Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 1 (2)-1 (0) Nashville SC

Photo: Howie Pollard

The Philadelphia Union continued their postseason run with a win over Nashville SC at Subaru Park on Sunday evening, advancing thanks to the heroics of Andre Blake in a penalty shootout. A cagey match without much offense saw Nashville fail to convert a single penalty attempt, putting 2 wide of the target and forcing 2 saves from Blake.

On to the ratings.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 10

Wasn’t much for Andre Blake to do on the night until penalties, made 2 big saves on the first 2 shots and gave his team the momentum to see it through. Didn’t have a chance on Nashville’s lone goal.

Alvas Powell– 4

A little disappointing on the night for Powell, who lost his man on the Nashville goal leading to an easy header. Also misplayed a few easy passes in the attack.

Jakob Glesnes – 7

A pretty good night for the Norwegian, he kept Nashville’s attack at bay and couldn’t be faulted for the lone goal surrendered. Didn’t unleash any of his famous rockets outside of the box, and couldn’t find service into the box on corners.

Jack Elliott – 7

Similar to Glesnes in that he kept Nashville at bay, but also wasn’t very involved in set pieces. A good penalty converted, which got him an extra point.

Kai Wagner – 7

A good night for Wagner who was up and down the field as he usually is, made good defensive recoveries and helped stop any Nashville counter attacks.

Leon Flach – 5

An alright outing for the German-American. Showed his usual defensive prowess in the midfield but was too often a liability in transition, slowing down the offense.

Alejandro Bedoya – 6

Gave Bedoya some leniency for lasting the whole 120 minutes, but not a bad outing from the captain. Was involved offensively and did well to break up passes in the midfield, could have hit some better crosses though.

Jamiro Monteiro – 5

An alright outing from Monteiro after returning from a COVID protocol absence. Didn’t look comfortable taking free kick opportunities, some of which were pretty poor. Needs to shoot more from the top of the box.

Jose Martinez – 6

A good outing for the Venezuelan at the base of the diamond. Kept his cool for the most part and was a great defensively in transition. Got up into the attack on occasion and only attempted one long shot destined for the bleachers.

Daniel Gazdag – 7

A great outing for Gazdag who stepped up in a big way, got the equalizing goal and set up Santos on a few good opportunities. Hopefully even better performances follow.

Kacper Przybylko – 4

Not much doing for the target man up top in a defensive matchup. Kacper needs a second striker to get him space, something he hasn’t been afforded in the Christmas Tree formation


Sergio Santos – 4

If you could combine Santos and Przybylko, you would have a pretty good striker. Santos is great with his pace and creating opportunities. Finishing them off is where he is lacking, especially on Sunday night.

Cory Burke- 5

A 30 minutes filled with a lot of running for Burke and being the target man for Santos. Didn’t get any scoring opportunities himself but did the job.

Jack McGlynn – 6

A pretty uneventful 30 mins of extra time for McGlynn, but he did slot away his penalty with a stutter step, which got him a extra point.

Nathan Harriel – N/A

A short 10 minute shift for Harriel who replaced the veteran Powell deep into extra time.

Player of the Match – Andre Blake

In a game decided by penalties, your goalkeeper has to come up big. Andre Blake did just that with his 2 saves propelling the Union to victory.

Geiger Counter

Allen Chapman  – 4

Forgot he had cards in the first 90 minutes of the game, and only gave out 1 in 120 minutes of play. Let some fouls go and then called the same type of foul moments later. A little inconsistent.


  1. WOW!!!
    What a game!
    Still hoarse this morning from all the cheering.
    In all the soccer that I have watched at every level, I have never seen a team go 0-4 on penalty kicks.
    Andre Blake is a beast!
    Was great to see him carried off his goal line after the shoot-out on the shoulders of his teammates.
    One of my favorite all time Union moments!

    • And it wasn’t even the best moment at Subaru Park this month (IMO Glesnes still tops a PK win).
      Closest I can remember a team that bad in a shootout was 2011 Women’s World Cup final where US missed their first 3 before Wambach kept them alive very briefly.

