Player ratings / Uncategorized

Player ratings: FC Cincinnati 1 – 0 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

The Union’s season ended in a tight, physical playoff matchup in Cincinnati on Saturday night, a game that was decided by a late (offside?) goal for the hosts.

Andre Blake – 8

Unfortunate to be left hung out to dry on Cincy’s only goal, but came up big in other moments. He kept the team in the game in a first half that saw Cincy take it to the Union.

Nathan Harriel – 7

A decent showing from Harriel. Playing on his weaker side, he has shown enough defensively to warrant a look there next season as a potential replacement for Wagner.

Damion Lowe – 7

Kept the dangerous Cincy attack in check for a good portion of the game. His speed and positioning were a welcome addition to the Union’s back line this season.

Jack Elliott – 6

Like Lowe, he was part and parcel to keeping Cincy off the score sheet early. On the ball though, he was pretty irresponsible, turning the ball over and often holding it too long and getting caught out in possession.

Olivier Mbaizo – 6

A goal saving block on a Vazquez chance early in this one, but otherwise was lackluster in the Union attacks.

Jose Martinez – 8

A real shame he had to come off after the Boupendza challenge that should have been a sending off. Martinez played a responsible and stalwart brand of soccer, as we’ve come to expect from the Venezuelan in big moments.

Alejandro Bedoya – 7

A fairly quiet performance from the captain, in what could be his final match for the Union. Yet, he had a quietly solid outing.

Jack McGlynn – 6

Didn’t see enough of the ball in this one. He did have a few uncharacteristic turnovers. Created some good chances off of set pieces and in the run of play, but overall didn’t create the dangerous chances we have come to expect.

Daniel Gazdag – 6

Similar to McGlynn, Gazdag just didn’t do enough to create the dangerous chances we have come to expect from the Hungarian.

Mikael Uhre – 5

Simply not enough from the Dane. His speed wasn’t even close to enough to break down the second choice Cincy back line. Needs to come back a better finisher next year, as he blew the Union’s best chance over the bar in the 39’.

Julian Carranza – 5

Unfortunate to concede a goal on what probably should have been called back for offside, but the reality is that Carranza appeared to lose his mark on the initial header. Multiple bad turnovers from Carranza in this one showed both his fatigue and rust.

Jesus Bueno – 5

Played solidly after coming on for the injured Martinez. Not a lot of time for him to make an impact though.

Geiger Counter

Ismael Elfaith – 4

Even if you completely eliminate the final incorrect offside/onside decision from the head referee, he still missed a clear sending off on Boupendza. A challenge where the Cincy man went through the back of Martinez with excessive force AND injured him? That is the definition of a foul that would warrant a VAR check, if not a straight red right away. Unacceptable, but hey, at least we get the battle of Ohio in the Eastern Conference final right? Ugh.

Player of the Match

Alejandro Bedoya

Whatever happens this offseason, Ale has given so much to this club that his recognition in his final game is deserved. Bedoya has been the club’s on-field general for the better part of the last decade. He is a true leader that I would point to any kid to follow as a role model. If he is not back in Blue in some capacity, his presence will be missed.


  1. Even had the goal been called back as it should have been, the best the Union were going to get was a draw after 90 minutes and who knows what in extra time, so for the average rating to be above a 6, you’re basically saying that the team is significantly less than the sum of its parts. Most of these need to be dropped by about a point to reflect how the team actually played. (Yes, I know that if they are within a point of what I think then I essentially agree with them, but if they are ALL off by a point in the same direction, that’s pretty significant.
    Prior to this, I hadn’t seen any calls for Boupendza to be sent off, but it is what I thought at the time, so I do agree with you there. Maybe in the future in addition to the Geiger Counter for the ref, there should be a Webb Cam for the VAR to judge their performance. (For those unfamiliar with him, Howard Webb was the for head of VAR.)

    • Appreciate.
      What’s the point of the technology if it isn’t going to be used in the moments of the game in question. So humans decided it wasn’t worth challenging?
      I still cannot get my head around that moment. It just makes no sense. Any of it.
      I generally have a positive world view and attempt to keep my 50 year old cynicism in check but am sticking to my post game argument… I do not think professional sport is on the up and up any longer and those reasons are multifactorial.
      If the U come out and win it straight away- so be it…. but — Columbus – Cincy. That was the MLS agenda.
      It is all a faux-simulacra.

