A number of players have contributed to Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s success so far this season. After all, the ‘Caps are in the midst of their best MLS campaign to date and are very much in the race for the MLS Supporters’ Shield, awarded to the top team in the regular season.
But who should be the 2015 Whitecaps FC BMO Player of the Year?
There are no shortage of options. Members of the club’s technical staff, as well as the media, determined the five names on the ballot.
Now, the choice is yours.
Voting runs until Monday, October 12. You may vote once per day.
Here are this year’s nominees (in alphabetical order):
MATIAS LABA (M)
Last year, Matias Laba was Vancouver’s unsung hero. Safe to say he’s unsung, no more.
The 23-year-old defensive midfielder has been an absolute force in Vancouver’s midfield and has played a big part in Vancouver’s league-leading defensive record. His ability to read the play, stifle the opposition’s attack, and quickly move the ball up field has been invaluable to Vancouver’s success – both defensively and on the counter.
Case in point: Laba leads MLS with 129 tackles so far this season. Remarkably, the ‘Caps have regained possession as a result of 113 of those tackles – an 87.6 per cent success rate.
On the offensive side, the Argentine has also chipped in with a pair of goals – one in MLS play and one in the Amway Canadian Championship semifinal – as well as an assist.
KEKUTA MANNEH (W)
As the old adage goes: “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”
Just ask Kekuta Manneh.
The 20-year-old winger has been one of Vancouver’s most dangerous offensive players all season long. He’s currently second on the team with six goals to go along with his team-leading six assists.
He’s scored some big goals, too, including two against defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy.
Manneh was recently ranked as the second best player under the age of 24 in MLS.
DAVID OUSTED (GK)
There’s a reason David Ousted was an MLS All-Star this season.
The 30-year-old Dane has quickly established himself as one of the top goalkeepers in the league. As it stands, he leads the league in wins (15) and is second in clean sheets (11). More importantly, he has given Whitecaps FC a chance to win every night, even when they probably had no business doing so.
Case in point: his two-PK save performance vs. New York Red Bulls back in June, when he was named MLS Player of the Month. Or his diving, goal line stop on Philadelphia’s Andrew Wenger in May.
Ousted has won the MLS Save of the Week award four times this season. He’s also the only Whitecaps FC player to have played every minute of every MLS regular season match thus far.
CRISTIAN TECHERA (W)
He may be small in stature, but Cristian Techera has made a massive impact in his first MLS season.
In just 18 regular season appearances (he joined the club in April), the 5-foot-2 winger has produced six goals and four assists. Techera is averaging 0.43 goals per 90 minutes, which is the second best goal-scoring rate on the team.
The 23-year-old Uruguayan has added a new dimension to Vancouver’s attack – one that has made the league-leading ‘Caps a handful for opposing defenders.
KENDALL WASTON (D)
No team has conceded fewer goals than Whitecaps FC (31) so far this season.
Ousted and Laba deserve a lot of credit for that – but so does
The 6-foot-5 Costa Rican has been a tower of strength in the middle of Vancouver’s back line. He’s been particularly dominant in the air, accumulating a total of 123 headed clearances (just three short of the league leader).
Waston, who also has one goal to his name this season, leads the ‘Caps in total clearances, blocks, and interceptions. That speaks for itself.
Not only has Waston been one of Vancouver’s most valuable players this season, he’s also played himself into the conversation as the best centre back in MLS.
* All stats as of September 25
2011: Camilo Sanvezzo
2012: Young–Pyo Lee
2013: Camilo Sanvezzo
2014: Pedro Morales
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