Fans' View

Fan’s view: Looking back at my preseason predictions

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

The 2022 Philadelphia Union regular season has come to a close and I wanted to revisit some of my March 2022 predictions with the benefit of hindsight.

Predicted Top Scorer: Mikael Uhre

Top Scorer: Daniel Gazdag

Well… I think I can speak for all Union fans on this one: no one was expecting Gazdag to have an MVP-caliber season and finish tied for second in the Golden Boot race.

Gazdag had a tremendous season, breaking many Union records as an instrumental part in the team’s success. Because of how hot the Union became in the summer, scoring many goals in routs over DC United, Colorado Rapids, and Houston Dynamo, Uhre was not a horrible original prediction. Uhre finished the season with 13 goals, the third-most on the team. I was, however, right in predicting that it would take Uhre some time to get used to the league. It took Uhre six games to net his first goal, the first goal ever at Nashville’s Geodis Park.

Predicted Most Assists: Kai Wagner

Most Assists: Kai Wagner

I was right on the money for this one!

Kai Wagner has put up an exquisite season, notching the most assists from a left back ever in an MLS season. This pick was never really a doubt for me because of how the team relies on his service. I have noticed that whenever a team presses Wagner immediately or does not allow him to move forward to whip in crosses, the Union panic. However, the Union have been on a tear at home, where Wagner has accumulated most of his assists via set pieces.

Predicted Young Player of The Year: Paxten Aaronson

Young Player of The Year: Jack McGlynn

This pick was basically a flip of a coin for me, because both of these players have the ability to change a game. Unfortunately, I thought that Aaronson would get more opportunities to shine, but Gazdag’s form limited those opportunities. The different question is would have Aaronson produced if given the minutes?

Without knowing the answer, Jack McGlynn was excellent when called upon to replace the injured Alejandro Bedoya. His absurd IQ of the game and his magical left foot were proven to unlock the defense in an instant.

Predicted Defender of The Year: Jakob Glesnes

Defender of The Year: Jakob Glesnes, Jack Elliott, Kai Wagner?

This prediction is definitely the one that might cause the most controversy in the comments – but for me, Kai Wagner is the Union’s 2022 Defender of The Year.

Wagner notched a MLS record-breaking fifteen assists (for a defender) and was a valuable asset to this team’s defensive and attacking success. Some would even argue that he is so valuable that he is close to irreplaceable. Jakob Glesnes and Jack Elliott have been superb defensively, but every once in a while they tend to dribble out of the back, lose the ball, and then almost get scored on. Nevertheless, they had remarkable defensive seasons, but Wagner’s historic season just cannot be overlooked.

Predicted MVP: Andre Blake

MVP: The Goat (also known as Andre Blake.)

Yet again, Andre Blake has delivered a tremendous season for The Boys in Blue. The Union’s longest-tenured player led the league in clean sheets with fifteen, and repeatedly put the team on his back throughout the whole season.

Blake is not just the Union’s MVP, but I think he should also be the MLS MVP to boot.

Predicted Newcomer of The Year: Julian Carranza

Newcomer of The Year: Julian Carranza

While there were not many options, I am proud of the reasoning behind how I predicted this one.

Julian Carranza ended the season with 14 goals and six assists, and I predicted that he had the ability to generate goals and assists for this club. Influential in the Union’s attacking prowess, the former Inter Miami man netted two hat tricks against Eastern Conference foe DC United, en route to a 7-0 and 6-0 thrashing.

His time in Miami was not great to say the least, but it looks like he has revitalized his career in Philadelphia this season.

Predicted Goal of The Year: Jack Elliott

Goal of The Year: ?

This season, The Philadelphia Union have put on a show, scoring seventy-two goals and ending with a goal differential of +46, the best in the league. Because of this, it is tough to pick just a single goal as the best of the bunch.

To narrow it down, my top three are Jack McGlynn’s free kick vs Houston, Julian Carranza’s bicycle vs DC United, and Daniel Gazdag’s volley vs Toronto.

Predicted Finish: Second in the East (and nothing below fourth)

Finish: First in the East

After just missing out on the Supporters’ Shield trophy and some Decision Day drama, the Union locked up the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the second time in three years. This was a season to remember, breaking many personal and MLS records. Additionally, the Union players Gazdag and Carranza have two hat tricks each, scoring four total hat tricks this season, which is half of the Union hat tricks of all time!

Another Philadelphia Union season is in the books as the Union gear up to face a red-hot FC Cincinnati team containing numerous former Union players and coaches. It will not be a friendly match though, as both teams know if they lose, their season is over. With or without Union captain Alejandro Bedoya, the Union need to be ready, because this is when the real season starts and where “good teams become great teams.” And although I love Ray Gaddis, if he scores on us…well, I can’t even wrap my head around the possibility.

As for next year? I predict that no matter what happens, I will be back here rooting for the Union.

One Comment

  1. You didn’t make a prediction as to how many games the Union would win by at least a touchdown?

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