Analysis / Player ratings / Union

Player ratings and analysis: New England Revolution 1–1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

The result of Saturday’s game against the New England Revolution, a road point, is undeniably good. There is room for improvement in how the point was earned.

The Union did their playing-without-the-ball thing but, rather than hold New England at bay and pounce on mistakes, the boys in blue (or rather white with light orange numbers) allowed the Revs 14 shots and nine corners in the first half, recording just one shot of their own. Luckily, only two of those 14 shots found the target, and were duly saved. But giving up that many shots is a recipe for failure, no matter how good your defense and goalkeeper might be.

The second half was an improvement, with Philly giving just about as good as it got. The penalty kick given for a handball in the box was understandable, but harsh. Even the New England broadcast team thought so, and they are some homers if you’ve ever heard them. That said, it would be wrong to say New England hadn’t been on top for most of the game and deserved the lead.

That stoppage of course brought Mikael Uhre and Jack McGlynn into the game, and the Union scored from the kick-off, Uhre pouncing on a horrendous turnover by Omar González to score with his second touch (he kicked off the half, and that counts as a touch, don’t @ me).

The danger presented by the Union attack was greatly improved with the arrival of those two substitutes, and the takeaway is obvious. When neither Uhre nor Julián Carranza are available the Union struggle to be goal-dangerous. Sergio Santos and Cory Burke present problems individually, but together they may add up to less than the sum of their parts. So much so that Jim Curtin tried Paxten Aaronson as a “second striker” (he was really more of an advanced midfielder, but the midfield diamond shape was mostly retained, rather than shifting to the Christmas Tree shape seen in the past).

As for McGlynn, he definitely adds a range of offensive passing and calm on the ball that Leon Flach does not possess, but Carles Gil made him look like a traffic cone more than once. Flach may not be the optimal player for the left side of the diamond, but that doesn’t mean he’s not the best option the Union have right now.

In truth, the Union are in a good spot. With Uhre healthy and Carranza back from suspension, fans should eagerly anticipate the return to action following the international break. The signs of offensive improvement are there. With the right personnel on the field, the Union could do serious damage to the league.

On to the player ratings. A reminder once again that a score of 5 is the baseline, so anything above that is considered a better than average performance.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake — 7

Blake had less to do in this game than one might have thought, considering how one-way the first half was. Obviously, no one blames him for not saving the penalty. This score leaps up higher if he does, though.

Kai Wagner — 6

Wagner mostly held things down on his side of the field—and there was a lot to do—but wasn’t able to make much impact going forward.

Jack Elliott — 7

I refuse to blame Elliott for the penalty, and he otherwise had a pretty great night, defensively, with four tackles, three blocked shots, and two clearances, and he saved a certain goal off the line. I could be convinced his score should be higher.

Jakob Glesnes — 6

Glesnes also had a good defensive night, though did less statistically than his CB partner and nearly gave a goal away via an ill-advised back header. He cleaned up that mess, but it could have been a big error.

Nathan Harriel — 7

Led all players in tackles by a large margin. Continues to look like a far more seasoned player than he is. Also was unable to add much offensively, but the future is bright with him.

José Martínez — 5

Martínez was okay in this game. He didn’t give the ball away and kept his head (mostly), but he also was part of a midfield trio that allowed New England way too much space in that first half.

Leon Flach — 5

No errors from Flach but, similar to Martínez, he didn’t stem the tide enough.

Alejandro Bedoya — 5

See above.

Dániel Gazdag — 6

He was at the heart of everything the Union did well offensively, but almost nothing came off. He and Uhre nearly combined to grab a winner late in the match, on a couple of occasions.

Paxten Aaronson — 5

Aaronson was asked to do a job he’s not really suited to do yet, but he was busier defensively than the other attackers. You can see the player he could become, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Sergio Santos — 3

Santos didn’t exactly do anything wrong, but he took no shots, completed fewer than half his passes, and failed at his one attempted dribble. He looked upset to be substituted, but it’s hard to argue he’d done anything to warrant staying on the field.


Cory Burke (for Santos in the fifty seventh) — 3

It’s hard to say that Cory did anything at all in his time on the field. He was the person closing González down in the lead-up to the Union’s equalizer, so gets a bonus point.

Jack McGlynn (for Flach in the seventy sixth) — 5

Like Aaronson, he has tools that are tantalizing. But the defensive/athleticism side of his game can’t be ignored. Had he started, the Union might have scored another goal, but maybe Gil gets an assist after blowing past him.

Mikael Uhre (for Aaronson in the seventy sixth) — 8

The goal looked easy, but lots of players would fail to get their feet right and screw it up. Aside from the goal, he looked more dangerous than any Union player. He looked more dangerous than any player not named Gil, for that matter, and had he played from the start, the Union could well have won the game.

Geiger Counter

Jon Freemon — 6

Allowed play to be a little physical at times. Made a defensible call on the penalty, but still disappointing considering he saw it in real time and didn’t think it was problematic. Didn’t get ruffled by Martínez’s and Gil’s contretemps at the end. Was mostly unnoticed, which is as it should be.

Player of the Match

Mikael Uhre

Uhre seems to be settling. If his body can stay healthy, he could be the missing piece for the Union in 2022.


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    Ale Bedoya should get a 10, solely for his postgame press conference.
    End Gun Violence.

  2. SoccerDad says:

    McGlynn’s defensive issues were really on display when he got the yellow card for twice trying to pull Gil back / down by his shoulder and failed to slow him down in a 10 second stretch.

    • David Greene says:

      Another opinion – I remember the ball he won in midfield and hit it first time 30 yards to Daniel. He is 18 and still growing into his body. He is not on the field to defend but obviously needs to improve that part of his game . If you want to watch the Union continue to play route 1, defensive soccer, stick with Flach and to a lesser extent Bedoya but there is no longevity.
      Both McGlynn and Aaronson’s ceilings are much higher and they give you a plan B. Every team should be able to defend with 5 and attack with 5. The Union currently defend with 7 and attack with 3. With current player pool, I would prefer a 4-2-3-1 with mcglynn beside Martinez. gives you options in attacking mid positions. Uhre and Carrazana rotate. Move on from Burke and Santos. I want to watch good soccer and think playing one of the younger players every game to get them starts should be happening as part of their development, Curtain despite what he says has gone away from this in lieu of results (ties) and that is disappointing. Yes important to win but don’t think it will hurt the team and not able to adapt when it comes to playoff time will be a problem.

      • Jeremy Lane says:

        I don’t necessarily disagree with anything here, but I also think Curtin has shown pretty conclusively that he plays young players when they are able to contribute. I trust him to make that call, at this point, which leads me to believe the young guns just aren’t quite ready yet, and playing them too much would be detrimental to them and the team. Obviously, there are edge cases that he might not be getting perfect, but overall I have to give Curtin the benefit of the doubt.

      • Tim Jones says:

        A technical point. AS of 5/31/22 Jack McGlynn is 18.9 years old.
        His pace and “volume,” i. e., amount of field covered in a set period of time, remain issues. That being said, Ilsinho was never a great defender, but he went from awful to marginally acceptable following his team-mandated individual development plan.
        Jack McGlynn is not the top candidate to be sold overseas for big money. He may turn into a useful Union player nonetheless.

  3. el Pachyderm says:

