Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon, and Ben Olsen nominated for end of year awards

Will these two take home some year-end hardware? - Paul Frederiksen-US PRESSWIRE

United continue their streak of nominations for end of the year awards with nominations for Comeback Player, Rookie, and Coach of the Year.

In 2009, Chris Pontius was nominated for Rookie of the Year; in 2010, Andy Najar followed suit and won the award too. In 2011, Perry Kitchen, Charlie Davies, and Dwayne De Rosario were nominated for Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player of the Year, and Most Valuable Player, with DeRo winning. This year, Chris Pontius, Nick DeLeon, and Ben Olsen were nominated for Comeback Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year, with the results of those races yet to be determined. All of these players, Davies excluded, are part of the current core of D.C. United, built upon the ashes of forgotten seasons.

Pontius should be the prohibitive favorite to win over Alan Gordon and Eddie Johnson. Johnson in particular fails a pet peeve of mine about this category; a comeback player of the year nominee should not have come back from sucking, they should have come back from injury. Gordon was injured for a good part of last year, but his injury did not derail a season like Pontius' did. CP13 should and will win this category.

Nick DeLeon has continued United's track record of impressive rookies, as detailed in the first paragraph. Unfortunately, he's going to lose to Austin Berry, against the voting preferences of your B&RU writers. If the voters had been able to take the postseason into consideration, I am convinced that DeLeon would have won in a walk.

Finally, Ben Olsen is up for coach of the year, against Frank Yallop of San Jose Earthquakes and Peter Vermes of Sporting Kansas City. Yallop and Olsen are the clear favorites in this category, bringing under-performing teams into first and third place in the league. The conventional wisdom again says that the United candidate will lose, and I have less of a problem with this one. The 'Quakes were one point worse than United last season and eight points clear of them this season. However, no one would object to Ben Olsen winning and I would be shocked to see Vermes in second place in front of either of these candidates.

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