Player ratings

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

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Editor’s note: This piece incorrectly identified the Union’s head athletic trainer, Paul Rushing. We regret the error.

The Union took all three points from Sunday night’s Eastern conference showdown with rivals New York City FC.

It appeared the Union were headed for 1-0 home victory, but the last 10 minutes plus stoppage time provided some unexpected twists and turns – including a red card for Union athletic trainer Paul Rushing, a NYFC penalty kick to equalize at 1-1, and then a Union goal ruled out due to offside, but then reversed after a lengthy VAR review. All that insanity conspired to give the Boys in Blue a 2-1 victory.

The win was the first at home for the Union since they beat Columbus 1-0 on April 9th.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 7

The best goalkeeper in MLS wasn’t called upon all that much in this match. His reactions on balls played into the box were quick, and he did very well with the ball at his feet, something the Union defense played to him a little too much, especially in the first half

Nathan Harriel – 5

Harriel didn’t make any catastrophic errors or blunders which, to be fair, is important in a tightly contested conference rivalry match. He looked uncomfortable on the ball most of the night though and his passing out of the back, and upfield, was off.

Jack Elliot – 7

Elliot’s decision making out of the back was, at times, questionable. He used Blake often and dribbled into some dangerous areas and played a nice diagonal play across to Bedoya which led to the Union’s first goal. Overall another strong outing from Elliot.

Jakob Glesnes – 7

A solid performance from the Norwegian. Along with Elliot, did a great job to shut down Taty Castellanos, Talles Magno and the rest of the NYCFC attack. He and Elliot are as solid a duo as can be found in MLS, but the edge goes to Glesnes as the Union’s best defender at this juncture.

Jose Martinez – 8

A fairly calm and poised performance from El Brujo in this match, especially on the defensive side of the ball. He did really well to neutralize Moralez and helped limit the amount of quality chances NYCFC were able to generate. Obviously the deflection off of Burke on the go-ahead goal was fortunate, but kudos to Martinez for being there to corale the loose ball and get off a shot in a dangerous area.

Leon Flach – 5

The energy he provides is terrific and he shows tremendous grit whenever he is on the field. Defensively, he is a pain in the butt for opposing players – but it’s no secret that his offensively ability’s are lacking.

Ale Bedoya – 7

A nicely timed run down the right side followed by a great ball into the box provided the set-up for the Union’s first goal. Bedoya is putting in one of his best season’s yet with the blue and gold.

Daniel Gazdag – 6

Put himself in good areas on the field most of the night and fired off one or two decent shots. A  second Union goal was there for the taking in the first half; would’ve liked to seen more killer instincts with NYCFC on the ropes.

Julian Carranza – 5

It was a tough angle, but he had a great opportunity to get the Union’s second goal midway through the first half and he put the shot right at Sean Johnson. His work rate defensively is higher than most forwards, but he struggled to make much of an impact on this game.

Mikael Uhre – 6

Uhre looked dangerous at times and put himself in the right position on the opening goal. It felt like there was a real opportunity for him to have the big, breakout game Union fan’s have been waiting for but his touch failed him on more than one occasion – which prevented him from getting that second goal. He still feels like the proverbial ‘New Guy’, which is fair given Sunday was only his 9th appearance for the team. Time will tell.


Cory Burke – 7

Came on for Uhre in the 65′ and used his big frame well to shield off defenders while on the ball, which is his best attribute.  He was fortunate to get the goal via deflection from Martinez’s shot, but when a team is in a rut, a fortunate bounce can be what’s needed and he was in the right place at the right time.

Athletic Trainers

Paul Rushing – 10

Respect to Rushing for not taking any nonsense from the NYCFC players who were out of pocket. Loved the love that the River End showed him on his way off the field.


Armando Villareeal – 4

The official’s impact on the end result of the game was fortunately minimal, but he did a horrendous job keeping this game in control, especially on the incident involving Rushing. He provided some confusion at the conclusion of the match as well with his VAR review of the potential Harriel handball, which was being reviewed after the match had been called.


  1. Brujo is a 10. Your 8, plus 1 for each middle finger to the away support after the match.

    • Agreed. El Brujo was near perfect in the first half, including a highly entertaining flick up to himself for a bicycle kick clearance. Add in a shoving exchange, the middle fingers and one of those long range El Brujo shots actually going in, and this was the complete El Brujo experience

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        That was better than a mere clearance… THAT was an overhead, back-turned through ball.

    • Add another 1 to his rating for making it through a testy, physical, rivalry game without getting carded.

  2. Kyle Grantham says:

    Athletic Trainer Paul Rushing*

  3. I think Flach actually had a solid game. I’ve been IDing him as a weakness going forward, but he had a few really nice low crosses into the box, at least one of which probably should have been converted. Thought he was better on the night than in previous outings.

