Five Houston Dynamo players were honored with club awards for their performance during the 2018 season, the club announced today.
Forward Mauro Manotas was named both Most Valuable Player and Players’ Player of the Year, while fellow forward Alberth Elis earned Young Player of the Year honors. U.S. Men’s National Team legend DaMarcus Beasley was honored as the team’s Defender of the Year, and defender Alejandro Fuenmayor received Newcomer of the Year accolades. Goalkeeper Joe Willis was recognized as the team’s Humanitarian of the Year for his efforts away from the playing field.
Most Valuable Player, Young Player of the Year, Defender of the Year and Newcomer of the Year were voted on by members of the Houston-area media and the team’s technical staff. Players’ Player of the Year is voted on by the team, and the Humanitarian of the Year is selected by the club’s Community Relations staff.
Manotas also earned the Golden Boot as the team’s top scorer after shattering virtually every club single-season scoring record this season. The Colombian finished tied for fourth in the league with 19 goals in league play, which topped the previous record of 14 set a year ago by Erick Torres. He also won Golden Boot honors in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with six goals to help lead the Dynamo to the tournament title; and his 25 goals in all competitions easily surpassed the previous record of 16 set by Will Bruin in 2012. Manotas also earned the team’s Ironman of the Year award after playing a team-high 2,633 minutes in league play.
The Young Player of the Year is awarded each season to the best player who is 23 years of age or under. Elis turned in a record-setting season of his own this year, finishing the season with a combined 21 goals and assists. That topped the previous record of 20 set by Brad Davis in 2011 and 2012. In his second MLS campaign, the 22-year-old Honduran established himself as one of the most dangerous attacking threats in the league and earned his first trip to the MLS All-Star Game in August.
Beasley earned his second Defender of the Year honor, and his first since 2015. The 36-year-old started and captained the Dynamo in 26 games this season, finishing the year with a goal and two assists – his most in a season since joining the club in 2014 – in 2,208 minutes. The Indiana native captained the Dynamo to the U.S. Open Cup title, the 17th trophy for club and country during his legendary career. The 36-year-old has now played in 112 games with 110 starts in orange, which is his most with any club in his career.
Fuenmayor joined the Dynamo on a full transfer from Carabobo FC in his native Venezuela in January. Thrust into the lineup early in the year due to injuries, the 22-year-old quickly established himself as a fixture in the lineup. He finished his first MLS season with 20 starts and 21 appearances in league play while scoring three goals, good for sixth on the team. Fuenmayor also started all five of Houston’s Open Cup matches, helping the club capture its first title in the competition.
On the field, Willis set career highs in wins (nine), starts (26) and minutes played (2,340) and started Houston’s semifinal and final matches in the Open Cup, making two big saves in the penalty kick shootout to win the semifinal match against Los Angeles FC. Off the field, the St. Louis native was a champion of the club’s Special Olympics Unified Team. Willis helped host the Unified Team tryouts and helped donate more than $10,000 worth of equipment to underserved schools in the Houston community through the club’s Every Save Makes A Difference program. Willis was the unofficial coach of the Unified Team, learning each athlete’s name and building lasting relationships with them.
The Dynamo concluded the 2018 season with a record of 10-16-8 to finish ninth in the MLS Western Conference. By winning the U.S. Open Cup, the club qualified for the 2019 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, which will begin play in mid-February. The Champions League draw will take place on December 3 in Miami, at which time Houston’s first opponent will be determined. The club will open its 2019 Major League Soccer campaign in early March.
2018 Houston Dynamo Award Winners
Most Valuable Player: Mauro Manotas
Players' Player of the Year: Mauro Manotas
Young Player of the Year: Alberth Elis
Defender of the Year: DaMarcus Beasley
Newcomer of the Year: Alejandro Fuenmayor
Golden Boot: Mauro Manotas
Ironman of the Year: Mauro Manotas
Humanitarian of the Year: Joe Willis