MLS has already announced its award finalists for the 2010 season and throughout the month will be slowly unveiling the winners of each award (congratulations Andy Najar and Donovan Ricketts). On November 15, MLS will announce the Best XI for the year, and few things get soccer fans as excited as picking out the best players for an event or season.
I cannot say I am in the minds of the selection committee, but here is what I think the final results will be. I selected the classic 4-4-2 for simplicity’s sake and because of the number of quality midfielders. Agree or disagree? Share in the comments section below.
Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy) – The now-capped Buddle was also my pick to win the MVP Award this year, and like I said in my award post, Buddle is truly deserving of the nomination and being included in the Best XI. This season was truly a breakout for the striker as he became one of the most feared goal scorers in the country, just missing out on the Golden Boot. His play was impressive enough for playing time in the World Cup.
Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids) – The Colorado striker was a legitimate candidate for the MVP Award and deserved at least a finalist spot, according to Jeremiah and Richard. What’s undeniable is that Cummings is a playmaker and has the quickness and skill to make him one of the most efficient scorers in MLS. His 14 goals this season was his career best .
Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) – The face of MLS and one of the few players Don Garber would absolutely not let leave during the season. This season Donovan led the league in assists with 14 and scored 7 goals in 24 matches. If you saw his run in the second half of Sunday’s playoff game, you can see why he is one of the best players in American soccer history.
David Ferreira (FC Dallas) – The stats themselves warrant selection to this list: eight goals and ten assists this season. But what makes Ferreira an MVP candidate is his ability to be the engine that runs the FC Dallas sports car. Even when not scoring, Ferreira is the one creating chances and maintaining possession for teammates. Maybe his team is not as reliant on him as the next player on this list, but he is without a doubt the face of his franchise and a superstar.
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) – He won the Golden Boot, and probably that’s enough to be included on this list. But amazingly he scored 18 of the team’s 34 goals and has been the offense the club needed to take the final playoff spot. While maybe not the “best” player, he certainly is the most valuable to his club and what a breakout year he has had.
Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union) – Much like Wondolowski, Le Toux was an offensive machine for the expansion club. He scored 14 goals and had 10 assists, scoring forty percent of the club’s goals. He and Danny Mwanga form part of a good midfield for a bad team. Another player that had a legitimate case for being an MVP finalist.
Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
Nate Borchers (Real Salt Lake) – Maybe it’s unfair to lump Olave and Borchers together, but they are two parts of a formidable defense for Real Salt Lake that allowed a league-low 20 goals, including only seven at home. Olave also contributed five goals on the season, showing his prowess on set pieces. Borchers was the rock of the defense as he led the team in matches played and minutes.
Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy) – The reigning Rookie of the Year has made the next step in his maturity and became an integral part of the defense in front of Ricketts. In addition to scoring two goals, Gonzalez also played in 28 matches and played the full 90 minutes in all of them. The Galaxy defense overall had 12 clean sheets on the year and allowed 26 goals.
Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew) – It is kind of easy to list the two-time defending Defender of the Year as your pick, but Marshall truly is one of the best defenders in the league. A starter against Manchester United in the all-star game, Marshall is the backbone of a defense that helped lead Columbus to the playoffs.
Donovan Ricketts (LA Galaxy) – The newly announced Goalkeeper of the Year was a rock for the Galaxy. He finished the year with 11 shutouts and a 0.90 goals against average, as well as helping the team capture the Supporters’ Shield. Honestly, Nick Rimando is also a very viable candidate here, but I gave this spot to Ricketts because (a) he won Goalkeeper of the Year and (b) his club finished ahead of Rimando’s.