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New York Red Bulls 2010 MLS Season Awards Contenders

With the close of the 2010 MLS regular season fast approaching, the hype is building around the year-end MLS awards. Much of that buzz is swirling around Red Bull Arena as the first-place Red Bulls have several nominees in the running. Here’s a quick look at New York’s contenders:

Juan Pablo Angel
Award: Most Valuable Player

The Colombian striker is enjoying one of his most consistent and productive seasons since joining the Red Bulls back in 2007. In 2010, Angel has amassed career-highs in both games played (28 so far) and minutes (2,413 so far). He ranks second in the league with 13 goals, and has also registered three assists, while firing a career-high and MLS-leading 98 shots. Three of Angel’s goals have been game-winners, and two of them have come in second half stoppage time, including his dramatic free kick winner against Houston on June 2.  Angel has earned MLS Player of the Week honors twice, for Week 13 and Week 18.

VIEW: Juan Pablo Angel player page
WATCH: Angel's free-kick winner vs. Houston (6/2)
WATCH: MLS Goal of the Week for Week 13 - Angel puts it away at KC (6/26)
WATCH: Angel scores second of two at Houston (7/31)

The Volkswagen Most Valuable Player Award is awarded to the player judged to be the best performer during the Major League Soccer regular season.

Hans Backe
Award: Coach of the Year

Coming into the 2010 season, the organization’s goal was to make the playoffs. Not many thought that the Red Bulls would qualify for the playoffs with plenty of room to spare, and would be in a position to finish the season on top of the Eastern Conference. But that’s just what the team has done during the first year of Backe’s tenure in New York. The Swede has transformed the team in just one season from pretender to contender, and the Red Bulls have completed one of the best single season turnarounds in league history. The club has improved by nine wins and 27 points from last season, and has a legitimate shot at MLS Cup.


VIEW: Hans Backe bio
WATCH: Red Bull New York introduces Hans Backe as head coach (recap)
WATCH: Hans Backe Introductory Press Conference (full version)

Major League Soccer will honor the League's top coach with the MLS Coach of the Year award, an annual award given to the coach judged to have made the greatest contribution to his team during the regular season.

Joel Lindpere
Award: Newcomer of the Year

Not much was known about the Estonian International when he signed with the team back in preseason, but it didn’t take long for the league to see his exploits. Lindpere has consistently been the Red Bulls best midfielder throughout the season, and is a huge reason the team is at the top of the Eastern Conference table. Lindpere got the team off to a dream start in its new stadium, rocking the house with the first ever league goal at Red Bull Arena on opening night, his first of two goals so far this season. The Estonian has showed a penchant for setting up his teammates, as he leads the club with six assists. His workrate and versatility has allowed the coaching staff to employ him at virtually all midfield positions.

VIEW: Joel Lindpere player page
WATCH: Lindpere scores first MLS goal at Red Bull Arena (3/27)
WATCH: Lindpere scores game-winner vs. Toronto FC (8/14)
WATCH: Lindpere backheel assists Henry goal vs. Colorado (9/11)

The Newcomer of the Year recognizes the first-year player with previous professional experience (and therefore not eligible for Rookie of the Year) who has made the biggest positive impact on his team.

Tim Ream
Awards: Rookie of the Year and Defender of the Year

Ream may have been the third player the Red Bulls selected in this year’s MLS SuperDraft, but when all is said and done, he may end up as the top rookie in the entire league for 2010. The neophyte has shown a calmness and poise at the back some veterans wish they possessed, and he has been the best defender all season on a first place team.  Ream not only leads his club, but the entire league in minutes played this season; it’s easy to do that when you don’t sit out a single minute through your first 28 professional games. For good measure, he also notched a game-winning goal back on September 11 versus the Colorado Rapids, his first professional goal. But, Ream’s calling card is his ability to prevent goals, and he’s done that better than just about anyone in MLS this season. 

VIEW: Tim Ream player page
WATCH: Ream opens MLS account with game-winner vs. Colorado (9/11)
WATCH: Ream keeps Cornell Glen off the board vs. San Jose (8/28)
WATCH: Ream denies Galindo vs. Chivas USA (6/5)

The VISA Defender of the Year award will be awarded to the player judged to be the best defender (among field players) during the MLS regular season.

The MLS Rookie of the Year Award is awarded to the player judged to be the best first-year player who has no prior professional playing experience before his MLS debut and/or completed his college or high school eligibility.

Chris Albright
Award: Comeback Player of the Year

When New York acquired Albright on Draft Day 2010, his status for the season was uncertain. Albright was in the middle of rehabbing a debilitating knee injury with multiple setbacks, an injury that limited him to just one appearance in 2009 with the New England Revolution. Albright completed his long journey back to the field on April 27 in the U.S. Open Cup, and made his return to league play on May 20th versus Columbus. Since then, Albright has locked down the Red Bulls’ starting right back spot, starting in 17 matches and registering two assists. The veteran has provided the Red Bulls defense with some leadership and experience, and has cemented himself as one of the most important cogs in New York’s push for a title.

VIEW: Chris Albright player page
WATCH: Albright gets assist on Ubiparipovic goal vs. Houston (6/2)
WATCH: Albright earns assist on Henry tally vs. San Jose (8/28)

The MLS Comeback Player of the Year award honors the MLS player who has overcome injuries and adversity to regain his stature in the league.

Carlos Mendes
Award: Comeback Player of the Year

After being limited to just 12 appearances in 2009 because of a hip injury, sixth year defender Carlos Mendes is in perhaps the best form of his professional career in 2010. Since being reinserted into the starting eleven on May 29 at New England, Mendes has become a fixture in central defense, starting in 18 matches. Together with central defense partner Tim Ream, Mendes has helped lead a Red Bulls defense that has allowed the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference. 


VIEW: Carlos Mendes player page
WATCH: Mendes stops Brek Shea scoring chance vs. FC Dallas (9/16)
WATCH: Ream and Mendes team up to deny Toronto FC (8/21)

The MLS Comeback Player of the Year award honors the MLS player who has overcome injuries and adversity to regain his stature in the league.