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Player ratings: Sporting Kansas City 1 – 1 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

“Playing in Kansas City’s home opener, in a hostile environment, missing your top goal scorer and the best goalkeeper in the league, I think the group showed a ton of character today to play to the final whistle and get a big point on the road,” said Jim Curtin in the postgame press conference after his team gutted out a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas on the road.

It was far from pretty soccer, but it got the job done.

Here’s how the team rated:

FWD Chris Donovan  – 3

In his first start of the season, the 23 year old was underwhelming.  He worked hard to win the ball back but outside of a few positive passes in buildup, he offered very little offensively in this match.  There wasn’t much fluidity between Donovan, Rafanello and Sullivan in the first half, and he looked a bit stagnant, with his first touch letting him down on several occasions.  This was an opportunity that went unrealized, as he generated just one shot in his 57 minute shift.

FWD Quinn Sullivan – 5

He was one of the few starters who actually looked dangerous and made some positive runs at goal with the ball, but nothing ever materialized for the homegrown.  He played a really good ball into the box to find Markus Anderson late in the match that nearly provided an equalizer.

CAM Jeremy Rafanello – 5

Speaking in his postgame press conference, Jim Curtin said of Rafanello, “He had a role to do, and I thought he did it well.  We knew we were going to suffer in the first half.  Being in a team’s home opener, we were a little bit short-handed and undermanned, and Jeremy was a guy that we needed to give us minutes.  He worked tirelessly defensively, took away their good #6, but also gave us an outlet on the counterattack.  He did his job, and I said that to him at halftime”.

LM Jack McGlynn – 4

Anyone watching could see McGlynn was a bit sluggish in this match, which is to be expected after going 120 minutes against Saprissa on Tuesday and 80 minutes in the homeopener against Chicago.

RM/CDM Jesus Bueno – 6

He appeared to have a nice assist that set up Sullivan for an equalizer in the 42′, but he was ruled to have fouled Tim Leibold while doing so.  The broadcast only showed one replay and the angle provided no confirmation one way or another. Speaking about Bueno postgame, Curtin said, “I thought he did a good job going to the six.  It’s not easy going from a clear role in the first 45′ and then jumping into a different position, but Bueno handled it well and had a solid game for the Union.

CDM Jose Martinez – 4

Martinez was unlucky to stumble over the ball which led to KC’s goal.  He suffered injuries on two occasions in the first half (including the play leading up to the goal) and on the follow-through of his shot just a few minutes earlier. He was able to grit it out until he was subbed off at halftime. Curtin stated postgame that he is hopeful that he will be OK for Tuesday.

LB/RB Nathan Harriel – 5 

Harriel struggled a bit playing out of his preferred rightback position in the first half in order to save Kai Wagner from playing a full match, but he settled in once he switched to rightback at halftime.

CB Damien Lowe – 6

Picked up a yellow card on a poor tackle on Johnny Russell in the 58′, but he was all over the field making tackles in this match and played a crucial role in keeping KC’s tally to just one.

CB Jack Elliot -5 

It was a mixed bag game for the centerback who was playing on the right with Glenses getting rest.  He was caught in no man’s land on the first KC goal that was ruled offsides, but he was otherwise stout in defense for most of the second half.

RB Olivier Mbaizo – 4

Nothing of note from the Cameroonian before being subbed off at halftime. Curtin mentioned in his postgame press conference that Mbaizo was a planned halftime sub coming into this match.

GK Oliver Semmle – 7

There’s not much more you could’ve asked from Semmle in this match.  He had some errant distributions but he made some key saves, both early and late in the game.  He is proving to be a capable replacement for when Andre Blake is unavailable.


(46′) Alejandro Bedoya – 8

Picked up a yellow just three minutes after coming on at halftime, but in the end, the veteran saved the day with a left-footed goal in the dying seconds.

Speaking about Bedoya in the postgame press conference, Curtin had the following to say:

“He did a great job for us tonight. He gave us a real calming presence in the second half. He connected his passes and then in the biggest moment when we’re throwing guys forward, basically the last kick of the game, for him to have the composure there…You see so many guys try and full swing that one and hit it a ton and it winds up in the 30th row.  For him to just guide it into the upper corner speaks to the composure and talent.”

He added, “Nothing better than on the road, making 18,000 go quiet”

(46′) Kai Wagner – 7

Wagner immediately started making an impact after being subbed on at halftime and provided the game winning assist.  As Chris Turk alluded to in his match report, Kai Wagner is an irreplaceable component for the Union, on both sides of the ball.

(46′) Daniel Gazdag – 4

A few decent chances, including a half volley early on in the second half that went wide, and then his play in the box late in the game that saw him go to ground, but no foul was given.  Overall, a fairly mundane night for the Hungarian.

(57′) Mikael Uhre – 4

Didn’t offer much more than Donovan, whom he replaced, aside from playing a few balls into the box.  Apple TV commentator Devon Kerr suggested that Mikael Uhre was reading a book in this match, rather than searching for goals.

(83′) Markus Anderson – N/A

Difficult to judge Anderson from his seven minute plus stoppage time shift.  He did have a really good opportunity for an equalizer in the 90′ with a header from the six, but it went just wide.

Man of the Match

Alejandro Bedoya snags Man of the Match honors for securing the point with his stoppage time equalizer.  Honorable mention goes to Kai Wagner for injecting some much needed energy after coming on at halftime and earning the assist on Bedoya’s goal.

What’s next…

The Philadelphia Union will play host to Liga MX side Pachuca on Tuesday in the first of two legs in their CONCACAF Champions Cup, Round of 16 series.  Kickoff is at 7pm ET, FS2. The Union return to MLS play on Saturday, March 9th with an inter-conference match against the Seattle Sounders (7:30pm ET, Apple TV).




  1. Agree overall. Would give Quinn a 6 balanced as a 5 for striker and 7 for MF. His chipping to Damian and Marcus and Ale (almost an own goal) was superb!!! If Jim puts him at striker again… I love Jeremy but he looked like a lost soul out there and rarely pressed. When Gazdag came in, he was all over the ball. So, I would have given Jeremy a 3 and Gazdag a 5. Other opinions? BTW, thank you for providing a forum for us to discuss this!!! It’s really hard to assess players and not get feedback. LOL

  2. Darth Harvey says:

    Rafa looked lost and I take Jim’s comments as cover for a player where the game was bigger than he was. The ball went to his feet and then went nowhere. I’m not looking to bury Rafa, but I think this is an outing he would soon like to forget.

    I give this commentary team a negative Halle Berry in the 90’s with a supplementary “anti-dup”. I still haven’t recovered from Saprissa Guy. That man (whom I will intentionally never learn his name so he can live on in my mind palace as “Saprissa Guy”) is my drug. I know it is bad for me. I don’t feel good when it’s happening. But when I look back at it after its done, and I want for more. I need more. I want to explore the depths of his ineptitude. I need more nonsensical references. I want him to debate with himself if Carranza knows Messi because they are both from Argentina. Will we ever see Saprissa guy again???

    • Chris Turk says:

      That would be yours truly. Did you actual read my ratings? The summaries were much more accurate than the numbers assigned (which were rounded up at the editorial stage).

      • (Darth) Suave Harvey says:

        Yes – I read it. Appreciate the work that all the writers and editor’s do here at PSP…
        I wasn’t debating scores and was more so reacting to Jim’s post – game comments on a player who’s debut wasn’t exceptional.

        Now if you want to debate which river deserves a higher score based on George Washington sailing across it… the Delaware or the Potomac… I’ll die on that hill… Suave Harvey – out

      • Chris Turk says:

        Understood. Keep reading, thanks.

    • That guy calling the Saprissa game was terrible. Didn’t know how to pronounce Uhre’s name, constant pandering with Allen Iverson and Sixers references.It was so bad I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Funny thing, is my wife, who is not a soccerhead, actually liked him.

      • (Darth) Suave Harvey says:

        I NEED to know what movie this guy wants to see next.

        Apple announcers are B-A-D (when its not Higgenbotham and Cangialosi) but there is a difference between Apple announcers and Saprissa Guy… The apple announcers are trying to call a soccer game. Saprissa Guy is speaking his mind.

        Saprissa Guy was a beautiful kind of awful, like a car wreck that resembles the Eiffel Tower. It was random. Nobody wanted it. But it was his goddamn art, and the more I think about it, the more I pray our paths cross again.

        I originally gestured towards the TV in disgust, just as I’m sure you did T-Bone, when he couldn’t get Uhre’s name right and in fact was educated on the correct pronunciation by the stadium announcer. But I now wonder, when will I ever encounter such inanity again, and my soul sheds a tear of despair.

        This was essentially a guy sitting on the couch next to you while you tried to watch the game and he wouldn’t shut the f**k up about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that came into his head. It was not a good experience, but it was a unique experience. And in today’s world of capitalistic homogeneity where all the announcers are trying to sound the same and deliver the same “product”, Saprissa Guy says “I refuse.”

        My fingers are crossed for this evenings game in the hopes that he calls the Pachuca game. My heart yearns for his ineptitude.

    • I share your passion for this young man who made so many tshirt worthy comments in an all too brief couple of hours, to the extent of looking him up and following him on IG. He was not the commentator we wanted, but the one we needed.

  3. Was skiing in Canada and only saw the result. After coming home was nice to read this post. Thank you!

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