Player ratings / Union

Player ratings: Chicago Fire 2-2 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

After sleepwalking through 60 minutes of soccer, Philadelphia Union woke up and fought back to earn a 2-2 draw against Chicago Fire on the road Saturday evening.

While the match extended the Union’s winless streak in the league to five matches, it capped a brutal stretch of five games in 15 games in which the club secured its primary goal: advancing to the Concacaf Champions League.

Manager Jim Curtin’s choice to start 10 of 11 players who started in Guadalajara in midweek didn’t quite work, given how flat the team were to start the game. But a few key substitutions helped turn the tide. Let’s get to the ratings.

Author’s note: When I write the player ratings, 5 represents an average performance. Remember, this is a subjective evaluation of each player mapped onto an arbitrary scale, so disagreements of +/- 1 point don’t mean much.

Player ratings

Andre Blake — 5

Maybe should have done more to cut out the cross on the first goal, though that error’s probably more on Jack Elliott. Otherwise, nothing he could have done about either goal, and put in a solid performance beyond that.

Olivier Mbaizo — 4

Another somewhat lackadaisical performance for the Cameroonian fullback, who’s looked out of sorts in recent weeks. Even beaten for pace down the wing a few times.

Jakob Glesnes — 4

Dribbled into a few tricky situations out of the back, but mostly did well against the always-irritating Kei Kamara.

Jack Elliott — 4

No idea what he was doing on the first goal, and otherwise offered another disjointed performance. Elliott is probably the player whose form has dropped the most since last season, and a healthy Damion Lowe should be pushing for more time.

Nathan Harriel — 4

His own goal was dreadfully unlucky, but Harriel just can’t get beaten like that on the back shoulder for the first goal. It’s a tough ask, filling in at left back, and he looked much more comfortable after the substitutions restored him to his natural right side.

Jose Martinez — 6

A typically industrious, intelligent performance from the Union’s No. 6. Would have brought the house down if his rocket shot late in the match had been a winner.

Jack McGlynn — 5

Chicago offered a game plan we’re likely to see more as McGlynn becomes a bigger part of the side: keep him from receiving the ball in the buildup, forcing the Union defensive unit to bypass the midfield. It worked in the first half, and it’s a puzzle that the youngster will learn to solve with more playing time.

Alejandro Bedoya – 5

Some good moments, but continued a season-long trend of being less influential in all phases of the Union’s game. At this point in his career, is he really someone who should go 180 minutes in two road games in a three-day span?

Daniel Gazdag — 6

Out of sync in the first half, but he got going in the second. No mistake with the penalty, and his soft cushioned header to Carranza for the second goal was a marvelous bit of play. The more he can get on the ball and run at defenders, the more dangerous the Union become.

Mikael Uhre — 4

Other than earning the penalty — which he didn’t have much to do with — it was another rough outing for the Union’s record signing. Just looks like someone who’s short on both confidence and ideas right now.

Julian Carranza — 6

Made his third goal this week look easy. Had some iffy moments earlier in the match, but star players get the goals when they need them, and Carranza is a star.


Matt Real — 5

Looked totally fine at left back. If he’s not going to start over an out-of-position Harriel with Kai Wagner injured, what’s he doing on this team?

Quinn Sullivan — 7

A sparkplug off the bench, it barely took Sullivan a minute to create the Union’s equalizer. Direct, hardworking, and physical, he’s pushing for more minutes, even if he still doesn’t have an obvious position.

Jesus Bueno — n/a

Apparently his nickname is “Chuchu.” You learn something new every day.

Geiger Counter

Ismail Elfath — 5

A good, anonymous performance from the referee.

Man of the Match — Maren Haile-Selassie

Not sure anyone on the Union really earned this one, so let’s go with Chicago’s dangerous winger, on loan from the Swiss league. Thought he stood out on an otherwise workmanlike Fire squad.


  1. Barry Evans says:

    If the ref had a “good anonymous performance” shouldn’t he get more than a 5?

  2. Thought that Harriel was almost completely at fault on the first goal, being neither goal side or ball side of his mark at the back post. (To be fair its a hard judgement to make when not seeing the run the scorer made.)

    Was he over there because Jim wanted more pace / defensive presence on that side with no Kai and a slower McGlynn?

    • Deez Nuggs says:

      Jim Curtin regularly says Harriel is the best 1v1 defender on the team. It seems that’s more important than playing him out of position where he is not at his best.

  3. Elliot, Bedoya, Flach, and Harriel…All underperforming. There is no Carlos Vela or Patti that can just whisk that away.

    Lowe, Torres, Kai, Sullivan are the cure.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      I don’t think Kai can be listed as a cure for Harriel given that the only reason Harriel is playing that position is that Wagner is injured and not available.
      Also hard to say Flach underperformed on Saturday given that he didn’t see the field. He certainly looked fine Tuesday in his 30 minute appearance against Atlas.

      • Agreed…. again, Flach placed in a role other than defensive is ill advised.

        Allowing him to focus on reclaiming the ball or as a stopper, preferred.

        I wonder if a formation with Martinez and Flach, ahead of 3 backs, might be better for the offense as well… freeing up the others to create the offensive magic we saw last year… and stop the incessant back passing when everything should be focused on moving forward.

  4. Can we start a ranking for miscellaneous players/contributors? Say – Jim Curtain – 8 for playing keep away on the sideline?

  5. So watching Doc River’s last night, FINALLY enjoy coaching this 76ers team… and maybe ‘his cursing’ motivated the team to beat Brooklyn, a decidedly less talented team?

    Could Curtin learn from Doc and use Doc’s new cursing style to motivate this Union team?

    Losses to Miami, Montreal, Orlando, Cincy and ties to SKC and Chicago… all clearly inferior squads (except FCC)… might have been reversed with just a little passion, Jim.


  6. Fair grades all around. They were clearly gassed or hungover from the Atlas game. I’m ok with trying to build some continuity in the first 11.I like the rotation so far. Not the result, but Jim is doing much more to keep them fresh than in past seasons.

  7. The most interesting question raised is Lowe v Elliott. That decision will be interesting to watch.

Leave a Reply

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