MLS / Player ratings / Union

Player Ratings: Atlanta United 2 – 2 Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

The Philadelphia Union saw their unbeaten streak continue in MLS. Despite conceding two goals in the second half, after an injury to Andre Blake forced him out of the game, the Boys in Blue rallied and mounted a comeback that saw them tie with Atlanta United in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Ratings below.

Player Ratings:

Andre Blake – 6 

Blake seemingly re-aggravated his groin injury, which is very unfortunate. He did what he had to do in the first half, making routine saves and delivering satisfactory distribution. Hope he can get healthy soon and stay on the field.

Kai Wagner – 8

The German made an amazing goal to tie the game. His two-way prowess was on full display, and he was also sharp defensively. Overall, a great game from Kai. 

Damion Lowe – 6

Unfortunately, his clearance went right to Wiley on the second goal, but his hustle and determination were apparent against an Atlanta attack that grew into the game and demanded a lot from the entire backline.

Jakob Glesnes – 6

While partially at fault for the first Atlanta goal, as Rios was his mark, the Norwegian consistently made a number of important blocks and tackles on otherwise open Atlanta shots. He almost scored his first goal of the season but for a stretching block from a Five Stripes defender.

Nathan Harriel – 7

Harriel made a lot of gritty, hard-nosed defensive plays. Despite Atlanta targeting his side, Nate did enough to stifle their attacks. His long throw led to the equalizing goal.

Jose Martinez – 5

Martinez was just a shade slow to step to Alamada on Atlanta’s first goal, but he demonstrated generally good passing and defending. An overeager press led to his yellow card. Subbing him off for Uhre appeared to be the right decision. Wish he had avoided that yellow as his creativity is a big bonus in attack.

Jack Mcglynn – 6

Jack made some good plays this game, but earned a yellow for some time-wasting antics. He continues to show how incredibly valuable he is in his ability to help the team retain possession and to kick start attacks.

Alejandro Bedoya – 6

The Captain gave a necessary full 90 minute performance. Although he didn’t get onto the scoresheet, his veteran leadership guided the team through a tough match with a formidable opponent. 

Daniel Gazdag – 5

It was a quieter performance from Gazdag than in his recent games, perhaps the yellow card limited him. Possession and pressing in tandem with the strikers were his strong points.

Julian Carranza – 6

King Julian also was kept quiet by Atlanta’s defense. However, his physicality was still felt by those marking him. His toughness was evident through and through as he sported some type of cast on his arm. He drew multiple fouls, even playing through a couple knocks. Unlucky not to score or assist on his header following a corner around the 65th minute.

Quinn Sullivan – 6

Despite neither scoring, nor assisting, Quinn’s creativity in the final third was clear. His dribbling was largely effective and led to several attacks down his side. Twice, he passed to an open teammate in the box, showing terrific judgement. Earlier in the season, he would have shot, but in this game he made the correct decision both times.


Oliver Semmle – 6

There seemed to be a communication issue on the first goal, and, perhaps, he could’ve done a better job covering his near post on the second. Semmle made some important saves down the stretch, which is impressive considering he had to fill in for an injured Blake in one of the most hostile environments in the league.

Mikael Uhre – 7

Uhre was gifted a golden opportunity and did well to convert, giving the Union a lifeline. His second goal seemingly gave the Union a late lead in the game, but it was called offside, and his poor pass in the final third killed what was essentially the last meaningful Union attack. 

Geiger Counter:

Jon Freemon – 4

While there weren’t many major blown calls, it seemed that Freemon did a poor job handling a rowdy and physical matchup. There were several confrontations between players where, despite Freemon stopping play and discussing matters, tempers still flared. While the offside on the potential go-ahead goal stings, it was clear that it was a very tight call. This should reflect more on the need for adequate camera angles, or even semi-automated offside technology, as opposed to a poor decision from the refereeing crew. The final whistle blowing mid-Union attack did appear to be harsh. Overall, it looked like both teams’ players and managers were frustrated with the officiating crew.

Player of the Match: Kai Wagner

It’s clear how important Wagner is to the Union’s style of play. This is common knowledge, but Sunday’s game served as a reminder of why it was vital that the Union front office kept Kai for the 2024 season. His defensive presence is solid. He also demonstrated his importance to the attack. His goal was superb but he also had a number of important passes and crosses, including a corner kick routine that required two near-supernatural defensive plays from Atlanta to prevent a goal.

What’s Next?

The Union head into their bye week as the only remaining undefeated team in MLS with a 3-0-4 record. While fans might wish the Boys in Blue had pulled off a win, a tie on the road after consecutive wins is a perfectly fine run of form. Good even. The two teams ahead of the Union, Miami and Red Bulls, have more games played than the Union (Miami has two). Early returns are promising and if the undefeated streak continues, it might be time to put the league back on notice.

After a well earned rest, the Union will be right back into the thick of things with a home game against Real Salt Lake and then a midweek makeup match against the Sounders.


  1. Andy Muenz says:

    I’m OK with most of these, but I can’t see giving Martinez anything higher than a 2. By all rights he should have been shown a second yellow late in the first half and when you go and put your team down a player for throwing the ball away when the foul wasn’t even against you, you’ve had a BAD game regardless of what else you do.
    And a 4 is probably too high for Freemon since he should have shown Martinez another yellow.

  2. PhangPhanSwoopGritFrank says:

    Still undefeated. The only undefeated.

  3. We get it, Andy, you don’t like Martinez. But most fans love his intensity and hard-nosed play.

    • Andy Muenz says:

      It’s not that I don’t like Martinez. I don’t like it when he does stupid stuff that harms the team. What would your thoughts on him for this game if the ref had given Martinez a second yellow for tossing the ball away?

      • But he didn’t. The rating is based on the game as played. He didn’t get a second yellow.

  4. Agree with all your ratings! Excellent in-depth analysis. And let’s go Union!!!!

  5. Deez Nuggs says:

    Is it just me or are there a lot of cross-conference games this season?

    • Just 6, same as last season. They’re front loaded for the Union though, so their last game this season against a western conference team is the Seattle game on 4/30. After that, 25 consecutive games against the east.

      • Deez Nuggs says:

        Thanks for that! I went and looked it up too. The Union has taken 2 more points off Western Conference teams so far, with two left to play, than in all 6 games last season! Them’s good returns!
        Same results across the first 4 cross-conference games as in 2022.

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