The Philadelphia Union cannot be stopped.
The team triumphed 5-1 over recent US Open Cup winners Orlando City, as goals from Daniel Gazdag, Mikael Uhre, Alejandro Bedoya, Jack Elliot and Joao Moutinho propelled the Union to lead the Supporters’ Shield standings with 63 points in 31 matches.
The victory also prompted head coach Jim Curtin to add Daniel Gazdag’s name to the 2022 Landon Donovan MLS MVP race after the player boosted his statistics to 19 goals and nine assists.
“He's up there and he should be considered,” Curtin said, lobbying for Gazdag. “They're both amazing and they've both had amazing seasons, Mukhtar and him. But I think that's probably who it's going to come down to and I think I'll at least bring that up for my guy.”
Gazdag first joined Philadelphia in 2021 from Hungarian side Honved and has since become an integral part of Curtin’s side. He managed four goals and five assists across 23 matches during his introductory campaign before really taking off this season.
Nashville SC’s Hany Mukhtar has had an amazing 2022 MLS campaign, with 22 goals and 11 assists in 30 games. But Curtin insists the league must look beyond statistics to consider Gazdag.
“What I'd say about Daniel is the work he does defensively, which does not show up usually in MVP voting, I ask everyone who has a vote to watch just how much this guy does off the ball. The ground that he covers, the way he takes away the other team's almost two sixes in games,” Curtin said.
“So yes, the goal contributions are record numbers for Daniel and I love seeing him score and I love seeing him get assists, but if you talk around MVP – most valuable player – and doing all the things that game involves, on the defensive side Daniel's as good as anyone in this league. I think it's obviously going to come down to [Gazdag] and Mukhtar for the MVP of the league. Andre's probably sprinkled in there, pushing and still involved as well. But they just don't like goalkeeping.”
While the race for league MVP continues, so does the battle for the Supporters’ Shield. The Philadelphia Union maintained their lead in the Eastern Conference table with 63 points, surpassing favorites LAFC by three points. But with a one game advantage, the Western Conference giants might just take it all.
The Union have just three matches left in the regular season before kicking off their playoff campaign in hopes to lift the MLS Cup.