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NYCFC had coveted the Wake Forest midfielder all year, and after its efforts to claim him via the Homegrown mechanism failed, they went all in during the draft. It proved to be a prescient move, as Harrison turned into a Rookie of the Year candidate and an outright terror pinching in off the flank.

But a pair of other efforts stand out, starting with how fans, and even players and coaches around the league, rallied around ailing Real Salt Lake fan Ryan Terry earlier this year. When he was hospitalized, the community raised thousands for his care. Players, coaches, and fans of other teams all pitched in, many recalling how warmly he had welcomed RSL opponents and their fans to the RioT. (In a nice ending to this particular story, Terry later regained his health and returned to the RioT.)

Columbus Crew SC didn’t enjoy the best of seasons, which perhaps obscured how incredibly Ola Kamara performed throughout most of it.

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We have to note here, too, the importance of the Whitecaps' Alphonso Davies making his pro debut this season at 15 years old. Some observers -- especially in Vancouver -- claim that's an even bigger deal than Morris. We'll see in 2017.

The old adage can be true: Sometimes, all a player needs is a chance with a coach who believes in them.

There were, of course, more pieces at work than just Lodeiro, but be sure to give the graceful, balletic No. 10 his due. There have been few better to darken the league’s doors, and perhaps none whohave made an impact this big this quickly.

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Seattle gave up a hefty amount of allocation money to move up in the 2015 SuperDraft to land Cristian Roldan, who has more than paid off the Sounders’ initial investment in him. Only 21, Roldan became an indispensable part of the Sounders’ lineup this season, starting 28 regular-season games and appearing in 33 as Seattle overcame a huge early-season hole to maintain their perfect record of postseason qualification.

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Sports Illustrated's in-depth look at all of the MLS expansion candidates has moved on to St. Louis.

Jelle Van Damme didn’t win the MLS Defender of the Year honor. That went to FC Dallas’s Matt Hedges. He didn’t win the MLS Newcomer of the Year honor either. Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro took that one home. But Van Damme was nominated for both, the only player on the end-of-year MLS awards slate to make the final three for two awards simultaneously.

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