      • Not going to disagree…especially given the number of times there have been more questionable VAR decisions which took away Union goals.
        And my cynicism is 58 years old 🙂

  2. Sorry I know this isn’t the place for it, but especially after that dismal showing Saturday, and being told we spend the second least in the league, it just pisses me off.
    The Union sent out a Cyber Monday “deal”. 4 tickets, 2 scarves. You’re seated in either the corner or under the scoreboard, but you don’t get to pick. You get given one of the 3 early (but not opener) games of the season, but you don’t pick. They’re charging $206 ($218 with the fees).
    Here’s the thing, the season tickets in that area are $32 or $37. So say a non-season ticket is approx. $40-45. That means, generously, you’re not getting any discount, AND are being charged $12-15 per scarf, and you’re getting no choice in the matter.
    Just feels super weak from them.

    • And since they are February or March, there will likely be plenty of tickets available cheaper from season ticket holders not wanting to freeze their asses off.

    • Deleted.

    • “and being told we spend the second least in the league”


      This statement has been repeated on PSP a bunch lately, and with respect to payroll it is demonstrably false:


      I’m not saying the Union shouldn’t spend more, but at the same time payroll does not dictate success – look at the payrolls of Chicago, D.C., and Toronto.


      Go ahead and complain the Union are cheap (though having met with Union brass in a meeting, I disagree somewhat – sure they could spend more – but Sugarman does not have Tepper/Kraft/Blank-like wealth) but at least be accurate.

      • I’m going by what they said on the broadcast Saturday. I think it was 28th of 29 teams.

      • @Great One. Then the broadcast was wrong. The Union were not 28 out of 29. Again, could they spend more – sure. But spending does not equate to success – just look at the three teams I mentioned.

  3. Any injury to a player is irrelevant in considering red or yellow card. It’s one I’d love to see red for but it’ll very rarely be given, especially in an MLS playoff game. Can’t fault the ref for the offside either. I thought he did relatively well given the circumstances of the game and previous game to be honest

    • While the actual injury isn’t taken into account, how dangerous the challenge was and how much excessive force that was used can be exemplified by the injury itself.

      Whether or not the injury occurred, that was a clear foul that used excessive force and endangered the safety of Martinez.

    • Combined with Danny (who is usually pretty balanced) talking about the scissoring motion well after the ball had been played. I thought at the time that was an orange-ish yellow card. The coverage didn’t make it clear if there was a VAR check on that foul while he was getting treatment.

  4. VAR and Refs in MLS are awful……. Where is the appeal process? It should be like the NFL . Coach should be able throw 2 challenge calls to force a VAR and ref review on goals offsides and fouls.

    If that was in place in last nights game, Cincinatis goal would have been disallowed and the player who fouled Martinez would have bed given a red card.

    The offense was not good enough. Wagners playmaking, corner kicks, direct kicks will be missed more next year then Caranzas goal scoring. Wagner is going to very difficult to replace him with an equally skilled seasoned left Back. They need to resign Wagner at a salary he deserves. Otherwise this team drops to 6th 0r 7th place next year , if they are lucky. Uhre was a disappointment this year. McGlyn was the most improved young player on the team. A positive for next year is they will not have to play as many games

    • They could easily play more since they’ve qualified for Champions Cup which has an extra round and they could easily not go out in the first round of the Open Cup.

  5. According to MLS instant replay and many other sources the Cincinnati goal was about 3 inches offsides. Still salty about this one.

  6. Minor Quibble: harsh on M’Baizo. He created the best chance for the Union all night with his cross that Uhre failed to get on the end of.

  7. I saw a still frame shot of Caranza’s hand outstretched towards the goal, with Murphy’s body behind his hand.

    It was a good goal, end of season.

    And of course, another game that mattered and Curtin unable to motivate the troops to WIN.

    VAR, referees, even the hostile crowd cannot, did not affect the core lack of motivation. Herr Tanner set us up with a great squad, but decisions like starting Urhe instead of Sullivan, or substitutions past 60 minutes just blatant mismanagement.

    See ya’ll next season… in less than 12 weeks. Ridiculous… boycotting all tournaments next year, unless Tix are free (Hear me Herr Tanner?)


    • Carranza’s hand does not affect offsides. Only parts of the body that can legally play the ball matter.
      As far as Tanner setting them up with a great squad, you’re joking, right? Given the budget, yes, they were great, but compared to most other teams in the league, it’s a mediocre talent level.
      You want to get rid of Curtin? I hope you enjoyed the team in the Hackworth era because that’s what you’ll likely see.

      • “ Carranza’s hand does not affect offsides. Only parts of the body that can legally play the ball matter.”

        100% correct.

    • Yes, I’m sure “Herr” Tanner reads this. And how does boycotting tournaments do anything but spite yourself? The revenue difference is minimal.

    • Is MLS’ Regular Season not a “tournament?”

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