Columbus Crew Announce Team Awards
By Connor Tomko
Oct 26, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew starting eleven prior to the game versus Philadelphia Union at Crew Stadium. The Crew won the match 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports
Following their 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union, the Columbus Crew announced the team awards for the 2014 season.
MVP: Federico Higuain
The Argentine playmaker has spent two full seasons with the Crew and in both of those seasons, he has won MVP. He has scored 11 goals and recorded seven assists this season, joint leader with Ethan Finlay in both categories. Higuain also racked up an MLS Player of the Month nomination in March after he scored three times and provided two assists. He has had a hand in one-third of the Crew’s goals in MLS play.
Golden Boot: Federico Higuain and Ethan Finlay
As mentioned above, Higuain and Finlay led the team with 11 goals a piece, accounting for 40 percent of the Crew’s goals during the regular season. While Higuain provided a consistent knack for goal scoring throughout the season, Finlay has exploded into a dynamic playmaker on the wing, tallying all of his goals over the past 23 appearances and has scored in four straight matches to power the Crew’s surge into the third place finish.
Defender of the Year: Steve Clark
The “Yes!” man has been an absolute rock in the net for the Crew, limiting opponents to only 42 goals on the season, which was fifth best in the league, not bad at all for the man who spent last season playing in Norway. Clark not only organized one of the better defensive teams in the league, but he also had the knack of making some big time saves when the Crew needed them. He made 111 saves on the season and completed the most passes of any goalkeeper in the league. His contributions at both ends didn’t go unnoticed.
Humanitarian of the Year: Matt Lampson
For the second year in a row, Lampson has captured this award through his charity work through the Central Ohio Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and his own organization called the LampStrong Foundation. A survivor of Stage 4 Hofgkin’s Lymphoma, Lampson has always been giving back to the Columbus community as a native of Ohio as well, and regularly hosts LampStrong Heroes at every Crew match both home and away. His work exemplifies the Crew’s core values as a club.
Kirk Urso Heart Award: Steve Clark
This award goes out to the player who displayed the most heart over the season, named in memory of former Crew player Kirk Urso, who passed away at the young age of 22. Players vote for this award and Clark was the recipient of his teammates’ recognition for his heart over the course of the season. His attitude has already made him a fan and Nordecke favorite after only one year at the club.
Academy Player of the Year: Ben Swanson
The newest Crew signee and longest tenured youth player in the Crew system won the Academy Player of the Year through his excellent representation of the USA’s U-18 National Team, as he helped to guide the squad to a title in the Vaclav Jezek Tournament in Ukraine. He is the ninth homegrown player to sign a professional contract with the Crew.