COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (Saturday, October 19, 2013) – The Colorado Rapids announced their 2013 team award winners in a special post-game ceremony tonight after the Rapids defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a dramatic 3-2 win on Fan Appreciation Night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Young players took nearly all the hardware, as Dillon Powers (22) earned the MVP, Chris Klute (23) was named Defender of the Year, Shane O’Neill (20) took home Young Player of the Year honors, and Clint Irwin (24) was named Fan Favorite. Also honored were Marvell Wynne as the club’s Humanitarian of the Year, and Quentin Pearson as the Development Academy Player of the Year.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER– Dillon Powers was the 11th overall selection in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft after an outstanding four year career at Notre Dame, but few expected him to establish himself so quickly as one of the top attacking midfielders in MLS. Excellent passing, control, vision and touch allowed Powers to earn a starting spot from the first game of the year, and the 22-year-old turned in five goals and six assists, tied for second on the team in both categories. One of the top MLS Rookie of the Year candidates (alongside teammate Deshorn Brown), Powers earned the MVP for showing poise beyond his years in the central attacking midfield position of Head Coach Oscar Pareja’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
FAN FAVORITE AWARD – Clint Irwin took over as the starting goalkeeper in a difficult moment, with 2012 Team MVP Matt Pickens suffering a long-term injury in just the third game of the year. He also faced penalty kicks in each of his first four matches. But the virtual unknown quickly made a name for himself, saving an Alvaro Saborío penalty in a crucial Subaru Rocky Mountain Cup match and performing strongly throughout the year. Solid positioning and reading of the game, as well as acrobatic saves, helped Irwin to a franchise record-tying 10 clean sheets, and fans noted his play by voting him Fan Favorite on www.ColoradoRapids.com.
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Shane O’Neill set a new standard for young players at the Rapids this season, working his way into the lineup due to injuries and never losing his spot. Just 19 years old when the season began, Colorado always performed better with him in the game, and earned an incredible 8-0-8 record in his first 16 starts as a professional. After missing time with the Rapids in midseason to play with the United States at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, the Boulder native and Homegrown Player slotted immediately back into the lineup upon his return, again forming a rock-solid partnership with captain Drew Moor in central defense.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Chris Klute was not projected to be a regular in the Rapids lineup at the start of 2013, but he closes the season as one of the top left backs in MLS. With his ability to defend one-on-one and speed to track down forwards, Klute was a key part of one of the stingiest defenses in the league, which has given up just 35 goals through 33 games. However, the 23-year-old also played a starring role in the team’s attack, contributing a team-leading seven assists, often at the most important times of matches. His crossing and counterattacking led to many chances and goals throughout the year.
HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR – Marvell Wynne was named the Colorado Rapids Humanitarian of the Year, giving his time and effort in service to the community throughout 2013. One of the Rapids’ longest-serving and highest-profile players, Wynne was a regular presence at charity events throughout the Denver area. He has worked with kids at Mount Saint Vincent Home (serving emotionally and physically abused children), the National Sports Center for the Disabled, and Special Olympics Colorado, and engaged with his love of animals at local adoption agencies.
DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY PLAYER OF THE YEAR – Quentin Pearson was named the 2013 Colorado Rapids Development Academy Player of the Year, as selected by Colorado Rapids Academy staff, for his strong play and vast potential on the field. A leader and standout player on the Rapids Under-16 Team during the 2012-13 Development Academy season, he helped that squad to a 3rd place finish out of the top 80 youth teams in the U.S. Dominant in the air – drawing comparisons to Rapids captain Drew Moor – Pearson trained with the first team throughout the season, and earned chances with the U.S. Under-18 National Team.
GOLDEN BOOT – The Rapids Golden Boot winner will be officially decided following next week’s match at Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday, October 27, at 6 p.m. MT live on Altitude 2, but rookie Deshorn Brown has the inside track with 10 goals, five clear of his closest rivals (Edson Buddle, Atiba Harris and Dillon Powers). The Jamaican forward used his speed and finishing to establish a hefty lead in the category, and is just one goal short of the all-time MLS record for rookie scoring, set in 2003 by Damani Ralph. Having recently earned his first two caps with the Jamaican National Team, Brown has one game left to either pad or defend his lead in the Golden Boot running.
NOTE: MVP, Defensive Player, and Young Player were determined by a vote of Rapids players and technical staff. Fan Favorite was selected by an online vote at www.ColoradoRapids.com. Humanitarian was chosen by Kroenke Sports Charities and Rapids Community Relations staff. Academy Player was picked by Rapids Academy staff. Golden Boot is given to the team’s leading scorer after the final match of the regular season.
The Rapids have one match remaining in the 2013 regular season, and could clinch a playoff berth as soon as Sunday (if the San Jose Earthquakes lose at the LA Galaxy). Colorado will travel to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday, October 27 at 6 p.m. MT live on Altitude. For information on the team, or to pre-order tickets for potential playoff games, visit www.ColoradoRapids.com or call 303-825-GOAL.