SBI MLS Awards

SBI MLS Mid-Season MVP: Will Johnson

WillJohnson (Getty)


When the Portland Timbers acquired Will Johnson from Real Salt Lake, the Canadian midfielder was seen as the perfect piece of the puzzle for new Timbers head coach Caleb Porter.

What Portland fans have learned is what many an RSL fan already knew, that Johnson is a dynamic box-to-box player who instantly makes any team he’s on better. Johnson has taken his game to a new level though, thriving in Porter’s 4-3-3 system, and making the most of being handed the Timbers captaincy.

The result has been a half-season worth of SBI’s Mid-Season MVP honors as the top player in the league through the first half of the 2013 campaign.

Johnson edged out a field that included several worthy candidates, from goal-scoring wiz Jack McInerney to Mike Magee.

Here is a run down of the candidates, as chosen by SBI editorial staff:



The locker room leader, midfield engine and heartbeat of a team that has exceeded expectations like no other team in MLS. Johnson has flourished in Portland and it’s tough to see anybody meaning more to their team in the season’s first half than Johnson.


Gave Johnson a serious run for the top spot given his outstanding impact on the Chicago Fire since joining them. At the rate he is going, Magee has to be seen as a top contender for the season-ending prize.


Not sure MLS has ever had a bonafide 20-year-old MVP candidate, but McInerney certainly qualifies. His 10 goals have been vital in making the Philadelphia Union a legitimate playoff contender in a year they were expected to struggle.


The leader of Montreal’s attack, and the driving force behind their strong first half, DiVaio has shown himself to be one of the best forwards in MLS. That isn’t much of a surprise, but Montreal will need him to keep up that pace if the Impact are going to avoid a second-half swoon.


The Vancouver Whitecaps endured a rough start to the season, but their past month has seen a dramatic turnaround that has them right back in the playoff mix, and the leader of that surge has been Camilo. The Brazilian has been a goal machine in recent weeks and, with the help of Kenny Miller, has the Whitecaps playing some of the best soccer in the league.


Now it’s your turn to cast your vote for MLS Mid-Season MVP.

  • Will Johnson
  • Jack McInerney
  • Marco DiVaio
  • Mike Magee
  • Graham Zusi
  • Camilo Sanvezzo
  • Diego Fagundez
  • Thierry Henry
  • Kyle Beckerman
  • Michel Garbini


What do you think of our selections? Who got your vote for MLS Mid-Season MVP?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Reid

    Ended up going to the first match last year that Divaio played and remember thinking all the quebecois cheering were idiots, that his guy is coming for a final paycheck and will be a complete flop… won’t be the last time I was wrong.


  • Jon

    Can’t disagree with Johnson as the top choice.
    Magee is there as long as he keeps scoring, but Fire have to do better than their current 8th place.

    Robbie Keane should be in the poll over several of the others.


    • Brian

      Keane needs more than 11 of the team’s 19 games played to get MVP consideration. He is undoubtedly an important part of the team, featuring in 7 of LA’s 9 wins, but a player who isn’t on the field every week loses some value.


      • Dinho

        I don’t know the answer to this, but what’s the Galaxy’s record with Keane playing, as opposed to him not playing.

        THAT may tell the story, in and of itself.


  • MB

    It’s not even close. Without Robbie Keane, the Galaxy would be down in Earthquakes territory at the bottom of the Western Conference. He has almost 20 points already this season. Racking up goals and assists in bunches. Galaxy’s entire attack flows through him.


  • Justin

    Where is Morales on this list? He has 4 goals and 6 assists, plus few more from the US Open Cup. He is the reason RSL is second in the league on goals. RSL just happens to be on the top of the table and still no love?



    Will J needed to step out of the shadows of Javi and Beckerman at RSL to let his star shine. That is what happened.


    • Oog

      Agreed. Johnson had the talent at RSL. I think the Timbers system and formation has really unleashed the beast that was sleeping at RSL. I do miss Johnson’s hustle and defensive capabilities he offered at RSL. That being said, I think Valesquez has been a good replacement for Johnson and offers the same style of play with more creativity.

      Either way, he deserves the top spot. I think he was the piece that transformed the Timbers team.


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