- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On October 12, 2010
- 0 Comments
- Alvaro Saborio, Blaise Nkufo, Jimmy Nielsen, Joel Lindpere, Marko Perovic, Newcomer of the Year, Ryan Smith, Thierry Henry
The end of season awards can always be tricky to gage, especially going into the final two weeks of the season. But I’d like to think the Newcomer of the Year award is really down to just a couple of guys for once. The league brought in a slew of quality players this year and a larger number of Designated Players but before all those high profile guys came in this summer there were a couple guys that were brought in to start the year that have made the real difference.
It may be an advantage over those mid-season additions but either way you spin it to me the one’s that have made the biggest difference this season are the ones worth voting on in this award.
Now there have been some disappointments this season for sure in the new talent department but we have to expect that each season. Thankfully we did have a few guys that showed up for real when they came to MLS and showed they can make a big impact on their teams and the playoff race.
1. Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake) – If I had to vote today it would be for this guy. His production is is tops on his club with 10 goals and he’a also brought in four assists. His toughness and speed are hard to handle and opposing teams still have trouble figuring him out. Lucky for RSL he wants to stay with the club once the season ends and not return to Switzerland where he came in on loan.
2. Joel Lindpere (New York Red Bulls) – Before there was Rafa Marquez and Thierry Henry there was Lindpere. The real difference maker in my eyes for the Red Bull’s remarkable turnaround this season. His six assists this season have help guide the Red Bulls from dead last in the east a season ago to the top of the food chain in their conference.
3. Jimmy Nielsen (Kansas City Wizards) – I think its safe to say that without the White Puma the Wizards would not even be close to the playoff chase that they are currently in. Nielsen comes up with monster stops each week and has kept the Wizards in the hunt much longer than most folks around the league expected. He’s also made KC fans forget some guy named Kevin Hartman.
4. Ryan Smith (Kansas City Wizards) – Yes another Wizard player. Smith has been huge in getting the offense going for the Wizards this season. His speed and ball skills on the wings have been very tough to handle for other clubs and his play with Kei Kamara as of late shows real potential for the future in KC.
5. Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) – Even though he’s only played in a few games he’s presence on the field has greatly improved the Red Bulls mentality and approach to the game. Had he come over to start the year he’d likely be ending the season with this award.
6. Blaise Nkufo (Seattle Sounders FC) – Same as with Henry, Nkufo has helped change the locker room in Seattle from their mid-season issues to a team that is looking for the USOC-MLS Cup double this season.
7. Marko Perovic (New England Revolution) – One of the lone bright spots this season for the Revs is Perovic. His six goals lead the club and he’s been one of Steve Nicol’s go-to guys over the last two months.
8. Geovanni/Khari Stephenson (San Jose Earthquakes) – I lump these two together for a couple reasons. Both have only played a small number of games but each have been big in their own way of getting the Quakes into the playoffs since joining the team.