MLS Awards are out this morning…for Goalkeeper of the Year and Rookie of the Year. And someone pulled a fast one.
The winners both had great seasons mind you, but the awards should have been bestowed on others.
For Goalkeeper of the Year: Donovan Ricketts
Denouement: Hardly the best selection here. As LA’s backline went so did Ricketts. Early in the season the back four? Near impenetrable. A midseason swoon saw LA’s backline look extremely porous part of it due to Ricketts lack of command once Gregg Berhalter went down.
Additionally, minus offense in the form of Donovan and Buddle during the World Cup, LA got even more pressure up against its back four and the response from Ricketts was not precisely stout.
While I will concede that Rickets makes one to two great saves a game, far too often the keeper is late to react on a play or fails to marshal effectively. Often he is seen making a save only because he didn’t react quick enough to where the ball was going in the first place.
A late season lack of taking charge up at the Buck led to the loan goal in a critical win for San Jose; it’s a game that sticks out in my memory.
One must also remember that Ricketts has been playing behind that backline for nearly two years now. It’s seasoned. Whereas…
Kevin Hartman, the deserving choice, took a shoddy Dallas defense and completely turned it around. He played well and he made those around him better.
Kevin Hartman should be the pick.
For Rookie of the Year: Andy Najar
Denouement: Andy Najar certainly thrilled. And he’s a talent.
But you have a consistent and critical starter on an East leading squad that had challenges in midfield all year long.
You had a player at position that usually takes many, many years of seasoning come in and earn the trust of his coach and his teammates.
robbed for TSG’s choice for MLS Rookie of the Year.
Our thoughts below from October 27th:
Come on. Your top 3 finalists.
Really doesn’t leave a lot of room there to debate when more than three are deserving for many awards.
Anywho, let’s get into it.
Survivors: Chris Wondolowski, San Jose — Edson Buddle, Los Angeles — David Ferreira, Dallas
The tribe has spoken: We already had our column here; and I stand by that column.
I can see Wondo’s late surge vaulting him into contention. Buddle is a no-brainer, but Sebastien LeToux penalized for being on a poor team?
And look Ferreira is a great player, but the FACTS of the matter are that Dallas greatly improved their defense with a near full season from Kevin Hartman and a full one from Heath Pearce….yet they still had less goals even with Brek Shea getting his act…if not his mane…together.
Goalkeeper of the Year
Survivors: Kevin Hartman, Dallas — Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake — Donovan Ricketts, Los Angeles
The tribe has spoken: Those who read TSG frequently know that I have pointed out several observations of the fumbles or stutters with Donovan Ricketts…he’s not on my ballot. Rimando was good, but not spectacular. He’s great at penalty kicks, but he doesn’t marshall his defense well (frankly doesn’t have to) and his technical cops are not necessarily the best.
San Jose’s Jon Busch deserves on this list, but Kevin Hartman is the winner.
Coach of the Year
Survivors: Schellas Hyndman, Dallas — Jason Kreis, Real Salt Lake — Hans Backe, New York
The tribe has spoken: This is between Backe and Kreis in our mind and I’m going to go with Hans Backe. A foreign coach, first year, integrating multiple parts? The result? 1st place in the East.
Newcomer of the Year
Survivors: Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake — Thierry Henry, New York — Joel Lindpere, New York
Roque Shinta Guardian, San Francisco FC Black Box
The tribe has spoken: Where’s Ryan Smith on this list? Odd. Joel Lindpere…that guy is NAILS. Thierry Henry…I mean he’s got a great name and all…but…
Rookie of the Year
Survivors: Tim Ream, New York — Andy Najar, D.C. United — Danny Mwanga, Philadelphia
The tribe has spoken: Wait! My guy didn’t even make the list! Actually, Tim Ream is my choice by a hair. Central defenders take years to ferment. Ream despite a midseason swoon that coincided with a partner change, held up admirably. He’s smart, a cool character and he can play on my 8-man club team anytime.
Andy Najar flashed brilliance as did Mwanga…who was sneaky good, but highly inconsistent.
Chicago keeper Sean Johnson deserves consideration.
Here’s another prediction: Steve Goff will take Najar here and Soccer By Ives will take Ream here and wonder or opine on “why isn’t Ream in consideration for defender of the year.”
Being that the closest team to our publication is San Jose….moving on….
Defender of the Year
Survivors: Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake — Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles — Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake
The tribe has spoken: Had a bit of a Twitter hissy fit over this one. Sean Franklin should be your winner here and Heath Pearce for some reason has gone missing. From the selections above I go with…well…I cop out… I go with EVERYONE, but Sean Franklin comes out of the tunnel first.
The President of the Sean Franklin fan club resides at 1 TSG Central, San Francisco, CA.
Okay, I detest punters…while, as I wrote on Twitter, I really like Nat Borchers game–I feel like he’d Mike Tyson your ear if it meant it would prevent you from scoring–I’ll go with Olave as my 1st 2nd choice here.
Comeback Player of the Year
Survivors: Chris Albright, New York — Bobby Convey, San Jose — Brek Shea, Dallas
The tribe has spoken: First, I hate this award…comeback from what? From injury…okay fair enough. Are there degrees of injuries? How good did the player have to be the year before? Bobby Convey played last year and Chris Albright is not really the answer for the Red Bulls this year. PASS.
I’ll sneak in a vote for Seattle’s Leo Gonzalez here.