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Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 6-0 Houston Dynamo

Photo: Ben Ross

This is fun.

The Union knocked six past a hapless Houston side just a few weeks after hitting D.C. for seven. But Saturday’s performance was probably the best of the season with Mikael Uhre, Daniel Gazdag, and Julian Carranza going all out with their movement off the ball and each ending up with at least a goal.

Alejandro Bedoya continued to show he is aging like fine wine with three assists on the night, each one being better than the one before it.

Oh, and the Union nabbed another clean sheet, their 10th of the season. With 15 goals allowed from 23 games, they have the league’s best defense by six goals.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 7

A quiet night for the Union #1, who comfortably grabbed his 10th clean sheet of the season.

Kai Wagner – 7

A rare evening this season where Wagner didn’t nab an assist, but still a solid outing for the left back. His set pieces were consistent and Houston had little love getting down their right flank all evening.

Jakob Glesnes – 7

Feels harsh to give Glesnes and Elliott both 7s, but both were good without needing to be great on the evening. But center backs not having to make last ditch tackles and make double digit clearances and interceptions says a lot for the quality of the players and their positioning.

Jack Elliott – 7

See above.

Olivier Mbaizo – 8

Seems to have quietly won back the right back position, but a solid night for Mbaizo who was good defensively and even better going forward. His assist for Uhre’s second goal was fantastic, a physical run forward followed by a clinical ball into the box.

Leon Flach – 9

Jim Curtin claimed that Houston midfielder Hector Herrera was one of the finest players from CONCACAF in the last decade. Did anyone notice him on Saturday? Leon Flach made sure the answer was no. Jose Martinez is one of the best holding midfielders in MLS and he was hardly missed as Flach put in a terrific performance.

Jack McGlynn – 9

The ball over the top leading to Gazdag’s opener was fantastic. The free kick was even better. The confidence that McGlynn is playing with makes it very hard to take him out of the Union XI going forward.

Alejandro Bedoya – 9

Which of Bedoya’s assists was the best? I’d argue the second, where he plays in Uhre, who doesn’t even need to take a touch before finishing. But yeah, three assists for the captain? We take.

Daniel Gazdag – 8

His finish on the first goal will be underrated by many. But the composure to cut the shot back and hit the far corner of the goal shows a player in form. Better than that even was the thankless running Gazdag did all night, including a space-clearing near post run on Uhre’s first.

Mikael Uhre – 8

A brace for Uhre, with two terrific finishes off the outside of his right boot. But Uhre was so much more than the goals on Saturday, with his movement being the best we’ve seen from the Dane since arriving. He took up great spaces in front of the Houston defense and then moved and created spaces for his colleagues, a terrific shift for the striker.

Julian Carranza – 7

Like Uhre and Gazdag, another player that did a lot of fantastic moving off the ball. Carranza is the key cog in the Union press from the front and made sure Houston had little time to get out from the back most of the night. Made sure he got in on action too with a cool touch and finish with his left foot.


Cory Burke – 5

Think its becoming apparent that Burke is a bit of a drop off from Uhre and Carranza, but still Burke’s directness has value for the Union. The Jamaican’s final touch was not there as he had a few chances to get his name on the scoresheet or at least work the goalkeeper but did neither in the end.

Paxten Aaronson – 5

Thought Curtin could have brought him on a little earlier, but he found it a little hard to get involved with the score so lopsided.

Jesus Bueno – 6

Bueno lives! A first appearance for the season for the midfielder. Not a lot to take away from his performance, but good to see him get a few minutes.

Quinn Sullivan – 7

Got on late but nabbed a goal with a good shot that ended up deflecting in. If the Union can keep Sullivan and McGlynn around a little while longer, we can expect to see more of that secret handshake.

Man of the Match – Alejandro Bedoya

Take your pick. Uhre with a brace? Gazdag with his movement? Flach with the lights out performance in the defensive midfield? McGlynn with the assist and goal? I’ll take Bedoya rolling back the years with three terrific assists and even more than that, for leading one of the best squad’s in MLS over the month of July.

Geiger Report

Kevin Stott – 7

Think Stott eventually got the first half penalty situation sorted after consulting the video review. Little to do other than that with Philly running rampant.


  1. McMohansky says:

    Yeah can’t argue with these scores or notes.

  2. The fact that McGlynn played so well without Martinez for support is really impressive both for him and for Flach. Our midfield just dominated Houston.

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    While Mbaizo was making his case for the starting job on Saturday, Harriel had the assist on the game winning goal for Union 2 on in stoppage time on Sunday.

