Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 1-2 New York City FC

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

The Philadelphia Union’s postseason run came to an end on Sunday afternoon after a 2-1 defeat to NYC FC in the Eastern Conference Finals. Missing fivee starters due to COVID protocols, a mix of first and second team regulars put up a fight for Philadelphia, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a near full strength City side.

On to the ratings.

Player Ratings

Matt Freese – 6

Could have done better on the first goal, didn’t seem like he was set or didn’t see the first shot, pushing the rebound back into danger. Made up for it with a great save on a header a few moments after. No chance on the second goal.

Olivier Mbaizo– 4

Mbazio does well getting into the attack and spreading the field for a defender. Was to blame for the second goal, where he fell asleep and lost his man, which has happened too many times this year.

Stuart Findlay – 7

A pretty good night for the Scotsman, didn’t give up any good looks despite the scoreline. Wasn’t a threat on set pieces though, which was a big miss for the side.

Aurelien Collin– 7

Similar to Findlay for the Frenchman, who did very well filling in on short notice after not playing a competitive minute all season long.

Nathan Harriel – 7

Wasn’t involved much offensively, but was extremely sound defensively for a playoff debutant. Missed the header near the end but isn’t expected to be in that position too often.

Leon Flach – 6

A good showing from Flach when the midfield needed to be hard to get through. Did well shielding Harriel from defending one on one and got involved with the offense at times.

Jack McGlynn – 6

A pretty good outing for McGlynn, who did well backtracking and linking play. Had some good balls into the box but not much provided offensively.

Jamiro Monteiro – 6

A lot of dirty running and pass linking from Monteiro, but Philadelphia needed a little bit more from its captain on the night. Turned into traffic with the ball a few too many times and lost possession.

Jose Martinez – 8

A great outing for the Venezuelan, who seemed to throw off NYCFC’s attackers with his physicality.  Did well winning the ball in midfield and linking with the attack. Was the heart of the team.

Daniel Gazdag – 7

A good outing for Gazdag, who got the assist on the goal for the Union off a great cross into the box. Did well to link play and create some offense, wish he would take more long shots though.

Kacper Przybylko – 6

Crediting Kacper for the own goal because he would have finished it off. A lot of running and chasing, which was expected with the amount of starters out.


Jesus Bueno – 6

A good sub outing for Bueno, who brought some defensive pressure and more pressing to the game and a great cross into Harriel on his late chance. A short 15 minutes in all.

Paxten Aaronson- N/A

A late desperation attacking sub looking for an equalizer.

Anthony Fontana- N/A

Also a late desperation attacking sub looking for an equalizer.

Player of the Match – Talles Mango

The late sub came away with the game winner off a defensive lapse. Scored a goal to send his team to a final, doesn’t get much more important than that.

Geiger Counter

Ted Unkel  – 4

Was letting a lot go in the first half then clamped down in the second half. Felt like he lost a little control in an emotional match with a few inconsistent calls.


  1. Agree with your rankings. Collin and Findlay were solid and Martinez was outstanding.

  2. These rating are a joke, right? If this same game had been played with the full starting team the ratings would be MUCH lower. There is no reason to give these guys better ratings because less is expected. One player less than a 6 in a game where you had 35% possession, 69% passing accuracy, and essentially looking like Newcastle playing against Manchester City?
    Yes, the defense limited the scoring chances, but at the expense of creating any for the Union. Elliott and Glesnes are getting to the same number of balls as Findlay and Collin did, but they are getting those balls to teammates at least some of the time.
    While it was a great pass by Gazdag to setup the goal, I’m not sure how he gets an assist on an own goal.
    The score line may have made people think this game was close, it really wasn’t. The players played with a lot of heart, but that is not what player ratings are normally based on. NYCFC was by far the better team on the day and these ratings should reflect that.

    • Sean Griswold says:

      Sorry you disagree, but I think the Union’s game plan was to make this game like a Newcastle vs Man City. Let them have the ball and try to hit on the counter. City had more possession by a big margin, but only had 2 or 3 more shots the whole game. I rated the players based on how they played according to the game plan, which worked for 88 minutes against a superior team

      • No problem. If people never disagreed, this site would lose a lot of value.
        Nothing was meant against you personally, just a difference in how we measured the game.

