Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Atlanta United 0-0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Philadelphia Union faced their toughest test in some time in a scoreless draw in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon. The hosts created most of the chances with the Union being held without a single shot on target.

After a summer of the front three of Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, and Mikael Uhre dominating the headlines as the Union offense reached new levels, Saturday saw the reemergence of the conversation around the Union defense, particularly goalkeeper Andre Blake. The Jamaican was in top form to keep a clean sheet, making a series of spectacular saves. The spine of the Union defense was stout on the evening, with Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, and Jose Martinez all putting in some of their best performances of the season.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 9

Was running the risk of being forgotten in the conversations for MVP and Goalkeeper of the Year before Saturday, but Blake was at his absolute best in keeping Atlanta off the board. Diving to get to shots up high, making saves one on one, and batting away close range diving headers – Blake did it all. It was the best performance we’ve seen from the goalkeeper this season and a clear reminder of just how talented Blake is.

Kai Wagner – 7

One of the many players who just simply did not seem comfortable on the turf. We’re used to seeing the left back marauding up the left wing, but spent much of the match showing that while the assists are a big part of what he brings to the team, he’s also still a stout defender with a big work rate.

Jakob Glesnes – 8

Similar to Blake, it’s not been necessary for Glesnes to be great most weekends as of late, but Saturday was another reminder of how good the center back can be when called upon. Sliding to block Dom Dwyer’s effort was a key moment in the match.

Jack Elliott – 8

Notched five recoveries and five clearances on the afternoon in which he along with Glesnes made his case for Defender of the Year. Uncharacteristically poor with the ball at his feet, particularly in the first half – but made up for it with a stellar defensive performance.

Olivier Mbaizo – 6

Chased shadows for much of his 77 minutes on the field. Couldn’t find his touch and struggled to be involved offensively in any manner.

Jose Martinez – 7

While it wasn’t a terrific night in possession for the holding midfielder, he made up for that by covering a ton of ground with a big defensive performance in a Union midfield that was overrun for much of the afternoon.

Leon Flach – 6

Hardworking match for Flach, who played almost as a second holding midfielder for periods. Finished with five recoveries and even made a late charge into the box in stoppage time, though his header was wide of the target.

Jack McGlynn – 5

Playing on his off wing with Alejandro Bedoya injured, the youngster struggled to get involved for much of the match. A player that strives in possession with his ability to pick a pass, he was anonymous for large stretches forced into long periods of defense.

Daniel Gazdag – 5

Couldn’t find the speed of the match on the afternoon. Could tell the turf wasn’t his friend as his touch looked unusually loose for large stretches and he just couldn’t find his usual chemistry with Carranza and Uhre.

Julian Carranza – 4

Maybe the poorest outing we’ve seen from Carranza this season. Another player who just didn’t seem conformable on the turf and whose touch seemed to get away all game.

Mikael Uhre – 5

Bears repeating, but not good on the turf. Probably the best shift out of the front three, but his timing still seemed off and he failed to register a shot.


Cory Burke – 6

Physical and involved from Burke, but another of the Union attackers who just couldn’t find his footing going forward. Hopefully his hamstring issue is only minor.

Nathan Harriel – 6

Did his part to keep the clean sheet after arriving in the second half. Was a bit better in possession than Mbaizo, but still didn’t get up the wing as much as we’ve seen Union right backs this season.

Chris Donovan – 6

One of the stronger involvements we’ve seen from Donovan, who found the ball frequently even though he only arrived in the 87th minute.

Man of the Match – Andre Blake

An easy choice this week to select the goalkeeper. Blake stood on his head and made a series of fantastic saves to keep the Union in the the match and ultimately grab a draw.

Geiger Counter

Guido Gonzales Jr. – 5

Inconsistent for much of the match but not many big decisions to make either way.


  1. Just a stat you may be interested in. Mcglynn completes 15-20 more accurate forward passes than Bedoya and 20-25 more passes than Flach per game. Even in this game where the Union were very direct and forwards could not retain possession , he had 41 completed passes most on the team, and compared to Flach and Gazdags combined total of 36. He just turned 19 and players reach physical maturity between 18-23. No real point here but I feel he has improved defensively just like Flach who is still only 21 is much improved with the ball. I am a fan of both players and what they bring but feel the same narrative has got a little old. Every player on the Union has flaws. Their style of play is not pleasing on the eye. The good thing about having options like flach and mcglynn is we are not as predictable and can move to a Plan B. We should look at the whole picture and not critique players for things they don’t control, like no possession. Also liked the fact Curtin moved to a 4-5-1 and nearly stole the game at the end. We have to see better, look big picture and complement progress if and when it happens.

  2. el Pachyderm says:

    I bet there are some players on this team, who upon stepping on to a turf field think… what in the actual hell is this shit and why the fuck are we playing on it.
    I imagine more and more training facilities at the lower levels of world footy are moving to turf fields- but for some of these guys I bet they hardly ever if at all played on turf before coming here.
    Maybe I’m wrong. Fun thought project.

  3. Do we have any more games (potentially, including playoffs) on turf? Obviously we’re much better on grass.

  4. Mbiazo’s rating is overstated- should be 4. He was terrible covering on his defensive side plus he wasn’t making successful runs on the offense. You could see a significant difference on defense when Harriel came into the game.

    Yes Martinez covered a lot of ground but his passes forward rarely made connections.

    You could see a drop off in midfield due to the absence of Bedoya.

    • Vince Devine says:

      Don’t forget that a few of his passed went straight to Atlanta and resulted in opportunities for them. Yes, a truly poor performance from Mbaizo. When the lineups came out I thought it was a tactical error to have him in with McGlynn. With Bedoya to give him cover he get exposed. Needed Harriel for his better defense with McGlynn in.

  5. Happy for the Union to come away with a point. Atlanta played really well and the Union showed some resilience against an all-out attacking team.

    What I see when I watch this game is:

    1) Carranza not hustling to regain possession when he loses the ball. Too often he trots around with his head down.
    2) When Bedoya is in, you have this sense that he’ll be the voice of reason when Martinez goes off. Without Bedoya, Martinez needs to fill that leadership void. Super talented player, but needs to find some balance and focus in games like this.
    3) Flach covers a lot of ground, but more often than not he doesn’t seem to be on the same page as the rest of the team.
    4) Mbaizo is under-rated.
    5) McGlynn is a talent – he knows how to thread a pass. His technique seems best suited for any league except BPL and MLS. Can’t wait to see Spanish teams knocking on the door for him.

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