Around The League With Joseph Reina // Week 19

**The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the viewpoints or positions of the Major Arena Soccer League.**



With the regular season all wrapped up, the datasets are complete and we can finally begin analyzing the criteria and contenders for the league’s end-of-season awards. It’s been an enthralling season full of unexpected twists, and a few names have separated themselves from the crowd.

I’ll be giving my opinions, with data at the forefront of the arguments, as to who I believe should win each of the league’s individual awards. There are many different qualified candidates; that’s why we vote, but using statistics helps us understand who has put together a season most deserving of the league’s recognition.


Genaro Castillo

“La Pantera Rosa” earned this season’s Scoring Champion title by racking up 50 points in his 24 appearances. It’s no secret that Monterrey’s squad is overflowing with talent, especially on offense. 13 players finished the season with over ten points, seven accumulated over 20 points, and only three broke the 30 mark. But Castillo was directly involved in a half-century’s worth of his side’s goals.

If we take a look at his scoring, he stands significantly above most of the league’s other top scorers thanks to his shooting percentage. No player with more than 15 goals converted above 40% of their shots. Castillo, who scored 32 goals, finished the season with a 41% shooting percentage.

            Watch him play and you’ll be captivated by his spellbinding creativity. Castillo passes the eye test and crucially, the data test too. A few other players caught my eye, namely Zach Reget, who finished the season as the league’s joint-top scorer. Between these two, choosing just one felt impossible.

They have similar points-per-game figures, they both led the league with five game-winning goals, and they finished the season just two points apart, but for me, it came back to Castillo’s shooting percentage and the fact that he proved he was the best player on the league’s runaway best team.


Robert Palmer

The Comets weren’t the most consistent side in the league this season, and yet, they managed to secure the third seed in the Eastern Conference. This was thanks, in large part, to their defense stepping up and setting a new standard for the league.

Now, while his team’s performances ebbed and flowed, Robert Palmer was a defensive metronome, blocking shots like the Comets’ season depended on it, because in truth, it likely did. Were it not for Palmer’s steady presence, there’s a good chance the Comets wouldn’t be preparing for a deep run in the Ron Newman Cup Playoffs right now.

Palmer led the MASL in blocked shots with 86 in just 19 games. That’s 4.526 blocks per game. For context, when looking at our goals-per-shot metric, we know that each shot is worth roughly 0.22 goals, meaning Palmer has likely prevented as many as 19 goals this season.

Anyone who follows me on X (formerly Twitter), knows that I’ve been touting the Wave’s Marcio Leite as a serious MVP candidate, but given his absences and injuries, I felt there were better represented candidates for this award.

            Defenders come in different forms but for individual recognition like this, I put more emphasis on the defensive aspect of the game, which favors Palmer. As a result, Leite’s incredibly productive, but injury-shortened campaign, mean he’ll have to settle for my MASL Elite 6 nomination.

            Uzi Tayou was another defender who stood out to me. He was the only other defender in Palmer’s ballpark for blocks per game, and his attacking output was superb. The thing that set Palmer ahead for me was that “Berto” was the best defender on one of the best defenses in the league.

Texas struggled quite a bit this season to keep their opposition off the board, conceding 6.71 goals per game while the Comets ended the season at just 5.5.


Nicolau Neto

Stood behind Palmer is Kansas City’s brick wall. Nicolau Neto has blossomed into one of the league’s best shotstoppers and he’s the other half of his side’s unbreakable defensive equation. The Brazilian puts his team in a position to win games consistently, and as of late, they’ve been able to capitalize.

This season, Neto has faced the league’s third most shots with 351 and still managed the third lowest goals against average (4.68) and third highest save percentage (74.6%). He combines that with a superb ability to turn defense into attack, demonstrated by his five assists this season.

Another goalkeeper I’ve been impressed with, since he joined the Savage in January, is Diego Reynoso. However, when you look at the graph, he doesn’t face anywhere near the same amount of shots as Neto despite finishing the season with a comparable save percentage.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t give credit to Monterrey’s goalkeepers who haven’t put a foot wrong all season. In splitting time throughout the season, their bodies of work have let them down here. Neto played 369 more minutes than Berna Valdovinos and 536 more than Christian Hernandez. That’s the equivalent of six more full games over Berna and almost nine more than Christian.

