Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Ranking the MLS award finalists
by Ridge Mahoney, November 15th, 2012 7:54PM

TAGS:  d.c. united, los angeles galaxy, mls, san jose earthquakes, sporting kansas city


MLS has announced its end-of-the year finalists, with the winners to be gradually rolled out starting early next week. Here is how I rank the three finalists in the major categories along with those individuals who also deserved serious consideration but didn’t make the cut in voting conducted among players, coaches, MLS executives, and members of the media.
Most Valuable Player
1. Chris Wondolowski (San Jose)
2. Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
3. Thierry Henry (New York)
Wondo and his teammates fizzled in the playoffs, yet without him they couldn’t have won the Supporters’ Shield. His record-tying season of 27 goals and all-around impressive, consistent play stood out.
Also: Robbie Keane (Los Angeles), Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle).

Rookie of the Year
1. Nick DeLeon (D.C. United)
2. Austin Berry (Chicago)
3. Darren Mattocks (Vancouver)
Rookie attackers always have it tougher, since teams tend to stock up those spots with foreign players or proven commodities. DeLeon did more than enough to win a tight battle with an outstanding defender in Berry and a streaky yet promising forward in Mattocks.
Also deserving of mention: Connor Lade (New York), Kelyn Rowe (New England).
Newcomer of the Year
1. Victor Bernardez (San Jose)
2. Michael Gspurning (Seattle)
3. Federico Higuain (Columbus)
Along with robust tacking and aerial dominance, Bernardez lashed home a pair of direct free kicks and also volleyed an impressive goal from a corner kick with his right foot. The Honduran topped a good class of newcomers.
Also: Lee Young-Pyo (Vancouver), Jairo Arrieta (Columbus).

Comeback Player of the Year
1. Eddie Johnson (Seattle)
2. Chris Pontius (D.C. United)
3. Alan Gordon (San Jose)
Johnson’s return after four years in the European wilderness looked like a crazy gamble in April; by July it was a brilliant move. His 14 goals and energetic work up front called up memories of his impressive days in Dallas and Kansas City, and earned him a return to the national team.
Also: David Ferreira (FC Dallas).
Defender of the Year
1. Matt Besler (Sporting KC)
2. Victor Bernardez (San Jose)
3. Aurelien Collin (Sporting KC)
Besler doesn’t have the physical tools of Bernardez or Collin, but is marginally more consistent and less reckless. He and Collin played as a unit frequently, yet Besler also maintained a high standard when paired with Lawrence Olum and through lineup tweaks that often shifted around the midfield pieces in front of him.
Also: Jeff Parke (Seattle), Arne Friedrich (Chicago).

Goalkeeper of the Year
1. Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting KC)
2. Michael Gspurning (Seattle)
3. Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA)
Nielsen backstopped one of the strongest defenses in MLS yet still responded when a big save was demanded. He sometimes lacks presence in the penalty area on crosses and loose balls but otherwise is top-class.
Also: Nick Rimando (RSL), Andy Gruenebaum (Columbus).
Coach of the Year
1. Frank Yallop (San Jose)
2. Ben Olsen (D.C. United)
3. Peter Vermes (Sporting KC)
Injuries ripped through the San Jose lineup last year, and in rebuilding from that disappointment San Jose hit the jackpot by also netting important cogs such as Marvin Chavez from FC Dallas, ex-Quake Shea Salinas and Bernardez.
Also: Frank Klopas (Chicago), Sigi Schmid (Seattle).

  1. James Madison
    commented on: November 15, 2012 at 9:19 p.m.
    I couldn't agree more with your selections. All deserving.
  1. Jack Aldridge
    commented on: November 15, 2012 at 9:35 p.m.
    My only addition would be Martin Rennie to the Coach of the Year award. He's managed to take a bottom dwelling team one year to the playoffs the following year.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Confidential
Breaking down Sunday's FC Dallas-Timbers MLS playoff game    
Of the two regular-season champions that are down by two goals heading into the second legs ...
Breaking down Sunday's Red Bulls-Crew MLS playoff game    
Nine times this season the Red Bulls have won a regular-season game that will be good ...
Fire go outside the box to hire Paunovic    
One season with the Philadelphia Union is the full extend of Veljko Paunovic's MLS experience, yet ...
It's time to give pro/rel a rest    
In retirement, Landon Donovan, it seems, has too much time on his hands. If you follow ...
Breaking down Sunday's Timbers-FC Dallas MLS playoff game    
FC Dallas and Portland,MLS rivals for just five seasons, form one of the league's more intriguing ...
Breaking down Sunday's Crew-Red Bulls MLS playoff game    
Both legs of the Eastern Conference finals between Columbus and New York are sold out, which ...
Replacing Klinsmann is the lower-risk option: Time for a fresh start    
First of all, throw out of any equation to rate Jurgen Klinsmann's job performance the USA's ...
Andres Cantor on Hispanic support for the USA, MLS, women's game and his toughest assignment    
Andres Cantor has inked a multi-year contract extension with Telemundo, which sets him up to do ...
Round one points out higher price of semifinal results in Concacaf World Cup qualifying     
Honduras and Panama suffered costly defeats as the semifinal round of Concacaf World Cup qualifying got ...
Stuart Holden on the national team, soccer camps, retirement and, yes, Jonny Evans    
Stuart Holden is at the crossroads in his soccer career. He represented the USA at the ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives