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Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in Charleston Battery, Dayton Dutch Lions FC, Harrisburg City Islanders, Orange County Blues FC, Orlando City, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Recent, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, USL PRO, Wilmington Hammerheads | 13 comments

Reckless Challenge Mid-Season Honors for USL PRO

Reckless Challenge Mid-Season Honors for USL PRO

We have arrived at the midpoint of the USL PRO season. I thought it would be fitting to look back on the first half of the season and give some recognition to some of the players and performances that have grabbed our attention. I and most of the Reckless Challenge staff have come up with a mid-season starting XI, assembled from what we perceive to be the most talented and productive players from around the league. We’ve decided to hand out honors in some other categories as well, including MVP and best coaching performance.

So, pop the top of your favorite adult beverage, prop up your feet, sit back, and enjoy the list. After all, this isn’t a black-tie awards show. When you’ve finished, let us know what you think.

All-USL PRO Mid-Season Starting XI

Goalkeeper

Nicholas Noble, Harrisburg City Islanders: Noble was nearly a unanimous selection to start in goal for our team of all-stars. Noble has been in net for all 1080 minutes of the 12 games for the City Islanders, who sit it second place in the league standings. He is tied for the league lead in shutouts with 4. He is second in the league with 49 saves. His goals-against average sits at an impressive 1.083.

Others Receiving Votes: Molvin James, Antigua Barracuda

Defenders

William Yomby, Richmond Kickers: Yomby received the most votes among all defenders. His outstanding defensive efforts are part of the reason that Richmond has given up fewer goals per game than any other team in USL PRO.

Colin Falvey, Charleston Battery: Falvey leads the Battery in minutes and has turned in one solid defensive performance after another for the defending champions.

Shay Spitz, Los Angeles Blues: Of all the names in our starting lineup, Spitz’s may be the must unrecognized. Trust us when we tell you that he has been consistently excellent on the the Blues’ back line.

Others Receiving Votes: Shawn Ferguson, Charleston Battery; Shintaro Harada, Dayton Dutch Lions; Bryan Burke, Orlando City; Richard Costanzo, Pittsburgh Riverhounds; Sascha Gorres, Richmond Kickers

Midfielders

Jamie Watson, Orlando City: Watson is second in the league in assists and third in the league in goals. It’s no wonder that he was the only unanimous selection to our midfield.

Nicholas Paterson, Charleston Battery: Paterson is once again leading the Battery to a successful season. He is among the top goal-scorers in the league with 5.

Matthew Dallman, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: Dallman leads the league in assists. If it weren’t for the several Dallman to Angulo scoring plays, the Riverhounds might be near the very bottom of the standings.

Joseph Ngwenya, Richmond Kickers: Ngwenya is the biggest goal-scoring threat for the undefeated Kickers. With six goals in eight appearances, he sits in a tie for fourth place in the league in that statistical category.

Others Receiving Votes: Andriy Budnyy, VSI Tampa Bay; Gibson Bardsley, Dayton Dutch Lions; Nate Robinson, Richmond Kickers; Yann Ekra, Harrisburg City Islanders; Christian Hernandez, Harrisburg City Islanders

Forwards

Dom Dwyer, Orlando City: Dwyer was a unanimous pick at forward for obvious reasons. Through just 13 games, he has amassed 15 goals, which is a USL PRO single-season record. He is also the league-leader in points and shots. Dwyer will own the record book by the end of this season.

Jose Angulo, Pittsburgh Riverhounds: Angulo is in the top 5 in USL PRO in goals and points. He has scored nearly half of the Riverhounds goals this year. Angulo was also a unanimous selection to the Reckless Starting XI.

Sainey Touray, Harrisburg City Islanders: Touray rounds out our list of starting forwards. The Isle Guy ranks in the top five in the league in goals, assists, and points.

Others Receiving Votes: Christopher Cortez, Los Angeles Blues

Mid-Season MVP

In a unanimous decision, the Reckless Challenge staff have chosen Dom Dwyer as the MVP of the first half of the 2013 season. What more can be said about the show that Dwyer is putting on in Orlando? There aren’t enough superlatives to describe it.

Coach of the First Half

Our selection for the best coaching performance of the first half ended up in a tie between Richmond’s Leigh Cowlishaw and Los Angeles’ Jesus Rico-Sanz. Cowlishaw has been recognized for guiding his team to an undefeated record through 10 games. Rico-Sanz has his Blues well-positioned for a run at the playoffs, which LA missed last season.

Others Receiving Votes: Bill Becher, Harrisburg City Islanders

Surprising Team of the First Half

The voting in this category for the team that is outperforming prior expectations also resulted in a tie. The winners are VSI Tampa Bay and the Dayton Dutch Lions. Tampa Bay currently sits in fourth place with 22 points through 11 games played. That has to be better than even the most optimistic supporter could have hoped for the expansion club. The Dutch Lions are off to the best start in team history and have already equaled their win total from all of last season.

