The Union’s unsung hero: Olivier Mbaizo

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On Saturday night, the Philadelphia Union faced off against the Chicago Fire at Subaru Park. Philly could not seem to finish any of the chances that they were developing, and they also had an injury occur to star goalie Andre Blake, which caused concern around Subaru Park. This match was nowhere near the best performance the team could have had, but the Boys in Blue scraped by Ezra Hendrickson’s Chicago Fire side with a 1-0 victory.

A 90th-minute Joaquin Torres goal was needed to secure the three points for the Union, where the defense was definitely a key to victory. Due to this, there was one player that stood out for Philadelphia on Saturday night, and it was the 25-year-old Cameroon international, Olivier Mbaizo. 

Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union

The Union’s best player on the pitch?

While Olivier Mbaizo was not named Man of the Match against Chicago, there was an argument to be made that he should have been it. He looked like the best player on the pitch for the Boys in Blue, and if it was not for the late Torres goal, he easily would have taken the award home. Mbaizo was everywhere on the pitch, whether it was on the attack or the defense. He helped the Union out through multiple aspects of the match, but especially when it came to his threat on the attack.   

Mbaizo’s added threat to the attack

 In the match against the Fire, Olivier Mbaizo stood out in many ways, but his threat adding to the attack was something that was definitely noticeable. The 25-year-old was tearing up the right side of the Chicago defense the whole time he was on the pitch, always seeming to be wide open and ready to help develop an offensive chance. According to the FotMob stats, Mbaizo completed 22/31 of his passes, going for a 71% completion percentage, and he also was able to create two chances on the night for the Union.

The right back also had a total of three passes into the final third, with his most notable being a cross into the box, which Joaquin Torres sent just wide off of a header. Olivier also linked up well with club captain Alejandro Bedoya on a few occasions, leading to a few chances on goal. The most notable one was early on in the match where Mbaizo intercepted a pass, then passed it to Bedoya, who then sent it into the box for Uhre. Olivier Mbaizo proved to be a vital offensive threat for the Union on a night when they needed all the assistance they could get in that department.  

Overall, Olivier Mbaizo had an incredible match against the Chicago Fire last Saturday, contributing both on the attack and defense. He showed what type of performance he can bring to the starting eleven, and it is definitely one that Union supporters should expect to see more in the future. Mbaizo has developed nicely in the last couple of years, which is not surprising with the talent that he has. The Cameroon international will definitely be patrolling the right side of the Union defense for years to come, unless Europe does in fact come calling, which for the sake of the Union, hopefully, that does not happen.

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Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia Union