Archive for October, 2011

TSG’s 2011 MLS Awards Ballot

And here you go.

And let the second guessing begin.

First some bullets:

• Had an extremely difficult time for the Best XI as you might imagine. We were committed to choosing four defenders (who plays three defenders in MLS?) The toughest calls were: (1) Osvaldo Alonso (narrowly beating out Kyle Beckerman), (2) Sheanon Williams (narrowly beating out Chance Myers),  and (3) Mauro Rosales (narrowly beating out Landon Donovan and Sebastien Le Toux.)

• Did you realize–thank you Jason Price–that Kasey Keller made 110 saves! That’s ridiculous….especially for a 2nd place team.

• Coach of the Year was really a four horse race. Let’s remind everyone here that the Philadelphia Union are in their second year as a professional team. All they did was completely pull a 180-degree turn in goal differential, survive Sebu Le Toux’s early season doldrums and Freddy Adu being a super sub. Peter Vermes in at #2 while Frank Klopas and Schellas Hyndman both did an excellent job.

• Brad Davis is our MVP followed closely by Brek Shea with Dwayne DeRosario on his heals.

» Let’s take a little bit closer look at Brad Davis versus the competition. He played and started every game. What other candidate can say that?

» He plays defense. David Beckham, Dwayne DeRosario

» He was the only creator in his midfield. Landon Donovan

» Take a step back and–yes this is perhaps an unfair comparison, but–look at each team and remove their MVP candidate(s). Who’s roster wouldn’t you want to have besides the Houston Dynamo. (Sorry Dynamo fans).

» Brad Davis had nobody to take the heat off. Brek Shea nearly nobody.

• Perhaps a little head scratcher–or not–Carlos Valdes is selected as our defender of the year just ahead of Omar Gonzalez, Chad Marshall and George John.

• And a final note: PERLAZA! Oh so close to putting the Megabus in there somewhere.

MLS Awards 2011: Part IV of Many: MVP

We wanted to do a bigger expose on MVP, but alas we’ve run out of time for stating the case.

Though if you’ve been following along at home, you know who TSG’s frontrunner is.

Help us decide:

Will DeRo walk away with the award?

Volkswagen 2011 MLS MVP: (Most Valuable Player in MLS during the 2011 regular season. )

Candidates: (Only those in consideration by TSG.)

Dwayne DeRosario – DC United

Brad Davis – Houston Dynamo

Brek Shea – FC Dallas

Mauro Rosales – Seattle Sounders

Dan Kennedy – Chivas USA

Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew

Landon Donovan – Los Angeles Galaxy

Omar Gonzalez – Los Angeles Galaxy

Thierry Henry – New York Red Bulls

Faryd Mondgragon – Philadelphia Union

Kyle Beckerman – Real Salt Lake

Osvaldo Alonso – Seattle Sounders

Graham Zusi – Sporting KC

Joao Plata – Toronto FC

TSG skinny: You’ll be hard-pressed to have TSG buff out the name of Brad Davis that we’ve soddered into our “1st choice” section of the MVP ballot.

He played every match. He had rotating forwards. He had very little to no help in central midfield to take the pressure of him.

Houston has two ways to score. A Brad Davis pass with or against the run-of-play to a forward or a Brad Davis set piece that finds the dome of Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell or Brian Ching. That’s pretty much it. It’s why they won’t go far in the playoffs and it’s why Brad Davis is the MVP.

Dwayne DeRosario, Brek Shea and Mauro Rosales are nipping at Davis’s heals. Going in reverse, no player–besides Davis–has meant more to their team’s success than Rosales. Yet he continually battles to remain on the field. MVP’s need to stay on the field.

Shea, an FC Dallas fan favorite...

For Shea, it was a test of fortitude rather than a case of dazzling during the stretch run of the season. Putting in both national and club time, being asked to carry FC Dallas with David Ferreira on the shelf, and manning a midfield minus both Ferreira and Dax McCarty, Shea had, by all accounts, one of the top MLS seasons by any player. But MVP?

As for Dwayne DeRosario, there probably is not question that he was the most dominant player during stretches of this year’s campaign. Certainly for his summer entrance to the beltway and his last month, DeRosario has been a wrecking crew. But there are some blemishes on an MVP season and they include: his team not making the playoffs (and if you argue about Pontius going down doesn’t that notion actually refute his campaign), his inability to fit in in New York (sure a minor point, but if you’re having an MVP season, no matter what club you’re with you “create value.”) and oscillations in his performance from scalding hot to cold, especially when he missed a penalty kick that in retrospect could have put DC United in the playoffs.

MLS Playoffs: Handicapping & Whose Your Favorite?

The MLS playoff schedule was set late Sunday night (it’s down below here).

We’ll review with a thorough handicapping later this week, but for now…here’s our quick odds, brief summary and the schedule.

