Jay Simpson's clutch performances in the Union's wins over Seattle and Kansas City earned him national attention on Tuesday, as he won MLS player of the week honors.
The award was given by the North American Soccer Reporters, a group of journalists who cover men's soccer at all professional levels across the U.S. and Canada.
In the win over Seattle, Simpson entered the game as a substitute in second-half stoppage time and sparked the play that led to Fafa Picault's winning goal. Then, against Kansas City, he scored both goals in the 2-0 win. It was his first time scoring for the Union since the 2017 season opener, his first game for the team.
The two recent appearances were just his third and fourth of the year, and his first since April 14. He played a full 90 minutes for only the third time in his Union tenure.
Simpson has taken a lot of criticism during his time here for failing to live up to the expectations put upon him when he was signed to be the team's top striker. Earnie Stewart gave the Englishman high praise at the time, and also a sizable paycheck. Simpson earned over $500,000 last year, and is earning around $623,000 this year.
He was beaten last year on the depth chart by C.J. Sapong, and this year by both Sapong and Cory Burke.
But the Englishman was classy all along the way, working every day to try to earn his way back on to the field. So he was within his rights to vouch for himself after his heroics on Sunday.
"I feel like I'm an honest player — I come in every day, I work hard, I work my [rear] off every day and put in the hours," he said. "Obviously, you hope to be involved, and when you're not, it's disappointing. But I've got a lot of supportive teammates around me who help to keep me going. … Even if you're not getting a look in the team, you try to do it for yourself to get something out of it."
Philadelphia Union play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera, whose work broadcasting American soccer goes back over 30 years, was named on Tuesday as this year's recipient of the U.S. Soccer Federation's Colin Jose Media Award. By winning the award, Dellacamera earns induction into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.
Dellcamera's voice has narrated some of American soccer's most famous moments, going all the way back to the U.S. men's national team's win at Trinidad and Tobago in 1989 that ended this country's 40-year World Cup drought. He has called nine men's World Cups, including this year's; five women's World Cups, including the U.S. women's team's triumphs in 1999 and 2015; and three Olympics. He has also called countless U.S. national team, MLS, games, UEFA Champions League and Europa League games, and has even done some hockey play-by-play over the years.
The Massachusetts native will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in late October, when it opens its new museum at FC Dallas' Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Though the Union haven't officially clinched a playoff berth yet, the team is close enough that it has started selling tickets for potential home playoff games. They are available through the team's website. For the time being, tickets can only be bought for a full playoff run, with purchasers charged only for games that the Union host.