Tuesday, November 8, 2011

MLS Rook of the Year: CJ Sapong

So the kid doesn't just have fresh flows when Hope Solo drops into KC. Turns out he can ball, too.

As I'll do with the conclusion of each of these votes, here's a look back at my rookie of the year ballot on August 3. Far, far before this thing was through.

Rookie of the Year
Will Bruin, Houston
In the running: Rich Balchan, A.J. Soares, Perry Kitchen 
Notes: Bruin's rookie of the year candidacy has cooled off late this summer, but it may have been completely doused this week with the announcement that he underwent knee surgery that will keep him out 4-6 weeks. As is he's still atop the list, but barring a change or a real late season surge (like, real late), this will probably flip flop somehow. He's still already the club's rookie leader in starts with 20 and has a hat trick to his name (and it's a pretty sweet name), but we'll see how it shakes out.

It wasn't a total surprise that Bruin's knee injury scuttled his candidacy after a red-hot start, and Sapong's late-season surge echoed that of SKC. More than half of his goals came from July on, although he did score on his MLS debut. And no good deed goes unpunished...

Anywho, judging by the remaining candidates, Sapong's selection shouldn't ruffle any feathers. Perry Kitchen finished second. If Kitchen had found a consistent position he might've been more widely voted, but he vacillated between positions at the back line and midfield all year, although very capably. Farfan, Nagbe and then Bruin rounded out voting, although I think Nagbe's now-famous juggler goal constituted most of his interest.

As for CJ's individual skill, I wouldn't call it into question. I'll eye his USMNT prospects carefully, especially considering his familiarity level with the 4-3-3.

- Will Parchman

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