David Accam’s disappointing first season with the Union came as a surprise to those who’ve watched his years in MLS. How could a guy who tallied 38 goals and 16 assists in three seasons with the Chicago Fire deliver just two goals and no assists here?

The answer came in October, when the Union revealed that Accam needed surgery to fix lingering effects of a sports hernia operation last winter. Going back under the knife ended his campaign.

No one was more disappointed in how the year went than Accam himself. The 28-year-old Ghanaian knew he had more in him, and knew the big money the Union spent on him — a $1.2 million transfer fee and a $1.25 million salary — put pressure on him to deliver.

The new year brings a chance for Accam to finally put his woes behind him. He isn’t all the way back to full health yet, but he has looked pretty sharp in scrimmages this week.

"I feel much better than I was last year," he said. "I did a lot of work around my groin and hip. … It took time, but so far I'm really happy with where I am now."

Union manager Jim Curtin was asked Wednesday for his view on Accam’s recovery, and made a surprising admission: The team may have rushed his recovery last winter.

“We should take a little bit of the blame for that,” Curtin said. “We maybe pushed things a little bit too hard in the [2017] preseason and didn’t allow time for him to fully recover. … We know exactly what he brings to the table: he’s a guy that can be a 15-goal scorer in our league [and] a guy that defenses are scared of.”

Accam is determined to become that player again — and to quiet critics he knows are out there.

“Last year was one of my worst seasons in my career, not [just] in MLS,” he said. “I know that’s not me, and I know the qualities I have and what I can do. This year, I have a lot to do to prove to people that I’m good enough, and I can come back to my best that I’ve been before.”

As the worst of the rehab work wound down, Accam got something even better to celebrate. Earlier this month, he married Florence Dadson, a former Ghana women’s youth national team player who has spent the last eight years in the United States.

The wedding was held in Ghana, and landed the couple on some celebrity gossip pages there. It also gave Accam a chance to see his family for the first time in a year.

“It was amazing to go back home and do a lot of stuff for the community,” he said.