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Cunningham's Two-Sided Season

Jeff Cunningham's 2009 season had a bittersweet flavor. Cunningham struggled at the start, benched by FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman. He didn't score his first goal until May 31 at Chicago in his club's 11th game of the season.

After strike partner Kenny Cooper left for Germany, however, Cunningham found his scoring touch. He finished a scorching second half of the year with 16 goals in FCD's last 15 games, netting a career-high 17 strikes and a second Golden Boot. But Cunningham would have rather made the playoffs. "Right now, I must say it's bittersweet because the Golden Boot is an individual award," he said. "It's important for me, but I think there is still some disappointment for the boys. We've worked hard to get to this point and to come up short is hurtful. It's really hard for me to embrace this award wholeheartedly and fully."

Still, Cunningham considers himself blessed to see such a turnaround during a season that raised doubts about whether he wanted to play anymore. "The only thing I can say is God has been good to me," he said. "Halfway through the season, I felt like my time here was finished, my career was done and I was looking at other ventures. To be standing right here right now with the Golden Boot award, besides the day of my marriage and the birth of my child, this is up there. When I was younger, I had other accomplishments that didn't mean as much. When your career is in the balance, it means a lot more. Right now, it's the biggest achievement for me so far. It's just rewarding."

 

Read the whole story at MLSnet.com »

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