    Deez Nuggs offered a point about Uhre and scoring that gol in the post match….to which I responded…
    …miras que elegancia. Next to a player who can bring pause at the right times, it’s about the highest compliment a player can receive IMO.
    Your assessment is spot on, Jeremy.
    To be sitting on a bench for nearly a month. To literally step foot on a field INgame get the rhythm, speed, steps and everything dialed immediately while making your first thoughtful run in basically what seems forever. Then open the left hip and redirect a ball coming across the body – not trying to strike it but using the ball’s energy and just redirecting it (which is a level of sophistication we rarely see because most try to kick it) as though his daddy has been feeding him balls similarly since he was 6…. well…
    …I hope like hell the guy is durable, settles in to the rhythm of playing safely and with health so we can all sit back and say the same thing.
    miras que….elegancia.
    I feel for Corey at the moment. Someone called him ‘trash’ in the post game and my heart wretched. It’s uncalled for in general and mean in specific. The guy is what he is. That said, the moment when he came on, nicely checked back for a ball just like Higgenbotham said he would just as he was actually doing it…. controlled it quickly, then ran out of ideas or was unable to retain possession and was duly pick pocketed sums up his season so far.
    Corey. It’s professional footy. You gotta do something with the ball bud.
    RE: Mcglynn and his defensive issues with Gil upthread. I do not disagree, but keeping with that guy is like trying to coax a salamader into your hand. I am willing to give Jack a pass.

    • Jeremy Lane says:

      I absolutely agree about Burke. No one is trash, regardless of the way a comment like that is intended. But his playing limitations are definitely on display right now.

      And you are right that Gil made more folks than McGlynn miss. He’s a real player, that guy.

  4. Isn’t Martinez suspended for the next match for accumulation? I might dock him a point for that… Also the summary sounds promising but that’s assuming we keep all our personnel coming out of the break.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      No, Martinez was suspended for Miami and it takes 3 yellows to get your next suspension for accumulation. Given that there have only been 2 matches since Miami, he’s still safe.
      Wagner is still one yellow away from suspension, but is also only a game or two away from getting a yellow dropped for good behavior.

      • That’s what I get for listening to the dumb new England commentators. So annoying…

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I heard them for the first 30 minutes or so (then went back and watched the game from the start with JP and Danny when I got home Monday). I was perplexed when they mentioned that.

  5. 1. That goal most definitely did not look easy to me.
    2. The referee’s no-call when Gazdag was taken out in the box late in the match made me sad
    3. Otherwise a wonderful summary. Comments about Flach and Pax10 are especially eloquent.

  6. soccerdad720 says:

    Ok…I’ll get off my horse then….I guess I AM the only one who thinks the PK was absolute BS. Fine….dismounting…

  7. Ok so I know dumping on Burke is in-fashion right now, but I have a qualm with the author’s claim that it’s “hard to say that Cory did anything at all in his time on the field”.
    Late in the game we had a corner kick that ended up being recycled to Glesnes near the offensive left corner flag. Glesnes played in a cross that Burke headed down and Uhre almost scored from it. No he didn’t have the greatest game, but if Uhre lifts that ball a bit higher or Turner doesn’t get out quite so quick to smother the shot, then Burke would’ve had the game-winning assist.

    • Jeremy Lane says:

      Fair enough. I didn’t remember that moment. Success there would definitely change the narrative somewhat.

  8. Gruncle Bob says:

    Thanks for the write up. I think VAR should get its own rating going forward. It’s such a key part of many games.

    In this game we had (about 85th minute) Farrell taking 4 steps to accelerate to a run and then hip-checking Daniel Gazdag as he was squaring up to shoot from 8 yards out with no one but the keeper to beat. Farrell 1. delivered the blow with his ass, not his shoulder, not that that should matter, 2. made no attempt to play the ball, 3. did not touch the ball.

    That was a clear PK and probably a red card. No VAR, nothing but crickets. So, in this match a review overturned an on-field call for a “by the letter of the law” result, but did absolutely nothing for a “clear as day” penalty situation. It just sucks. MLS must do better.

    On a side note – had DG stayed down, grabbed body parts and writhed around, like say, Sergio (or insert your “favorite” diver here), the probability for a review and correction most likely increases. Diver/writhers are rewarded, and those who play on are not. It just sucks. MLS must do better.

    A final observation on the xG statistic highlighting the sensitivity of xG and why it should always be taken in context. I think the final stat line was 2.7 – .9. But, if you reverse the 2 calls above, no PK for NE and add a PK for the U, the stat line becomes (2.7 – .8) – (.9 + .8), or 1.9 – 1.7, which I think is more representative of the game.

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