Whether or not Toronto FC deserve awards after the way the season ended is heavily debatable, but Waking The Red will be handing them out nonetheless. For the most part, the winners of these awards indicate that this season did not at all go to plan for Toronto FC. In a perfect world, Justin Morrow does not win team MVP. He wasn't even included on the "Bloody Big Deal" poster. Plus this team was selling offense not defense, neither of which really showed up.
Duncan Fletcher: Justin Morrow- No-one absolutely stands out, Defoe had a good half a season, Caldwell was very much missed when he was out, Bradley had his moments here and there and is probably the answer to best player on the team, but most valuable, I'll go with Morrow, very little negative to go with a lot of consistent positives.
James Grossi: Joe Bendik- For all the talk about Bloody Big Deals, Michael Bradley, Gilberto, and the like, it was more often than not Bendik who was there, game in and game out, giving his all to the side. Still raw, but with plenty of up-side, Bendik has grown in the past two seasons from being a side-thought in a trade to a recognized starting keeper in a league not short of talent at that position. As the last line of defense, Bendik would make at least one save a match to give his team a chance at the points - and that is all that one can ask from a keeper.
Mitchell Tierney: Justin Morrow- Bendik is a close second, but Morrow was the most consistent and downright solid player for Toronto FC this year. This recognition doesn't give him close to what he deserves overall, but doesn't get because he isn't a recognizable name. He might well be soon if he keeps up this form next season.
Stouffvillain: Justin Morrow- Played game in game out. Whether it was Nelsen or Vanney both coaches knew they could count on Morrow and what he was going to deliver on the pitch. Rarely if ever out of position, knew when to advance and make an overlapping run and when to stay.
Anthony Gallo: Michael Bradley- Simply for the reason that he looked like a leader, in my mind. He was vocal on the field when the team wasn't performing well, he always wanted the ball so he could move it forward to the strikers in hopes they could finish. Bradley had his ups and downs, but who didn't on this team?
Consensus Pick: Justin Morrow
Offense Player of the Year
Duncan: Jermain Defoe- Going by just the one the pitch stuff, you have to say Defoe. Healthy and engaged first half of the season Defoe. Second half Defoe was pretty useless, quite possibly a negative impact all things considered, but Gilberto's full season contribution wasn't enough to topple him.
James: Jermain Defoe- Hmm. It would have to go to Defoe wouldn't it? Yes, the sagas of World Cup and Premier League returns, as well as a host of injury troubles were a major distraction, but beyond those headlines, Defoe was one of the top strikers in the league when on the pitch - his goals-per-90-minutes (0.65) was up there with the best in the league (after subtracting those small-sample sizes such as Robert Earnshaw; comically Max Urruti was second to only Bradley Wright-Phillips for players with more than 10 starts). 11 goals and 2 assists was a solid return for 19 appearances and 17 starts, especially seeing how many of those came when he was less than fit; if he does return next season, is in the right head space, and can keep fit, Defoe will be one of the top players in the league, no doubt about it.
Mitchell: Jermain Defoe- Impossible to pick anyone else. When he was playing he was fantastic for the most part, and scored just a ton of goals. This was all marred by his conduct off the field, and the rumours that surrounded his possible departure. But goals are goals, and he got Toronto a lot of undeserved points based purely on his finishing.
Stouffvillian: Jermain Defoe- Yes we are all sick and tired of the Defoe saga but the fact is he was TFC's most dangerous player and most prolific scorer we've had since 2009 Dero.
Anthony: Luke Moore- Just because I don't want Defoe winning it. Luke Moore finished his first season with Reds tailing up six goals and four assists in 27 appearances. He was third on the team in goals and even finished fifth on the team in shots per game, according to Who Scored.
Consensus Pick: Jermain Defoe
Defensive Player of the Year
Duncan: Justin Morrow- Consistently did a good job and rarely did anything noticeably bad. Very good signing.
James: Steven Caldwell- A captain, a leader, Caldwell deserves to be heralded as the top defensive player for TFC this 2014 season. Two of Toronto's worst-three sections of the season came when Caldwell was absent through injury - going winless through four and six in July and August-September respectively; that he was not available for the crucial stretch from a 4-1 loss in Kansas City to the back-to-back losses against Philadelphia, the lack of his calming presence definitely a factor in Toronto's downfall. Even as his return for a late push was not enough to ensure a much-wanted playoff berth and through the subsequent disappointment, Caldwell still had the decency to applaud the fans come the end of the season - pure class from the veteran Scotsman.