  2. Much as I loved Blake in the shootout, no way he deserves a 10. He took a step forward on the goal against and should have kept coming out and intercepted the cross. It was a play he could have made.
    Powell was definitely more what we expect of him compared to the surprise we had last week. Was just outside his man on the goal. Next year we probably see Harriel start games like this where Mbaizo is not available.
    Elliot was actually involved in one of the free kicks, he took it and put it just over the crossbar, not skied like Monteiro’s but just not quite enough dip. I would score him a point above Glesnes for a penalty kick taken the way we were taught as kids, pass it into the corner of the net, out of reach of the keeper even if he guesses right.
    I would probably drop Santos a point given his poor PK and missed opportunities.
    I think you’re seeing Chapman through the eyes of the crowd rather than as an unbiased reporter. Much as I’m usually a critic of his, I think he got most of the calls right and was pretty consistent throughout. I’ve only seen the one stadium replay of the goal he called back, but I could definitely see where he felt Santos interfered with the keeper and didn’t give him a chance to make the play. Had he given out more cards, there is a decent chance Martinez wouldn’t be playing next week and others (including Kacper) might be in card jeopardy for a possible MLS Cup.

    • You are spot-on, Andy. You have Blake exactly right–give him an 8 or 9. He is an excellent shot stopper. His one mistake a night is usually like the one last night, poor decision-making.

      I have expressed the opinion here that Alvas Powell is too slow and his lack of pace cost the Union on the goal, but I was surprised how well he did offensively (and that may be due to Nashville’s defense), so give him a 5 (And yes, last week he was definitely better). We need Mbaizo back.

      Here is the push-pull on Santos. His pace makes the Union attack more dangerous, period. His failures to score last night on what seemed to be routine chances could very well have cost the Union the game. I counted 5 including the poorly-taken PK. I believe that it was he who was called for the goalie interference foul on the disallowed goal (although to be fair, it looked to me as though he was trying to get his head on the ball to redirect it with the goalie coming out), so you could drop him an extra point for that.

      And yes, give Elliott an extra point for the well-taken penalty.

      Lastly, I agree about Chapman. This was one of the more consistently-reffed matches I have seen in MLS. I think that he was fully aware that cards might result in suspensions, and he was reluctant to issue them. I did think that for some moments at the end of regulation, he lost control because of the degree of physical play he allowed, but you could make the case that he let the players decide the match, and that is as it should be. For the Union, only Martinez was on a yellow card–but he is an important player and I thought he was very lively last night.

    • I would not be surprised if the refs are instructed to have a higher threshold for yellow cards in the playoffs because of suspensions. This is common in knockout tournaments…it is why you see so few cards in the World Cup finals. I thought Chapman was fine overall, my main issue with him was that Nashville kept fouling Jamiro in the hopes of neutralizing him, yet Chapman had no interested in handing out yellows for “Persistent Infringement” after the tactic became obvious by the end of the first half.

      • this has been common (persistent infringement) over the last few games. Hack Monteiro to slow him down and hack Martinez to wind him up. Rinse/repeat at beginning of the 2nd half.

      • Exactly right re: Monteiro. This tactic worked. Even though the ref was balanced and measured he needs to recognize persistent infringement and halt it with yellows.

  3. I think Powell is a little low. Yes, he was the main culprit on the Nashville goal, but he was working hard all night long to contain Muhktar and did a pretty good job. He also did a good job with overlaps and linking with the midfield. On the whole, I think he has been our best option at RB, even when Mbaizo is available.
    Bedoya lasted 120 minutes because he refused to let Curtin take him out. He still was making a few good runs at the end, but each run required a recovery time where he was inactive for a few minutes until the next run. A great effort, but Father Time is calling.
    Santos and Martinez were flying all over the field at 100MPH on every run…but without the final product, it felt like they were just wearing themselves out. Somehow, Martinez just doesn’t run out of energy. I got tired just watching him.
    If one of these guys can find the finishing touch, we will start to have some very boring games. I can’t wait for the boring games.

  4. Andre Blake too low, somehow. Santos too high. I’d have given him a 2.

  5. Santos’ finishing was obviously beyond poor, but his ability to make runs and find space really gave us an opportunity to see what Gazdag is capable of. The Christmas tree is wasted if Kacper is the shiny star on top.

    I know there is always a knock on his distribution and he occasionally misjudges a cross, but the number one responsibility of a GK is to keep the ball out of the net and Blake is one of the worlds best at reaction saves.

    • If the Union are going to play the Christmas tree, I actually would be curious about Corey Burke starting at striker. He has many more of the attributes to succeed as a lone target forward than Kacper does. Admittedly, he hasn’t done enough in the minutes he’s been given to show he deserves it, but neither have any of the other forwards really.

