Pontius, Olsen, DeLeon nominated for MLS awards

Pontius, Olsen, DeLeon nominated for MLS awards
November 15, 2012, 2:00 pm
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United midfielder Nick DeLeon (18) and midfielder Chris Pontius (13) celebrate after a goal against New York Red Bulls during the first half at RFK Stadium.

(Paul Frederiksen-US PRESSWIRE)

Three of United's finest were listed as finalists today for Major League Soccer's 2012 year-end awards.  DCU head coach Ben Olsen is up for Coach of the Year, captain Chris Pontius is up for Comeback Player of the Year and, as expected, midfielder Nick DeLeon is a finalist for Rookie of the Year.  

DeLeon is the fourth consecutive Rookie of the Year finalist for United, joining teammates Chris Pontius (2009), Andy Najar (2010 winner) and Perry Kitchen (2011). In addition to Najar, United vets Santino Quaranta (2001) and Freddy Adu (2004) also share the honor, each scoring five goals in their rookie seasons to win over voters.

This season, DeLeon notched six goals, which set a new goal-scoring franchise record and has played an integral role in each of United's tallies in the postseason.  DeLeon is up against former college teammate, Austin Berry (Chicago Fire) and Darren Mattocks (Vancouver Whitecaps FC). 

The 2012 Rookie of the Year will be announced on Nov. 17.  

In only his second full season as head coach of the Black and Red, Ben Olsen has pulled DCU from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings to a second-place finish (17-10-7) and the club's first playoff berth in five years. Olsen's competition for Coach of the Year includes Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City) and Frank Yallop (San Jose Earthquakes).

After back to back seasons derailed by injury in 2010 and 2011, Pontius, the club's longest-tenured player, rebounded this year to record his best career season.  Pontius led United with 12 goals and set personal highs in games played (31) minutes (2,339) and shots on goal (29). He became the club's captain in September when Dwayne De Rosario was sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Alan Gordon (San Jose Earthquakes) and Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC) are also finalists for Comeback Player of the Year.

The Coach of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year awards will be announced on Nov. 27.