- The River End
- ⚽️ Vote for Rafa
⚽️ Vote for Rafa
Rafanello Golazo Up for MLS Next Pro Goal of the Year
Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union
LAST MATCH: Union 0 - LAFC 0
NEXT MATCH: vs. FC Dallas
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. | Apple TV - Free
Good morning. Jeremy Rafanello’s golazo against TFC II is up for MLS Next Pro goal of the year and it’s somehow losing to St. Louis City II’s helter skelter slow motion half bicycle kick. Vote for Rafa!
In the email today:
1) 🚀 Vote Rafanello Golazo MLS Next Pro Goal of the Year
There can only be 1. 🤩
Submit your vote for the Goal of the Year below! ⤵️
— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO)
Sep 25, 2023
Delran, N.J. native Jeremy Rafanello has made quite a name for himself scoring bangers for Philadelphia Union II this season. But even he was speechless about the goal he scored against Toronto FC II.
"I'm out on my own whenever I can shooting as many balls as I can," Rafanello said in a recent interview. "I wouldn't even say it's something that's just out of the blue. I mean, the Toronto one, for sure but all the other ones, though, it's stuff I've been working on."
2) 📈 Player Grades from LAFC
The rematch of the greatest MLS Cup final ever played may have been swept away by the remnant of Tropical Storm Ophelia. Here’s a look at how the Union players performed.
🧤 Andre Blake: B
Blake didn’t see much action, which means the organization in front of him was spectacular.
🐍 Nathan Harriel: B
Harriel handled a tough matchup against Stipe Biuk then had to face Denis Bouanga fresh off the bench in the second half. His attacking deficiencies were evident as the Union pushed the right side without any substance.
🪖Jack Elliott: A
Elliott organized the back line well, pressured the forwards into mistakes, and eliminated any chances at goal. 0 shots on goal against the defending champs is no small feat.
🇯🇲 Damion Lowe: A
Lowe’s physicality made a big difference in overpowering the LA strikers, even after the second-half additions of Vela and Bouanga. He kept LA far from goal and controlled the box on LA’s limited actions.
🥾 Kai Wagner: B
Wagner gave another high-level performance defensively, was good on his challenges and help weaken a potent LA attack down his side. His involvement going forward was limited but he’s another player with many minutes against a team set on defending and countering.
🪄Jesus Bueno: B
With absence of Jose Martinez, Bueno filled the middle of the field well. He took care of Mateusz Bogusz and gave the Union much needed energy in closing spaces on LA’s counters.
📐 Jack McGlynn: B
McGlynn had some good combination play in the midfield area but didn’t create many chances going forward. Against a team content to sit back, he had more opportunities to push deeper.
👨🏽✈️ Alejandro Bedoya: B
He brought a steady presence in a game that needed it, and going against Kellyn Acosta was difficult as the Union had trouble breaking LA down. His work rate continues to be impressive but may not be making the difference as in years past.
✴️ Daniel Gazdag: C
He finished his only opportunity, which could have been the game-winner with very little action in front of the goals. He looks fatigued and doesn’t have the defensive work rate we’re accustomed to seeing.
🧱 Mikael Uhre: C
Found little of the ball over 80 minutes. This was a game that favored his skillset. Though LA took away his ability to counter by the Union having more of the ball, he had opportunities to counter press and find the gaps. After the loss of Carranza, his partnership with Baribo should
have been more pronounced.
🇦🇷 Julian Carranza: B
Considering he played nearly an entire half with a concussion, we can’t knock his performance too much. But clearly the front three are in a rut.
🇮🇱 Tai Baribo: C
Baribo came on at halftime for the injured Carranza and was again slow to be involved. His biggest moment came when he fired a shot off the crossbar, which Gazdag followed up for a disallowed goal. He made a good turn and struck the ball well, but in the end it didn’t matter. His impact hasn’t been anywhere close to what the Union paid to acquire him.
🤩 Quinn Sullivan: NG
🐉 Chris Donovan: NG
3) 🎮 ‘Disrespectful’ EA Sports FC Ratings
Hear what the Union players think of their ratings on the new EA Sports FC game.
Confessions from the Boot Room
How we really feel about the 2024 @EASPORTSFC ratings 🎮
— X - Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion)
Sep 25, 2023
4) 💧 Water Cooler: EA Sports FC Union Player
Who is your must-have Union player on EA Sports FC?
Have additional thoughts? Reply directly to this email to comment, and see if we include your response tomorrow.
Results from our last poll How Many Points:
Fans responding to our poll aren’t overly optimistic or pessimistic about the last five games of the season. Most see the Union getting 6-9 points from their last five and some 10-13.
5) 🔗 Link Roundup:
💨 More on Saturday’s LAFC draw: “If hype were a hot air balloon, consider the Union-LAFC rematch a hole-ridden bag that never inflated, let alone got off the ground. In a game known more for sideways rain and wind gusts, the Union and LAFC combined for zero shots on goal (though Maxime Crepeau did have to save a deflected Nathan Harriel cross), and the Union led .3 to .1 in expected goals.”
🇻🇪 Jesus Bueno made the bench for the MLS Team of the Matchday.
📰 Union head coach Jim Curtin is in the British press for stating the obvious: that Tata Martino was likely more responsible for landing Messi and Co. than David Beckham.
Thanks for reading!