By DAN KARELL
An argument can be made that the 2013 MLS Rookie class is the strongest in league history, but there was only one player who showed his consistency week in and week out during the course of the season.
Notre Dame product Dillon Powers made 29 starts in 30 games for the Colorado Rapids, establishing himself as a rock-solid central midfielder with the ability to defend and distribute, as well as attack and take corner kicks at the professional level.
Powers unfortunately missed the final four games of the Rapids’ season due to concussion symptoms, including their knockout round defeat to the Seattle Sounders in the playoffs. However, the 22-year-old scored five goals and added six assists on his way to being voted 2013 SBI MLS Rookie of the Year.
Powers beat out a strong field of contenders for the honor. Here is a rundown of the runners-up:
Like his teammate Powers, Brown proved over the course of the season to be the best rookie forward in the league. The 22-year-old made 31 appearances with 24 starts this season for the Rapids and finished the year with a rookie-high 10 goals and four assists. Brown’s contributions earned him his first caps with the Jamaican national team in October.
The only member of the 2013 SBI Rookie of the Year finalists not to be taken in the MLS SuperDraft, the Seattle Sounders first ever homegrown signing had himself an impressive first season. Showcasing his speedy runs forward down the right wing as well as a high work rate, Yedlin played 35 times in the regular season in MLS and the CONCACAF Champions League, scoring two goals to go with two assists.
The No. 1 pick of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft shouldn’t feel hard done by not winning the award, as he had a very solid season filling a need in the back line for the New England Revolution. Along with A. J. Soares, Jose Goncalves, and Chris Tierney, Farrell played 34 times in the league and U.S. Open Cup combined, helping lead the Revolution back into the MLS playoffs for the first time in four years.
There were plenty of other impressive rookies this season, including Gyasi Zardes, Kekuta Manneh, and Shane O’Neill, but the three players above and Powers stood out from the rest of the group as voted by the SBI staff.
What did you think of our selection? Which rookie stood out to you the most in 2013?
Share your thoughts below.