Today, Major League Soccer announced the 2014 individual award finalists and the Columbus Crew have three nominees.
Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter is nominated for MLS Coach of the Year while Steve Clark is a finalist for Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year and Michael Parkhurst is up for the Xbox Individual Fair Play award. All three are in their first year with the club and had massively successful seasons.
Berhalter led Columbus to a 14-10-10 record in the regular season and the first postseason appearance since 2011. He became the first head coach in Crew history to make the playoffs in his first year with the organization.
After the team got off to the best start in its history - three consecutive wins to begin the campaign - the club went through a rough stretch through the middle of the summer. Berhalter stuck with his possession-based system he installed when he arrived and eventually turned the year around, finishing the season with eight wins over the final 11 games of the season to climb to third place in the Eastern Conference standings by the year's end.
Clark appeared in all 34 games for the Black and Gold in his first season in Columbus and was one of only five players in MLS to play every minute in 2014. Clark finished with a 1.24 goals against average, seventh best in the league, and eight shutouts, tied for fourth in the league and tied for fifth all time in single-season shutouts for the Crew.
Clark faces a stiff test, going head-to-head with established MLS names in United's Bill Hamid and Real Salt Lake's Nick Rimando.
Parkhurst won the Individual Fair Play award twice in his previous stint in MLS. In his time with the New England Revolution, he took home the award in back-to-back years in 2007 and 2008. In over 13,000 regular season minutes in MLS, Parkhurst has never been issued a red card and has four yellow cards in his career, one this season.
The Individual Fair Play award will be announced on November 24 followed by Coach of the Year on December 2 and the Goalkeeper of the Year on December 3.