The Union’s 1-0 win over the New England Revolution early Sunday in the MLS tournament’s round of 16 wasn’t pretty. It could easily have put you to sleep if you didn’t have a reason to stay up past midnight to watch the whole thing.
But there were a few notable individual performances, including one that stands among the Union’s best at Disney World so far. Here’s a look at who stood out.
Yes, these recaps start with him often. It’s necessary, because he does the most to set the tone for the Union’s play.
Monteiro was outstanding, leading the team with 72 touches, 48-of-53 passing and three chances created. He also had one shot, one tackle, and one interception, and drew two fouls.
He did a lot of little things well too, such as a piece of fancy footwork in the last minute of stoppage time that let the Union keep possession and run out the clock.
Obviously, it was crucial that he scored. Santos missed three major chances before he got it right in the 63rd minute with a terrific finish.
In his year-and-change with the Union so far, Santos has scored five goals on 33 shots in 1,056 minutes across 23 games. That 15% conversion rate isn’t terrible on paper — Kacper Przybylko’s is 18% — but some of Santos’ misses have been glaring. They become much easier to forget when he scores game-winners.
Both outside backs played really well in this game. Let’s start with Gaddis, because he doesn’t often get recognition here (or beyond). He had four tackles, one interception, one clearance and one block, and completed 18 of 24 passes.
On the other flank, Wagner showed why he’s one of the league’s top left backs. He had four clearances, two interceptions and one tackle, with 29-of-34 passing including 5-of-8 on long balls. One of the interceptions was key in the buildup to the goal, and the other helped stop a New England scoring chance.
He played a full 90 minutes for the first time in MLS and filled up the box score: 63 touches, three shots, 1 chance created, 3 tackles, 1 block, and 30-of-42 passing — with just two fouls committed and no cards.
“The first thing he said to me when he came off the field was, ‘No yellow!’ " manager Jim Curtin quipped after the game. “He’s still finding that fine line of what you can and can’t get away with in this league. You can see how relentless he is, how much he wants to win.”
It felt during the game like he didn’t play well. On further reflection, while the Medford native wasn’t great, he did more than he got credit for.
Aaronson ended the night with 40 touches, 1 shot, 1 tackle, 1 interception and 18-of-20 passing. The last of those stats will keep his stock high with European scouts watching the tournament.
The TV broadcast once again gave us a really cool view of a Union goal, thanks to drone camera operators Ryan Humble, Ryan Bastek and Michael Shea. Producer Matt Leach and director Bob Frattaroli oversaw the broadcast. The same crew gave us the overhead view of the Union’s great counter-attack goal against Inter Miami.