Midseason Awards: Who is the MLS Newcomer of the Year so far?

Bastian Schweinsteiger taps his heart

With MLS on a break for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, this seems as good a time as any to talk about first-half superlatives – and today, it's the Midseason Newcomer of the year.

We polled members of the editorial staff on the issue, and here are their takes on the best of the fresh faces so far:

Charles Boehm, Contributor

Bastian Schweinsteiger: His teammate Nemanja Nikolic tops the Golden Boot race and is on pace to smash the MLS single-season scoring record, but Schweinsteiger is the new import that's truly changed the culture in Chitown. The German has brought quiet leadership, badly-needed star power and a smoothly sophisticated center-mid skillset to the Fire, becoming the capstone to the Nelson Rodriguez-Veljko Paunovic renovation project. Oh, and he's stayed mostly healthy so far, thus answering the knottiest question about his value.

Simon Borg, Editor-In-Chief

Nemanja Nikolic: Here’s the sign of a great forward: Just weeks after landing with a new club in a new league, Nikolic needed no time at all to adjust to life in MLS. He already has a prodigious 16 goals in 19 matches, scoring in 12 of them. And he’ll feel like he could’ve had plenty more. This is the year the MLS scoring record falls. 

Ben Couch, Senior Editor

Bastian Schweinsteiger: Teammate Nemanja Nikolic scores a lot (OK, fine – A LOT a lot), and in a normal year, that checks this box. But this Fire turnaround napalmed preseason expectations once the man they call Basti joined up in April; they’re 10-2-4 since. How quickly we forget much of the initial reaction to that signing ...

Matt Doyle, Senior Writer

Bastian Schweinsteiger: Considering the amount of talent that's come into the league this season it might be more fair to do a "Newcomer Best XI." But here's the truth about me: I am a Bastian Schweinsteiger stan. I've always been a Bastian Schweinsteiger stan, and I always will be a Bastian Schweinsteiger stan. Watching him play brings me special joy, so he gets my vote.

Arielle Castillo, Senior Editor

Bastian Schweinsteiger: Count me as part of the unabashed Bastian Schweinsteiger fan club. It's one thing that he seems to have truly taken happily to his new city, gamely exploring and weaving himself into Chicago's fabric. It's another, though, that his performance on the field has also turned out happily -- both in spirit and in skill, he's lifted up everyone around him. It doesn't get much better than that. 

Andrew Wiebe, Senior Editor

Alexander Ring: It’s been a bumper year for MLS imports, which makes this decision near impossible. Nikolic and Basti? That ATLUTD trio? La Panterita? Alessandrini? Ramirez? Vazquez? Gerso? Yeesh. I could have chosen any of them, but I live in Brooklyn, so hipster MLS pick it is. Alexander Ring may not be a sexy pick, but he’s arguably the best d-mid in the league – seriously, tune out of the rest of the game and just watch him put in work on both sides – and could very well be the missing piece that finally brings the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy to New York. Sorry, Red Bulls fans.

Nicholas Rosano, Senior Editor

Miguel Almiron by himself is destination viewing. He can score, he can create, and he can keep fans on the edge of their seats for 90 minutes. He’s simply electric, and has been my favorite newcomer to watch week in, week out this year.

David Gass, Contributor

Alberth Elis: Most will choose one of the two new stars in Chicago or a big attacker from Atlanta. But I don't want to overlook the turnaround in Houston from last to relevant. Elis and Romell Quioto have powered that on the wings. Elis gets my vote for numbers and obviously the claw of La Panterita.