The Benny Awards continue ever onward, and to day its time to give the Bobby Award, given to the team's most improved player. It's named for once and current D.C. United defender Bobby Boswell, who went from an undrafted rookie to Defender Of The Year in just a two-year stretch.
Unlike last year, there are plenty of players who improved dramatically over last year (and even throughout this season). But which one of them can join the ranks of previous Bobby Award winners, such as Chris Korb and Ethan White?
1. Taylor Kemp: Kemp played only limited minutes in his rookie season, at both left back and left wing. This season, his first game against the Houston Dynamo was a personal as well as a team defensive disaster. But after that game Kemp improved dramatically defensively and turned into an offensive threat. His season culminated in that second playoff game against the Red Bulls, with that sublime cross to Nick DeLeon.
2. Nick DeLeon: Speaking of Nick DeLeon, he has gotten a lot of nominations all across the ups and downs of the Benny Awards. But after being generally ineffective last season, he was asked to play a new role this season and did it well. We've talked about the details (pinching in, auxiliary central midfielder, glue) in other posts, but I am excited to see what the future holds for DeLeon, in whatever position he plays.
3. Luis Silva: Acquired from Toronto FC for basically nothing, Silva came in and was immediately the team's leading scorer (albeit with three goals). After starting off hot with United in 2013, he got cold down the stretch like everyone else. This season, he started as an attacking midfielder, before injury forced him to the bench and moved Davy Arnaud into the middle. When he came back, however, he partnered up top with Fabian Espindola, they turned into one of the most effective duos in the league, and he more than doubled his career high in goals.
4. Andrew Dykstra: After spending most of last season with the Richmond Kickers, and winning USL PRO goalkeeper of the year, Dykstra came back to D.C. and beat out Joe Willis for the main backup spot to Bill Hamid. When Hamid was out injured, Dykstra stepped in a performed admirably, leading United to their first two wins of the season. With Joe Willis gone to Houston, Dykstra has locked down the backup spot when his Achilles is healed.
There is the slate: who is your most improved player of the year?