[MLS] The league wraps up its major awards Friday with presentation of its Most Valuable Player award, and in this corner the winner is FC Dallas attacker
MLS MVP Finalists
Edson Buddle (Los Angeles)
David Ferreira (FC Dallas)
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose)
The exclusion of Philadelphia's Sebastien Le Toux from the three MLS MVP finalists, while explainable, typifies the dilemma of deciding which player was the most valuable, i.e., indispensable, to his team than any other player.
Implied, if not explicitly stated, is that such a player made an irreplaceable contribution to a successful team. Philly won just eight games, about average for an expansion team, yet Le Toux’s totals of 14 goals and 11 assists, for a team that scored just 35 goals, is remarkable. He did earn a spot on the MLS Best XI.
Had Kevin Hartman played more games, the FCD keeper could also have made a late push. Tony Meola got the MVP in 2000 after registering 16 shutouts and a goals-allowed average of 0.92 in 31 games. In 20 appearances, Hartman shut out nine opponents and compiled a microscopic 0.62 GAA and has been brilliant in the playoffs.
Wondolowski scored 18 regular-season goals for the Quakes (34 total), and Buddle tallied 17 for Los Angeles (44). Wondo set a league record by scoring 10 straight goals for the Quakes as they nailed down a playoff spot. Goalscorers are the most prized assets in soccer, and both Wondo and Buddle were instrumental in propelling their teams into the conference finals. (In those games, both were blanked, and so were their teams.)
Individual stats can’t quantify a player’s value, and Ferreria’s figures (eight goals, 13 assists) are solid if not superior. But his presence, and influence, are immeasurable. His brazen dribbles, immaculate control, razor-sharp passes, and delicate chips propel the FCD attack, and he’ll win a tackle and close down space when so asked. In driving his team to a record-tying, four-loss season and into its first MLS Cup, he’s a consummate MVP.