Mitchell: Justin Morrow- The club has rarely had good defenders, even more rarely good wide defenders. It was refreshing to see what Morrow accomplished in 2014 and what he gives the team going forward.
Stouffvillian: Justin Morrow- The best LB the Reds have ever had. Solid defensively, knows his role offensively. Exactly what TFC needed.
Anthony: Mark Bloom- Most people I heard from say Mark Bloom had a good season and did well for the team. I agree with that statement because most people saw Bloom as a sub who would make the occasional start. Bloom lead the team in tackle per game (2.7) and was fifth in clearances per game (3.4). Not bad for a guy who not many thought would be an important part of a defence that had lacking moments throughout the season.
Consensus Pick: Justin Morrow
Young Player of the Year:
Duncan: Doneil Henry- I'll go with Cyprus's Doneil Henry. Yes there are still the odd moments where it goes horribly wrong, but he does a lot of things right. Overall a strong season from Henry.
James: Nick Hagglund- When Hagglund was acquired his physical prowess was well regarded, but he was largely seen as one for the future. Forced into regular action due to a revolving door of injuries, Hagglund earned his place on the team-sheet, proving himself solid in defense, a threat in attack, and a star in the making. Prone to the occasional rookie mistake, his ability to bounce back and make amends, including that 2-goal outing against Portland after his error led to the Timbers opener, was not the sort of composure and timeliness that one anticipates from a debutant.
Mitchell: Nick Hagglund- This isn't to say Doneil Henry and Daniel Lovitz didn't have good seasons, they did. Hagglund also got off the hook a lot more than Henry did. But it was also because Hagglund made less glaring errors. Playing 25 games is an accomplishment for him that few would have expected, and overall he performed very well. Has the confidence to go places.
Stouffvillain: Nick Hagglund- Hagglund has had the best rookie season we've seen since Sam Cronin. Hagglund still has a way to go but has a great mentor in Caldwell. Bright future as a Red until the next coach trades him away.
Antony Gallo: Dan Lovitz- Many say that Nick Hagglund is the rookie of the year since he played the most the games and not many thought he would make an immediate impact. Lovitz on the other hand, played in 18 games and five of those were starts. Haggling was put in since the team was lacking in the defensive side, and when he got an opportunity, he showed he should be a starter. Lovitz, joined a midfield position that many options to choose from, and even though he was a late sub in most games, he showed he has potential to be a starter in the wide midfield position.
Consensus Pick: Nick Hagglund
Moment of the Year:
Duncan: Gilberto's goal at home against Chicago. Topped off a good run of form for Gil, I like Gil so was very happy to see him score at home, and for the team as well things looked positive, coming off a 4 game road trip where they got 6 points, sitting comfortably enough in 3rd and now set to win against Chicago to bolster that, I was still very very confident of playoffs at that point. That was the high point, then they let in the equaliser, Leiweke announced his departure, they lost 3-0 Nelsen got fired and the rest is pretty dismal history.
James: In a season that saw such a devastating contrast - effervescent optimism chased by soul-crushing acceptance - it only seems fair to get away from that tragi-comedy that was 2014 with a moment that had it been foretold, no TFC fan would ever have believed it possible: a Toronto FC goalkeeper starting for Brazil, as they hosted the 2014 World Cup. Even to this day, it seems unbelievable - did it really happen?
Mitchell: The comeback against the Portland Timbers. It was just such an insane match and the comeback never seemed possible until all of the sudden it was happening. At the time it seemed like getting all three points out of this match could actually push Toronto into the playoffs. But ultimately the never won again.
Stouffvillain: Doneil Henry's departure. At the moment we didn't know that he would be leaving on this European adventure. Henry has always worn his heart on his sleeve. Henry is throwback to the early days when the crowd knew just how much the players appreciated their support and the players showed their gratitude. Best of luck to Henry with his new club I hope to see him lead the Canadian National team in the future.
Anthony: First game when Jermain Defoe scored a brace and the season looked oh so bright. After watching that second goal go in, you think to yourself, this is going to be a great season, Defoe is going to score 30+ goals... Still, a good sign in the beginning to be somewhat proud of.
Let us know in the comments who you think should have won the following Toronto FC awards, and be sure to also check out our MLS version.