Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 1-1 Chicago Fire

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

After getting to play for a full hour with a man advantage against Chicago Fire, the Union failed to capitalize, leaving the match with a 1-1 scoreline that sees them continue to slip down the standings and now sitting at fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Making the frustration even worse is the fact that the game wasn’t without individually positive performances. Every player on the field at at least a few moments that showed what we know they’re capable of. But they never happened in sync with the player’s around them, and as a result the overall theme of the night was disjointed and disappointing play.

So even more than usual, take these ratings with several grains of salt. There is no denying that as a team the performance was unacceptably poor. But that was a result of poor strategy, poor organization, and poor execution. Not poor individual performances.

Player ratings

Andre Blake — 5

With just Chicago recording just two shots on goal, the biggest news in goal was relief that the Jamaican was back from international duty with no injuries.

Kai Wagner — 6

The first half saw a return-to-form for the German, with him getting forward and creating opportunities for the Union while never forgetting the fact that his first responsibility is defense. And he scored the Union’s lone goal of the night, a perfectly struck free-kick skimming under Chicago’s wall and into the net.

Jack Elliott — 5

As always there was tenacious defending, especially right around the hour mark where he bullied Offor off the ball immediately after the Mountaineer had just come back from having a nose bleed attended to.

Jakob Glesnes — 5

Nothing spectacular from the Norwegian, but the problems of the night were not on defense so there wasn’t anything awful either.

Olivier Mbaizo — 4

Mbaizo has been praised for the increase in offensive play he’s brought to the right back position. But on Sunday night none of his crosses seemed to be anything more than optimistic. And defensively he still leaves something to be desired, often caught up field or simply not being good enough when he is back there.

José Martínez — 4

Whatever magic El Brujo came to Philadelphia with has worn off. Other teams are managing to avoid his ball-stealing ways, preventing him from defusing attacks while also robbing the Union of his counter-attack launching passes.

Leon Flach — 4

The former St. Pauli player showed some of the promise he showed early in his tenure here, but also showed his more recent propensity to disappear for large sections of the game. Not a lost cause by any means, but we need to see more from the midfielder if he’s going to stay locked in the midfield.

Alejandro Bedoya — 3

It’s not that there weren’t bright spots to Bedoya’s night. A few opportunistic headers, occasionally inspired passes, and his through ball is what set up Burke for the one-on-one that eventually gave the team a man advantage for over an hour of play.

But there was also plenty to be disappointed with. The box-to-box movement that made Bedoya such a dynamic part of the midfield were largely missing, and we also have to talk about the goal. As Olivier Mbaizo is getting outnumbered, leaving Frankowski free to score for Chicago, Bedoya stood just yards away and watched. Any player should have come to his aid in an attempt to avoid that situation. But a captain failing to do so, failing to recognize the issue or simply deciding not to do anything about it, is completely unacceptable. It’s not easy to say, but it’s past time to bench Bedoya. Hopefully not forever, but whatever problems he’s having aren’t going to be fixed on the field.

Daniel Gazdag — 4

Of course some of the disconnect may be due to the Hungarian not yet being fully integrated into the team. And there’s no denying his individual strengths as a player. But at some point we need to be seeing those connections starting to form, and we’re not seeing them.

Kacper Przybyłko — 4

A striker is only as good as his service. But if a striker isn’t getting service, at some point he has to consider that maybe he isn’t doing what he needs to do to get that service.

Cory Burke — 5

What is it about Chicago that makes Cory Burke play more tenaciously and with more drive than we see against other teams? Obviously far from perfect, but at least he was showing intent and putting in the work to make it happen.


Ilsinho (for Flach in the sixty third) — 6

The traditional time for an Ilsinho sub, and he delivered the traditional performance. He dribbled past defenders, drawing them away from other Union players and giving the offense time to get themselves open.

Quinn Sullivan (for Gazdag in the seventy fifth) — 5

Another positive shift from the young midfielder. He’s probably not alone in wondering what he needs to do in order for Jim Curtin to see him as an option that can’t possibly be worse than the players who are starting.

