Kreg Asay: Mulholland
Player of the Regular Season for me would be Luke Mulholland. For a new player to mesh so quickly into the 'RSL Style' of play speaks volumes! And for him to regularly supplant the young star-to-be Luis Gil as starter points to him being a key player for the team.
Trevor Brady: Mulholland
There are many players that you could say are players of the year on this team. Morales, Plata, Beckerman, Grabavoy, Rimando, Borchers, all have had standout years. Hell, you could make a case for Attinella if you wanted to. Probably related to that "Team is the Star" ethos we hear so much about. For me though, it really comes down to one player that consistently exceeded most everyone's expectations. Our first look at Luke Mulholland came in preseason, and after a couple of juicy set piece deliveries, we all quite suddenly took notice. I went on the record as saying "lets temper expectations" about Mulholland shortly after preseason, and even after he scored a couple goals in MLS play in the early part of the season. I said a couple of times that he couldn't maintain that high level of play all season, and he's going to see a dip in form soon. Here's the thing though. That never happened. He consistently performed, and grabbed 6 goals and 7 assists throughout the season. In a season of highs and lows, there was one constant throughout, and that's my 2014 RSL Player of the Year, Luke Mulholland.
Weston Jenson: Rimando
Despite many players in Claret-and-Cobalt having an outstanding year - Alvaro Saborio called up to the Costa Rican National Team, Kyle Beckerman making big plays for the US Men's National Team (USMNT) during the World Cup, and Joao Plata getting his first Ecuadorian National Team call up and scoring twice - Nick Rimando has been the man of the year for Real Salt Lake. Not only was Nick Rimando also called into the USMNT for the World Cup Camp, but last week Nick Rimando won a season best of five Save of the Week awards.
Rimando has been nothing less than impressive, standing on his head multiple times this year for both his club and his country. Rimando secured the league leading 113th record shutout early this year against his old team DC United. Then after last week's shutout against Chivas, Nick has bested his own record with 115, coming up big when the club needs it. This year alone Rimando has recorded seven shutouts along with 71 saves. Of the five penalty kicks attempted against Rimando this year, only one has got passed him - maintaining an 80% penalty save rate. Therefore, not only is Rimando a clear leader for RSL's player of the year, but is also a world class and league leading goalkeeper.
Matt Montgomery: Morales
Javier Morales, 34, has been nothing short of unreal this season. He's been the paragon of consistency, the model of positivity. He's worked as hard as any other player on and off the ball, dropping into reserved positions to break up play and start attacking moves from deep in the midfield, or pushing forward and applying pressure from advanced positions. He's been as important as anybody to the success of this side. That's reflected in the stats - 9 goals, 12 assists - and in his play examined more closely.
Randal Serr: Plata
Joao Plata has been the player of the season for a few reasons. First of all, he was without a doubt the best bargain in MLS in 2014. The guy makes in the same range as New Engalnd's Patrick Mullins, Seattle's Tristan Bown, and Vancouver's Mehdi Ballouchy but his production is in the same category or better than Chris Wondolowski and Cubo Torres. In other words, Plata gives the biggest bang for the buck in the league. Outside of his salary, he led the team throughout much of the year, especially while Saborio was out with injury.
Plata ended the regular season with 13 goals and six assists and his play has caught the eye of the Ecuadorian National Team. Joao finished the season with 57% of his shots being on goal, the highest in MLS. He also finished third in MLS for goals per shot at 23% behind Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sebastian Le Toux. Plata has been the most consistent player for RSL throughout the season and deserves accolades for that.