Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 0-1 New England Revolution

Photo: Howie Pollard

Even in a vacuum losing to the New England Revolution isn’t a bad thing. Bruce Arena’s team is ten points clear of the next-best team in the Supporters Shield race, and fourteen ahead of their nearest Eastern Conference competitor. And Friday’s game didn’t happen in a vacuum, with the Union missing eight players on international duty (or yellow card accumulation in Jack Elliott’s case) head coach Jim Curtin couldn’t even fill the Union’s bench before kickoff.

But even if you agree with that assessment, it would have been hard to watch the game and feel the Union got lucky with the result. Arnór Traustason’s two yellow cards left the Union with a man advantage for the final half-hour, an advangate they failed to capitalize on despite out-shooting the vistors 18-8 (8-3 on goal).

So what can be learned from this game? Well, a full-strength Revolution are better than a significantly depleted Union, but that’s not exactly a breakthrough discovery. So it may be that this was just one of those games that one must play, even if it doesn’t reveal anything you didn’t already know.

Player ratings

Joe Bendik — 5

All told, it wasn’t a bad game for Bendik, who at the very least made a case for staying backup keeper. But we did say backup, because he was at least partially to blame for the Revolution’s lone goal.

Kai Wagner — 6

This game was vintage Kai Wagner, who clearly brings more to the table when he doesn’t have to stay back when Olivier Mbaizo is charging forward.

Stuart Findlay — 3

Most of the blame for the Revs goal may land here. Sure, it wasn’t his man who scored, but he got in Flach’s way preventing the midfielder from covering his man. It’s reasonable to expect more, a lot more, from a player with 154 appearances in the Scottish Premier League. It’s easy to see why we haven’t seen more of him.

Jakob Glesnes — 5

More of the expected maturity from the Norwegian, who was one of the only Union players able to stay clear of New England’s mud-slinging.

Nathan Harriel — 5

Harriel’s score gets the traditional “first team debut” bump, but even that isn’t enough to make his performance a net positive. The young homegrown musn’t know how Bruce Arena teams play, because it was clear he was letting the rough play and antagonism get to him, and he let DeJuan Jones make the most of incidental contact to give the Revs a dangerous free kick. As a result, right back remains a position waiting for a player to step up and secure their starting spot.

Jack McGlynn — 6

Not a spectacular game from McGlynn, but the young player showed a good mind for the game. Unfortunately he doesn’t yet have the skill to keep up with that mind, and a lot of his passes were off the mark. But that’s a thing that can be learned, and there’s every reason to believe McGlynn will learn it.

Alejandro Bedoya — 4

As captain, Bedoya continues to be everything the Union needs. He’s still the heart of this team, and his leadership kept things from getting even more out of hand than they did.

But as a player, he’s not cutting it anymore. He’s not BAD by any means, and he’s not even a liability. But his name no longer needs to be on every starting XI, let alone written in pen.

Leon Flach — 3

And awfully low grade for a player who DID do so many things well. But he was covering Matt Polster when he scored, and that’s points off. However the biggest problem is that for all of his promise and ability, he doesn’t actually do a lot. There’s amazing runs, hard challenges, and smart passes. But if none of those can help the Union actually score, or at least threaten to score, or even just control the game, what is it all for?

Paxten Aaronson — 6

A far from flawless performance. BUT- with just six appearances under his belt he’s already performing at least as well as his brother did in 2019. We don’t want to put undue pressure on the homegrown, but the evidence keeps pointing towards him being a worthy successor to Brenden.

Quinn Sullivan — 5

Again, another player showing that they could be good, but aren’t good yet. But games like this are part of the process to become good, and if you’re going to lose a home game giving a young player that experience it might as well be against the currently-mighty Revs.

Kacper Przybyłko — 3

It’s past the point where we can stop thinking of performances like this one as part of a “cold streak” for the Pole. This is what his soccer looks like, this is what should be expected most of the time. The games where he’s scoring goals are the outlier, they’re a hot streak.


Anthony Fontana (for Harriel in the seventy second) — 4

What happened to the exciting homegrown that played a valuable part in the Union offense last season?

Matheus Davó (for McGlynn in the seventy second)– 6

Could have been a game changer if the substitution happened earlier. The Brazilian showed a spark and potential that no other Union player had on the night, or for most of this season honestly.

Cole Turner (for Sullivan in the eighty fourth) — Pass

Just about ten minutes of play was not enough for the midfielder to leave a meaningful impression on the game.

