The Benny Awards march ever forward and the second award to be given out is the Nelly Award, which is given to the best newcomer to the team. It is, of course, named after Ryan Nelsen, former D.C. United captain, MLS Cup winner, and now the coach of Toronto FC. Past winners of this award include Branko Boskovic, Louis Crayton, Dejan Jakovic, and Lionard Pajoy.
1. John Thorrington: Thorrington came to D.C. United during the Re-Entry Draft and proved to be a solid veteran presence. He started and played well in D.C. United's first win, against Real Salt Lake, before getting injured and missing time. When he came back, he was key in the run to the US Open Cup final. He captained the team from time to time and provided veteran leadership on a team that lacked it.
2. Luis Silva: Silva came to D.C. United in a midseason trade from Toronto FC; for all the hay that was made about teams fleecing Chivas USA in trades, this one could be the most lopsided trade of the year. After his arrival, Silva scored three goals in his first three games and ended up tied for United's goalscoring lead. With the release of Dwayne De Rosario, Silva is poised to take over his role going into next season.
3. Kyle Porter: Porter came from FC Edmonton of the NASL and was initially supposed to be a spot starter and impact substitute for the team. Injuries and poor play forced Porter into a starting role, in which he was up and down. But, at the end of the season, he was back in that impact sub role and he played well again.
4. Conor Doyle: Doyle came on loan from Derby County in the English Championship, and his purchase option has already generated debate. He was the best of an admittedly poor strike corps, scoring two goals in his half season in the District. He makes good runs, gets into good positions, and we can hope that his finishing touch will improve with more confidence should he return.