Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Ranking the MLS award finalists
by Ridge Mahoney, November 15th, 2012 7:54PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

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
Whitecaps own up to their shortcomings in 2016    
The plight of defending champion Portland has been a running saga all season yet its foe ...
Drogba and Saputo show the power of 'big personalities'    
Players on big salaries often bring along big egos as well. Montreal owner Joey Saputo has ...
What was the value of the USA's bumpy win in Cuba?    
The USA's 2-0 win in a friendly over Cuba on Friday marked its first return to ...
Paul Arriola takes advantage of opportunities for USA    
On and off the field, fast starts are normal for Paul Arriola. He scored a goal ...
Options could lead to makeover of U.S. midfield    
Strong performances by several players in friendlies against Cuba and New Zealand could create a logjam ...
Bob Bradley steps into a tough new world    
Last season, 11 of 20 Premier League clubs changed managers, including major stars such as Louis ...
New NASL owner expects to see difference in how league operates    
The interlocking and overlapping elements of North American pro soccer are among the issues facing owners ...
So far, Jordan Morris' decisions have been the right ones    
U.S. forward Jordan Morris turned down a move to German club Werder Bremen, which is rooted ...
MLS Playoff Watch: Breaking down the Eastern Conference's battle of bubble teams    
With a month of the regular season to be played, no Eastern Conference team has clinched ...
Strenghtened Sounders set aside distractions to focus on postseason quest    
The midseason arrival of Nicolas Lodeiro and the return to fitness of Roman Torres has bolstered ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives