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Player ratings: Philadelphia Union 0-0 CF Pachuca

Photo: Ron Soliman

The Union began their Round of 16 CONCACAF Champions Cup showdown vs. Pachuca with a 0-0 draw on Tuesday night. The scoreline was not indicative of the drama, as it was a wide-open and end-to-end affair for most of the 90 minutes.

But how did the team look?

Player Ratings

Andre Blake – 7

With Pachuca’s finishing prowess no better than Philly’s on Tuesday, Blake was largely untested. He did have to make a few saves to keep his porch clean, but nothing overly spectacular. Delivering Pachuca their first shutout of their season will be seen as a success, as well as a confidence-builder in his first game back from injury.

Kai Wagner – 6

Kai’s ability going forward was mostly muted on the night. With Harriel playing out of position at LCB, and McGlynn’s known defensive short-comings, Wagner’s positioning and decision-making on when to get forward played a significant role in keeping Pachuca off the score-sheet.

Nathan Harriel – 8

The young homegrown talent played out of position, as well as out of his mind on Tuesday. He was the best Union defender on the field. He could be seen winning what seemed like every contested header, stepping up well to intercept Pachuca passes around the penalty area, and even spraying 40 yard diagonal passes to jump-start Union attacks. A great performance from the twenty-two year-old, and his versatility is a promising sign for the Club.

Jakob Glesnes – 4

Through the first 45 minutes, it appeared that it might be another howler for Glesnes. It surely has been a string of performances that he will want to forget. Yet, Glesnes did well in the second half to settle in and turn things around, ultimately keeping the ball out of his own net. Still, this lack of consistency from Glesnes is uncharacteristic from him. While these performances he’s turned in are concerning, his offseason hernia surgery should add some context to the disappointment so far in this young season.

Olivier Mbaizo – 4

Similar to Wagner, Mbaizo was unable to find a way to contribute going forward. Unlike Wagner though, Mbaizo had some issues dealing with Pachuca’s attack down his side. In the post-match presser, Curtin praised Pachuca’s Idrissi and Gonzalez, who operated primarily on Mbaizo’s side and gave Mbaizo trouble for a good portion of the match. Curtin said of Mbaizo’s performance,  “When Mbaizo defends forward, and is aggressive… he is incredible. In the moments when you back off, and let Idrissi run at you, it is party over. I thought Mbaizo had some good moments, but also some moments where you watch the film and he could be a little bit tighter.”

Alejandro Bedoya – 6

Another appearance for Bedoya where his presence seemed to calm the team. In his 74 minutes, the captain was active in all thirds of the pitch, akin to what he has done in Philly for the last eight years.

Jose Martinez – 9

Easily Jose’s best performance in this young season. Was active in all areas of the pitch and held the talented Rondon out of the dangerous areas in front of his center-backs. A great showing from El Brujo.

Jack McGlynn – 8 

McGlynn is still growing into that shuttler role defensively, but his ability going forward is second to none on this team. His passes, his deception, his confidence on the ball – all exquisite for his age. Curtin said this after the game, “Jack is never going to be the fastest, quickest, or most dynamic guy on the field, but he is developing these little ‘outs’ to get out of tight spaces… where he can free himself and get that extra step to play a 60 yard ball that goes to Quinn.” Another excellent performance from McGlynn. He truly makes the ball smile.

Daniel Gazdag – 4

Not Gazdag’s best night in a blue shirt. He struggled to find the game and create the chances we are accustomed to seeing from him. Gazdag and Uhre seemed out of sync. Uhre’s movement seemed to crowd Gazdag at times, and other times, Gazdag was searching for an option to progress the ball and Uhre struggled to find space. The lack of Carranza was glaringly evident, and seemed to contribute the disjointed-ness from the front three.

Mikael Uhre – 3

A trait that all good strikers have is that they are opportunists. Uhre had two grade A scoring chances 1 on 1 with the keeper in the first fifteen minutes of the game – both scuffed into the midriff of the Pachuca keeper. He seemed to disappear for much of the middle 60 of the match, not doing enough to create space by stretching the defense with his movement laterally or vertically. The interplay between Uhre, Gazdag, and Sullivan was lacking. Uhre was given opportunity as the lone forward, and simply did not make the most of it across the entire 90 minutes.

Quinn Sullivan – 7

A different role than usual for Quinn as a dual ’10’ in what appeared to be some variation of a 4-3-2-1. He had some giveaways here and there, but looked very dangerous in his 87 minutes, and often was at the forefront of driving play down the right. He found acres of space on numerous occasions, and was able to create some of the best Union chances on the night. The confidence exuded on the one-touch back-heel pass he had to an offside Bedoya was a perfect encapsulation of the progress he has made over the last couple seasons with the first team. Really strong start to the season for Sullivan.


Jesus Bueno – 4

A rough showing for Bueno. He was in a tough position coming into a wide-open game late in the match – not necessarily a game state that will bring out Bueno’s best attributes. He struggled to connect play from the back to the front in his short shift.

Markus Anderson – N/A

Geiger Counter:

Ismael Cornejo – 7

The referee had his whistle close to his mouth for most of the contest, sometimes erring on the “whistle-happy” end of the spectrum. Though, this definitely kept two physical teams in check, as he only handed out two yellow cards on the night. With all of the discourse surrounding VAR in the game today, the VAR decision overturn the PK and Harriel yellow card to ultimately a handball in the build up of the play is one of the best real-time use-cases for VAR in recent memory. That alone earns the referee crew, and Cornejo himself, a fairly high score.