      • Sean Griswold says:

        No worries Andy! Thanks for always commenting

    • I’m closer to Sean’s view on this one. The game plan had to change radically to accommodate what was going to be a lopsided affair possession-wise (even by NYCFC standards, which is a team that likes to possess the ball). I don’t think it’s unfair to rate the players on their execution of that plan. In fact, I think Flach is maybe a point low in Sean’s ratings. He covered every blade of grass last night and did enormous work shielding Harriel and Findlay from the teeth of the NYCFC attack.
      Is that how I want to see the Union play? Of course not. Is it how they would have played with a full squad? No way. One of the real shames from yesterday, is that the casual fans drawn to the Union by the deep playoff run had to see that style. They didn’t get to see a full-strength squad stand toe-to-toe with NYCFC and trade blows. They didn’t get to see Santos torch Chanot and pull it back to Kacper/Gazdag in space on the edge of the box. They didn’t get to see Wagner fly into a tackle and then take the ball up the touchline before putting in a pinpoint cross. They didn’t get to see the team at its flying, energetic best. But that doesn’t mean that on this game plan, they didn’t execute in a way that gave them the best chance to win on the night. I think that’s a fair way to rate the players.

  3. Larry Guengerich says:

    I these seem fair. Thought the MLS ones really were hard on Findlay. I really hope we get to learn more about the story on the missing players. My fear is a fractured locker room or damaged coach player relationships depending on how all this came down.

    • Sounded like the coach attacked the league for their decision to play the game in his postgame press conference which leads me to believe that it will bring the team together rather than fracture any relationships.

  4. Harriel did a surprisingly good job on the left shutting down Gray who killed NE. With Mbaizo being Mbaizo (remember he was benched early in the season due to mental mistakes, I think?) I wouldn’t be surprised if Harriel gets more starts next year. Maybe we sell high on Mbazio this offseason (apparently there was interest in France).

    McGlynn is just so fun to watch on the ball. He is so mentally fast it feels like he ALWAYS knows what he is doing with the ball before it gets to him. I want to see more of him.

    Also if there is only a single new player we bring in this off season, please let it be a DP striker. Hopefully Sugarman saw the place being sold out in the playoffs and realizes what being a consistent winner can do for his bottom line.

    • A DP Striker is not in the business plan. See Chris Albright’s comment about $10 million for a striker never happening where he had been before Cincinnati.
      There may be some young homegrown one’s in the pipeline, but they are a few years away from the first team, if any of them every get there.

      • Doesn’t need to be 10 million.

        Montiero is (was?) a DP and a striker in the same vein feels totally possible and would be a huge improvement too – assuming we hit on him as well as we hit on Monteiro.

      • Fair poiint about the dollar quantity.
        My own view is that they will wait for the in-house people to develop.
        The strikers we all would dream about are not coming to MLS. if Sanots and Przybylko combined themselves into one such player, that player would be playing in one of the big five leagues in Europe

      • You are right about Santos and Przybylko combining.
        My totally unrealistic and wishful thinking is that Darboe is a HG signing and surprises everything in training camp and begins the season at striker.
        Then he scores 20 goals and we win MLS Cup.

  5. For the most part, these are fair ratings, maybe a tad too high. I fully disagree that NYCFC were the better team, just the better attacking talent played out. The Union won the majority 50/50 balls in the first half and completely threw NYC off their game. And we nearly got the goal right at the beginning of the 2nd half. To be honest, once NYC adjusted with the subs did you see the Union actually struggle. Just because a team has 65% possession, doesn’t make them the better team. NYC had 2 shots in the first, 0 on goal.

  6. NYCFC had the better options of the bench and the fact that they made three changes at 55 minutes was testament to their frustration with how the game was developing.
    Happy to see Harriel do well and can be an option as feel Wagner may go along with Real.
    We will not see the true value of McGlynn and his passing range until we get a striker that can run in behind (Not Santos). Hopefully that happens in the offseason.
    Good season, lots of up and downs.

  7. Look at the ratings on for a second opinion.
    search Philadelphia Union, open, and go to match center. A tip of the cap to Chris Gibbons who pointed me to this website some time within the last yer or two.

  8. The coordination between Findlay and Collin reflects the they probably have played together as a unit in practices all year.