Jack McGlynn (for Mbaizo in the eighty ninth) — Pass

Despite over eight minutes of stoppage time, there wasn’t much to see from the young midfielder.

Geiger Counter

Michael Radchuck — 2

The definition of a “denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity” is rather amorphous, but it’s safe to say that if a foul had been committed on Burke there it’s an automatic red. But even on multiple replays it’s not clear that a foul was committed. Sure, that call played out in the Union’s favor, but just as bad officiating giveth, bad officiating taketh. Even if the rest of the game had been pristine that red card against Wyatt Omsberg would have been significant points off. And the rest of the game was by no means pristine.

Player of the Game

Cory Burke

The Union should hire a hypnotist to make Burke think Club America is the Chicago Fire.


  1. Not to be that guy, but Mbazio did send in that one beautiful cross to Gazdag at the back post that Gazdag sent 6 years wide. I’d say his crosses are still mostly good, he hits them with great pace and into dangerous spots most of the time.

  2. Agree that Burke looked pretty good last night, winning some tough 50/50 balls to hold possession, and certainly seemed to be on the ball more than his striker partner last night.

    With Monteiro heading out soon, Gazdag still getting acclimated,and no real wingers on the roster (save for Ilsinho, who’s best days may be behind him), this team just doesn’t seem dangerous enough in offense to really scare anyone.

  3. In Tanner We Trust says:

    I think you make some excellent points here, but one thing I disagree with. Martinez has still been great, and teams are avoiding him much more than last year, exposing other issues in our defence. Many of the goals we’ve allowed have come from crosses and set pieces, and I can’t remember when where he’s at fault. Mbaizo still has a lot of growing to do and I’m going to try to be patient. I defended Glesnes in the beginning but I’m realizing everyone else was right. He is really struggling defensively, although last night he was solid mostly. I think our biggest defensive weakness is Mbaizo being left alone without help from Bedoya, who has been concerning for a few weeks now.

    • Agree, having Flach on the same score as Martinez is a real head scratcher to me. Martinez outperformed him by far in completed passes, tackles, duels and had a shot on goal to boot. And to your point, the one goal from Chicago came off a cross from Flach’s side that he was out of position for and didn’t shut down. I would honestly put Flach lower than Bedoya, at least Bedoya put in several good through balls and got on the end of several crosses, really don’t know what Flach contributed at all besides running around. Love the motor, but when we aren’t manically pressing he struggles

      • Dave Greene says:

        Agree Flach’s time has come also. Offers nothing offensively and this was a game where we had the ball.
        He completed 12 passes – Sullivan completed 11 in 15 minutes and McGlynn 8 in 8 minutes. These kids don’t have to start but Curtin is delusional with his use of subs. We have 5 and they should get 20 minutes.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        I think Flach in the XI still makes sense but he’s not a chase the game kind of player on offense. He seems like he’s better positioned at the 6, like a Creavalle with a motor. But Flach and Bedoya struggling with Monteiro leaving begs the question: who plays the 8s and gives us a chance to succeed??

      • Given the current shortage of wingers, wonder how Martinez might do at the 8 with Flach at the 6, since Flach offers nothing going forward.

  4. Ilsinho looks like he’s been hanging out at Pat’s Steaks again. He didn’t seem physically fit, something that I felt was an issue by past appearances but then had lost weight. Maybe it’s a false appearance from the stands and I’d like to be corrected if mistaken, but if he’s out of shape, then there’s no excuse for that absent medical issues beyond his ability to control.

    • He’s just come back from groin surgery….being out of game shape is to be expected after recovering from groin surgery.

      • That he might be out of shape insofar as idleness I can understand, but I’m concerned about the weight gain part. That can be controlled unless it’s from meds. Even when injured there’s a duty to keep as fit as possible when playing pro sports that require fitness.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    Just watched Instant Replay and Weibe agrees with the ref that it was a foul and therefore DOGSO.

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