Player ratings / Union

Player Ratings: Minnesota United 3-2 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Paul Rudderow

It was a frenetic, chaotic night in St. Paul on Wednesday, resulting in three frenetic, chaotic goals going into the Union net. While it is undoubtedly a disappointing result, there’s a reason why road points are so precious in MLS. To put it simply — most of the time the visitors lose.

And that’s what the Union did, despite some honestly impressive performances and not a lot of outright bad ones.

Player ratings

Andre Blake — 5

Three goals isn’t a good look for any keeper, but it’s really rather embarrassing after Union Twitter spent the day pillorying @MLS for leaving you off the list for most shutouts so far this season.  But really what could any keeper do about any of these goals? The result is a neutral score that’s only a disappointment because we know Blake didn’t get to show us what he can do.

Kai Wagner — 4

The slippery conditions in Allianz Arena took several players off their feet, but Wagner’s slip-up in the 66th minute is either the first or second most significant fall. He made an attempt to play the ball from the ground, pulling it away from a Minnesota player. But in doing so he also pulled it away from Jakob Glesnes who was in the perfect position to clear the ball. The German had a lot of other things on his mind at the time, so there’s no wonder he made that mistake. But it was a mistake, and he made it.

Jack Elliott — 5

Does Jack Elliott even count as a defender anymore? The tall Brit keeps making time upfield, and in abstract that’s not a bad thing. But there were a few moments where he as too far up to get back when Minnesota was on the attack, leading to several of the pucker-worthy moments on the night.

Jakob Glesnes — 4

He has the misfortune of being directly involved in the first two Minnesota goals. He gets partial credit for whiffing Minnesota’s first, a miss that will probably haunt him for the next few nights. And his slip in the 62nd pulled Elliott away from Robin Lod and directly lead to the second goal. That second one isn’t exactly his fault, but if the same defender has any responsibility on letting in two goals their score is going to suffer.

Olivier Mbaizo — 3

Mbaizo’s night started off poorly with a completely unnecessary yellow card justifiably given after he ran up on a Minnesota player after the ball was whistled dead. And things didn’t get much better when he watched his man Franco Fragapane run in to head home Minnesota’s third goal.

Leon Flach — 4

Another frustrating performance from the young German-American. He’s still showing the shining parts that made him so exciting when he arrived; courageous possession, aggressive defense, and a surprising amount of speed. But he still hasn’t found a way to turn that into anything, and often times his crosses into the box feel more like desperation than tactical precision. He’s not a liability, but he’s not an asset either.

José Martínez — 5

There were elements of El Brujo magic, with the Venezuelan contributing to the chaos by stealing the ball and breaking up possession in his signature style. But he was missing his usual impact after getting the ball, and was rarely able to set up an attack. And a bad turnover led directly to Minnesota’s first goal.

Alejandro Bedoya — 5

Vintage Bedoya in this game, with the captain doing the connecting passes and defensive destruction he’d built his name on.

Jamiro Monteiro — 4

When he’s on his game, Monteiro is capable of filling the “Tranquillo Barnetta” or “Haris Medunjanin” role with perfectly placed passes that shred an opponent’s defense. But unlike those players he isn’t able to do it when the game gets physical, and this game got physical. There were still moments of brilliance, but he loses is feet so easily it cost Minnesota nothing to take him out of the attack.

Daniel Gazdag — 6

THIS is the player we’ve been waiting for. Not only did he score both Union goals, but he nearly had a third and was a constant thorn in the side of Minnesota’s defense all night long.

Kacper Przybyłko — 3

What can be said that hasn’t already been said? While he is capable of phenomenal scoring streaks, they’re just that- streaks. And you can’t build a successful offence by waiting for streaks.


Jack McGlynn (for Flach in the seventy third) — 4

Young Jack might be a little too eager to get into the game. He was ready to join the fray after Romain Métanire earned an extremely silly red card, and and gave up a silly foul in stoppage time. We know he’s got potential, but he clearly needs a bit more maturity still.

Paxten Aaronson (for Martínez in the eighty fourth) — 5

His most notable contribution was shooting straight at Minnesota keeper Tyler Miller. But hey, he made a notable contribution with just seven minutes of playing time. So that’s something.

Anthony Fontana (for Mbaizo in the eighty ninth) — N/A 

More like-for-like than it might appear, when you consider how far upfield Mbaizo can play at times.

Geiger Counter

Allen Chapman — 6

Honestly, there’s not a ton to complain about here. Chapman was pretty consistent with his calls on the night, letting the teams play the physical style they both clearly wanted while not allowing game-breaking incidents like handballs or chucking a ball at your opponent’s head.

Player of the Game

Daniel Gazdag

Classically, mid-season signings rarely pay off in their first six months with a team. So it could be that the Hungarian is finally finding his rhythm in Philly and last night’s performance could be what we should expect going forward.


  1. The issue with Przybyłko is that when he is not scoring he is often playing poorly. Like tonight, so many horrible touches or bad passes to totally kill moments. It’s a complete liability.

