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SBI MLS Mid-Season Most Improved Player: Rodney Wallace

RodneyWallace (GettyImages)

By IVES GALARCEP

When Caleb Porter arrived in Portland, and surveyed his roster, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of Rodney Wallace. What he did know is that he wanted to try him somewhere else on the field.

Porter’s decision to move Wallace, used throughout most of his pro career as a fullback, into an attacking role as a wide forward in a 4-3-3. The result has been a breakout season that has seen Wallace emerge as one of the most dangerous wing players in MLS.

The Costa Rican National Team player has produced four goals and five assists since emerging as a regular starter, and despite his time away with Costa Rica in June and July, his season still stacks up as the most impressive turnaround in MLS this year.

Wallace isn’t the only player in MLS to enjoy either a breakout campaign, or a turnaround after a rough 2012. Here is a rundown of the other players who were in the running for MLS Mid-Season Most Improved Player of the Year, as well as SBI’s Mid-Season Most Improved Best XI:

SBI MLS MID-SEASON MOST IMPROVED PLAYER CANDIDATES

1. RODNEY WALLACE

Before the season began you could probably find more Portland Timbers fans who would have been fine with Wallace being waived, but Caleb Porter moved Wallace into an attacking role and he’s been a terror ever since.

2. DIEGO FAGUNDEZ

It isn’t exactly a surprise that he is having a breakout season. He has long been regarded as a future star, and now he is showing just why folks in New England have been buzzing about him for years.

3. RUSSELL TEIBERT

The young Canadian sensation has been a real revelation for the Vancouver Whitecaps, producing two goals and six assists in 11 matches since becoming a regular.

4. ATIBA HARRIS

After enduring an injury-plagued two-year stint in Vancouver, Harris arrived in Colorado without much expected. All he has done is set a career high for goals already (with five) and become a real leader on a team that has done well despite a ton of injuries.

5. BOBBY SHUTTLEWORTH

The New England Revolution have posted the best defensive numbers in the league so far this season, and while the back four deserves a lot of credit for that, Shuttleworth has also done his part, making several quality saves and establishing himself as one of the pleasant surprises of the season.

————

SBI MLS MID-SEASON MOST IMPROVED BEST XI

Rodney Wallace——Lamar Neagle———Atiba Harris

Diego Fagundez——————————Russell Teibert

———————–Marcelo Sarvas————————-

Roy Miller————————————Kofi Sarkodie

——Andrew Jean-Baptiste—Shane O’Neill————–

——————–Bobby Shuttleworth———————

HONORABLE MENTION

Donovan Ricketts, Brad Knighton, Ethan White, Hassoun Camara, Nathan Sturgis, Bernardo Anor, Dilly Duka, Kelyn Rowe, Andrew Jacobson, Conor Casey, Joao Plata.

———-

What do you think of our pick? What player would receive your vote for SBI MLS Most Improved Player so far in 2013?

Share your thoughts below.

11 comments
  • Michael

    Wait, Pajoy isn’t on this list? What about Own Goal for DCU? He’s just been stellar this season.

    Like

  • biff

    So seeing how well Caleb Porter is handling his players combined with his winning ways, is he going to be the next USMNT coach when Klinsmann steps down in 20 years?

    Like

    • Daniel

      He had a rough time with the U-23s which kind of tarnished his rep with US Soccer. Let’s let him have a good few years before we talk about this.

      Like

      • Chance

        He had a rough go with the U-23s because of interference from others

        Like

      • Hogatroge

        False.

        Porter’s roster selections, game plan, and substitutions (or lack of) on multiple occasions during that short tournament were poor. It’s on him.

        Does that mean he has no future with the USSF? No. But stop trying to apologize for his failure in Olympic Qualifying. It’s his fault.

        Like

      • Tony in Quakeland

        He said he learned from it, and based on what he’s done with Portland, who am I to disagree?

        Like

  • Nick4235

    That line up looks ridiculously attacking. In other words well done Ives, well done.

    Like

  • Charles

    Neagle should define a valuable player in MLS, making $50k, willing to sit on the bench, but probably forces himself into at least some playing time. Definitely ready to go if someone can’t.

    What was Montreal thinking ?

    Like

  • Tony in Quakeland

    Got to call Roy Miller the long shot of long shots on this list…

    Like

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