Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Backpost’s First Annual Wizards End of Year Awards - (Part 2)

Comeback player - Lance Watson
Lance was injured at the beginning of last year and never really got going. This year, he was able to secure a starting role at right back (not his natural position) and held it until Vermes took over.

Coach of the Year – John Pascarella
As the goalkeeper coach, he worked with all of the keepers far more extensively than his predecessor. Even when the top keeper or two might be in the team scrimmage, the other keepers would still be getting drilled and vice versa. He had the keepers working together as a group, pushing each other, learning from each other and improving throughout the year. The keepers normally worked longer than any field players.I saw more odd looking drills with goalies rolling under, diving and jumping over obstacles to block shots to all corners. Hartman’s Save of the year finalist was a save that he and all of the Wizards goalies actually practiced.

Forward of the year - Josh Wolff
Josh is streaky, low-key, quite, confidant and mostly unflappable. He came to play and did his best. Career high in goals and other personal achievements never went to his head.

Midfielder of the Year – Claudio Lopez
I am not sure how it happened, but he seemed to quietly score 7 goals with 8 assists. He still has the drive and creativity. With age catching up to him, he manages to still contribute. I would love to see him on a team with more options. .

Defender of the Year - Matt Besler
What?!!! Not Jimmy? Nope, my pick is Matt. No, he was not always the best defender on the field (nobody else was always the best either). Matt was steady. He had few bad games and played well at left back and in his more natural position of central defender after Vermes took over. Once Matt snagged a starting role early in the season he never let go.

Rookie of the Year - Matt Besler
When Matt came to the Wizards, he was moved to left back, started early in the season and beat out more experienced players to keep starting. He started more games than all but 4 of his teammates. The other rookie on the roster Graham Zusi started off well but due to injury and others was never able to cement a starting spot.

Team MVP - Kevin Hartman
More saves than anyone else in MLS. Numerous records, fantastic saves, kept the Wizards in games they should have lost. Really no other choice. If I gave a hardest worker award, Kevin would get that as well. He was normally practing long after others went in. Kevin would do everything the field players did (usually in the slower group running), face tons of shots in drills and scrimmages with the keepers and still be practicing when other players were already driving out of the parking lot.

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