    • Yeah I noticed that cross too. Probably his best final third pass I ever remember him making here. On one hand that speaks to his usual final third quality. On the other hand maybe its a sign of things to come.

    • YES! We all recognize Flach’s offensive limitations but he was all over the pitch on Sunday. I mean sideline to sideline. He was putting out fire’s all over the place. I don’t remember when specifically in the 2nd half(my girlfriend saddled me with two 13 year old girls to wrangle at the game) but he made an all out run about 30 yards diagonally across the field in support of an outnumbered Harriel and tackled the ball out of bounds. I would like to see McGlynn get some well deserved minutes as the season goes on but in an important match I 100% want Flach on the field. We are a defensive team. I’ll live with the missed offensive opportunities.

  4. My main takeaway – Sean Johnson is not a National Team GK

    • Johnson had an uncharacteristically bad game, but wasn’t ever really on my list of USMNT candidates to begin with. I know he’s the third guy, but his reaction time was bad on both goals. Maybe rust? He’s better than that.

  5. Andy Muenz says:

    I know he might be gone in a couple of weeks, but any chance the article can be edited to add a rating/comment for Kai Wagner? Don’t want to see PSP jump the gun on sending him out of town 🙂

  6. Andy Muenz says:

    I think there is a teachable moment for Flach from the end of the game. After Burke had the chance at the very end (when it was already 2-1), the ball eventually came to the midfield circle and Flach was the first to reach it with a lot of space in front of him but being pressed from behind. He attempted to control the ball and got stripped which led to a potential final chance for NYCFC. Given the amount of time left (it was already 9 minutes into stoppage time), he would have been better served to kick the ball as hard as he could towards one of the corners (preferably not over the end line) so NYC would have had to take it the full length of the field.
    Martinez had a better game than the last few, but also looked to be struggling at times with the press early on. I would like to see him move the ball quicker.
    My thought is that Bedoya was the best player on the field last night (as he often is against NYCFC) and played like he was 10 years younger.
    I also think the comments are reasonable for Villarreal, but the score is a bit higher than the comments merit. He essentially lost control of the match for awhile and there should have been at least one additional ejection for hands to the face. It also looked like the NYCFC players talked him into the penalty call which should never happen (unless it’s a player showing blood or something). A 2 would be a lot more appropriate than a 4.
    I know they’re not Union games and the competition is somewhat weaker, but Quinn Sullivan deserves some recognition for what he’s done the last 2 games for the U-20’s. First half hat trick in a 3-0 win against Cuba and the first and third goals as well as drawing the PK that was the second goal in a 5-0 win against Nicaragua.

    • You are quite correct about Flach last night. He and Wagner play very well together on the left side. In the 2nd half, NYCFC mostly chose to attack the right side (Harriel and Bedoya) of the Union defense, and there were some shaky moments.

      Martinez was my MOM, irrespective of his NYCFC salute after the game was over.

      Bedoya had a very strong first half, but I looked at the clock after he was stripped from behind at midfield in the 2nd half–the clock was in the 55th minute. I for one am satisfied with 45 minutes of grit from Captain Bedoya, but when the teenagers return, Ale needs to come out–and the reason is that we need him fresh for the playoffs.

      Villareal as ref had a poor night as he often does when he refs Union games.

  7. I will drop Martinez by 2 if he gets suspended for the two finger salute, which is not unlikely.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      It would show what kind of a shit show MLS is if they feature Martinez as the first player mentioned in their Team of the Week roundup and then go and suspend him.

  8. I know we often say players were ‘invisible’ during a match, but I’m pretty sure I saw Wagner out there for 90 minutes last night and yet he is missing from the rankings.

  9. Aaron skwidman says:

    This is a perfect time to put mbaizo back in the lineup. When you dont have a good mls right nack on the depth chart you live and die with these mistakes but you do.

    Also elliot and glesenes were clearly instructed to play like they were down.

  10. I am sick of the national media and their support for NYCFC. Wow… even Mo Edu now.

    NOT ONCE was is mentioned that the Union had 11 players test COVID positive 2 days before the semi final match vs NYCFC… nor that the Union almost beat NYCFC with many of those 11 players starters including Blake, all 4 backs… out and literally had to sign players for that game?


  11. Uhre was absolutely gassed by halftime. I’m concerned that he is either still not 100% match fit, is nowhere near used to playing in temperatures higher than 75 degrees, or a combination of both. I know injuries and a shallow bench right now haven’t helped, but the Union need him to be at a his peak soon if they’re going to keep pace with NYC the remainder of the year, nevermind trying to keep up with LAFC for Supporters Shield.

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