Dániel Gazdag's Double Penalty Kick Goals Secure MLS Player of the Matchday
In a remarkable display, Dániel Gazdag, the talented midfielder of the Philadelphia Union, secured the prestigious MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire accolade for Matchday 25 of the 2023 season. Gazdag's outstanding performance included scoring two penalty kicks, propelling his team to a resounding 2-0 victory over Nashville SC.
Gazdag's clinical precision from the spot showcased his exceptional skills and contributed significantly to the Union's fourth away triumph this season. This remarkable win elevated Jim Curtin's squad to the impressive fourth position in the Eastern Conference standings, boasting a record of 11 wins, 7 losses, and 4 draws, amassing a total of 37 points.
The Hungarian maestro has consistently demonstrated his penalty-taking prowess for the Union, maintaining a flawless record of 16 successful conversions out of 16 attempts. This remarkable feat places him second in MLS history for the longest unblemished run at the start of a career, surpassed only by Seattle Sounders FC captain Nicolas Lodeiro, who achieved 18 consecutive successful penalties. Gazdag's eight spot-kick goals this season cement his status as the fifth player in MLS history to reach this milestone, following Ola Kamara's accomplishment of nine penalties for D.C. United in 2021.
With his two penalty finishes in Matchday 25, Gazdag is now within striking distance of history, needing just one more successful penalty kick to equal the single-season MLS record of nine. This record is currently shared by three different players. Gazdag's expertly executed penalties occurred in the 40th and 84th minutes during an eventful match at GEODIS Park, marred by a scuffle that led to double red cards for Shaq Moore of Nashville and Julián Carranza of Philadelphia in second-half stoppage time.
Gazdag's recognition as Player of the Matchday marks the third time a Philadelphia Union player has received this distinction in 2023. He joins Carranza, who earned the accolade in Matchdays 15 and 17, and Mikael Uhre, who claimed it in Matchday 8. Notably, the Union is the sole MLS club to accumulate four Player of the Matchday honors this season and has now collected a total of seven across the past two seasons. Gazdag's previous victory in this category occurred in Matchday 27 of 2022, making him the fourth player in club history to achieve multiple wins in their career.
As the Union seek to capitalize on their impressive away triumph, they eagerly anticipate their next fixture in Matchday 26, where they will host Eastern Conference rivals New York City FC at Subaru Park on Saturday (7:30 ET | MLS Season Pass).
The MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire is determined through a process that combines media and fan voting during each regular-season matchday. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) accounts for 75 percent of the vote, while the remaining 25 percent is determined by a Twitter fan vote. NASR consists of professionals from various media platforms, including print, television, radio, and online outlets.