    • Santos’s finishing was maddening, but he kept Nashville honest with his runs and the chances he created. If you keep creating chances, you will convert eventually.

      • In the little we have seen of Burke recently, I think we can say he is better than Kacper at hold up play. I would like to see him start instead of Kacper.

      • Problem with starting Burke is that he hasn’t played more than 40 minutes or so in a game since he was hurt (and that includes 3 stoppage time intervals against New Jersey). I’m not sure that Curtin wants to take a chance on him if he isn’t match fit to go at least 60.

  6. Agree that Santos had a shocker last night. Also want to recognize how he’s quite good at making the runs, getting open and doing nearly everything else a forward should do. If he converts one of the, what 3? 4? quality chances he had (not counting the pen) he’d probably rate a 7.

    I thought Martinez had a quality night. Maybe a 7? Did a good job of living in Mukhtar’s head, I thought, including making sure he was called for quite a few fouls.

    Also, I think I’ve seen enough of Montiero. Quality player but not where or when it counts. I think he’s been disappointing for a DP.

    • I think it’s telling that many opponents take the approach of specifically targeting Monteiro physically from the opening whistle to knock him off his game (Nashville was no different last night), since they’ve seen what he can do if they don’t. I think he’s still an important cog in the machine, even though the book is out on him. We are better with him than without, and the younger smaller guys can learn a lot from him as they develop.

    • +1 on Martinez. He definitely got into Mukhtar’s head, to the point that persistent infringement should have come into play.

    • Martinez was excellent. MOTM until the shootout. He’s the most important player on the team. These ratings are always incredibly biased.

  7. In Tanner We Trust says:

    Would you guys rather a striker who disappears and stalls attacks before they begin, or a striker that does a lot of running and puts himself in great positions? I understand Santos had a very bad game, but he still offers more than Kacper. He was in for more than 90′ and I can’t remember him doing anything productive all night. I think this run is proving that going into next year, we have so many more strengths than weaknesses, but we really need at least one new striker.

    • I tend you agree with this line of thinking. Santos’ night looks bad because of the multiple great chances he missed, yet those chances only existed in the first place because he works so darn hard.
      It was a bad night for his finishing foot for sure, but they won’t ALL be bad nights though.

    • Definitely, it makes no sense to me that the striker who almost single handedly created 5 scoring chances but missed them is ranked the same (with some people in the comments arguing for him to be ranked lower than) as a striker who had literally one shot in 70 minutes that went 30 yards over the goal

  8. I am impressed that the PSP Commentariat is taking a measured view of the terrible game Santos has yesterday. And yes, he was terrible. But yes, he opens up the game tremendously when he comes in. We are hard pressed to score without him right now.

    I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when I realized that 2 of our first 3 PK takers were a CB and an 18-year-old rookie. And both placed their shots magnificently.

    Powell definitely deserves more than a 4. He did miss Mukhtar on the goal, but he also made several other good defensive plays, strong enough to get positive shout-outs from the highly critical Alejandro Moreno on the broadcast.

    Finally, regarding the Man of the Hour… I remember when Andre was not all that good at PKs. He was no Tim Melia. But in the last couple years he’s really upped his game in that regard. I will not be surprised to see him playing in England in a year or two.

    • Blake will never play in England because of his age and poor distribution (if he even would want to)

      • Keepers last a long time, so he’s got plenty of years left. People talk about his distribution is so bad, but he’s improved substantially in that regard too, and I doubt that would hold him back. But if it does… lucky for us, I guess!

      • English clubs were interested in Blake but Jamaica’s worse than Top 50 FIFA ranking sabotaged his work permit chances. Their loss remained our benefit.

  9. I can’t justify giving Santos a 4, maybe a 2 at best. He missed clear chances and then missed his spot kick in the shootout.
    . . .
    The referee should get a much higher mark. The disallowed goal hurt but it was correct. I also praise him for holding his cards and letting gritty play go. Both teams are defensive machines, and card-happy refs sabotage playoff runs earned by a season’s work.

  10. I thought this might have been one of Martinez’s best games! Played on the edge all night without crossing the line and he DEFINITELY got in Muhktar’s head. Outside of his goal I didn’t see as much as I thought I was going to from him. Jack & Jakob played a big role in that, but Martinez was a huge piece!

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