We’re in the middle of MLS’s Post-season award schedule. With the craziness surrounding a trip to Portland to watch the awesome RSL victory in the Western Conference Championship, the Thanksgiving holiday, and gearing up for a trip to MLS Cup, I haven’t found a moment to comment on these awards. However, it’s never too late, right?
Here is the overall schedule for release of the awards. RSL Coach Jason Kreis is vying for the Coach of the Year award which is set to be released later today, and Nick Rimando is still in the running for both Save of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year. The only other shot for an RSL player is a potential best XI nomination. Again, Rimando may be the best bet there. Although with the year he has had, you could argue Ned Grabavoy should be considered as well.
SCHEDULE of AWARD RELEASES
November 25:AT&T Rookie of the Year, Xbox Fair Play Individual & Team of the Year
November 26:MLS Defender of the Year, MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, and Referee/Assistant Referee of the Year
December 2: MLS Coach of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year
December 3: 2013 MLS Best XI
December 4: Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year and Newcomer of the Year
December 5: AT&T Goal of the Year, MLS Save of the Year and Volkswagen MLS MVP
Of the awards already released, there aren’t really any big controversies. Nice to see Matt Reis get recognized for his involvement in the Boston Marathon bombing situation. Colorado Rapids snared a couple of talented rookies this season and it showed in the voting. I know it’s not cool to congratulate referees, but I think they nailed it with the selection of Hilario Grajeda this season.
AWARDS ALREADY ANNOUNCED
AT&T Rookie of the Year: Dillon Powers, Colorado (Deshorn Brown finished 2nd)
Xbox Fair Play Individual: Darlington Nagbe, Portland
Xbox Fair Play Team: LA Galaxy
MLS Defender of the Year: José Gonçalves, New England
MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year: Matt Reis, New England
Referee of the Year: Hilario Grajeda
Assistant Referee of the Year: Kermit Quisenberry
There are some interesting decisions yet to be made. I think I have a hunch on where a few of them are headed, but I’m sure a couple of them will be a surprise.
AWARDS NOT YET ISSUED
MLS Coach of the Year (Dec 2nd)
Candidates: Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake), Mike Petke (New York Red Bulls), Caleb Porter (Portland Timbers)
My guess: Caleb Porter (Portland Timbers)
Thoughts: Of course Jason Kreis has done a phenomenal job with his squad over the last 6 season’s, but he will almost be punished for his prior successes when it comes to this award. Porter has orchestrated a phenomenal turnaround with the Timbers, which makes it hard to argue this one.
Comeback Player of the Year (Dec 2nd)
Candidates: Kevin Alston (New England Revolution), Conor Casey (Philadelphia Union), Lamar Neagle (Seattle Sounders FC)
My guess: Lamar Neagle (Seattle Sounders FC)
Thoughts: Always a bit confused by this category. I get Neagle and Casey (sort of), but why is Alston in this category?
MLS Best XI (Dec 3rd)
My guess: Nick Rimando, Tony Beltran, Chris Schuler, Nat Borchers, Chris Wingert, Ned Grabavoy, Kyle Beckerman, Luis Gil, Javier Morales, Alvaro Saborio, Robbie Findley.
Thoughts: Kidding! (sort of) Just too many possibilities.
Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year (Dec 4th)
Candidates: Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City), Donovan Ricketts (Portland Timbers), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
My guess: Donovan Ricketts (Portland Timbers)
Thoughts: I so want this one to be Rimando, but think he’s going to be a 2nd place victim once again. If I had a vote it would have been Rimando.
Newcomer of the Year (Dec 4th)
Candidates: Jose Goncalves (New England Revolution), Nigel Reo-Coker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
My guess: Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
Thoughts: All good choices. Reo-Coker showed the little bit of leadership that Vancouver had this season, but Valeri and Goncalves are a bit more deserving.
AT&T Goal of the Year (Dec 5th)
Candidates: Diego Valeri (-vs- NYRB), Juan Agudelo (-vs- Chicago), Thierry Henry (-vs- Montreal), Camilo (-vs- Portland)
My guess: Camilo (Portland Timbers)
Thoughts: This one was ridiculous! The only one that I felt was better than Javier’s bike (which didn’t make the finals).
MLS Save of the Year (Dec 5th)
Candidates: Raul Fernandez (-vs- LA Galaxy), Nick Rimando (-vs- Colorado), Donovan Ricketts (-vs- Vancouver), Jaime Penedo (-vs- Vancouver)
My guess: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Thoughts: A few good ones in the group, but coming back towards the goal and across the goal mouth at the same time to narrowly save it off the line seems to be a slight edge over the other three.
Volkswagen MLS MVP (Dec 5th)
Candidates: Marco DiVaio (Montreal Impact), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire)
My guess: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
Thoughts: Keane spent the last couple of seasons in Beckham’s shadow but really asserted himself among the best in the league this season. DiVaio and Magee are both great players, but Keane was on a different plane this season.