Benny Award 6: The Esky, For The D.C. United Fan Favorite

Chris Pontius may be the clear winner among the majority of United's female fans, but can he top DeLeon, Hamid, De Rosario, and Salihi?

The Esky Award made its debut in 2010, replacing the less-important Grosy Award, which was only ever really an excuse for me to post the Rambo Namoff photo as often as possible.

The Esky is presented to the "fan favorite" on the D.C. United roster, and this year's winner will have big shoes to fill. Because the last time we held voting for the Esky, the winner was Jaime Moreno as he finished out his MLS career. This year's nominees don't quite have the history of Moreno, but all are good candidates.

1. Even without his strikingly good looks, Chris Pontius might be the favorite to win this award. He took a significant step forward in his career in 2012, leading the team in goals and finishing ahead of all other attackers in minutes and games played. Pontius' team record six game-winning goals made him easy to root for as well.

2. Nick DeLeon might not have made this list if we'd held the voting at the end of October, but his spectacular performance in the playoffs really won our hearts. DeLeon started to gain in popularity early in the season as his hair grew in height, but he really cemented his place in D.C. United history with a late iconic goal against the New York Red Bulls to knock them out of the playoffs and send United through to the Eastern Conference Finals.

3. As the only United representative involved in the U.S. National Team, Bill Hamid certainly has his share of fans. Like Pontius, Hamid also took his game to the next level this year as a goalkeeper who is now capable of single-handedly winning points for his team, earning a 1.03 goals against average.

4. Considering that he missed the final two months of the season, it's quite impressive that Dwayne De Rosario managed to end the year tied for fifth in MLS with 12 assists. De Rosario trailed just Pontius with seven goals this season. It wasn't quite an MVP year for DeRo, but he still played a huge role in United's success.

5. This guy really shouldn't be named next to the other four players here, in my opinion. But since not everybody agrees with my opinion, and since he clearly has a significant amount of fans among B&RU commenters, here's your chance to vote for Hamdi Salihi. He entered the league with thoughts of being the new Emilio, but might now be leaving it with underwhelming statistics given his potential. The only thing we know for sure is Ben Olsen won't be casting a vote for Salihi here. Olsen is definitely not the Albanian's biggest fan.

My hunch is that these are the five players who would get the most votes if we opened up voting to the entire roster, but if there's a different player who you would have voted for that isn't listed here, please let us know in the comments.

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