnes eased up and was nonchalant playing it back. Just read your comment, and wondered if I saw it wrong. Just watched the broadcast. What were you watching? Sure Glesnes sprinted; and then, when he thought he had separation he eased up and played a weak pass. The soft pass had nothing to do with the wet field – it wasn’t like the Chicago match.

      Glesnes has to own this mistake.

      • Section 114 says:

        Agreed. The safe play is to bang it out of bounds. He gets cute, knowing he has a keeper who was having the week he was and is raw. And then he botched it, both in terms of placement and firmness.
        And it wasn’t his only blunder on the night. I fear we need a CB with more pace than these two, Thor’s Cannon notwithstanding.

  7. I agree with swatjdm. Glesnes couldn’t safely go to the outside given Carmona’s position behind him. His position with the ball also didn’t give good odds for kicking it out of bounds for a throw-in, and a corner is something to be avoided. He saw the keeper open for a back pass, the best option. He couldn’t back pass too hard given the keeper might not properly get to it or, worse, cause an own goal. Freese had the chance to clear it on the roll, but got his signals mixed up given the pressure he should have been able to handle, namely just boot the back pass upfield. A regularly playing keeper wouldn’t have made the mistake…the rust caught up.

    • Just went back and watched it – Glesnes certainly could have gone outside with it. Carmona was on Glesnes’s left shoulder – behind him, but on the inside.

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