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USL Championship Fans’ Choice Midseason Award Winners

By Staff, 07/09/24, 3:00PM EDT


Find out which players earned the fans’ vote, and who Devon Kerr and Nicholas Murray picked as their award-winners

Last week, we asked you to make your picks for the USL Championship Fans’ Choice Midseason awards.

Now, here are the results, and as a bonus which player in each category USL All Access’ Devon Kerr and USL Sr. Director of Editorial Nicholas Murray would select at this point of the season.

Goalkeeper of the Year – Danny Vitiello, Sacramento Republic FC

The reigning Goalkeeper of the Year received 55 percent of the poll after a superb first half of the season that sees him lead the league with eight shutouts while posting a 0.60 goals-against average and a save percentage of 81.6 percent.

Devon Kerr’s Pick - Danny Vitiello, Sacramento Republic FC: “It’s got to be Vitiello for me. I think he’s been tremendous in every way, shape and form and statistically he backs it up, top-five leader in all of the major categories.”

Nicholas Murray’s Pick - Danny Vitiello, Sacramento Republic FC: “It’s incredible to think after winning the award last season that Vitiello has taken a step forward, but that’s absolutely been the case. He’s been even more crucial to Sacramento’s success this season than a year ago.”

Defender of the Year – Kendall Burks, San Antonio FC

The SAFC newcomer earned 38 percent of the vote to finish on top after ranking second among defenders in the league in clearances (81), tied for third in blocked shots (16), third in duels won (104 at a 70.8% success rate), and first in aerial duels won (71 at a 74.7% success rate).

Devon Kerr’s Pick - Leland Archer, Charleston Battery: “The way the Charleston Battery attack a game right now, Leland Archer has so much onus on him being the most successful piece because Graham Smith is allowed to wander a chase, Archer is the constant, really good, physical player, and at set pieces it doesn’t hurt that you can be impactful on the other end as well.”

Nicholas Murray’s Pick - Leland Archer, Charleston Battery: “After the disappointment of last year’s Championship Final, Leland Archer has rebounded and is having the best season of his career. The leadership he brings is one thing, but he’s become one of the most well-rounded center backs in the Championship, and that’s high praise given the competition.”

Coach of the Year – Danny Cruz, Louisville City FC

Guiding the team currently leading the Players’ Shield race, Cruz walked away with 70 percent of the ballot in a pretty big endorsement from Louisville City FC’s fanbase. Little wonder either, given his side had taken 12 wins in 17 outings and still leads the Championship with 46 goals.

Devon Kerr’s Pick: Sean McAuley, Indy Eleven: “My vote would be for Sean McAuley because of how much turnaround in a positive nature there has been. He’s changed systems, hasn’t necessarily changed all the personnel, but they look like a real team in the Eastern Conference.”

Nicholas Murray’s Pick: Eric Quill, New Mexico United: “You can point to some bumps on the road, but New Mexico is the only team that’s still perfect on home turf and has a side that consistently seems to outperform what it had on paper. That’s a testament to the belief and system that Eric Quill has instituted since he arrived last year.”

Young Player of the Year – Ray Serrano, Louisville City FC

The 22-year-old has had a breakout season with six goals, three assists, 29 chances created and 19 successful dribbles, putting him in the top three in the Championship in Goals Added per American Soccer Analysis at a +5.78 rating. That earned Serrano 68 percent of the ballot, comfortably ahead of his closest competition.

Devon Kerr’s Pick – Ray Serrano, Louisville City FC: “I had a really good conversation with LouCity’s front office staff, and I was asking for some of their in-house analytics, and their new analytics guys said, ‘Oh, you want Ray’s numbers? He’s in the 94th percentile for every category for a winger.’ What a turnaround for that young man.”

Nicholas Murray’s Pick – Ray Serrano, Louisville City FC: “Since the start of the season, Serrano has become a player who is appointment viewing within LouCity’s outstanding attack. His creativity and ability to take on opponents combined with his defensive responsibility should have him in the spotlight for clubs overseas as a potential addition.”

Player of the Year – Danny Vitiello, Sacramento Republic FC

Vitiello picks up a second Midseason award as he earned 54 percent of the ballot to push Louisville City FC’s Wilson Harris into second place. If this happened at the end of the season, it would be unprecedented – a Goalkeeper has never won the Championship’s Player of the Year award, but Vitiello might have as good a case as any.

Devon Kerr’s Pick – Cal Jennings, Tampa Bay Rowdies: “If Sacramento does what it should do and go win the West and go to the Final and the stats stay the same, I’ll give it to Vitiello, but right now, the way that Cal Jennings has changed the entire trajectory of that attacking unit, I’d go with Jennings.”

Nicholas Murray’s Pick – Nick Markanich, Charleston Battery: “It’s the obvious pick – the player who leads the league in goals and goal contributions – but Nick Markanich has been outstanding beyond his goals. He’s currently second in the league in shots to Cal Jennings, tied for first in shots on target and top five in the league in Goals Added as his side vies for the Players’ Shield.”

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