So we are past the half-way point of the season and actually nearing the end of the season, so it is definitely time to start looking ahead and begin hypothesizing who could be our future award winners. There are many awards to go around in our league which is good, but I will look specifically at three awards: League Champions, Top goalscorer and MVP. To understand why I am looking at these three awards, the reason is that there is a clear glue which holds them all together, and the is Key West.
League Champions – Key West
Looking at the table and through the results, it is clear that there is one team above the rest and that is Key West. Around the halfway point of the season, the story was different with a lot of teams clustered near the top. Since then, Key West has definitely shown their talent and skill and have pulled away from the rest of the teams in the league. They seem to have great talent across the whole field and it really does help that they have 8 very active players. There is a lot to like when you look at their roster. They have one of the few active goalies in the league in Net Gaines. In front of him they have Zion Gadol and Bank N Black shoring up the middle of the defense along with Delbert Shartner manning the left flank. This is the heart of their defense who are all active, but are not even their top earning players and make them really stand out, which you will find out when you look at their midfield and attack. Mind you though their defense is still earning above league average with their current pace. In their attacking midfield, winger, inside forward and striker roles they have some of the best performing and skill point earning players of the whole league. They have the league’s current top goalscorer in Mako Mendonca along with three of the top five players in terms of average rating, with Mako Mendonca and Sophie Delacour being number one and two and Rinji Oda being number five. In addition Rinji Oda is also leading the league in assists by a wide margin and Sophia Delacour coming in at number five on that list. Then you look at the users behind the players and when 3 of the top 4 earners in the whole league come from Key West, well that definitely gives their team quite an edge. So they have 8 active players so 73% of their starting lineup and if we look at the next best teams in the Premiership, Casper Ranchers and Brixton Rovers, they have 3 and 4 active players respectively. So that really shows how much of an edge Key West have and why they will clearly win the league this season. In addition through 15 games of a 20 game season, they hold a 6 point lead over their challengers and that will require quite a collapse from them to relinquish that.
This award was definitely something which was more up in the air around 5 games ago, at the halfway point of the season. Since then we have seen the meteoric rise of Mendonca happen, which more accurately refers to his machine gun blazing like salvo that he has had in the last few games of the league. Before his heroic rise, he was in the conversation for top goalscorer but nowhere near as a clear favorite as he is now. With what I think was 8 goals in 2 games, he doubled his tally for the season and sits at 16 goals currently through 15 games. His next rival is JJ Okocha of Brixton Rovers, who sits at 12 goals. With only 5 games left in the season and a 4 goal lead, I do not think it is outlandish to say that if no miracles happen, Mendonca will be hosting the golden boot trophy along with the league championship at the end of the season. To add to his likely success is that the best performing players and highest skilled players play on his team and in the attack. With people like Delacour and Jay Cue feeding him the ball, he will definitely still score a few more.
So the player with the highest average rating and most goals of the most likely to be league champions seems like an obvious choice for the MVP of the league doesn’t it? Seems to me like what works for the most valuable player at the World Cup or Fifa’s Ballon D’Or. Well that is not the way I will go with this award. Even though Mendonca has been doing amazing things this season as is showcased through his stats, I feel they are a bit inflated with his 8 goal haul over two games along with the fact that there are other players in this machine of a Key West team that allow for him to succeed. I feel like the key player on Key West and who makes them tick is Sophia Delacour. She has been outstanding since the first game of the season and it also shows in her stats. She is currently second in average rating, just behind Mako Mendonca with a 7.75 rating compared to his 7.77. The winger who also plays as inside forward is also contributing with 6 assista, which puts her in fifth place in the league. She also has 8 goals, 2 key headers, has created 5 chances and put in 9 key passes. Her presence and impact has really been felt across the attacking third where she needs to be making an impact. As I said, she is clearly the one behind all the success of Key West and making all the important moves and decisions to set up her peers such as Mako Mendonca, Rinji Oda and Jay Cue. She might not get all the limelight that her peers are getting but I for one feel that she is the clear MVP of this season.