Geiger Counter

Jair Marrufo — 2

If there’s anything to be upset about in this game, it’s the officiating. Not because it caused the Union to lose (it didn’t) but simply because of the detrimental effect on the game. As is traditional it comes down to consistency, and simply put Jair Marrufo wasn’t. He was calling some ticky tack fouls in some situations, and letting blatant violence play in others. But most egregious was the relatively soft punishment for Henry Kessler’s blatant time wasting in the dying minutes of the game. He got a well-deserved yellow for petulantly throwing a ball into the stands to delay a Union throw-in, but then didn’t even receive a talking to for blatant simulation just moments later.

The Union know as well as anyone that time wasting is part of the game. But Kessler being allowed to finish the game after showing such cynical disregard for the structure and rules of the game was an aberration.

Player of the Game

Matheus Davó

There weren’t many bright spots on Friday night, with an unfortunate defense and uninspired offense from a decimated roster. But Davó already has credit in his account to make the loan from Corinthians into a full transfer, and that’s not nothing.


  1. One other issue with Marrufo (which I’ve been noticing a lot in the World Cup qualifiers) is the lack of additional stoppage time after New England’s time wasting during stoppage time.

  2. At some point you have to ask yourself if the team is poorly constructed and the teams problems right now is Ernst Tanners Fault.
    The teams next man up philosophy has left us with a team of guys. It seems the team was designed to be a bunch of dudes who are there more for to be interchangeable than difference makers on the field.
    Who is our #1 striker? #1 midfielder? #1 defender who you know will have his position locked down? #1 goalkeeper… Every rule has an exception. #1. Person off the bench Another exception with both Ilsinhon and Sullivan both options in the short term.
    Last year seemed like a great time to upgrade a solid core and we just seemed to get more core.
    So now we are in this odd zone where we have a team who are good enough to get sent to their national teams but not good enough to be true stand outs.(Blake excluded).
    The Union are a dead average team in the MLS and dead average gets you anywhere between 3rd and 10th on the table depending on the breaks.

  3. I don’t like crushing the young players, but I thought Harriel had a really poor debut. It seemed like he struggled to maintain his spacing, which allowed NE to get the ball into dangerous positions on the wing. And it was his foul that led to the goal. So, for me, a 5 is a touch too generous. But I would be interested in hearing other opinions.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      I definitely didn’t pay enough attention to Harriel and Davo, whereas I usually focus on newer players. So take my words with a grain of salt. I thought Harriel was a slight net negative but every game since the first CA game when Mbaizo got hit after causing CA some problems has resulted in a net negative from that position. I don’t remember Mbaizo having much production since then and Powell has been downright awful at worst and sometimes steady at best. So I’m not opposed to Harriel getting some time in a game where we have a 2 goal lead late or Mbaizo gets hurt. All things considered, I’d rate his performance around 3.5 or 4.

    • I thought he was barely defensively shakier than Mbaizo and it was good to see actual interplay rather than endless lofted crosses/dribbling directly into the first defender under no pressure. Personally thought it was a pretty decent debut and wouldn’t be at all mad about seeing him again, really poor is very harsh imo

  4. I agree, Bedoya is done. Sullivan should take his place or even McGlynn if we want a DLP style at that position.

    Also, Gazdag should no longer get automatic starts and I would want to see Aaronson there with the first team.

  5. el Pachyderm says:

    The assessemnt of Leon Flach isn’t Leon Flach’s fault. I agree with it. But it isn’t his fault in my opnion.
    He’s redundant.

    • In Tanner We Trust says:

      His flaws have nothing to do with effort so when he inevitably screws up an attack because that part of this game isn’t developed yet, I’m more angry at Curtin for putting him in that position to fail. Why he would start on the WING is beyond me.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        I mean we could argue at this point with Bedoya’s contribution they are playing with three defensive midfielders or at least it seems so at times.
        Leon Flach is not an 8 and he’s a box to box midfielder but only in the sense he seeks and destroys…so he shouldn’t be asked to play like an 8 which is what seems to be asked of him. The guy is a high energy destroyer -that’s what he offers.
        The comment upthread about Ernst is one we should be kicking around a bit IMO.

      • In Tanner We Trust says:

        With Bueno and Davo coming into the first team I think things will improve. So far the Gazdag signing is a swing and a miss but I think he deserves at least a few more months to figure out MLS defenses.

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