2019 has so far, been one of the best in Union history. Sporting director, Ernst Tanner, has ensured his club is as deep as any in Major League Soccer, and head coach, Jim Curtin, has done a solid job at managing those pieces. Let’s take a look at my choices for Union mid-season player awards…
Best Newcomer: Left Back, Kai Wagner
When the Union announced the signing of Wagner in February, fans had to go straight to Google to find out who that was. Coming from Germany’s 3rd division, Wagner would have things stacked against him as far as Union supporters go. But he convinced them of his ability from the start. From opening day, he’s been like glue to any offensive player attempting to run down his side.
Honorable Mention: Jamiro Monteiro, Kacper Przybylko, Brenden Aaronson
Best Defensive Player: Center Back, Jack Elliot
Gentleman Jack thought his role on this club was solidified coming into the 2019 season. That would be the role of back-up to starters Auston Trusty and Mark McKenzie. After suffering a series of injuries just prior to the start of the regular season, McKenzie had to sit out, giving Elliot the opportunity to start a few matches, well, which we thought, alongside Trusty. Elliot has been stellar for most of the season, enough so that McKenzie has yet to see any playing time.
Honorable Mention: Kai Wagner
Best Offensive Player: Midfielder, Jamiro Monteiro
Being a signing less ballyhooed than Marco Fabián or Sergio Santos, Monteiro’s production has exceeded both of them combined. Joining the Union in the early part of the season on loan from FC Metz in France’s 2nd division, Monteiro has been dynamic in the midfield. Many of the Union’s past best ball distributors haven’t been the fleetest of foot, but Monteiro combines a keen eye for open teammates as well as the ability to turn on the jets when he has a goal for himself in sight. With 4 goals and 5 assists in only 13 starts, Monteiro has the ability to become the only Union player other than Sebastien Le Toux, with at least 10 goals and 10 assists in a single season.
Honorable Mention: Ilsinho, Kacper Przybylko
Most Pleasant Surprise: Left Back, Kai Wagner
See above (Best Newcomer). Wagner has also established himself as a quality ball distributor. Already with 4 assists on the season, he is a threat offensively as well. Lately, he’s demonstrated a habit of gambling and going for the steal and it has cost him, but the good has greatly overshadowed the bad.
Honorable Mention: Jamiro Monteiro, Jack Elliot
Most Disappointing: Midfielder/Forward, Marco Fabián
At a salary of just over $2 million, Fabián has not only missed ten matches due mostly to injury and a few to suspension, his play while on the field hasn’t exactly been overwhelming. He’s mustered only two goals, and on several occasions has demonstrated a wreckless tendency while attempting to regain possession. The Union will need his availability and improved play in the coming months.
Honorable Mention: Sergio Santos, Fafa Picault
Most Impactful: Midfielder, Ilsinho
The term “Super Sub” often times gets tossed around haphazardly. Not in this case. Ilsinho has been incredible with changing the tone and pace of the match almost every time he comes off the bench. As a sub in 2019, he’s already tallied 3 goals and 5 assists. He’s embarrassed almost every defender that has gotten in his way on the right side with his bag of tricks.
Honorable Mention: Alejandro Bedoya, Jamiro Monteiro
Most Valuable Player: Midfielder, Alejandro Bedoya
Bedoya, along with Elliot and Haris Medunjanin, is one of a few Union players this season to have played every minute of every match. He’s been in the right place at the right time, and has looked more like a leader and a captain than ever before. His tenacity and leadership has been integral in the Union remaining in first place in the MLS Eastern Conference.
Honorable Mention: Andre Blake, Jack Elliot, Jamiro Monteiro
Be sure to come back to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union, Steel FC, and other soccer content!
Follow our writers on Twitter:
Peace out Union fans!