With a new year around the corner, it’s time to take one final look back at 2020 and the performances that kept FC Dallas fighting for that playoff spot in what was an unpredictable and hard fought season.
If you recall, I tossed out polls every week giving you a chance to vote for players who went the full 90 and put in the kind of oft-unrecognized performances to label them a workhorse of this team. They may not always score the goals or deliver the assists, but their efforts gave Dallas a chance even in tough situations. I appreciate every vote and every comment you gave to help shape this series over the course of the season. And I hope your love and appreciation for the hard work these players put in made it one way or another into the Dallas locker room.
This year, there was no clear front runner until the very end. I counted nine players who earned Workhorse of the Week wins over the course of the season, including guys like Zdenek Ondrasek who are no longer with the team and young players like John Nelson and Bryan Reynolds. Ultimately, the major vote-getters were Jimmy Maurer, Matt Hedges, and Ryan Hollingshead. All three rightly deserve consideration and respect.
And really, it points to how this whole team contributed in spots to keep their squad in contention despite the challenges they faced this year.
But the award goes to...
Ultimately, after weighting votes and double header weeks, we can announce officially that Ryan Hollingshead, for the second year in a row, has earned our Workhorse of the Year award.
This year, Ryan did it with more than flexibility, great defense, and hard work. He also continued to be an offensive weapon for this team, connecting with Bryan Reynolds on balls like this to keep Dallas in the playoff hunt:
Hollingshead’s stat block for 2020 includes 20 games, 19 starts, 4 goals, and 1 assist but doesn’t show all the various ways he was deployed on the right, on the left, as a winger, and even in midfield.
Ryan does the work week in and out while also being a great guy, an ally during the league-wide and nation-wide continued conversation around racial justice, a force for good in his community, and a solid teammate that earns his way on to the field with his skill and consistency. Truly, when he is in form, Hollingshead deserves USMNT attention for being one of the better American left backs in the league. He has continued to add wrinkles to his offensive skillsets that delivers moments like those above.
This is the definition of a Workhorse - someone who can fly below our radar but delivers for this team even in difficult circumstances.
The future is also bright for Ryan. He’s a veteran and leader of this team. With Bryan Reynolds likely on his way out, Ryan has potential to slot over in the right back spot or continue in his starting role at left back. There is even some murmuring that Ryan could be converted into a third CB if Dallas moves into a 5-3-2.
Congratulations, Ryan, and thank you for entertaining us with your amazing play this season.
Below: Toss out some Ryan Hollingshead appreciation in the comments. Let Ryan know how you feel!