With 66 key passes, 30% shot conversion rate and a team-leading 17 goals, it’s pretty clear that the New England Revolution’s Lee Nguyen should be a MVP candidate. While Nguyen, who is currently the highest scoring American-born player in the league, is probably the most deserving of a MLS accolade, the Revs do have a few other individuals that merit consideration.
Charlie Davies – Comeback Player of the Year
Five years after a car accident nearly took his life, Davies is helping his hometown team find success. When Davies first joined the Revs on loan from Randers FC, there were plenty of questions about what he could offer. The former US national team player didn’t contribute much in his first three months in Foxboro as he only played 23 minutes over the course of four appearances. Doubts continued in 2014 with Davies often being sidelined with injuries.
Then he turned a corner.
On July 19, Davies made his first start in Revolution colors. While he only played 56 minutes and his team lost 2-0 to FC Dallas, there were moments that showed that Davies might be an important piece in fixing the Revolution’s woeful attack. As the starts multiplied, Davies’ confidence and importance grew.
With three goals and four assists on the year, Davies’ numbers aren’t as good as when he played with DC United in 2011 (11 goals and one assist). Regardless, it can be argued that the New Hampshire native is playing some of his best soccer since the accident. Comeback Player of the Year is an ambiguous award and it could certainly go to Davies.
Jermaine Jones -- Newcomer of the Year
Fine, he’s only played in nine games since joining MLS, but you can’t deny Jones’ influence.
Consider that the Revs have gone 7-1-1 with Jones on the field. More than a defensive midfielder, Jones has posted impressive attacking numbers, including two goals and four assists. Even more impressive is the fact that both goals have been game-winning goals and three of his four assists have been game-winning assists.
With ten goals and eleven assists, Pedro Morales is probably the frontrunner for Newcomer of the Year. Still, Jones deserves consideration. The Vancouver Whitecaps will likely sneak into the playoffs. Meanwhile, Jones has helped his team move from a tie for sixth place into a top three finish.
Jay Heaps – Coach of the Year
The problem with MLS awards is that they often go to the individual who has made the most drastic impression. With this in mind, DC United’s worst-to-first season will likely earn Ben Olsen the Coach of the Year award, but let’s also consider Heaps’ steady improvement.
Over the course of three seasons, Heaps has shown incredible growth. The Revolution’s record was 9-17-8 in 2012 and 14-11-9 in 2013. With one game left to play this season, Heaps’ men have already amassed a record of 16-7-9. The progression is proof of Heaps’ perpetual development in the areas of scouting, tactics and more.
Heaps, who has coached 101 regular season games, is the second-longest tenured coach in Revolution history. He is also only the second coach to lead New England to multiple postseason berths. The Massachusetts native has done a lot since obtaining his first head coaching job and an MLS award would serve as recognition of how far he’s come.