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Brotherly Game’s Union Midseason Awards

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The best and brightest of Brotherly Game’s writing staff came together for a roundtable to give out awards during the MLS All-Star break

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Philadelphia Union Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Union’s Most Valuable Player is:

Eugene Rupinski, Managing Editor of Brotherly Game: Andre Blake. The guy is consistently the best player on the pitch most games for the Union - even when the other players are doing well. We're lucky to have him here.

Alex Klein, Writer at Brotherly Game: Andre Blake, as usual makes all the big saves to keep the Union in every game.

Nick Youngstein, Writer at Brotherly Game: Andre Blake. He bails out the defense so often, and without him, they'd be hurting.

Matt Ralph, Editor at Brotherly Game: Is there anyone but Blake who qualifies?

Jordan Wohl, Writer/Game-day Correspondent at Brotherly Game: It has to be Blake. He is the best player on this team, bar none. He wins points for this team week in and week out and, without him, the Union situation would be much more grim.

Union Unsung Hero Award:

Eugene: CJ Sapong. I know it's hard to pick a striker and your team's leading goalscorer as an unsung hero, but has there been less noise around a guy who has scored as many goals as he has? Jordan Morris has 2 and he's on the USMNT. Sapong has 10 and nada.

Alex: Oguchi Onyewu, he hasn't played in two years and he has stepped up to lead the Union back line, he's been solid all year.

Nick: Fafa Picault. Union haven't gotten goals from their wing players much this year. His speed makes teams defend Union differently.

Matt: John McCarthy has been good at saving shots hit right at him so does that count?

Jordan: I like what Onyewu has done this season. People did not expect much from him coming into the season, but he has been a revelation this season so far. He has anchored a young backline and provides a very physical defensive presence.

Most Disappointing Person so far this season:

Eugene: It's hard to pick just one player, but Roland Alberg takes it for me with Jay Simpson coming in a close second. Simpson saw his spot taken after he was injured and Sapong caught fire. Alberg on the other hand has been behind the curve since training camp and has blown every opportunity given to him to take the 10 spot. Couple that with his public spat with Sapong over taking penalties and he's quickly writing his ticket out of town.

Alex: Keegan Rosenberry, Played every second last year, gets called up to the USMNT Camp in January, then promptly loses his spot to Ray Gaddis.

Nick: Chris Pontius. His drop in production this year is why Fafa's emergence has been needed. He's not finding himself in scoring positions, and is often just covering defensively.

Matt: I'd say Simpson but he's at least helped light a fire under Sapong so I'll go with Alberg because he plays way more than he should.

Jordan: Ilsinho is my most disappointing player. I like him much more in a supersub role. However, he has had nowhere near the impact his pedigree would dictate. There is little reason as to why he was starting of Fabian Herbers (when he was healthy) and Fafa Picault (when he was healthy).

Worst Moment of the Season so far:

Eugene: Andre Blake's injury during the Gold Cup. Just when he was shining brightest on a big stage another player's poor judgement, maliciousness, or sheer idiocy ends all talk of him going to Europe - at least for now. Blake will be back, but to me that was the worst moment.

Alex: The last 10 minutes of the NYCFC game from June 3. The Union had been on a hot streak and it really seemed like this game was going to push them even further to really charge up the standings, but they ended up dropping the points.

Nick: Losing the 3-goal lead vs Montreal. Nacho Piatti's goal in the first half was tragicly defended, but the third goal was far worse. Not only because it took away what should have been an easy, statement win, but it showed that Union were not ready to be a contender. The worst part of the moment was that it felt inevitable after the second goal. Brutal.

Matt: That David Villa goal Jack Elliott will have nightmares about the rest of his time on earth.

Jordan: It’s very close for me between that David Villa chip of Andre Blake and blowing that three goal lead versus Montreal. I have to give it to that three goal lead evaporating against Montreal. Villa’s goal was absolutely stunning, but going up three goals 41 minutes into a match and only getting a point, especially when the team had not won a match yet, is probably the rock bottom of the season.

Best Moment So Far:

Eugene: The first win of the season. After such a rotten stretch of games and just when things were their bleakest, CJ Sapong's hat trick gave everyone reason to hope again.

Alex: First win of the year, always good to put one over the Red Bulls, and I was happy for CJ that he got a hat trick.

Nick: CJ Sapong's 10th goal. Not only did it mark CJ's single season high, but it was retribution for the PK he got yanked from him (and not converted) by Roland Alberg.

Matt: Derrick Jones starting the first game. It's been hard to get excited about too much this season other than thinking about the future.

Jordan: There has not been many high moments of this season, so the first win of the season is the easy choice. When Sapong scored that first goal that game, the crowd went wild for the first time this season.

Prediction for the second half:

Eugene: I think the Union can pull together a few wins and will be right around the red line come October. If they can keep key guys healthy and perhaps pick up a 10 during the transfer window then they'll be a good look to be in the playoffs. If they stand pat on the 10 and more key players go down with injuries I think they'll make a lot of New England Revolution fans happy with their pick in the upcoming SuperDraft.

Alex: I think the Union will continue to play their hot and cold brand of football the rest of the way, great one week, crap the next. I think we'll be seeing a lot of new faces next year, and I think Blake will probably be gone after this season.

Nick: Union will be the best team to not make the playoffs. They will mix grind-out victories with lifeless losses. They have a difficult schedule the rest of the way, so I don't see them sneaking into the playoffs like last year.

Matt: More of the same, some wins here and there at home, underwhelming performances on the road and plenty of angst to go around.

Jordan: They have the hardest remaining schedule of any team in MLS. Can they somehow put together a few wins and steal that last playoff spot in the East? You can never say never, but I don’t see it happening as the Union fall about four or five points below the red line at the end of the season.