Others Receiving Votes: Richmond Kickers

Disappointing Team of the First Half

The overwhelming pick as the most disappointing team was the Rochester Rhinos. Despite several off-season acquisitions and loans from New England, the Rhinos can’t get it going. They can neither score goals, nor defend against them. There don’t seem to be any good explanations for why this is happening on a team that finished second in the regular season standings just a season ago.

Others Receiving Votes: Wilmington Hammerheads

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13 Comments

  1. I think its high time that Sporting Kansas City recall Dom Dwyer from Orlando City. At least that is what all of the non-Orlando fans, as myself, are wishing. Good credit to Yomby, he has been a force in that back line. I made a mental note about the quality of Spitz when I saw him play live so interesting to see him mentioned so well here. Good list.

    • Thanks for the read! I actually don’t think SKC has room for Dom right now. They’re talented up front, right? He’s getting the kind of experience that they want him to get in Orlando.

  2. Since I am a late addition to the group I guess I didn’t get a vote and I notice a glaring absence of Charlotte entries on the list. Primarily Coach of the First Half. I think Charlotte Head Coach Mark Steffens deserves consideration. Last year after 10 games the Eagles record sat at 2-6-2,8pts and near or at the bottom of the standings. After 10 league matches this season the Eagles sit at 3-2-5,14pts and in 8th place. Furthermore the Eagles roster had far more turnover going into this season than in the previous 15 seasons. They lost their whole starting back four as Cheyne Roberts and 10 year Eagle veteran left for VSI Tampa Bay, Mark Bloom left for the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL and Sean Bateau didn’t return. So after a major re-tooling Steffens has a more athletic quicker roster an has the Eagles headed in the right direction.

    • You’ll have a vote in the end of year awards. Orange flag flying high.

  3. While Gorres has had a great career in Richmond, he isn’t even a starter on the team most of the time this year. But the other Kickers on the squad definitely belong there.

    • I’ll make sure to pass that along to guy that voted for Gorres. It may have been a name-recognition thing. Question for you… What does Richmond do in 2nd half with almost entire schedule on the road.

      • Great question, Chad! The thing that concerns me now is that on 3 different occasions this year at home, the Kickers have given up a goal in the 80th minute or later that would result in a tie. That’s 6 points dropped that could haunt them when it comes to playoff seeding.

        I think they’ll be fine on the road, provided they:

        1. Get healthy
        2. Get at least 1 or 2 of the DC United players back to give the team some depth on those dreaded back to back road nights.

        I see them finishing somewhere between 2nd and 4th when the regular season ends.

        But that’s just my opinion.

        Keep up the great work!

  4. How about most unrecognized player. Nate Robinson from the Kickers. Picked up out of nowhere. Second on the team in points.

    • Nate didn’t go unrecognized by us. He got some votes. Two players in the starting squad & a head coach aren’t enough?

  5. While I like young Shawn Ferguson a lot, he’s got no business on this list this year. He just made his first league start on Sunday, and he had only logged 65 minutes in reserve duty before then. Perhaps the person casting the vote was thinking about Colin Falvey’s usual partner at center back: Cody Ellison. Ellison has made nine league starts (reduced by a three-game suspension) plus three U.S. Open Cup starts, and — like Ferguson — he’s a beast. I’m hoping we’ll see Falvey and Ellison make the jump to MLS this year, and I’m also hoping we’ll have Shawn here for another year or two. Great potential.

    • Thanks for the insight, Dan. I’m not going to speculate on why Ferguson got a vote because I didn’t cast it. How do you feel about the rest of the list?

      • No quibbles. There are a few guys I’d like to see in the mix, though.

        Kristian Nicht is giving up like 2 goals per match, but he’s playing for Rochester, and they’ve got issues. He’s robbed Charleston of four points this season all by himself.

        Brian Ownby for Richmond is excellent.

        Really glad to see Gibson Bardsley getting some love here. Good guy.

        As for the homeside here in Charleston, you can’t ever argue with Favley and Paterson. But the other Battery players who could have been considered here are probably the quietly effective Jarad van Schaik (he pulls the midfield together, kinda like the rug in The Dude’s apartment), forward Dane Kelly, and midfielder Michael Azira. And I already mentioned Cody Ellison.

        What’s going to be interesting to me is whether the Battery’s second half of 2013 will be marked by the emergence of stars who spent the first half of the season coming back from injuries or just trying to get acclimated to life in America. Jose Cuevas is just starting to round into form, and might be moving out wide for the duration. Quinton Griffith is noted for being fast, but he’s wicked good at the game, too. Heviel Cordoves has got special talent for a guy who is about a biscuit away from 200 pounds (he’s listed at 195). And goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper hasn’t really been called upon all that often, but he’s shown flashes of brilliance.

        • Bardsley must have made an impression in Charleston this spring. His vote came from our resident Battery guy. That he didn’t stick with them is a testament to the talent on the roster to which you alluded. Battery “loss” is definitely a Dutch Lion gain.

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  1. In Case You Missed It: USL PRO Off-Season News | Reckless Challenge - […] Shay Spitz had a solid season on the back line for the Los Angeles Blues and was recognized in …

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