Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 2-1 New England Revolution

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

The Philadelphia Union closed a 9-point week in style on Saturday, coming from behind to defeat conference rivals New England Revolution.

Here are the ratings for individual performances on the night.

Player ratings

Andre Blake – 8

More than any other position, keeper is most dependent on the opposition to earn a grade. Luckily(?) for Blake the Revs scored first, forcing the Union to chase for thirty minutes and leaving themselves vulnerable as a result. Which meant more shots on goal, and more opportunities for Blake to remind us all that he’s very, very good.

Kai Wagner – 9

“Aggressive” Union also served the German well as the German moved into a tie for second-most assists in the league at ten. Of note, that tally is just one behind league-leader Carles Gil of New England, and double that of the next-highest defender Brandon Bye (also of New England).

Stuart Findlay – 8

What a farewell performance by the Scot. On his way out the door but still putting in work to cover for the injured Jack Elliott, Findlay didn’t miss a beat on Saturday night. While he aboslutely deserves to be somewhere he can get playing time, the Union are clearly losing a superlative player with his departure.

Jakob Glesnes – 9

This game had all the Glesnes highlights. He took a couple shots that we all hoped would turn into another Norwegian rocket, and his goal-line clearance at the end of the second half is solely responsible for two of the Union’s three points on the table.

Nate Harriel – 7

This isn’t a bad score, not by any means. But Harriel is “suffering” from “merely” playing a generally clean and disciplined game. Which is worthy of praise, and exactly what the Union need him to do. But it was hard to pay attention to him when so many other Union players were turning in such outstanding performances.

José Martínez – 8

Always a handful for the other team, Martínez made even more effective use of space in this game. Not only was he a wet blanket smothering many Revolution attacks before they even got a chance to threaten the goal, but he also played a key role in moving the ball when the Union were on the front foot.

Jack McGlynn — 9

A great performance, paired with a first-start bump. He may not have won the golden boot at the CONCACAF U-20 Championship, but the young midfielder showed well there and showed here that he’s capable of bringing the same quality of play even while facing more experienced opposition.

Leon Flach – 7

The former St. Pauli man does a lot of work that doesn’t get a ton of credit. Clearly he’s never going to be the attacking, goal-scoring engine some hope he would be. But he holds the midfield together, providing necessary support on defense and providing essential speed to get Union attacks off on the right foot during transitions. In many ways, he’s the obvious heir to Alejandro Bedoya.

Dániel Gazdag – 8

Maybe it’s too early to give Gazdag a spot on the Union No. 10 Mount Rushmore. But at this pace he’ll be there soon, and the conversation could become whether the likes of Maidana, Barnetta, or Nogueira deserve spots next to him.

Paxten Aaronson – 7

Simply put P. Aaronson wasn’t getting it done as a winger in the 4-2-3-1 formation. He wasn’t the only player who looked out of sorts in the changed formation, but he still filled his role admirably getting the Union through the first hour before coming off for eventual goal-scorer Mikael Uhre.

Julián Carranza – 7

Like his younger teammate, Carranza was out of place in the Union’s return to a 4-2-3-1. Not that he’s a liability with the ball, but he wasn’t put to his best use by having to receive the ball further from the goal, and it showed in his performance – which in turn showed itself in the team’s performance.

Substitutes

Alejandro Bedoya (for Flach in the 63′) – 7

There’s no way head coach Jim Curtin was going to be able to keep the iron man on the bench all game long. On entering the game Bedoya’s leadership and presence brought order to a midfield that was starting to look a little ragged, which created the atmosphere that eventually resulted in the Union’s win on the night.

Mikael Uhre (for Aaronson in the 64′) – 8

A clear statement of tactical intent, Uhre was a key part of the turning tide in the last half hour of the game. His arrival reinvigorated a Union that was starting to look a little lost, and of course scoring the goal to bring the Boys in Blue even is only going to do good things.

Cory Burke (for Carranza in the 73′) – 7

Burke didn’t do much that winds up on a stat sheet with his twenty-plus minutes on the field. But there can be no doubt that his extremely physical presence in the box was just the distraction the Union needed to find their two eventual goals.

Olivier Mbaizo (for Harriel in the 73′) – 7

Roles are clearly forming for the Union’s two young right backs. Harriel is the defensive one, likely to get the lion’s share of the minutes as the Union continue to count on defensive strength as the foundation on which the whole team operates. Having a player like Mbaizo available to turn up the attack once the opposition has some minutes on their legs is exactly the kind of tactical change of pace the Union have been searching for.

Matt Real (for McGlynn in the 89′)– Pass

Realigning the Union for a more defensive posture after they went ahead, and helping to run down the clock of course.

Geiger Counter

Rubiel Vazquez — 8

If a ref is able to largely stay in the background of a game, without letting the game get out of hand, they’ve done a good job. Vazquez hardly blew his whistle all night, and when he did – ven if it resulted in Bedoya getting a yellow card – at least there’s one ref in the league willing to punish callow time-wasting.

