The Union’s Dániel Gazdag Was Robbed of an MVP Nomination

Philadelphia Union Midfielder Daniel Gazdag Celebrates a Goal on May 22, 2022

EDITORIAL – The MLS regular season has come to an end as playoff fever is in full flow. Prior to the post-season, Major League Soccer announced their shortlist for the league’s Most Valuable Player.

There are five contenders to claim MVP. Philadelphia Union’s Andre Blake, LAFC’s Cristian Arango, Austin FC forward Sebastian Driussi, veteran marksman Javier Hernandez of LA Galaxy, and the Golden Boot winner Hany Mukhtar.

Dániel Gazdag has enjoyed a cracking campaign for Philadelphia Union. The Hungarian became the sixth player in MLS history with at least 20 goals and 10 assists in a single season. So why was the 26-year-old not considered for contention?

Dániel Gazdag of the Philadelphia Union Was Robbed of an MVP Nomination

Considering the Contenders’ Campaigns

Gazdag’s teammate Andre Blake fully deserved his nomination. The Jamaican kept 15 clean sheets in Major League Soccer this season. The Union enjoyed the second-best greatest defensive season in MLS history, conceding 26 goals in 34 matches.

Only Real Salt Lake’s 20 goals in 30 games, during the 2010 season, were more impressive.

Nashville SC’s first designated player, Hany Mukhtar, is another well worthy of being considered for the title of MVP. The Boys In Gold’s main man scored 23 goals and contributed 11 assists as NSC finished fifth in the Western Conference.

For context, CJ Sapong grabbed five goals and five assists, second on the list behind the attacking midfielder. The German scored 44 percent (23/52) of NSC’s goals in the regular season, playing his part in 65 percent of Nashville’s goals (34/52) if you include his assists.

Sebastian Driussi – alongside Dániel Gazdag – was just pipped to the Golden Boot by the aforementioned Mukhtar. Austin FC finished runners-up to LAFC in the Western Conference and the Argentine scored just over a third of The Oaks’ league goals (22/65).

The next highest scorer on the list was Maximiliano Urruti. Despite not registering a single assist, Driussi’s fellow countryman netted nine goals but was some way off the 26-year-old for Los Verdes this season.

La-me Suggestions

At the risk of annoying 12 million residents, there are two nominations from Los Angeles that aren’t worthy contenders. Thanks to the Galaxy getting the better of Nashville, there’s a mouthwatering El Tráfico going to take place in the playoffs.

LAFC’s Cristian Arango was the Western Conference Winners’ player put forward to be a potential MVP. Whilst 16 goals in 28 starts isn’t a bad return by any means, was he even the best forward in Los Angeles this season?

After all, Carlos Vela contributed more in the final third than the Colombian. Twelve goals and nine assists trump Arango’s 16 and four. That means that the Mexican magician managed 21 goal contributions of the 66 league goals that Steve Cherundolo’s side scored – accounting for nearly a third of them.

Across the city, Vela’s compatriot Javier Hernandez is the Galaxy’s representative. The veteran marksman bagged 18 goals for Greg Vanney’s team. However, Chicharito only provided for his teammates twice as he claimed just two league assists.

Alongside Arango, his lack of playmaking prowess should be holding the two of them back from claiming the award.

‘Goalzdag’ Is a Worthy Winner, Never Mind a Contender

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Union’s attacking midfielder came to the fore when they needed him most. Their number six scored in seven consecutive home matches to conclude the regular season. Starting all 34 league games, the Hungarian scored a club-record season-high of 22 goals and notched ten assists.

He landed a spot in the final MLS Team of the Week of the season, alongside teammate Jack Elliott. A final-day hat-trick against Toronto FC sealed the top spot in the Eastern Conference, as Philly goes in search of a maiden MLS Cup in this year’s MLS Cup Playoffs. This was also Philadelphia’s second time in four years that the Union topped the MLS Eastern Conference.

Should they go on to win it, and Gazdag play a pivotal role in doing so, it’d be an absolute robbery that the title of MVP evaded him.