Please lend your voice to the odds and we’ll republish on Wednesday or Thursday:

Evans for Seattle (and previously for Columbus)

TSG’s MLS Playoff Odds:

Seattle Sounders: 3 to 1* (pending Rosales injury update)

Los Angeles Galaxy: 4 to 1

Real Salt Lake: 6 to 1

Philadelphia Union: 7 to 1

Sporting KC, FC Dallas: 8 to 1

Colorado Rapids: 10 to 1

Houston Dynamo: 14 to 1

New York Red Bulls, Columbus Crew: 15 to 1


TSG’s Pick (may change by Thursday): Seattle

TSG Skinny: There are a just few basic things you need to reach the MLS Cup Finals after journeying through its playoff gauntlet. They are: veteran leadership in the back, team speed, bite in the midfield and a playmaker who can create against the best.

Casey: Showing Houston the door...

It’s not hard to see.

Last year, FC Dallas had the savvy veteran leadership of Kevin Hartmann in the back while their opponents, Colorado, had Drew Moor. Dallas brought David Ferriera as their playmaker while none other than Conor Casey actually made himself a beast in the final game. (Say what you will about Conor Casey, but he seems to have a knack for theatrical on a big stage.)

Dallas featured Dax McCarty, Brek Shea as the speed in its midfield while Daniel Hernandez provided the bite. Conversely, it was of course the pairing of Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni in the midfield for the Rapids.

The champs the year prior were Real Salt Lake with, of course, Javy Morales as their playmaker, who was backed by the bite of Kyle Beckerman and flanked by the speedy Will Johnson.

Veteran Nick Rimando was in the cage with vets Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave ahead of him.

Continue reading

MLS 2011 Awards: Part III of Many: Newcomer of the Year

Part III in our continuing review of who TSG will choose for the MLS Awards 2011. Help us out. Add your voice.

Next up:

Rosales...singled out a lock for newcomer?

Newcomer of the Year

The best newcomer in MLS during the 2011 regular season. For this award, “newcomer” is defined as a player with previous professional experience who made his MLS debut in 2011.

Candidates: (Note: Change in the candidates…only showing those we would consider)

Charlie Davies (DC United)

Luke Rodgers (New York)

Teemu Taino (New York)

Faryd Mondragon (Philadelphia)

Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia)

Diego Chara (Portland)

Jorge Perlaza (Portland)

Simon Dawkins (San Jose)

Mauro Rosales (Seattle)

Erik Friberg (Seattle)

Omar Bravo (Sporting KC)

Joao Plata (Toronto FC)

Eric Hassli (Vancouver)

TSG skinny: Perlaza! Very hard for us not to consider Perlaza here, but alas we need to be objective. Many horses in this race. Both thoroughbreds from Philadelphia Valdes and Mondragon.

Joao Plata obviously deserves mention. He might be the dark horse. Rosales the favorite, but Rodgers also in consideration?





The Weekend: Your Live Analysis Here

Nothing much to play for in MLS.

Meanwhile, the EPL is starting to rev up.

Along with the Wayne Rooney Bowl, the Manchester City Derby complete with Tevezgate, this year’s absence of Paul Scholes, Man City atop the table, something guaranteed to go with Mario Balotelli in the limelight and likely David Silva cementing his spot in the EPL Season’s Best XI for a time to come. Sunday.

Everything's about even--except at manager...

MLS Awards 2011: Part II of Many: Defender of the Year

And moving on…


Best defender in MLS during the 2011 regular season.


Marshall was a big part of the Crew's surprising success...

Corey Gibbs – Chicago Fire

Gonzalo Segares – Chicago Fire

Ante Jazic – Chivas USA

Heath Pearce – Chivas USA

Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew

Julius James – Columbus Crew

Drew Moor – Colorado Rapids

Marvell Wynne – Colorado Rapids

Ugo Ihemelu – FC Dallas

George John – FC Dallas

Andre Hainault – Houston Dynamo

Todd Dunivant – Los Angeles Galaxy

Omar Gonzalez – Los Angeles Galaxy

A. J. Soares – New England Revolution

Chris Tierney – New England Revolution

Rafa Marquez – New York Red Bulls

Tim Ream – New York Red Bulls

Futty Danso for the Timbers...

Carlos Valdes – Philadelphia Union

Sheanon Williams – Philadelphia Union

Eric Brunner – Portland Timbers

Mamadou Danso – Portland Timbers

Jason Hernandez – San Jose Earthquakes

Ramiro Corrales – San Jose Earthquakes

Nat Borcher – Real Salt Lake

Jamison Olave – Real Salt Lake

Jeff Parke – Seattle Sounders

James Riley – Seattle Sounders

Matt Besler – Sporting KC

Chance Myers – Sporting KC

Richard Eckersley – Toronto FC

Ty Harden – Toronto FC

Gershon Kofie – Vancouver Whitecaps

Alain Rochat – Vancouver Whitecaps

TSG skinny: Omar Gonzales–as well as Chad Marshall–will and should be in everyone’s debate. Chance Myers was dynamic for Sporting KC, but probably not enough.

Not the same year in Real Salt Lake. Nat and Jamison, strong, but not quite 2010.

The pairings from the two perhaps the two most disappointing MLS clubs–Colorado and New York–don’t belong near this list.

James Riley, perhaps a sleeper, an excellent year up in Seattle.


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