On the eve of the beginning of the 2010 playoffs, MLS announced the finalists for the end-of-season awards. While it does not have the international prestige of the Ballon D’Or, there is always a good lively debate about the nominees, who deserves what, and who got left out. The winners will be announced beginning on November 3 and then continuously leading up to the MLS final.
As they say in Hollywood: and the nominees are…….
MVP: Edson Buddle (Galaxy), David Ferreira (FC Dallas), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Wondolowski is the Golden Boot winner this year and the major reason San Jose is in the playoffs this weekend. Ferreira contributed 8 goals and 13 assists this season for Dallas. But my vote would go to Edson Buddle because of the three, he is the player this year who seemed to dominate the pitch every time he was on it. I remember attending the DC United/Galaxy match after his sub-par World Cup performance and watching him just control play every time the ball was in United’s half. He only finished with one goal and could have finished with more, and that was the kind of season he had. I think he was the most valuable player of this year. Kudos to MLS for thinking outside the box and not picking Donnovan.
Newcomer of the Year: Joel Lindpere (Red Bulls), Thierry Henry (RedBulls), Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
As an Arsenal fan I will always love Henry and am so glad he is playing in the United States. But he may have been the fourth best newcomer on his own team! If he wins it will be because of name recognition. Lindpere was a great pickup for New York from the soccer powerhouse nation of Estonia. But Saborio looks to be the favorite for this award, after providing a team-high 12 goals on the season.
Coach of the Year: Hans Backe (Red Bulls), Schellas Hyndman (FC Dallas), Jason Kreis (Real Salt Lake)
If you go simply by points, the award would go to Kreis whose club has 56 points and finished just behind LA. And I don’t think that would be a bad choice. Backe was able to integrate a number of new players successfully to take the Eastern Conference. Hyndman guided the club through 19 straight matches without a loss and had the club challenging for the Supporters’ Shield. But Kreis has molded a team that many consider the favorite to win the championship and that is a good quality in a coach of the year.
Rookie of the Year: Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia Union), Andy Najar (DC United), Tim Ream (Red Bulls)
Danny Mwanga is the front runner for this award, scoring 7 goals this season and becoming an early star for the expansion franchise. Ream benefited from excellent teammates and still made a name for himself by playing in every match as a rookie. But Andy Najar would get my vote just because on a team that was abysmal most of the year, Najar was a definite bright spot. Najar, who is 17, was DC United’s primary offensive threat and made plays from the wing that hide his true age. He definitely deserves the award for a combination of age, skill, and performance.
The rest of the nominees after the break:
Defender of the Year:
Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake)
Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Goalkeeper of the Year:
Kevin Hartman (FC Dallas)
Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Donovan Ricketts (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Comeback Player of the Year:
Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
Bobby Convey (San Jose Earthquakes)
Chris Albright (New York Red Bulls)
Referee of the Year:
CJ Brown (Chicago Fire)
Sebastian Le Toux (Philadelphia Union)
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year:
Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo)
Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards)
Seth Stammler (New York Red Bulls)
Note: I will be Tweeting during the Columbus/Colorado match this evening. If you want to chat, follow @roberthayjr