    • Joe Hassell says:

      Thanks for the link Andy. The Union 2 goal was fantastic. I think Harriel is superior to Mbizo on defense, but it seems Mbizo has the edge on offense. So It was great to see Harriel set up a tremendous offensive play, then Stefan Stojanovic put it away in such a dramatic fashion. Stefan is another one to keep an eye on. I’ll have to get to see a Union 2 game. They looked great!

  4. Ratings look good to me! If McGlynn is hard to remove from the 11, who comes out though? Seems the best plan would be rotating 4 guys through those 3 spots to give Bedoya/flach/martinez a short shift or occasional night off. They’ve all performed more than well enough to hold their spots too. Good problem to have.

  5. Maybe Martinez is already on his way out? Rumors are the U are bringing in another D-mid this window and, with Flach obviously ready and preferring to play there, could be a shift underfoot.

    • John P. O'Donnell says:

      Reading into this rumor on Twitter it’s right up Tanner’s alley.
      Kenyan reports confirming 21 y/o Kenya NT DM Richard Odada is heading to Phila.Union in a $200,000 transfer from Red Star Belgrade.
      Would you move Martinez? He turns 28 on Sunday and you would think he’s possibly hit his ceiling for a transfer.
      Moving Flach to his spot might take you down a notch but moving McGlynn into the lineup might bring it up two notches. Some might disagree but the weakness of Martinez and Flach is their passing and their strength is defence. Selling high and getting more balance to the team…. It might be the time.

      • +1

      • +1

      • Gruncle Bob says:

        Only at the right price. ET won’t sell him cheap. He’s 28, and if you’re not an established star at that age the top 5 Europe leagues aren’t even looking at you. His current situation is better, or at least equal to any realistic potential landing spots. To me, the fact that there are no Brujo transfer rumors confirms this. Future roster/line up decisions will be very interesting, but I think it’s most likely Jose re-signs with a signficant salary bump, similar to Elliott/Glesnes.

  6. I want to give Glesnes another half-point for his pass that led to the almost-penalty – one of two audible “oh my god”s in this game.
    Also not sure if this is just rose-colored glasses, but this seemed like a much more complete performance than the DC United match where DC seemed entirely disinterested in defending after the second goal.
    A piece of me wonders if Flach + McGlynn is actually a better combo to have in the lineup than Martinez + McGlynn because of how disciplined Flach is (even if you lose some of Martinez’s passing range).
    It seems like Pax10 has had every good look this season blocked at the last second. Feels like bad luck he doesn’t have a goal or two already this season.

    • I just love Glesnes’s marauding runs. He sees a gap and eats up with fantastic pace that seems to unlock the next pass. His timing always seems to be right on.

    • Agreed: Flach + McGlynn > Martinez + McGlynn > Flach + Martinez
      (“>” is “greater than” in math for those who have forgotten)
      For me McGlynn more than makes up for loss of Martinez‘a passing.

  7. This Union 3.0 has been really fun to watch this season! Even during the goal drought, you could tell they were good and it just wasn’t clicking yet.
    I remember about a year after Ernst Tanner got here, he was asked in a press conference about a big name signing another team had made. He essentially said he would rather have a full squad of $500K players than one or two superstars, because teams win games not individual players.
    I remember thinking how cool it would be down the road if he could actually make that happen.
    Flash forward to 2022 and here are the Transfermarkt values for Union starters:
    Blake $3M
    Wagner $3M
    Elliott $2M
    Glesnes $2M
    Mbaizo $1.5M
    Martinez $1.5M
    Flach $2M
    Bedoya $400K
    Uhre $3M
    Caranza $3M

    The only outlier is Ale because of his age. But with 3 assists on Saturday, Captain clearly still has “IT” despite his perceived transfer value.

    Bench is good too:
    Aaronson $3M
    McGlynn $1.5M
    Sullivan $800K

    Future is bright!!!

  8. Andy Muenz says:

    Uhre, Bedoya, and Glesnes all made Team of the Week.

  9. Have to say Ale is just a great player. His age is going to catch up with him. I’m just hoping it a takes a bit longer. Is his footie IQ better suited to the players the U now have. Is that his fountain of youth? Anyway, love the ratings and reasoning for each. So much fun seeing the team growing and maturing in all aspects of the organization. Doop on!

    • “Is his footie IQ better suited to the players the U now have. Is that his fountain of youth? ”
      I’ve been thinking the same thing…
      For those familiar with the “Good to Great” flywheel concept, I see a “complete team” and continued match/season performance as the next manifestation of the flywheel momentum gaining steam (beyond academy, homegrown, sell-one, etc.).
      This club is legit.

      • Not familiar with it…looked it up, one of the descriptions, small wins for your company add to its success and build its flywheel momentum…really see this. The Union have built slowly, added better players and built a pretty complete team. This has been a great ride for the team and fans. And they will ebb and flow, but the future sure looks bright!

        Gotta go get some shades!

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