The winners of the following awards won't be announced for some time. But since the MLS season is over and still fresh in our minds, the Waking the Red crew set out to determine who we think should win. If you are the winner of one of our awards please email us and we will get your prize to you as quickly as possible. Robbie Keane is sure to have an interesting email address.
Stouffvillain: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)- There was a point around mid-summer when the LA Galaxy were in the 6th/7th range of the Western Conference standings, at that point Keane wasn't playing at his best. As soon as Keane turned it on, scoring 12 of his 19 goals (and every multi-goal game he had) after the World Cup break, LA shot up the standings eventually landing just 3 points off the Supporters Shield.
Duncan Fletcher: Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders)- A few good candidates here, but I'll keep it simple and go with the best player on the best team, and that'd be Martins
Mitchell Tierney: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)- If Keane wasn't always trying to score on cheeky chips, he may have had far more than the 19 he ended up putting home. But he was able to put home a couple of them, one of which is a major candidate for MLS goal of the year. Keane was the catalyst behind LA taking the league by storm in the second half.
James Grossi: Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)-It came down to either Nguyen or Robbie Keane, both prolific and integral to their sides, but Nguyen's season deserves to be honoured. Without Keane, LA would still have been one of the top sides in the league, but without Nguyen, New England would not have made the playoffs. 18 goals and 5 assists saw Nguyen factor in 45% of Revolution goals, while his 9 game-winners far surpassed any other player in the league in that statistic - an indication of how he was there to be counter when his side needed him most; that is an MVP.
Consensus: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
Defender of the Year:
Stouffvillain: Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake)- An absolute rock once again on one of the toughest defenses in the league. RSL had 10 clean sheets this year, including every game in October. Borchers had zero errors leading to goals this year, ahem, Doneil Henry, and played in all but two matches. He's probably one of the first two names on the teamsheet every game and there isn't a forward in the league that likes going against him.
Duncan: Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders)- (He didn't say anything else so I think he felt really strongly about this one).
Mitchell: Bobby Boswell (DC United)- DC United was easily the biggest surprise in this year's season. A big part of that was the defending, which was excellent. Bobby Boswell was the biggest piece on that backline. Chad Marshall comes in as a close second.
James: Bobby Boswell (DC United)- Boswell was one of the lesser-heralded stars of Dominic Kinnear's Houston Dynamo dynasty (say that five-times fast, eh?) and few eyebrows were raised when the veteran centre-back was allowed to leave in the off-season. Wisely acquired by DC, while Fabian Espindola and Luis Silva garnered the headlines, Boswell has barely put a foot wrong, marshaling one of the best defenses in the league - tied with LA for fewest goals-against with just 37, helping United put up the best season-over-season turnover in league history.
Consensus: Bobby Boswell (DC United)
Newcomer of the Year:
Stouffvillain: Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers)- Portland was seen as one of the title contenders coming into the year, however in the first half of the season their defending was downright horrid. Unorganized play and giving up plenty of goals this team was set to be the biggest disappointment of the season bar none. Enter Ridgewell, a CB DP unheard of in MLS. Since His first game Portland tightened up considerably on the back end. Portland had 1 clean sheet before his arrival and six since. Portland still wasn't the strongest defensive team but Ridgewell gave a team hope for the post-season when they had none before his arrival.
Duncan: Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps)- Without an exact list of who qualifies for this and who doesn't, I'll go with Pedro Morales, who's been very very good for the caps.
Mitchell: Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps)- Morales was the engine behind a very solid Vancouver Whitecaps team. While he struggled at times adjusting to the league, he was overall fantastic throughout the campaign. Can play a ball to anywhere on the field, from anywhere on the field.
James: Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps)- As went Morales, so went Vancouver and despite that controversial penalty call it came as little surprise that with the Chilean playmaker forced off early, having struggled on the night, it would not end well for the Whitecaps. With 10 goals and 12 assists on the season, Morales contributed to the score-sheet, but what those numbers do not evidence is just how important he was to virtually every good thing that Vancouver did, at least until Sebastian Fernandez woke up and Mauro Rosales was acquired. Had his lingering injury issues not held him back, he would have been even better.
Consensus Pick: Pedro Morales (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Rookie of the Year:
Stouffvillain: Steve Birnbaum (DC United)- The DC CB has stepped in right away and contributed to the Eastern Conference champions. Forming a bond with Bobby Boswell, Birnbaum has been able to make the jump to MLS look easy. There is still progress to make but Birnbaum looks to have a bright future.
Duncan: Steve Birnbaum (DC United)- a few different players looked impressive at different times, Harrison Shipp, Tesho Akindele, Patrick Mullins and more, but none of the attackers really impressed consistently. I'll go with DC's Steve Birnbaum who had a fairly solid and consistent year in defence.
Mitchell: Harrison Shipp (Chicago Fire)- Wasn't incredibly consistent, but showed flashes of being head and shoulders above any of the other candidates. 7 goals and 6 assists aren't anything to phone home about, but they are indicative of a player who will be a future star in this league.
James: Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas)- This award really comes down to two players - Tesho in Dallas and Harrison Shipp in Chicago. Shipp definitely had the edge through the first few months, but as the matches became really important, Akindele flourished. 7 goals and 3 assists, not including his legendary injury-time winner over in-state rivals, Houston, in the US Open Cup, Akindele was lights out for a ten week spell. Sure, his production dropped off a bit as he was rested toward the end of the season, but he showed his quality with the opening, albeit deflected, goal in the Knockout Round. Plus he is Canadian, attended the Colorado School of Mines, and makes a fine video.
Consensus Pick: Steve Birnbaum (DC United)
Coach of the Year:
Stouffvillain: Ben Olsen (DC United)- Took what was a terrible team last year and turned it around in just one off-season (are you paying attention TFC?). DC used the young talent they had and added proven MLS veterans to fill the voids. Bringing in Boswell and Espindola to tutor the likes of Luis Silva and Steve Birnbaum proved to be great moves. Ben has this team playing at such a level that they have a legitimate shot to come out of the East in the playoffs. That's a great achievement in such a short time frame.
Duncan: Ben Olsen (DC United)- Can't really argue with that big of an improvement.
Mitchell: Bruce Arena (LA Galaxy)- After a lacklustre start to the season, the LA Galaxy transformed into the scariest opponent in MLS for the second half. They finished only three points out of the Supporters Shield, and are likely favourites to win MLS Cup. He orchestrated that transformation midseason.
James: Ben Olsen (DC United)- From navigating the potential pitfall of a disastrous 2013 - it took some skill to stay in place - to the off-season roster overhaul, to finishing top of the league, Olsen has earned this accolade with his single-minded determination, keeping his side focused and on task despite the heady position and distraction plaudits through their way. A 43-point turnaround from one season to the next set a new mark for MLS, while Olsen has remained singularly focused on the goal of hoisting another MLS Cup for a storied franchise that has had to wait too long for number 5.
Consensus Pick: Ben Olsen (DC United)
Goalkeeper of the Year:
Stouffvillain: Bill Hamid (DC United)- 10 clean sheets conceding just over a goal a game with 111 saves. The best young American keeper bar none. If keeper weren't such an undervalued commodity in the transfer market Hamid would be headed to a big European team already.
Duncan: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)- Maybe Hamid, maybe David Ousted, but I'll go with Nick Rimando who was his usual sold self, especially early in the season.
Mitchell: Bill Hamid (DC United)- The stats speak for himself, he had an incredible 2014 season highlighted by a great performance in the All-Star game. Is the future of the US National Team between the pipes.
James: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)- At the tender age of 35, Rimando is one of the wonders of MLS; how he has gone through thirteen-seasons without taking the award for top keeper is astonishing - an oversight that should be corrected this season. The departure of Jason Kreis was a potential disaster for Salt Lake, but with Rimando between the posts - not to mention his ability to pull jaw-dropping saves out of nowhere at the most crucial moments - there was little risk of an epic collapse. He set the all-time clean-sheet record this season, surpassing Kevin Hartman with the 113th of his career, ending the season with 115 total and was nearly unbeatable from the penalty spot, allowing just 1 from 5 attempts.
Consensus: Nope (Chivas USA)
Let us know in the comments section below who you would pick for each of the aforementioned awards, and how wrong we are for picking the players we did.