The Major League Soccer season has reached the midway point, and there have been many fantastic performances, surprises and more. CBS Sports Soccer Analyst Thomas Rongen, also the chief scout for the United States men's national team, gave out his midseason awards on Monday (in the video above).
Check out his results below:
Top newcomer: Christian Ramirez, Minnesota United
Reasoning: 10 goals in 18 matches for the California native, who played with Minnesota in NASL and has made the jump to MLS with the club, not missing a beat.
Top defender: Ike Opara, Sporting Kansas City
Reasoning: No team has been better defensively all year, and nobody has been better than the talented veteran. Sporting KC has allowed just 13 goals in 19 games, and Opara's well-timed tackles, instincts and ability to shut down defenders at the right time has been key.
Top goalkeeper: Joe Bendik, San Jose Earthquakes
Reasoning: The former Toronto FC man has been fantastic for Orlando, with six shutouts. His play has been huge with the team struggling to score in attack.
Top coach: Wilmer Cabrera, Houston Dynamo
Reasoning: In his second season, Houston is in a playoff spot in the west on 25 points, just three points back of second place.
MVP: Nemanja Nikolic, Chicago Fire
Reasoning: Since arriving earlier in the year to Chicago, the Hungary international has 16 goals, best in MLS.