Major League Soccer announced the finalists for their 2012 year end awards and the Fire are represented in three categories. As expected, Austin Berry is a finalist for the league's Rookie of the Year award. He should beat out DC's Nick DeLeon and Vancouver's Darren Mattocks when the winner is announced on Monday. The Fire are also nominated in two other categories which will be awarded on November 19.
Logan Pause is a finalist for the Invidual Fair Play award and the club is in the running for the "TEAM" version of the same award. According to the release the Fair Play award is "selected by MLS based on objective criteria such as fewest fouls committed, cards received, and on subjective evaluation of sportsmanlike behavior". MLS Postseason Awards are voted on by clubs (head coach, technical director, president + 1 other), current players, and media with each group representing a third of the total vote.
With any sports voting mechanism there are always going to be some questionable selections. This year's list boasts a few bungled choices as well. Mattocks made the top three for the rookie prize based on a couple of highlight reel goals but in reality Dallas' Matt Hedges had a better season and should have been included as a finalist. Columbus' Gonzalo Higuain was voted into the top trio for Newcomer of the Year based on a brief period of blazing form that got the Crew back into the playoff race but Jairo Arrieta was probably more consistently influential for them. My pick for the award, Arne Friedrich didn't even make the top three. The Fire's October finish probably cost Frank Klopas any chance of garnering a top three nod for Coach of the Year.
For what it's worth, these were my votes for the major awards:
Rookie of the Year - Austin Berry
Defender of the Year - Matt Besler
Coach of the Year - Frank Yallop
Comeback Player of the Year - Eddie Johnson
Goalkeeper of the Year - Jimmy Nielsen
Newcomer of the Year - Arne Friedrich
MVP - Chris Wondolowski