It's time to hand out the last award of the season, the Most Valuable Player of the year!
2014 End of Year Awards:
- Young Player of the Year
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Offensive Player of the Year
- Match of the Year
- Moment of the Year
Austin Fido - Bradley Wright-Phillips
Twenty-seven goals makes you MVP of the league - even when it doesn’t. Thirty-one goals in 37 appearances makes you MVP of the New York Red Bulls, for sure. BWP just had the best goal scoring season this club has ever witnessed.
Henry effect? Luke Rodgers had nine in the 2011 regular season. Kenny Cooper got 18. Henry is (was...sniff; something in my eye, bear with me) this team’s leader. Has been since 2011. Did he get three times better at soccer between 2011 and 2014? Or is it possible BWP found a way to convert the privilege of playing with Henry into goals more effectively than any former or current Red Bull because of something BWP brings to the field?
Still not convinced? Why did Petke switch from 4-4-2 to 4-2-3-1 toward the end of the season? For me, it was to combine the necessity of Henry’s vision and ability - a constant on the team - with the extraordinary form of BWP. He forced a changed in tactics, forced Henry into midfield, forced Tim Cahill to the bench, and justified the decision with the most goals anyone has ever managed to score in a MLS regular season, plus four in four appearances in the playoffs.
BWP = MVP.
Jason Iapicco - Thierry Henry
A few months ago, I made the case for Wright-Phillips as league MVP. While a case can still be made for him, Henry's end of year performances push him slightly above Wright-Phillips in my book. Thierry Henry led the team with 14 assists (tied for 2nd in the league), and had 7 first assists for Wright-Phillips. Throw in his 10 goals, and Henry had a hand in 24 goals, which is his second best mark in MLS (27 Goals & Assists in 2012 is his best). While Wright-Phillips put away the goals, Henry did have an effect on the team.
It could have been very easy for Henry to mail in his last season with the Red Bulls and take a retirement tour. Instead he put his head down and played. He didn't talk about what would happen with his contract because he didn't want it to be a distraction. He was all about the team, and while he was the most expensive player on the squad, he is worth it, making him a true MVP.
Matt Coyne - Thierry Henry
I’m voting Henry. Yeah, I’m picking with my heart here, but if we’re going to have an MVP for either side of the ball, I’m more than happy giving in to the temptation.
That’s not to say my vote validates the "Henry propped up BWP" idiots out there. Henry only assisted on seven of Wright-Phillips’ 27 goals. Without Henry, he still scores 20, good enough for second in the league. But Henry did lead the team with 14 assists. Chances are, when something good happened, Henry was involved.
But my vote is about more than just production. Henry’s willingness to play further from goal, then move out to the wing validates what we’ve all come to understand about Thierry: He didn’t come here for a working vacation a la Lothar Mattahus, nor did he come for one last payday like Rafael Marquez. The work he put in on aging legs in the twilight of his career to help the Red Bulls try and win something proved he wanted to win something for the team and the city as bad as we wanted it.
I’ll always remember Henry turning to his teammates after the Revolution equalized, holding up one finger and saying, "One goal, one goal." He’s more than just numbers. Take Henry away and the Red Bulls lose a certain stability.
Tim Dean - Bradley Wright-Phillips
Golden boot winner...tied the all time goal scoring record….scored about half of the team’s total goals on the year...without him, RBNY might not make the playoffs. What’s to discuss, really?