Player of the Game

Stuart Findlay

Officially his transfer has yet to be announced, possibly because his new team (reported to be Oxford United of the English League One) wasn’t willing to commit until after he got through these last two games unscathed.

However that’s exactly why Stuart Findlay deserves special recognition.

He has shown, on multiple occasions, to be more than capable of delivering MLS-grade performances when needed. It’s just misfortune on his part that due to Jack Elliott and Jakob Glesnes’ superlative talent and supernatural durability he was never asked to do so on a regular basis. It would be understandable, justified even, for that to make someone bitter, uninterested in risking themselves for a team that never really gave him a chance.

But that isn’t what happened.

When the Union were decimated by COVID protocols before 2021’s MLS Cup Playoff game against New York City FC, Findlay stepped up and delivered a performance that few who saw it will ever forget. Likewise these last two games, while Jack Elliott was out the Union defense – the best defense in the league by a wide margin – didn’t miss a beat because Stuart Findlay again proved himself more than equal to the challenge. Risking injury, and therefore risking the transfer to the playing time he rightly deserves, Findlay showed up for the Union and performed as well as anyone could ask of a player.

So while his performance on Saturday night was as excellent as always, Stuart Findlay is earning Player of the Game for reasons that extend beyond the ninety minutes on Saturday and nine thousand square yards of Subaru Park.

Thank you Stu, and good luck in all that is yet to come.

16 Comments

  1. Well said! Is there a player in Union history who played less, yet is more loved that Findlay? Class act, talented player, and often the star of those Instagram videos the Union frequently post. Best of luck to him!

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Despite the win, I think these are overall a bit high (otherwise the minimum score in a 7-0 win against DC would have to be an 11). That being said, I think Bedoya especially is too high as he really needs to be docked for not using his head and getting himself suspended next week.

    • Jim O'Leary says:

      I felt the same, but looking on the whole I couldn’t realistically single out a player that deserved less. Even Bedoya, I can’t punish the guy for getting benched when I’ve long been campaigning for him to get rested more often.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        Getting forcibly benched by the league is different than getting benched by coach’s decision like this past game when he could come on and help bail the team out for 30 minutes.

  3. Why no rankings from the Miami game?

  4. soccerdad720 says:

    I agree with andy on the bedoya ‘docking of points’ what the Heck…and he’s our captain.

    Cory Burke is just a lazy player. Lazy.

  5. Leon needs more coaching on passing the ball and he’ll be fine. He’s a defensive menace to the other team, but too often just turns the ball over through a bad touch or ill-timed pass.
    .
    Burke had cinder blocks for feet when receiving a pass at times.
    .
    With a whole week to rest, let’s see if the whole A-Team gets the start.

  6. Tim Jones says:

    Vincent Nogueira was not a number 10, (Attacking Center Midfielder). He was a number 6 (defensive central midfielder) who some times ranged forward and was sometimes asked to play as an 8, all in a 4-2-3-1.
    .
    Borek Dockal was an actual number 10 who played as such and was the best classic ACM the Union have had, in my opinion of course.
    .
    My quibble over historical detail takes nothing away from Jim’s underlying point about the quality of Daniel Gazdag’s play this year. I will not gild the lily about his attacking play. It has been thoroughly treated here and elsewhere.
    .
    But I will call attention to his endurance. He plays a position that requires a tremendous amount of running, since he is the third attacker and the fourth midfield defender. He has been doing the running all year.
    .
    His running has meant that opposing coaches have had to prepare almost as though they were facing an outright three-man attacking line.

  7. First 20 minutes was the most engaged I have been in a nonplayoff union game. Jack ICE IN HIS VEINS McGlynn. good lord. He and Martinez seem to have a mature co-understanding. His touch is deft. Perfectly weighted passes. Both feet. I want to see this formation again, but with elliot for findley (obviously) and bedoya in for flach. I want Wagner to come forward more with Flach dropping back into LB

  8. Deez Nuggs says:

    I felt for the DC game “Why quibble? Just give everyone a 10 and be done with it.” Of course, I’ve shot myself in the foot. Because in several ways, this performance was better.
    .
    I’ll nay argue a single rating.

  9. McGlynn was rightfully recognized for his great play as one of the two DM’s in the 4-2-3-1. Great job by him. Once the subs came in, it did, however, demonstrate that he entirely lacks the foot speed to play on either side of the diamond (a complaint I’ve made before). He changes from a great asset in distribution to a huge liability in transition.

    The durability of and play of Gazdag, Brujo, Glesnes, Kai and Carranza (and also Jack before this week) really deserves recognition. Their strong play and continuity (along with Blake being Blake) has me cautiously optimistic for the second half of the season.

    My only concern is CB depth with Stu leaving. We have to be in the market for another, right?? Brandon Craig can’t be our only cover can he??

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