Ask nearly anyone around the league as to who they might tab as their Newcomer of the Year so far for 2013 and the answer will likely start and end with FC Dallas midfielder Michel.
(For what it is worth, I have asked around a good bit lately to some that I know vote like myself at the end of the year, and most people are quick to say how good Michel has been.)
Last night's 3-0 win in the US Open Cup over rivals Houston Dynamo was another feather in the cap for Michel. Sure USOC games won't count in the long run for the Newcomer of the Year race but they certainly don't hurt one bit. Michel's two assist to Kenny Cooper were a thing of beauty to watch last night.
"His quality speaks for itself," said Cooper. "He has been incredible since he joined the team. His service from dead balls and also from the run of play is top, top quality."
Schellas Hyndman told reporters last night that Michel has been a major difference maker this season for the club, not just on set pieces but overall on the field.
"We did not expect this at all," said Hyndman. "We were looking at a left fullback that I had seen a few times and then he's playing out of position [at central midfield]. Whether he's a left back, whether he's a center back, whether he's a center midfielder ... we just have to keep finding ways to keep him on the field so he can take those free kicks and corner kicks."
To put it into perspective, on the season FC Dallas has scored 27 goals and 11 of those have come from free kicks and corner kicks. Part of the reason is surely the height advantage FC Dallas has over their opponents. Looking at the roster, the club has 11 field players that stand six-feet or taller.
Last year the club scored eight goals total from free kicks and corner kicks.
Hyndman also called Michel one of the league's top set piece takers.
"Michel is one of the best free kick specialists in the league. You can probably put him in the top three. Then if you look at the size we have, and the strength we have in the air, it may be the difference-maker of winning games," said Hyndman.