MLS awards show it's time to start giving Union respect originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
On the heels of winning the Supporters’ Shield for the best regular season record in MLS – the first trophy of any type in franchise history – the Philadelphia Union are poised to bolster the team’s once-bare trophy cabinet.
Three Union players and head coach Jim Curtin are among the lists of finalists for the league’s end-of-season awards.
Leading the way is Jamaican goalkeeper Andre Blake, nominated not just for Goalkeeper of the Year, but one of five finalists for the Landon Donovan MVP Award. Blake finished second in the league in both goals against/90 minutes (0.86) and shutouts (8).
Curtin, the product of Oreland, Pennsylvania and Villanova University, is one of three in the running for the Sigi Schmid Coach of the Year award after leading his club to the best record in MLS, including a perfect 9-0-0 record at Subaru Park. The 41-year-old is in his seventh season manning the sidelines.
Homegrown midfielder Brenden Aaronson is among three nominated for Young Player of the Year. The Medford, New Jersey native scored four goals and led the club with seven assists. He’ll be headed to Austria in January, after the Union negotiated a $6 million transfer with Red Bull Salzburg.
And Bear, Delaware native Mark McKenzie is a finalist for Defender of the Year award. The homegrown centerback started all but one game this season, and contributed two goal and three assists, in addition to a team-high 17 blocked shots.
The Union will host their Round One MLS Cup match November 24th. Their opponent will be determined next weekend, upon the completion of the Play-In Round.