While there's still a few matches remaining on the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2015 schedule, the chance to submit your pick as the best player on the team is available now. The Whitecaps have opened up online voting for the Whitecaps Player of the Year, and this year there are plenty of candidates that could get the nod. Last year, of course, it was all but assured MLS Newcomer of the Year Pedro Morales would get the hardware, but I think there's more room for discussion this time around.
This year's nominees include Kekuta Manneh, Matias Laba, David Ousted, Kendall Waston, and surprisingly, Cristian Techera.
In my opinion, this should be a three horse race between Laba, Ousted and Waston, as all three have been integral to the Whitecaps' success this season.
Ousted has taken the next step and established himself as an elite MLS Goalkeeper, and hasn't missed a Regular Season start in 2015. He's second in MLS with 11 clean sheets, and he leads the league in wins with 15.
Kendall Waston has been a fan favorite since he arrived in Vancouver, quickly establishing himself as a leader on the backline. With the unpredictable Pa Modou Kah as his Center Back partner, Waston has remained a solid, stellar part of the Whitecaps defensive unit. According to WhitecapsFC.com, Waston has 123 headed clearances this season, which is just three behind the league leader.
Waston also leads the ‘Caps in total clearances, blocks, and interceptions.
Matias Laba has been impressive ever since he first put on a Whitecaps kit. He plays an unglorious position in the defensive midfield, and yet he is constantly singled out by coaches and media personalities alike for his sublime play. Who could forget Carl Robinson raving about the kid back in April?
"He does all the nitty, gritty jobs as well as anyone in the league. I'm not just saying this, but I wouldn't swap him for anyone in this league, because I think he's fantastic at what he does.-MlSSoccer.com
Laba leads the league in tackles this season with 129, and is the glue that holds the 'Caps defense together. When he's not in the lineup, it's very evident.
Kektua Manneh and Cristian Techera are the longshots in my opinion, but that doesn't mean they haven't had impressive seasons. Techera is an eyebrow raising pick considering he's started in only 18 of the club's 30 games so far this season. The pint sized scorer may have only joined the club in April, but he's already racked up six goals and 4 assists, good enough for 0.43 goals every 90 minutes.
The 20 year old Manneh has made strides towards becoming a more complete and dangerous attacking player this season, and is tied with Techera for second on the team in goals with six.