Breakers Announce 2013 Player Awards

Breakers interim head coach Cat Whitehill earned Defender of the Year honors - Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, the Breakers announced their 2013 Player Awards; The Bent Musket analyzed the official ballot in light of our own awards, presented earlier this week.

On Thursday, the Breakers unveiled their 2013 team awards, as voted by media members and Breakers players and staff. The Bent Musket carried weight in the process, supporting the players it celebrated earlier this week, though Boston's ballot offered different results. The breakdown occurred as follows:

Golden Boot: Sydney Leroux (Bent Musket Vote: Sydney Leroux)

Team MVP: Lianne Sanderson (Bent Musket Vote: Heather O'Reilly)

Defender of the Year: Cat Whitehill (Bent Musket Vote: Cat Whitehill)

Analysis

Leroux, who tallied four game-winners during an 11-goal 2013 campaign, was the obvious and only choice for Golden Boot as the Breakers' leading scorer. The U.S. International twice earned NWSL Player of the Week honors, using her attacking speed and awareness to patiently beat opposing keepers.

Sanderson continually impressed in 2013, turning in a quiet-yet-highly-effective first season in Boston. Her seven assists led the team, and her five goals ranked among the top two (Heather O'Reilly, 5; Leroux 11). So why did the Bent Musket chose Heather O'Reilly as the team's MVP? While the decision proved difficult - and we certainly don't disagree with the Sanderson selection  -  O'Reilly contributed her five goals in more impactful spots, scoring three-game winners in 2013. On our ballot, O'Reilly just edged out Sanderson for the prestigious award.

Whitehill started all 22 matches last season, providing consistency and reliability in a not-so-flashy core. The center back also found comfort on the attack, moving up field to contribute two goals and an assist. Whitehill's leadership set her apart as an uncontested candidate for 2013 Defender of the Year.

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