  9. Kacper Przybylko – 4 at best. Very little movement at all playing as the lone striker. Sure he had the moment of being on the end of Gazdag’s cross, but mostly was ineffective on the night. Fontana should have come on in the 70-75 minute.
    Jesus Bueno – 3
    While Mbaizo lost the challenge for the ball on the game winning goal, if you watch the build up, Bueno is ball watching and moving toward the middle of the field with Thórarinsson behind him on the side line… his lack of awareness and movement created the space that led to the ball being played. I have to think McGlynn would have had that much better covered.
    Curtin – 4
    Not sure what he saw in Kasper to leave him in the whole game. Fresh legs proved to be the deciding factor for NYCFC … should have subbed earlier.

    • Enough with the Curtin bashing. If he replaces Kacper earlier, he has no striker on the field and even fewer options to react to an NYCFC goal.

      • To be fair we were already playing with no striker on the field…

      • I’m not bashing Curtin, I think he is a great coach destined for Europe. I’m simply rating his performance in that single game, and I think the timing of his subs is something that is fair to assess and criticize.

      • Sorry about the overreaction, jhv. Let’s just say I vehemently disagreed with the numerous posts in the game review that said that while the players gave their best effort, Curtin didn’t.
        As RePete points out, there were a lot of unusual circumstances here and there were plenty of considerations that made what he did the best chance of going through, even though it didn’t work due to the late goal.

    • Curtin had to mind OT, injury, and card considerations with subs. The match seemed to be heading towards OT. NYCFC was playing physical to cause injuries and cardable responses, and our guys had to play similarly to stay competitive thus risking injuries and cards. Paxten, Bueno and Fontana were the only normal sub options, the rest being young fillers, and that was threadbare too.
      . . .
      With 11 men out, the match isn’t ratable under normal circumstances. The rump team played well for what could be expected of it, and Curtin made the best calls he could with it.

  10. Darth Harvey says:

    Mbaizo too high… both goals are on him due to the exact same mental mistakes he consistently makes. Ball watching on the first, and a complete lapse of judgement on the second. For all that is said of his “offensive contributions” he has 4 assists this year. I know there is more to a defender’s offensive production than that, but if you look at it from a “goals in / goals out” perspective, his mistakes are definitely much more costly than his production merits. Dude has a reservation at the Cliff of Union Despair until he is shipped out…. It is a room with a gigantic chalkboard on one side of the room and a huge TV replaying his two lapses on the other and he just has to write “I will not be so stupid to cost my team the playoffs ever again” until all the limestone deposits in France are completely depleted.

    Lol @ “Kacper would’ve finished that cross on the own goal”… because he has proven to be such a lockdown sure-thing finisher for us these past few months? This guy has an appointment at the Cliff of Union Despair where foot transplants can happen and we can swap his feet out with faster ones or at least ones that aren’t made of concrete.

    The Union were in an extremely unlucky position. But we can’t act like if NYCFC had 11 if their players on protocol that a large portion of the fan base wouldn’t be saying “Sucks to be them. Let’s play and get to the cup final.” It is this crazy world we live in.
    —My comments about the two players above are solely about their ratings and their ratings alone. The rest I generally agree with and was proud of the effort that the other 9 (and subs) put forth, but man it is pride with a price.

    Final thing that I never thought I’d say…. Unkel was okay last night for Unkel *shudders* we indeed are living in dark and weird times…

    Going to go put on some local nightly news and relax

  11. I was actually hoping this article would not be written.
    The Union were put in an impossible position and damn near pulled it off.
    I’m more than happy with what I saw from Findley, and can’t speak highly enough about Cullen who “laced ’em up one last time…” so to speak, and played well above anyone’s expectations.
    Could Montiero have done more? Hard to do when you are swarmed every time you touch the ball. He’s Ilsinho with speed….but not super-human.
    Gazdag…can’t wait to see him next year. Glad he came alive towards the end of the year.
    And the kids…man…they just play their hearts out, no matter what is asked of them…without fear.
    Yes, they fell short. But y’know what? We are here arguing about the ratings of a bunch of bench players who went toe-to-toe with the NY Pigeons and gave everyone in that stadium hope.
    February can’t come soon enough.

  12. With the exception of Mbaizo’s mental lapses-both goals- this was a good showing by the union, and an entertaining match, given that they were missing so many starters, and therefore so many synergies developed by playing together. What I saw was that our guys got tired, NYC saw that, added fresh legs and the rest is history . Tanner now has a couple of months to buy us an offensive difference maker up top. Here’s to hoping…

  13. Kacper was a 4 for me. He only started running after the goal. He’s a liability.

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