It's MLS awards season, again, ladies & gents, so we've rolled out the red carpet-- What's that? All we have is cardboard form under the SE/SW Freeway? Fine, spraypaint it red and roll it out. Or slide it out, whatever. Okay! We've rolled out the... Well, we've all voted, anyway, and now it's time to tell you how we think MLS' major awards will and/or should go. It didn't really specify on the ballots, so this should be an interesting little exercise. Let's jump right in with the least consequential of the bunch, working our way up to MVP.
Comeback Player of the Year
Yeah, we took votes on this, but it's a stupid award, and MLS is stupid for awarding it in stupid ways year after year. So I won't dignify the category by telling you how we voted. Nobody wins CPOTY. Nobody ever wins CPOTY.
Newcomer of the Year
- Stefan Ishizaki (LA Galaxy) - No votes - Such is the plight of being overshadowed on one of the best rosters in league history and coming into the league at the same time as these next two guys.
- Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution) - 3 votes - All due respect to Ishizaki and Morales, in my opinion, Jones combined with Nguyen are the reason that New England is the hottest and scariest team in MLS. Something has clicked since Jones has arrived in Foxboro, and his presence has been intergalactic for the Revs. (blazindw)
- Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps) - Winner! 5 votes - If Jermaine Jones had arrived a month earlier, I'd give this to him. He didn't, so I'm going with Morales and his incredible range of passes. I'd also like to take an opportunity to note that Gonzalo Pineda was snubbed here. (ChestRockwell)
AT&T Rookie of the Year
- Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas) - No votes - But only because he had maybe half a dozen games that can legitimately called really good.
- Harry Shipp (Chicago Fire) - No votes - He'll net some in the real world voting, but here at B&RU, no love for Harry.
- Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United) - Winner! All the votes - The most consistent of the three rookies, whereas both Akindele and Shipp went through long goal droughts throughout the season. In comparison, Birnbaum only had one really bad game (against the Houston Dynamo). Had he started the season like this, he would be a consensus pick, but I still think he gets the win. (Ben Bromley)
Defender of the Year
- Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) - No votes - Was a part of the co-best defense in the league, but that defense did a lot of that work without the Maryland grad.
- Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders) - No votes - Like Shipp in the ROTY race, he'll get some love in the real-world voting, but we're all about this next guy here.
- Bobby Boswell (D.C. United) - Winner! All the votes - Chad Marshall had a great year with the Sounders, but no one righted a ship more than Bobby Boswell. He was the best defender this year in MLS and, as captain, led the team to the greatest improvement in league history. Bobby B's the man. (blazindw)
Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year
- Steve Clark (Columbus Crew SC) - No votes - It's an honor just to fill out the required three finalists in what really was a field of two this year.
- Bill Hamid (D.C. United) - Tie! 4 votes - This one's close, but Hamid edges it for making more huge, eye-popping saves than Rimando. It also hurts Rimando in my eyes that a big part of his candidacy is "Well, he should have won it in the past." Yes, he should have, but he should not this year. It's not a cumulative award. (ChestRockwell)
- Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake) - Tie! 4 votes - Rimando, in 24 games > Hamid in 30, like it or not. Bill will get his, I'm sure. (Ryan Keefer)
Coach of the Year
- Gregg Berhalter (Columbus Crew) - No votes - Berhalter did manage to reimagine the Crew without overhauling their roster, but that job is made easier when the guy before you in the job was completely misusing most of the players on the roster, anyway.
- Sigi Schmid (Seattle Sounders) - No votes - Sigi navigated the Sounders to the Supporters' Shield and the USOC crown, but did so with some of the league's highest-paid players, which brings us to...
- Ben Olsen (D.C. United) - Winner! All the votes - It has all been said before. Worst team last year, best team in the Eastern Conference this year. Overachieved with a team that probably shouldn't have done this well, and helped rebuild them to hopefully compete long-term. (Ben Bromley)
Volkswagen Most Valuable Player
- Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy) - 1 vote - Best and most vital player on the best attack in the league. If he's in the lineup for both games in that season-ending home-and-home series with Seattle, it's hard to doubt that the Galaxy hoist the Shield instead of the Sounders. Combine that with his numbers (19 goals, 14 assists) and the eyeball test, and you have yourself an MVP. (Adam M Taylor)
- Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders) - 1 vote - Nguyen didn't pick his form up again until Jermaine Jones came to outer Massachusetts, which leaves Martins and Keane. One would have to presume that even with Landon Donovan and Omar Gonzalez gone for a stretch this season, LA was a more finely tuned machine than Seattle, who would miss Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin. Within that limited realm, I'll pick Martins over Keane. (Ryan Keefer)
- Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution) - Winner! 6 votes - And because it's the MVP, let's hear from multiple contributors:
- Wherein I wonder what would have happened if not for that jerk Felipe. Fabian Espindola's numbers were roughly equal to Nguyen's - and in fewer games - before Nguyen padded his stats with a few more game-winners at the end. Screw you Felipe! (ChestRockwell)
- No one has meant more to his team than Lee Nguyen, whose New England Revolution would have been floundering offensively without him. Jermaine Jones took him to a next level, but Nguyen still doesn't have the talent around him that Martins and Keane do, and so to do what he did is even more impressive. (Ben Bromley)
- LA is in the playoffs without Robbie Keane. Seattle is in the playoffs without Obafemi Martins. New England isn't even close to making the playoffs without Lee Nguyen. Done and done. (blazindw)
Those are our picks. Be sure to let us know in the comments who you think will bring home the hardware for this season.