Haris_VAN

If you've paid attention to Major League Soccer the last few months than you pretty much know which player is going to win the 2019 Landon Donovan MLS MVP. But just because Carlos Vela is having one of the best seasons in the league's history doesn't mean other players should receive acknowledgment for their own impressive 2019 campaigns. MLSSoccer.com's Andrew Wiebe took the time to recognize those players and one is from the Boys in Blue.


One of the key pieces of the 2019 Philadelphia Union has been midfielder Haris Medunjanin and he's been so vital that the 34-year-old hasn't even missed a minute of the season. That wasn't something many imagined when the club discussed pubically the shift from the 4-2-3-1 to a 4-4-2 diamond that presses.


"The question before the season started was whether Medunjanin had the legs to excel as a defensive midfielder in MLS," Wiebe wrote. "Turns out that question was mostly a red herring. Medunjanin doesn’t need to run and tackle that much when he’s got Jamiro Monteiro, Alejandro Bedoya and Brenden Aaronson buzzing around him."


With that defensive assistance (Medunjanin is no passover on defense either with 34 tackles and a 60 percent tackle success rate), the Union attack has been generated from the veteran.


"Nobody’s completed more passes (2,052) than the 34-year-old this season," Wiebe states. "In fact, nobody is even close. LAFC’s Eduard Atuesta is 163 behind. These aren’t just sideways and backwards, either. Medunjanin leads the league in successful passes in the opponent’s half (1147). He’s fourth in successful passes ending in the final third (585). The players around him in those categories are the best attacking midfielders in MLS: Carles Gil, Alejandro Pozuelo, Nicolas Lodeiro. Medunjanin might just be the most effective player in possession. He accounts for 16.1 percent of the team’s completed passes, one every six or so, by far the highest percentage among the elite orchestrators around the league. The game’s flows through his feet during the Union’s best-ever season."