To win an award for a full season, there also needs to be proof that without you there, there was, or would have been a dropoff. On the contrary, there was not a discernable difference in either keeper’s absence, which should be a compliment to Moneterrey’s defense and both keepers, but ultimately, hurt them in this respect.

Neto, on the other hand, did the most goalkeeping at the highest level. He ticks all the boxes, and then some.


Marco Fabián

This isn’t a debate in my book, and frankly, I don’t think it should be for anyone else. There has never been a player, to take to the indoor game as quickly and as smoothly as the former Mexican international. Fabián, with almost no prep, jumped head-first into indoor soccer and immediately became one of the league’s best players.

When looking at the best players and points leaders, I was interested to see which players account for most of their teams’ goals. Two names jumped out immediately.

Despite joining the team after three games, Fabian accounted for a whopping 40.9% of his team’s goals. If you take out the 11 goals they scored in those games, that number jumps to 45.2%. Apologies to all of the league’s other talented rookies, but this was never really a competition.


Luis Jaime Borrego

This one is simple, requires very little explanation, and even fewer graphs. No team has, in the history of the MASL, gone 24-0. Borrego managed it. He compiled a team of immensely talented individuals and guided them in the right direction, en route to an unbeaten season.

Despite facing Chihuahua on six occasions, and traveling all across North America, Borrego and his side never blinked in the face of adversity. When trailing late in games, they pulled the goalkeeper and employed the sixth attacker perfectly. No matter how bleak the situation, the Flash came together and pulled out the result.

His side’s penalty kill expertise is further proof that he knows exactly how to get his side through the tough moments. The league-wide penalty kill average is 65.9%, but the Flash finished the season at 86.4%. For context, they conceded just 6 power-play goals this season, the same amount as Harrisburg who only gave up 10 total power plays all year.


  • Genaro Castillo
  • Zach Reget
  • Marco Fabián
  • Robert Palmer
  • Marcio Leite
  • Nicolau Neto

I won’t spend too much time on this given four of the six were my individual award winners, but I’ll specifically take this chance to sing the praises of Reget and Leite.

The Comets forward had a spectacular season, and it should be a high compliment that the decision between him and Castillo is as tough as it is. He was Kansas City’s scoring leader by 17 points, and he led his team in goals with 35, more than their next two highest goals scorers combined. Take your eye off him for a second at your own risk. He’s a physically dominant, yet technically wonderful magician, more than deserving of individual accolades.

Leite was, for the majority of the season, the Wave’s most dangerous weapon. Everything flowed through the defender, as he dictated play, providing delicate assists, emphatic goals, and crucial blocks. He averaged 2.4 points per game and 1.6 blocks per game, and without him, Milwaukee lacks his spark. His ability to flip a game in a second is unmatched and without a doubt, he was one of the best players in the league this season.


  • Franck Tayou
  • Dominic Francis
  • Ignacio Flores
  • Uzi Tayou
  • Ismael Rojo
  • Diego Reynoso

            The league’s second team is still spectacular and shows just how deep the talent pool in the league has become.

            Up top, Dominic Francis leads the line. You’ll remember Francis from Fabian’s graph showing player offensive contribution percentage. He was the faraway leader, directly contributing to 45.7% of Harrisburg’s goals this season. This is truly an absurd figure.

            His partner in attack is Utica’s Franck Tayou. The King earned 49 points while setting a personal record for assists in a single season with 19. He’s as dominant as ever and deserves a spot here.

            Ignacio Flores cemented himself as the league’s premier two-way midfielder, bagging 31 points and 39 blocks for the Kansas City Comets. Few midfielders were this dominant in one aspect of play, much less two, and his 24 appearances speaks to his reliability in that role.

            I spoke briefly about Uzi Tayou, but I need to give Monterrey’s Ismael Rojo. The 6’3” defender was a nightmare to get past, and as soon as he got the ball, he was an immediate threat going the other way. Rojo’s 25 points was the fifth most on the Flash, and he led his side in blocks with 36. 

            In goal is Reynoso, who took Chihuahua from good to great with his arrival in January. His 0.75 save percentage is among the best in the league and he has the lowest goals-against average (3.31) among all goalkeepers.