The time has come for us to pontificate on mid-season grades and awards for the New England Revolution. Not that anyone really wants to; this season has, for lack of a better word, sucked. Nevertheless, we'll begin today with an awards breakdown.
MVP: Shalrie Joseph
Could it have been anyone else? The Captain is the team's leading goalscorer and consistently the best player on the pitch. More than ever before, Shalrie has been asked to perform the duties of a holding midfielder, playmaker, and target forward all at the same time. With a dearth of talent around him, the Grenadian has had one of his most difficult seasons yet in a Revolution uniform, but remains the class of Foxboro all the same.
Honorable Mention: Matt Reis
Breakout Player: Chris Tierney
Some could argue that last season was Tierney's coming-out party and this season is just a continuation of that, but for me, this season is a whole new ballgame for the Wellesley native. Despite appearing to lose his starting job early in the season, Chris has come roaring back into form and is consistently one of the better passers and creators on the pitch. His set-piece prowess has been on display all year, and no one on the roster can deliver a cross the way he does. If the Revs had a few more finishers on the roster, Tierney might have five or more assists already, but as it is he is on pace to have his best statistical season yet.
Honorable Mention: Sainey Nyassi
Comeback Player: Matt Reis
I'm not certain that anyone else on the roster fits the description I had in mind for this award: the player best rebounding from a poor 2010 season. Reis played hurt all through last season and even when healthy, it looked as though his days as a starting MLS keeper were numbered. This season he's been a revelation. Behind an increasingly porous defense constantly left stranded by awful midfield giveaways, Matt has been standing on his head to keep the Revs in matches they have no business staying in. While he isn't quite the elite-caliber goalkeeper he once was, without him the Revolution would likely be setting records for incompetence in defense.
Honorable Mention: Sainey Nyassi
Rookie Of The Year: A.J. Soares
No rookie on the roster has played more minutes and been as effective in his role as the incorrigible Soares. Every other spot in the back line has been a bit of a revolving door due to form and injuries, but no matter who is partnering him, Soares has been rock-solid in the center. He's made a few expected rookie mistakes, but has also displayed a bulldog-like tenacity and reasonably good positioning sense. This decision was also made relatively easy due to the fact that he is one of only two rookies who has seen significant time.
Honorable Mention: Stephen McCarthy
Biggest Flop: Ousmane Dabo
It feels somewhat wrong to label Dabo as a flop, but you can't ignore the fact that he was brought in to provide leadership and stability in the midfield and has instead provided all of that to the bench and trainer's table. In the few cameos he has made the former French international has looked like the real deal, but until he strings a few starts together he can't be considered a successful acquisition for this squad. His continued absence is especially infuriating when you consider the Revs' difficulty in maintaining possession, something at which Dabo excels.
Honorable Mention: Rajko Lekic
Who are your mid-season award winners? Continue the discussion in the comments below!