Player of the match:

Jose Martinez

After an injury scare in Kansas City over the weekend, El Brujo looked unaffected on Tuesday. He did a phenomenal job defensively, covering his defensive responsibilities well by winning back possession and contributing to the build up by springing attacks the other way. He never was caught-out, and was much-needed “shield” in front of Glesnes and Harriel all night in dealing with his fellow countryman, Rondon. Curtin said of his performance, “Jose had a tough task to sit in the middle of that block of three midfielders is not easy. You have Rondon who is a talented striker… the fluidity of their attack… Jose had a really strong performance.”


  1. I agree with most of these ratings. Glad to see Blake back, Sullivan continuing his good run of form (although I dont think he deserved a 7, maybe more of a 6) and Harriel looked great.
    Wierd opinion here but out of all the youngsters on the team, in a way Im the most excited about Harriel. Hes the kind of guy who probably doesnt quite have the potential to move to europe, but certaintly has the potential to become a key player in the Union and the MLS in general.

    One more thing, Mcglynns performance probably wasnt worthy of an 8. I think to truly get these types of ratings he has to start doing more then just passing good and getting out of tight spaces. We all already know he is great at that, the next step for him has to be coming out of his comfort zone and really becoming an influential player on all areas of game.

    • Blake Zuschnitt says:

      Josh, I appreciate the comment/feedback!

      Regarding Sullivan, for my money, he was the most dangerous Union attacker on the field by a significant margin. I definitely understand tempering it down to 6, but I think his performance and influence on the game was better than a 6, relative to the performance of the rest of the team.

      Regarding McGlynn, I definitely hear what you are saying. I will say, though, that players like Xabi Alonso or Cesc Fabregas influenced the game in a similar way that mcglynn does, without providing much more than the “facilitator” role that they are known for. They never really defended above average, nor did they score a ton of goals, yet their game dictated the terms of how their respective teams could attack. That is not to compare the talent level of Alonso or Fabregas to McGlynn, just that their roles and impact on the game for their respective teams is similar, and they are considered two of the best midfielders of our generation. That is to say that McGlynn is a developing player still, and for him to consistently influence the attack in the way he did in the match Tuesday night, is worthy of the score I gave him, in my estimation at least.

  2. Andy Muenz says:

    Regarding McGlynn, I’ll echo the sentiments that an 8 is too high for him (by 2 or 3 points IMO). My biggest issue is that there were multiple occasions where he received a Sullivan pass at the top of the box and instead of turning to shoot with that strong left foot, he shuttled it out wide to the left allowing the Pachuca defense a chance to regroup and eventually seeing the Union pass it back to their defenders without getting any sort of a shot off.
    As far as the ref goes, I don’t think he had the whistle up by his mouth, I think he kept it in his pocket. There were several instances where it took him 5-10 seconds after a foul when there was clearly no advantage before he actually blew the whistle. It would be the correct call, but it was as though he had to remember where he had put the whistle before he blew it.
    The one issue I had with the ref that may have cost the Union was that it was only about 40 seconds from when play restarted after the VAR decision before he blew the halftime whistle thus negating a Union free kick from a promising spot. Given that there was supposed to be a minimum of one minute excluding the time spent on VAR, the Union should have been allowed to take that kick.

    • Zizouisgod says:

      Was at the match and didn’t see one instance where McGlynn had a shooting opportunity like you described that he didn’t take.

      I know that fans want players to shoot any time that they’re within sight of goal, but if the shot isn’t on, the player shouldn’t take it. If you do that vs a team like Pachuca, a blocked shot 18-20 yds from goal could start a counter going the other way.

      • +1 on McGlynn. He could have shot right into the legs of defenders at the top of the box, but rarely did he have a shot as implied above.

      • Andy Muenz says:

        I guess I saw them differently than you guys did.

  3. A fair grade for Jack Mcglynn,,,,,, I like what Curtin says about him… amplify he reminds me of Andrea Pirlo…..A maestro in the making, his distribution and vision is excellent, it neutralizes his lack of burst speed, he has to be sneaky.

  4. I was at the match. I agree that Sullivan’s performance was excellent — I thought he was MOTM (and at least one guy sitting near me agreed).

    Definitely agree on Harriel. He was outstanding, especially considering that he was playing out of position. I think he keeps the #4 slot on the CB depth chart with that performance. Glesnes and Mbaizo did not have their best games, but when you keep a clean sheet, and the other team doesn’t even get a lot of great shots, you have to credit the entire defense, so I’d at least give them 5s.

    8 for McGlynn is way too high. He was fine, but not outstanding.

  5. Excellent review and dialogue! My only real addition is that Mbaizo should have gotten a 2. He gave up the ball 3 times in dangerous areas sparking breaks, and how many times does Idrissi have to cut to the inside before you wake up and play him to go to the inside??? Very very passive defense.

    I thought Jim should have played Marcus earlier. He has the physical assets to hold off defenders and the skills and speed to be more dangerous than Uhre who worked his butt off but still lacks that finishing touch. Hopefully, Jim has the guys working on chipping over the keeper since he seems so aggressive.

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