The Philadelphia Union earned an award for their fair play on and off the field by MLS officials. The award goes to the team that overall shows the most sportsmanlike conduct during the course of the season. The Union are no stranger to the Fair Play Award. There is also an award that goes to a single individual, and Sebastian Le Toux won that award in both 2010 and 2011.
Some of the biggest factors that go into the decision are the number of fouls and cards accumulated by the players. In that light the Union performed admirably this past season. They ranked 6th in fewest fouls per game with 12.1. But the Union were by far best in the league in fouls that resulted in a card. The Union committed 23 such fouls last season, 10 below the next lowest club, DC United, at 33. They had 37 total cards this past season, 11 below the next lowest team.
The Union earned just five red cards in 2015. If it weren't for one minute of play by Corben Bone against Chicago, it would have been four.
The players who played least fair on the Union were Fabinho and Maurice Edu. Fabinho averaged 1.6 fouls per game and had a team high 6 yellow cards. Maurice average 1.5 fouls per game and earned 5 yellow cards. Cristian Maidana did the most to help the Union win the award committing just 0.2 fouls per game while Sebastian Le Toux was his gentlemanly self with just 0.4 fouls per game.
There will be some cynics out there who wonder if this means the team isn't intimidating enough or strong enough to physically impose their will on an opponent. However committing more fouls isn't necessarily better. Chivas USA led the league with 55 fouls resulting in cards (they were 2nd in total fouls), and the Chicago Fire and Montreal Impact were 3rd and 4th respectively. None of those managed strong seasons despite their rough play.
Congratulations to the Union for winning the XBOX Fair Play Award.