    We need 1-2 new strikers for next year. I know this won’t happen. But Przybyłko is way too streaky, I love Santos but he can’t be relied on because of injuries, and Burke is just a nice MLS bruiser. Also it’s clear Davos is not the answer if he can’t even get minutes.

  2. These are a joke, right? As soon as I saw Martinez had a number higher than a 2 I didn’t bother to read the rest. He gifted one goal and set his teammates up to fail on another by going back rather than forward. His attack consists of seeing how high above the goal or wide of it he can kick it.
    And Champman missed a bad yellow on one of the Minnesota players when Mbaizo was taken down early in the second half when there was no attempt to play the ball.

    • and Mbaizo gets a yellow for retaliation for an initial uncalled yellow card offense. The ref let far too much go, and there was way way to much rolling around on the ground by the Union players trying to get a foul.

      Stop playing Monteiro at the 10 against physical teams. He loses something playing central in all cases, and it is worse when they can body him off the ball. Let him play in his best position.

    • Exactly. Brujo was brujtal. 1 for me

  3. Richie_the _Limey says:

    Let me presage this by saying that the ref in no way contributed to the Union losing this game, however…”Not a lot to complain about..” Chapman the referee?! The game was choppy and stop/start and descended into physical farce because he was inconsistent and mercurial and did not let the game flow in the correct manner. I won’t list all his errors but will highlight when Mbaizo beat a guy and skipped past him – the opponent then grabbed him hard from way behind and took him down. Apparently that doesn’t warrant a yellow card. But Wagner grabbing the ball from an opponent does? Chapman was TERRIBLE all night.

  4. Barry Evans says:

    Bit high on some of these especially defensively. No mention at all on Mbaizo giving ball away for goal 2, which should mean he got a 1 at max (that was something you’d be upset at a school kid doing). If Mbaizo was a 3, and Martinez 5 then Gazdag should have got an 8.

  5. Poor ratings – a 2 for the writer.

    That team last night is the best “on paper” team the Union has ever fielded (thanks Herr Tanner)… and yet we cannot get a result from a mediocre MNUFC squad?

    What does that point to?

    Possibly the coach has something to do with it?

    It was NOT the referree.

    Playoff tickets went “on sale” this week. I reserved mine but have zero confidence we’ll see a home game. If we struggle with any of the 4 remaining games… well, Cub fans, there’s always next year.

    • The best team on paper has at least one of Burke or Santos healthy. It probably doesn’t include Martinez at this point. Regarding the latter, I’d love if Curtin sends a message Saturday and doesn’t start him. Obviously having 2 of your top strikers injured is not on the coach.

      • We get it. You don’t like Martinez. I love him. He’s tough and good at soccer and leaves it all on the field. Your grading of him and calls to bench him are a kind of ridiculous.

      • I don’t dislike Martinez. When he is playing well like he did for most of 2020, I love him too. However, this year he has been a negative as often as a positive. Certainly last game, his giveaway led to the first goal against and, in my opinion, he had some culpability on the second. These aren’t simple missteps like Glesnes slipping on the wet grass, these are mental errors and Curtin needs to find a way to get Martinez’s head back in the game.
        The Union have 27 points in the 20 games Martinez played. They have 19 points in the 10 games he hasn’t, with their only loss being against New England where 8 players were either on international duty or suspended. Given those numbers, I don’t think benching him is ridiculous at all.

  6. I don’t get why Blake was even playing, being hurt. Freese was entirely acceptable and I feel like at least the first goal would have been stopped by a more mobile goalie. Blake was clearly not himself, not that he is to blame for the lousy defensive showing overall.

    • Yeah. It took the other team a while to realize this but once they started to press us we couldn’t get out of our own half. I believe the 3rd goal came from a pathetic attempt to play it out of the back because Blake could not boot it upfield.

      • If the team can play smarter out of the back, I think they are more dangerous playing the short goal kick rather than a 50/50 ball upfield (or 40/60 given that at least 10% of the time Blake kicks it out of bounds).

  7. Atomic Spartan says:

    Fundamentals. First rule of defense: never,never NEVER engage in risky tactics near your own box. Curtin the defender should have branded that rule inside the eyelids of his back line. CLEAR the F’ING BALL!!!!!
    Actually any defender above the age of 10 on a C level team coached by a complete novice who never played the game should know not to do what our brain dead posers did vs the Loons.
    I like Mbaizo. He deserves to be benched. Used to like el Brujo. Give him a ticket home. We play better with Flach back there.

  8. John O'Donnell says:

    Two tough games at home, two easy games on the road. Anything but 12 points to close the season and regain momentum for the playoffs is unacceptable.

  9. Amazing how Wagner always gets a pass. Worse than Mbaizo yet not a peep. Hmm.
    I love our back 6 but they all had poor games. Need to right the ship and tighten up.
    Flach and Martinez as a double pivot in front of the back 4 may help steady things.

  10. Any idea if the pitch at that dump in the bronx will be closer to full size. Since the other team that uses it shouldn’t stop them from flattening out the pitchers mound ?

    • Surely the home team will not voluntarily give up its greatest home field advantage, by increasing the size of its pitch! They know how to play on the postage stamp. The rest of the league does not.

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