The Houston Dynamo today announced player awards for the 2018 season, and Mauro Manotas was rewarded for his breakthrough season with accolades from his teammates as well as close observers of the team.
In the Dynamo player-only voting, Manotas, who turned 23 in July, won the Player of the Year award and he won Most Valuable Player from the assemblage of media members and the technical staff who voted on four different awards. That group also named Alberth Elis the Young Player of the Year, awarded to a Dynamo squad member 23 or younger. The Honduran international, still just 22, notched a 10-goal and 11-assist season in 2018.
The media and technical staff also honored veteran DaMarcus Beasley as Defender of the Year, and singled out an emerging young defender, Alejandro Fuenmayor, as Newcomer of the Year.
Manotas picked up two additional team awards based on statistics: His Golden Boot comes as no surprise, given his team leading 25 goals in all competitions (19 in the MLS season, and six in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup), and he also logged the most league play minutes for Dynamo players with 2,633, earning him the Ironman of the Year Award.
The awards were rounded out by goalkeeper Joe Willis winning the Humanitarian of the Year award for his off-field service. Willis 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, finishing ninth in the MLS Western Conference and missing out on a playoff spot. Their U.S. Open Cup win qualified the Dynamo for the 2019 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League, which will begin play in mid-February. They’ll learn their initial opponent on Monday, Dec. 3 when the CCL draw takes place in Miami.