Unsung hero Rory McCrea named Barons' 2009 MVP

Byron Carmichael and Tunde Ogunbiyi voted as the top offensive and defensive player

Rory McCrea, pictured here in an Open Cup match vs. Real Maryland, played in every single game for the Barons this year, leading the team in minutes played. Photo: Bill Pellegrino
The Ocean City Barons have announced their team award winners for the 2009 season. Midfielder Rory McCrea (Hofstra / Leeds, England) has been named the most valuable player with Byron Carmichael (Marshall / Lumberton, NJ) and Tunde Ogunbiyi (Boston College / Gwynedd, PA) voted as the offensive and defensive MVPs respectively. The awards were voted on by coaches, team officials and the players themselves.

"Since this was such a tight nit group, we asked the players to vote on the team MVP," said head coach Neil Holloway. "We also included the coaches’ point of view and the front office staff, so we had a true overall perspective for this year’s awards.

Tunde Ogunbiyi set a Barons’ record with eight shutouts in all competitions in 2009.
Photo:
Bill Pellegrino
The Ocean City Barons have announced their team award winners for the 2009 season. Midfielder Rory McCrea (Hofstra / Leeds, England) has been named the most valuable player with Byron Carmichael (Marshall / Lumberton, NJ) and Tunde Ogunbiyi (Boston College / Gwynedd, PA) voted as the offensive and defensive MVPs respectively. The awards were voted on by coaches, team officials and the players themselves.

"Since this was such a tight nit group, we asked the players to vote on the team MVP," said head coach Neil Holloway. "We also included the coaches’ point of view and the front office staff, so we had a true overall perspective for this year’s awards."

Rory McCrea, in his first season with the Barons, was a consistent force in the midfield all season. McCrea played in every game including the team’s U.S. Open Cup and playoff games. He is the first midfielder to lead the team in minutes played since Tony Donatelli during the 2005 season. McCrea had one assist in the regular season, but his first PDL goal came in the post-season when he scored the game-clincher in a 2-0 win over the Long Island Rough Riders in the opening round of the playoffs.

"Maybe the unsung hero this year was Rory," said Holloway. "He did not get any of the headlines like Tunde [Ogunbiyi], Byron [Carmichael] or J.T. [Noone], yet he was the heartbeat of the team in the middle of the park. He worked tirelessly with and without the ball and was one of the quiet guys on the team who just got his head down and worked hard for the cause. They always say it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for!"

Byron Carmichael scored a career-high 14 goals in all competitions in 2009. Photo: Bill Pellegrino
Goalkeeper Tunde Ogunbiyi became the first Barons to win a league award since 2006 when he was named to the PDL All-Conference Team and was voted as the team’s top defensive player. Ogunbiyi, in his second season with the club, was 5-4-2 in 11 games played and ranked third in the PDL in goals against average (0.76) and second in goals allowed (8). The Gwynedd, PA native also earned five shutouts, three of them coming in his first three starts of the season, that were crucial to the Barons qualifying for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. His goals against average and shutout totals are the second-best single-season total in Barons history. In terms of all competitions, his eight shutouts and 0.82 goals against average are the best numbers ever for a Baron goalkeeper.

"No successful goalkeeper doesn’t have a good defense in front of him and that’s what I had this year," said Ogunbiyi. "It’s been a great season for me, the Barons organization and the coaching has been great, and they put together a great defense in front of me. The defense all gets along really well, and that has definitely helped."

"Tunde deserves his place as the defensive MVP for all of his clean sheets and his ability to come up with game winning saves when the team needed him the most," said Holloway.

For the third year in a row, Byron Carmichael has been named the team’s Offensive Player of the Year. Carmichael lead the team with 11 regular season goals and 14 in all competitions, both career-highs. The club’s all-time leading scorer earned his first trick this year, bagging a trio of goals in a July 2 match against the Newark Ironbound Express. His two-goal performance against Crystal Palace Baltimore (USL-2) in the First Round in the U.S. Open Cup earned him the USOpenCup.com Player of the Round award.

"He may not have been as sharp as he had been in previous years, but, as always, he was in the right place at the right time to score some big time goals," said Holloway. "To yet again be the leading goalscorer on a team this talented and to show great character, proves what an asset Bryon has been to this franchise over the years."

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