Philadelphia Union Mid-Season Report Cards – Defense and Goalkeeper

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It’s report card time!  The Philadelphia Union are at the halfway point of the 2018 season and it’s time to evaluate the roster.  Please note this only includes those who’ve played minutes for the big club this year.  No Mbaizo, Yaro, Marquez, etc.

Fabinho

Player Grade: C

To say he’s irritated the Union faithful less this season is actually a compliment.  He’s played sparingly and has done OK.  Small doses of Fabinho never hurt anyone.

Jack Elliot

Player Grade: C

This one proves you just never know.  Going into 2018, the only sure thing on the back line was the finalist for 2017 Rookie of the Year.  Currently, he hasn’t started in the Union’s last eight matches and appeared only once as a sub for 29 minutes.  After dealing with a minor injury early in the season, Elliot came back to start a few matches, but has since been supplanted in the starting lineup by Mark McKenzie.  He clearly wasn’t playing up to the level he was last season and sophomore struggles have so far defined Elliot’s season.

Ray Gaddis

Player Grade: B-

Third in minutes and games played in Union history, and currently by far the club’s longest tenured player, Ray Gaddis has done a serviceable job at left back.  He’s been a little better than good some games, and a little less than good the others.  Gaddis is their best option at the moment until Matt Real is ready.  Interesting note about Gaddis who is still looking for his first MLS goal, in just half a season so far, he’s surpassed his total shots and shots on goal from 2015-2017 combined.  Hope he gets one soon.

Mark McKenzie

Player Grade: B

Like many of you, I expected McKenzie to get minimal playing time at best, possibly a spot start or two.  With Richie Marquez still being injured and Jack Elliot’s injury but more so sub-par play, McKenzie has benefited with regular playing time.  Teaming up at center back with fellow nineteen-year-old Auston Trusty, he’s had a few growing pains but has mostly impressed at the halfway point.

Matt Real

Player Grade: C

The search for a true left back continues.  The three matches early this season in which Real started, the boys in blue lost two and drew one, getting outscored 6-1.  I’m not putting the blame solely on Real, of course not.  But any fan who watched those games saw he looked like a deer in headlights.  He’s spent half the season with Bethlehem Steel and the playing time there can only do him good.

Keegan Rosenberry

Player Grade: B+

What a yo-yo career Rosenberry’s had so far.  Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2016, playing every minute of every game.  In Curtin’s doghouse in 2017, starting in only a third of the club’s matches., And now in 2018, playing at a high level once again.  In addition to playing as a solid right back, he’s jelled well with Ilsinho and Dockal down the right flank on offense.

Auston Trusty

Player Grade: B+

The only man on the Union roster to play every minute of every game so far in 2018.  He’s had a season similar to his partner at center back, Mark McKenzie.  As McKenzie has had more of a flair for the dramatic t run-down tackle, Trusty has been a bit more steady and consistent of the two.  It’s hard to get too caught up when we’ve seen the same great early play from Rosenberry in 2016 and Elliot last year, both regressing in their second seasons.  Hopefully Trusty changes the trend.

Andre Blake

Player Grade: B+

He continues to make the spectacular saves.  His G.A.A. (goals against average) is right in line with what he’s done throughout his career.  Although his numbers could be slightly better, a good number of goals Blake has allowed were due to defensive breakdowns.  Blake’s biggest improvement has been his distribution.  Rarely have we seen a ball booted out-of-bounds in 2018.

Come back tomorrow to Philadelphia Union Mid-Season Report Cards for the midfielders and strikers!

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Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

 

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