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The Brotherly Game Year End Awards

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As the 2015 MLS Playoffs are being fought in cities not named Philadelphia, we look back at a year that saw some positives, but ended short of expectations. All awards had five candidates and were voted on by Brotherly Game contributors.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Player of the Year

Cristian Maidana - 13 votes
Vincent Nogueira - 3
Sebastien Le Toux - 1
Maurice Edu - 0
CJ Sapong - 0

It wasn't hard for a consensus to form in this award category. Maidana increased in nearly every statistical category from 2014, and it seemed that every dangerous possession went through the Argentine. One of the few attacking options for the Union that really knows how to unlock a defense, he will clearly be a key piece moving forward as Earnie Stewart looks to build a side capable of competing in MLS.

Offensive Player of the Year

Cristian Maidana - 17 votes
CJ Sapong - 0
Sebastien Le Toux - 0
Fernando Aristeguieta - 0
Tranquillo Barnetta - 0

The only unanimous vote of the year and it isn't hard to see why. As mentioned above the Argentine improved his statistics in every major category, except for goals. His minutes increased by nearly 250, assists by four, and shots on goal by seven. While it is not necessarily a positive statistic, he was caught offsides 12 more times in 2015, which shows he is pushing forward, trying to be more dangerous to the opponent's backline. No other player on the Union roster posed the same level of promise on the ball as Maidana.

Defensive Player of the Year

Richie Marquez - 8
Andre Blake - 4
Maurice Edu - 3
Fabinho - 2
Ray Gaddis - 0

If we told you at the beginning of the year that Richie Marquez was going to be the most solid defender in blue and gold in 2015 very few - if any - would have believed us. Overlooked and sent to Harrisburg for much of 2014, the Division III college product made his debut against Toronto FC and never looked back. His 1854 minutes was seventh on the team, impressive since he didn't debut until the tenth game of the season. Playing against international stars, Marquez looked more like a calm, collected veteran than an untested youngster. Great things are on his horizon.

Newcomer of the Year

Eric Ayuk - 12
Tranquillo Barnetta - 4
Fernando Aristeguieta - 1
John McCarthy - 0
Steven Vitoria - 0

To say the young MLS rookie stole the hearts of Philadelphia Union fans would be an understatement. If flying past defenders wasn't enough, the first sight of his back flip celebrations was the icing on the top. He tallied two goals and two ssists on just five shots on target in 1320 minutes. The record should also note that it would have been three goals and one ssist, but Zach Pfeffer's butt stole what would have been Ayuk's first ever MLS goal. We expect there to be many more of those back flips in the years to come.

Game of the Year

Shootout Win Against NYRB - 8
First Ever Win at Red Bull Arena - 4
10-man against DC in USOC - 3
US Open Cup Final Loss - 2
3-0 Rout of Portland Timbers - 0

It's no surprise that in another season that included MLS disappointment, a long U.S. Open Cup run to the final produced a Game of the Year from for the second straight year. For the second USOC game in a row the Union were reduced to 10 men and had to battle against a team sitting much higher in the MLS table down a man. This game had it all, a seemingly impossible up hill climb after the red, unbridled joy with Ayuk's goal, crushing disappointment of a stoppage time winner, and then the nail biting anxiousness that only a penalty shootout brings. In the end hometown hero John McCarthy came up big both in the run of play as well as with the spot kicks. The scenes of joy after the Aristeguieta winner will be held closely by Union fans for years to come.

Former Player Missed the Most

Sheanon Williams - 9
Jordan Harvey - 4
Faryd Mondragon - 4
Carlos Ruiz - 0
Michael Farfan - 0

The news that Sheanon Williams was traded after spending the longest running amount of time with the team was a shock to many people. Jim Curtin made the decision very early in the season that Raymon Gaddis was the more valuable resource at right back and made it clear when he moved Williams to left back. After the trade that sent the fan favorite to the Houston Dynamo, the play of Gaddis dipped and many fans were left longing for the days of the long throw-ins and speedy overlapping days of Williams. He will be missed and the tBG community wishes him the best of luck.