With the Union's mid-season break coming to an end, it is time to take a look back at the season so far. Having played 14 games in this MLS season, the Union sit second in the Eastern Conference table on 25 points. Despite some frustration towards Jim Curtin's side with the lack of clinical finishing to put games away, Philadelphia has only lost once in the league this season. With the potential of topping the Eastern Conference and Supporters Shield still very much in sight, Mike and I look back at what has mainly been a positive season to date.
Player of the Year-
Dave- Daniel Gazdag
Gazdag was signed as the replacement for Brenden Aaronson, and after an okay first season, he has certainly found his feet in the MLS. He has scored seven times in 14 games, which are incredible numbers for an attacking midfielder, where he is the joint-third top scorer in the MLS. His goals and all-round attacking play have made him untouchable in this Union starting XI. We are seeing why he was named the Hungarian League's player of the year before joining Philadelphia.
Mike- Daniel Gazdag
For me, Daniel has been the best player this season. He has been so important for the attacking aspect of the team with his crucial goals and assists.
Young Player of the Year-
Dave- Nathan Harriel
Out of the four homegrown players to break into the first team last season, Harriel was arguably bottom of that list in terms of the hype they were receiving. However, he has made the right-back position his own this season. He took advantage of Olivier Mbaizo's poor performance against Minnesota and has not relinquished that spot since. He has grown leaps and bounds since last season and is a really exciting prospect and future USA international.
Mike- Nathan Harriel
Harriel is a given, he’s got the potential to be the best right back in the MLS and he’s locked down a spot in the back four since breaking into the starting XI.
Goal of the Year-
Dave- Julian Carranza vs LAFC
There has only been one goal that has truly stood out this season, and it is this one. The goal came out of nothing as he managed to somehow find the precision and technique to bend that ball around the goalkeeper and into the side netting.
Mike- Julian Carranza vs LAFC
Carranza's goal was top notch. We needed to keep toe-to-toe with LA, and he was already having himself a great game. To have the accuracy and bend, while being off balance and falling to the floor was incredible.
Dave- Ale Bedoya
Bedoya was under heavy scrutiny last season after a poor run of games throughout the summer. That led to many within the fanbase, myself included, questioning whether he was deserving of a place in the starting XI. However, a year on from that, the Union captain looks like a completely different player, and his performances have gone under the radar this season. He has once again been a constant in this team and has put in some impressive performances. He has scored two important goals, and his performance in LA to help shut down Carlos Vela was brilliant.
Mike- Jack Elliott
Elliott is the guy who rarely makes mistakes and is so important on defense. He has always been MR Reliable, and although not the flashiest of defenders, he is what's needed next to Jakob Glesnes.
Most Surprising Player
Dave- Nathan Harriel
Since becoming a consistent starter, Harriel has never looked out of place. For a young player, especially a defender, you tend to see some struggles. However, we have not seen that from the 21-year-old. He is playing with experience beyond his years.
Mike- Julian Carranza
He was a low risk high reward player. He had not produced for Miami so we didn’t know what to expect, he’s exceeded everyone’s expectations.
Dave- 2-1 win away at Montreal
After an unconvincing opening day draw, the Union needed to ramp it up against Montreal. They conceded a frustrating goal in the first half and were seemingly 2-0 down at the beginning of the second. Fortunately, VAR correctly ruled out the goal, and it woke the entire team up from the sleepwalk they had been in. Two quick goals and surviving 20 minutes with ten men showed the mental toughness this team has.
Mike- 2-0 win at NYCFC
The best result was at NYCFC because we had never won there before, and with us maybe going there for the playoffs, it was huge for us to get a win to show we can do. It came with a bit of luck, but to comfortably shut them down all game was great to see.