MLS / Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 1-0 FC Cincinnati

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Andre Blake was at his very best and Leon Flach scored the only goal of the game as Philadelphia Union advanced to the Eastern Conference Final with a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati. The goal was Flach’s first of the season and was enough to get the result through a strong defensive performance, particularly from newly crowned Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake.

The match was a tight affair, with the visitors giving the Union one of their strongest tests at Subaru Park all season. The breakthrough came in the 59th minute through the unlikely Flach, who was in the right place to fire home after all of Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, and Mikael Uhre kept a Union attack alive in the Cincinnati box.

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 9

Making a clear case for an MVP trophy to join his Goalkeeper of the Year award, the Jamaican was at his very best to deny a potent Cincinnati attack. He was down low to keep out Brandon Vazquez and equally up to denying the clever Lucho Acosta from the top of the box.

Kai Wagner – 7

Cincinnati did well to deny Wagner space down the left, and the left back didn’t advance as high as fans have seen most of this season. Strong set piece delivery all night, but most importantly a strong defensive performance going against the Cincy right side.

Jakob Glesnes – 8

The recently crowned Defender of the Year put in a strong shift, particularly in keeping Brenner quiet for much of the match. Had a few clever dribbles (and a few adventurous ones), but it was an expectedly comfortable performance from a player who has been as reliable as any in the league.

Jack Elliott – 7

Also a strong performance from Elliott, who did a good job on the dangerous Brandon Vazquez. Scary moment when he fanned on the clearance at let Vazquez shoot, but bailed out by Blake. Otherwise, strong in the air all night while being solid in possession.

Olivier Mbaizo – 7

Got higher on the right side than Wagner on the left for much of the night. Did well to overlap McGlynn and provide width. Could have been a little more clinical with his crosses, but a more assured performance from Mbaizo than observers have seen in the playoffs.

Jose Martinez – 8 

Good work from the defensive midfielder to keep Acosta quiet for much of the match – the sentiments on Twitter was that Acosta had a bad match. Much of that was due to Martinez. Covered a ton of space in the center of the park and did well to advance to play, particularly in the second half with some clever dribbles and passes forward.

Leon Flach – 9

Brilliant finish from a guy who doesn’t score many. Sometimes being in the right place and sticking a foot through the ball is all it takes. An otherwise workman like performance from Flach – his trademark – who did well to defend the left side alongside Wagner.

Jack McGlynn – 6

A big task for the teenager coming into fill captain Alejandro Bedoya’s position. Clean in possession for the most part though occasionally struggled with the speed and physicality of the match. Did have a role in the buildup of the Flach goal with a well-weighted ball into the Cincinnati box.

Daniel Gazdag – 7

Gazdag was active and probably would have liked to see more of the ball, particularly in the first half. Did well to keep the play alive when Flach scored. Finished with four shots, the most of any Union player. Should have hit the target and likely scored with his free header in the first half.

Julian Carranza – 7

Worked his socks off for the full 90 minutes. Involved in keeping the play alive for Flach’s goal. Harrassed the Cincinnati defense all night, perfectly illustrated by chasing the ball back to the visitor’s goalkeeper deep in second half stoppage time.

Mikael Uhre – 7

Probably the quietest of the Big 3 on the evening. Again, did well to keep the ball alive and slide it over to Flach on the goal.


Cory Burke – 7

What fans have come to expect from Burke off the bench: energy and physicality. Unlucky not to score when he stole the ball back on the press and curled his shot just wide.

Matt Real – 7

A late game defensive sub, Real did what was asked of him and kept Cincinnati at bay, pushing the ball forward into the opponent’s half a few times as well.

Geiger Counter

Tim Ford – 2

Jim Curtin after the match: “It was a big spot and a big moment and a big game for a lot of people, including the referee. It was his first playoff game. That’s all I’ll say on that.” Yup, that sums it up.

Inconsistent all night and it is doubtful Ford gets another game this season.

Man of the Match – Andre Blake

Has to be Blake. Flach surely gets a shout for the goal, but Blake was almost perfect on the night. Not only kept the clean sheet, but patrolled his area, didn’t spill a rebound, and oozed confidence.


  1. “Glesnes kept Brenner quiet.” Really? I didn’t even notice Brenner on the field.

  2. OneManWolfpack says:

    Blake deserves a 10

  3. Did you give Tim Ford a 2 for showing up? I have seen some really poor officiating performances this year and I don’t want to violate one of my life maxims (“Never use the superlative when describing a bad thing because it really can be worse.”) by calling this the worst, but Ford did an embarrassingly poor job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: