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MLS names Olsen Coach of the Year; Wallace Comeback Player of the Year

Olsen USA TODAY

Photo by Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports

 

By RYAN TOLMICH

D.C. United’s quest from worst to first has earned their head coach recognition from MLS.

The league announced Tuesday that D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen has been named MLS Coach of the Year for leading the team to the top of the Eastern Conference. In addition, the league also revealed that Portland Timbers midfielder Rodney Wallace has been named Comeback Player of the Year for his performances after missing the first 16 matches of the 2014 season.

After winning just three times in 2013, Olsen’s D.C. United surged to the top of the conference in 2014 with a club-record 59 points in what became the league’s biggest single season turnaround. D.C. United’s resurgence came on the back of the defense, as the club put together a 52-goal turnaround from 2013 while finishing 16-0-1 when scoring first.

Olsen was voted as the runaway winner, topping the Seattle Sounders’ Sigi Schmid, Columbus Crew’s Gregg Berhalter and FC Dallas’ Oscar Pareja for the award.

Meanwhile, Wallace claimed the league’s Comeback Player of the Year for his performances after undergoing knee surgery that kept the Timbers midfielder sidelined for nearly half of the regular season.

The Costa Rican recorded five goals and an assist in his 17 appearances with three of those goals coming in back-to-back victories over the San Jose Earthquakes during the club’s attempted playoff run in October.

Wallace was recognized ahead of the New England Revolution’s Charlie Davies, the Sounders’ Stefan Frei and D.C. United’s Chris Pontius.

What do you think of the league’s choices? Who would you have chosen for the pair of awards?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. Don’t really care about Comeback Award, but I like to see Frei’s name get mentioned, he really played well the second half of the season…and I don’t think he is done improving.

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  2. Comeback player of the year is the most ridiculous award. Get rid of that crap already. Sorry you got hurt, but welcome back, good job getting doctored up.

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  3. No question that Olsen deserved this award, and he was the first-place choice of each voting group…notwithstanding that SBI editors chose Pareja, who came in fourth in the league voting. For what its worth, I thought Pareja deserved a 2nd place finish, as Schmid and Arena didn’t have a lot to do this season (beyond Arena’s figuring out a new left back).

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    • Agreed. I think OP did a great job with Dallas and that there is much more to come from Oscar,….however, hard to argue with Olsen’s ‘worst to first’ act. I would have voted for Olsen.

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    • Pareja began with a roster that was nearly unchanged from the previous season, even though the team did not make the playoffs. Well, except that he drafted the Rookie of the Year for the second year in a row – a player that all the experts said he drafted too high. Then, he brought back a player who had been cut and started him in 29 games, crafting him into a top defensive midfielder in the league. Pareja’s biggest achievement might have been unlocking Castillo’s potential as a top young winger. Dallas was then knocked out of the playoffs by tieing the Supporters’ Shield winners, a solid accomplishment. Pareja has set Dallas on track to be playoff contenders for years to come.

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