Who’s Your Player of the Year?

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The finalists for the 2009 Honda Player of the Year were announced this morning. This award goes to “best performer on the USMNT.”

Your finalists…

Tim Howard


Tim Howard
This TSG favorite has been a rock in net for most of the year including 8 saves against Spain in an historic win for US Soccer. The USMNT’s pack-it-in and counter-attack approach has only enjoyed some success due to Howard’s ability to come up big when the defense breaks down. He hasn’t been perfect, but he’s still world class.

Landon Donovan


Landon Donovan
The “Summer of Soccer” could have just as easily be named the “Summer of Donovan.” Lando’s performance at the Confed Cup helped to elevate both his stature and that of US Soccer in the world. However, the blow-by that conceded the game-winning goal in Mexico may be my most enduring image of him in 2009.

Jozy Altidore


Jozy Altidore
Receive…Pivot…Shoot…Score…USA 1, Spain 0. Jozy took a big leap this year towards becoming a force to be reckoned with on the world stage and is on his way to becoming a US sports star, not just a soccer star. If all goes according to plan he’ll be a fixture up top for the Yanks Nats Stars & Stripes USMNT for years to come.

As you probably can tell by my commentary, I’d vote for Howard. He’s had to play with a number of different back-lines and produced while being a (vocal) team leader. Donovan comes in a very close second and could easily win the award based off the press he received following South Africa. And I am guessing Jozy is a distant third, in large part because he’s so young and from my perspective will be in line for a number of these in the coming years.

As a side note, the award is voted on by 221 sports journalists. TWO HUNDRED TWENTY ONE…Assuming we are talking about American journalists, I’d be hard pressed to come up with TWENTY-ONE that have the detailed knowledge of the USMNT to vote intelligently here (which is why Donovan will probably win the award). Am I wrong ?

More importantly, who do YOU think should win?

(vote on the right)

10 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/30 at 11:21 AM

    I of course am going to vote for Howard….and I just did.

    If the award goes to the best performer on the USMNT I go with Howard whose saves are worth just as much as goals, who doesn’t ever disappear in games and who gives BB the option of using a pack-it-in gameplan. No Howard, no hunker-down-ability.

    Donovan right behind–scoring is certainly more “sexy” and headline grabbing.

    Got to be honest, if you’re going to put Altidore in that mix–which I believe he’s getting the nod for his earlier qualifier goals (trifecta home to T&T) and the Confed Cup Spain goal, you should put Dempsey by nature of his goal count in the Confed Cup and contributions.

    you may have to sneak a nomination for Stu Holden in there as well due to his goals and all-tournament nod in the Gold Cup.

    Mind you, I’m only including Demps and Holden because Altidore is in there.

    To me, this is really a two-horse race.


  2. I think the 221 Sports writers comment says it all. The fact that we don’t know of more than 5 who cover the sport is probably the reason Lanny wins it every year. He’s certainly one of the most gifted players we have but he’s not always the performer of the year, case-in-point any year we play Mexico in qualifiers he usually disappears. I realize that trend is reversing, but he’s ghosted out of some crucial matches and still won the award; clearly people who don’t give two craps about the sport in the US are voting.


  3. Posted by Matthew N on 2009/09/30 at 5:05 PM

    Landon Donovan. No contest.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2009/09/30 at 5:52 PM

      Why is that?

      It’s Howard and Donovan. Why does Donovan beat out Howard?


      • Most always think of Donovan first because it’s his name that ends up on the scoresheet. I’m still torn on this one; Howard is a rock in the nets, but Donovan has come into his own this summer and made believers out of the haters.


      • Posted by Matthew N on 2009/10/01 at 4:04 PM

        I like Howard but he is so overrated. He makes all the saves he is supposed to and rarely makes one that he isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, he is one of the best keepers in the world, but I just don’t think he is as great as everyone says he is.

        Donovan is ALWAYS the spark. Whenever something good happens, Landon Donovan was in there somewhere. He makes the long passes. He makes the difficult runs. He plays sick because his team and his country needs him.


  4. Give it to Howard. Please. He’s been immense.

    However, Onyewu should’ve been a finalist. He’s our first defender to even approach world-class status and his performances have been quite consistent for the USMNT with the exception of a rusty 45 minutes down in T&T. His Confederation’s Cup play, along with his status as the defensive foundation for the Belgium champions earned him a transfer to AC Milan. If the Rossoneri decide to forgo their venerable backline and their lust for conceding goals, he might find himself starting for one of the handful of teams that have won the Champion’s League. But defenders never win these kind of things.


    • Posted by Mark T on 2009/10/01 at 8:15 AM

      Agree. I think Altidore made in on the list b/c of the 200 journalists that just read headlines.

      Howard and Donovan deserve it, then a case could be made for Gooch or Dempsey (despite recent play) for the third spot.


  5. […] “I’d Like to Change My Vote for Player of the Year Award”…goes to me. I stated in the piece on the nominees that for me the most enduring image of Donovan in 2009 would probably be the blow-by that led to […]


  6. […] TSG’s initial commentary on the award, we were in favor of handing the trophy over to Tim Howard while noting that Donovan was just as […]


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