Player ratings

Player ratings: D.C. United 0-6 Philladelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Road games are tough, which is surely why the Union weren’t able to equal their performance from when D.C. United came to Chester in July. Despite that obvious disappointment, the Union can take some consolation in the fact that they now have the highest single-team/single-season goal differential in MLS, beating the previous record by three.

Joking aside, the game was more of a test for the Union that scoreline would indicated.

Wayne Rooney has his work cut out for him as United’s new head coach, but there were flashes of potential all around on Saturday night. Granted, the Union looked more than equal to every flash that presented itself, but this wasn’t a cake walk despite the embarrassing (for D.C.) result.

Player ratings

Andre Blake — 7

Normally, one-sided games would lead to a positive but unremarkable score for the winning goalkeeper. But even though Blake only faced two shots on goal in over ninety minutes of play, he stopped those shots with all the confidence and skill fans have come to expect from him – and considering the timing of those shots, early in the game before United’s defense had dug itself into a hole it would never dig out of, it’s worth considering how the chances impacted the overall momentum of the game.

Kai Wagner — 6

Wagner played a quiet game on Saturday, showing his intelligence and defensive skill rather than the headline-grabbing offensive crosses fans know he’s capable of. However, he was part of how the Union were able to keep a more-potent-than-the-scoreline-would-have-you-believe D.C. United off the board.

Jack Elliott — 6

Likewise there’s not much to talk about with Elliott. He was defensively sound, and as is often the case he was in the mix whenever the Union had a corner. Nothing he did stood out as exceptional.

Jakob Glesnes — 6

Like Wagner and Elliott, Glesnes did what fans expect him to do even if he didn’t do anything outstanding. It would be valid to criticize these defender’s ratings as “punishing” all three of these players for merely being All Star-caliber defenders from whom exemplary performances are commonplace. But luckily these ratings don’t actually mean anything, so there’s no need to dwell on it.

Olivier Mbaizo — 5

If you’re presence on the team, on the field, on the starting XI hinges on being the “offense-first” right back, you ought to contribute on the offense. To his credit Mbaizo avoided any of the defensive foibles he’s fallen into in the past. But still, this should have been fertile hunting ground for the Cameroonian.

José Martínez — 7

Not even a full minute into the game El Brujo made sure United’s “star” forward, Taxi Fountas, knew who he was – it was one of the more transparent moments of Martínez’s dark arts. But he’s more than just mind games, the Venezuelan showed real skill as a destroyer multiple times on Saturday, breaking up several of United’s attacks before they could turn into anything truly threatening.

Jack McGlynn — 5

A few times on Saturday, when he was responsible for Fountas on the shot that went off the crossbar or when he gave Durkin something to sell in the twenty second minute, McGlynn showed where his game still needs maturity. But if he keeps delivering assists like that perfectly placed pass to unlock Burke for the Union’s sixth, he’ll have the time to do that maturing.

Alejandro Bedoya — 6

Bedoya’s engine isn’t what it used to be, which may be why he’s having more games like this where his contributions tend to be more intangible. But even if they’re intangible, you can see the effect- D.C. United had a hard time putting anything together in his part of the midfield.

Dániel Gazdag — 8

A goal and an assist are obviously what the team wants from an attacking midfielder like Gazdag. But Gazdag gave more than that, like on Uhre’s goal when he pulled defenders away from the Dane, giving him the time he needed to set up the shot that put the Union ahead.

Mikael Uhre — 8

At some point fans are going to have to talk about the fact that Mikael Uhre is a first-season European transfer, and that in year’s past, European transfers don’t really reach their full potential until their second season. If precedent is any indication, he could be an even more impressive player in the near future.

Julián Carranza — 9

What can you say about a hat trick? What can you say about two hat tricks against the same team in a single season? Sure, this one didn’t have a cool bicycle kick, but are fans really going to hold that against him? Carranza is making a case for being first among equals in the Union’s “Big Three”.


Cory Burke (for Uhre in the 65′) — 8

The goal he scored was nearly perfect; starting from McGlynn’s pass, the timing of Burke’s run, and the clean hit even while running at speed. But the goal he didn’t score might have been better. In the seventieth minute he was the one who ran down the ball near the corner flag to turn something into nothing, and didn’t stop running so he could be in position when Gazdag’s strike failed. If his shot had been a hair to the left it would have been in, and there would have been no rebound for Carranza to clean up.

Paxten Aaronson (for Gazdag in the 67′)  and Leon Flach (for Bedoya in the 76′) — 6

Much like the men they replaced, Aaronson and Flach didn’t make a big show of anything in their shift Saturday night. But D.C. didn’t have any more success with the younger midfielder than they did with the older midfielder, so clearly something was working.

Nate Harriel (for Mbaizo in the 85′) and Quinn Sullivan (for Carranza in the 85′)– Pass

Harriel to keep the six-goal lead secure, and Sullivan to try and repeat July’s 7-0 victory? Or more likely a chance to run out the clock while giving young players a few minutes of “free” playing time.

Geiger Counter

Ted Unkel — 7

He called enough fouls to keep the game clean, but issued no cards because he had already made sure the play never got sloppy enough to need a card. The most controversial thing he did all night was not give D.C. a penalty for Jack Elliott’s handball in the second minute, but that says more about the vague wording of the handball rule than Unkel personally.

Player of the Game: Julián Carranza

Could it be anyone else? Miami knew what they were doing when they signed him, even if they didn’t know how to use him. Or rather, they didn’t know how to sign him without breaking MLS roster rules. But Ernst Tanner knows talent when he sees it and moving the Argentine a few hours north has done wonders for him and the Union. He’s now the only player besides the great Cobi Jones to score two hat tricks against the same team in a single MLS season.


  1. soccerdad720 says:

    best line of all: “But luckily these ratings don’t actually mean anything, so there’s no need to dwell on it.”

    Excellent institution of rule #62.

  2. Not gonna argue any of these scores! Good summation of our expectations regarding the defensive players. Really our expectations for all the players. Even though they will continue to have ups and downs in performance, we the fans have become increasingly aware of how many good players the Union have. Other teams are using the Union to model their own academy system. Europe is looking at our players! When the team has a bad game its looked at as a one off, what will be the response! So far it has been a good season for the boys in Blue. Maybe even great. I’ll offer so far they have earned a collective 7! I’m sure if I did the math that wouldn’t pan out,but I’m not gonna dwell on it!

    • in terms of other teams modelling themselves after the Union, St. Louis City SC has someone named John Hackworth as their “Director of Coaching”

      I won’t tell them if you won’t

  3. Andy Muenz says:

    I think it’s hard to say McGlynn had the worst game of anyone on the team, especially given the quality of the assist on the Burke goal.
    You neglected to include that they increased their record for most 6+ goal wins in a season!

  4. John O'Donnell says:

    Need more blowouts with low grades. I think it’s something I could get use to seeing.
    On a side note the Union have created an academy that is responsible for the first U.S. player scoring in the EPL for an American manager. Raise your hand if you thought this could happen to this team a decade ago. Hats off to the team.

    • I don’t think even 5 years ago. Its just been an amazing journey with this organization. Credit to all involved with where the Union are now!

  5. If a hat trick with no missteps doesn’t warrant a 10 then what does? Overall pretty stingy for 6-0 clean sheet with only 2 shots from DC on frame. What’s it gonna take? Seems pretty much everyone deserves a point up.

  6. Almost coming to terms that so many Union brethren value different qualities than I.


    How Mbaizo could be the lowest rated defensive player when he now seems so critical in this next phase of Curtain’s expectations and demands of his players.. well lets hope it’s just plain oversight.

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