[MLS AWARDS] In winning MLS Rookie of the Year honors, Dillon Powers’ only serious challenger came from his own team.
Powers won with a weighted total of 93.12 in voting conducted among coaches, team executives, players, and media members. Colorado Rapids' teammate Deshorn Brown, who led all rookies in goals with 10, finished second with a score of 75.49.
“We are incredibly proud of Dillon for this accomplishment, though it’s clear that both he and Deshorn would be worthy Rookie of the Year winners,” said Colorado Rapids technical director Paul Bravo in a team press release announcing the award. “Dillon’s skill, tenacity, consistency and character were a big part of our success this year, and he deserves to be recognized. I also feel that in any other season, Deshorn would have easily won this award. I’d like to congratulate both players, and hope that this honor gets them, as well as our fans, even more excited for the 2014 season.”
Both players were taken in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft last January. Powers, selected No. 11 out of Notre Dame, orchestrated Colorado’s attack for much of the season while scoring five goals and six assists. Brown left UCF after his junior year and Colorado used its first pick, No. 6 overall, to claim him.
Both players took opportunities presented when injuries hit the Rapids hard at the start of the season. Among Colorado forwards and midfielders, Powers played the most minutes (2,457) and Powers was third (2,169). Their solid play forced Martin Rivero, Gabriel Torres and Vicente Sanchez, among others, to battle for minutes.
“Dillon had a great season, showing a lot of maturity and poise,” said Rapids coach Oscar Pareja. “The youth on this team -- rookies like Dillon and Deshorn, as well as others like Chris Klute, Shane O’Neill and Clint Irwin -- all worked together, and listened to our veterans and coaching staff, to make big impacts this season. I am proud of Dillon for winning Rookie of the Year, and I believe all his teammates can take pride in the award as well.”
This is the second time in league history that rookies from the same team filled the top two slots. In 2006, Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein narrowly edged midfielder Sacha Kljestanto win Rookie of the Year.
Two Homegrown signings rounded out the top four. Seattle right back DeAndre Yedlinfinished third in the voting (42.9 weighted total) and Galaxy attacker Gyasi Zardes (31.43) wound up fourth. Both were signed out of college after the 2012 season concluded and thus were eligible for the 2013 award.
Players with previous pro experience at any level are not eligible. Yedlin played for Seattle's U-23s in the USL Premier Development League last year while playing collegiately for Akron, so his status is the same as that of a player in his first year out of college. Zardes came through the Galaxy's player development system and played PDL ball for Ventura County Fusion while a student at Cal State Bakersfield. (Irwin, on the other hand, had played in USL PRO.)