Wambach is finalist for FIFA's Women's Player of the Year

Despite starting just nine of 20 U.S. national team games and missing part of the NWSL season, U.S. national team veteran Abby Wambach is a finalist for the 2014 FIFA Women's Player of the Year. The other finalists: Brazilian Marta (who had her lowest league goal production in a decade) and German Nadine Kessler (who has been sidelined most of the fall).

Wambach led the USA with 14 goals in 16 appearances as it won the Concacaf Women's Championship to qualify for the 2015 Women's World Cup. When she won the award in 2012, becoming the first American so honored in a decade, Wambach started all 32 of the USA's matches and scored 27 goals.

The most deserving American in 2014 is national team midfielder Lauren Holiday, the 2014 NWSL championship game MVP who led FC Kansas City to the league title, but she was not even on the 10-player shortlist voted upon by national team captains and coaches and media members.

Marta, the five-time winner of the award, had an off year, scoring just eight goals -- her lowest league total in a decade -- in the Swedish Damallsvenskan for Tyreso and Rosengard, which she joined after Tyreso went bankrupt. She did score twice for Tyreso in the UEFA Women's Champions League final, a 4-3 loss to Wolfsburg.

Kessler won the 2013-14 UEFA Women's Player of the Year award ahead of Wolfsburg teammates Nilla Fischer and Martina Mueller, setting up Mueller for the winner in the comeback win over Tyreso in the UEFA Women's Champions League final. But Kessler, bothered by a knee injury, has played just 30 minutes this fall for Wolfsburg in the Frauen Bundesliga.

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