We've almost worked our way through half of the MLS regular season, and the Vancouver Whitecaps recent surged has left them in fourth place in the Western Conference. It's been a meteoric rise after fans wondered if this team would every truly find their way back from mediocrity. Despite numerous injuries to the backline, Kenny Miller and Gershon Koffie, the Whitecaps started to find their way when Russell Teibert, Camilo and Miller were placed together at the top of the starting 11. Teibert's crosses, Miller's hustle and Camilo's finish has created a potent attack, one that's managed to outscore defensive letdowns in the last few weeks. It's been a refreshing change, and lead us to believe it may be time to start doling out some (fake) hardware. So, without further ado, I give you the 86forever (almost) mid-season awards.
BEST IMPERSONATION OF A PHOENIX- KENNY MILLER
While most thought Miller would be buying a one way ticket out of town with Barry Robson, he stayed put, working hard in the off-season to make sure he'd be ready for 2013. He scored in the first two matches of the season, proving himself to be one of the hardest working players the 'Caps have ever had. His hustle is unmatched (well, maybe by Teibert), and his finish has grown leaps and bounds from last season. He currently has 5 goals in 6 matches, forming the Whitecaps three headed monster with Camilo and Russell Teibert. In addition, he's worn the Captain's armband several times since Jay Demerit went down with injury. Miller's performed a complete 180 since last season.
BEST SIGNING TO MAKE US ALL FORGET ABOUT BARRY ROBSON- NIGEL REO-COKER
What can you say about the Whitecaps outspoken midfielder? When he was first signed, fans salivated at the prospect of the 28 year old former England National team member acting as Team general. However, pundits questioned his personality, and his history of bad breakups with other teams. All concerns were put to bed early, as Reo-Coker established himself as arguably the best player on the team. He's been as advertised, commanding his troops with authority, while taking Teibert under his wing and making him a better player. His surging runs have been rarer as of late, as he takes over for Jun-Marques Davidson as a defensive midfielder. However, when he's allowed, Reo-Coker's runs almost always create a chance. Another 'Cap that's worn the armband in Demerit's absence, Reo-Coker has been a perfect addition to the club.
BEST PLAYER TO HAVE A MAN-CRUSH ON- RUSSELL TEIBERT
He's a hardworking Canadian midfielder that has, in just 9 matches started, skyrocketed up the top of the assists leaderboard with 6. That currently puts him in a tie for first place with former Whitecap Sebastien Le Toux. It's not just the maple leaf that makes us all want to see Teibert succeed; he's young, but he works harder than anyone on the pitch. He's essentially the energizer bunny, never stopping to take a break, always with his foot on the gas pedal. His work ethic, coupled with his unbelievable crosses and creativity have made him a fan favorite, and he's been the perfect replacement for Davide Chiumiento. 86forever knows you love the mohawk, and we do too.
This is pretty much a no-brainer. Ever since Demerit went down with injury, the backline has been Andy O'Brien's to run. He's absolutely taken control of the defense, which has struggled mightily ever since he went down with injury. Without O'Brien, the Whitecaps backline can delve into chaos; with him, they're generally going to be okay. Thank God he's coming back from injury soon.