Player of the Week

Player of the week: CJ Sapong

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Of the many worthy candidates for Player of the Week, CJ Sapong stands above the rest because his performance symbolized the type of effort Philadelphia Union will need going forward to compete in the Eastern Conference. In only 36 minutes of work, Sapong notched a goal and a key pass. But more importantly, Sapong conceded three fouls and suffered two; he came off the bench and got involved.

The 2015 Philadelphia Union have come out with energy in many a game this season, only to see an individual error or swift counterattack slap away their confidence with swift and sudden force. In so many second halves, the Union have tired, lost focus, and ultimately conceded points they could have won.

On Sunday, CJ Sapong made sure Philadelphia did not hit that second half malaise. Returning from personal troubles, he played like a man with a renewed sense of purpose. In the air and with his constant defensive pestering, Sapong changed the pace and openness of the match almost instantly. The Red Bulls never got back into their rhythm once Sapong put Karl Ouimette and Roy Miller in his pocket. A player who recently put his career at risk looked like he wanted to show his team and his city that he appreciated the second chance he was getting.

There were many other contenders for Player of the Week. Vincent Nogueira’s goal and overall workhorse performance stands out. As does Brian Carroll’s two-match run in the middle that has coincided with a shutout streak. But the only other horse truly in the race for PotW was Fabinho. The much-maligned fullback collected two assists against two of the best in the East while playing delightfully solid defense. On many other weeks of this season in the doldrums, Fabinho would have been an easy PotW winner. Rewarding the Brazilian for coming through as part of two consecutive shutout wins was hard to pass up.

Sapong’s performance wins out because it was the type that the Union can build on going forward: The returning striker gave off the brash arrogance of a player that simply accepted he was better than those he was facing, and went about proving it. A team perpetually tripping over its own shoelaces this season, the Union needed somebody to step forward and confidently declare that they feared nobody.

Sapong did that, and his teammates responded.


  1. A good choice, but I nominate the Right and Left goal post as Players of the Week cause if one of those shots, particularly Grella’s (after stunning foot skills in the box) from first half goes in the Eeyore Syndrome would have re-surfaced.
    That said, Noguiera is MOTM for me. He is this club’s Flea… with a tricky tricky redirection for a much needed goal.

    • The Black Hand says:

      Ha! Funny because it is true.
      Fabinho gets the MOTM from me…if only to keep his form running.

  2. The posts are part of the goaltenders equipment. If the goals were meant to go in they would have. We’ve seen the Union hit their share of posts. The Union made their attempts count end of story. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE let that be the real Fabinho! Two weeks in a row he’s made the run and pass that lead to goals. His positioning, his stepping up on Lloyd Sam, his reading the play and reacting. Where has this Fabulous Fabinho been!? Wake me at your own risk!


  3. Fat Uncle Phil from Urkel says:

    I know you spent the time to write an article about why it should be Sapong, but I’m just going to be honest…I didn’t even read it because the answer is Fabinho. And its not even close.

  4. It couldn’t be Fabinho because it’s taking a while for the rocket to get back from the sun to allow him to accept the award.

  5. Fabinho… or his doppelganger…

  6. proof that the union read this website: their spanish language account tweeted a congrats to sapong for being named player of the week by psp

  7. Old Soccer Coach says:

    Apropos of nothing, Eric Bird is apparently on the bench for Harrisburg City Islanders in their USOC game v. Rochester Rhinos tonight (Weds).

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