The MLS season is more than two-thirds complete. The Power Rankings have been fairly stable for weeks. So it's time to mix things up here.
The SB Nation soccer writers gathered together this week in a most virtual manner to go beyond just the teams, and to dive deeper into the MLS statistics. We discussed the upcoming MLS Player Awards. Yeah, we went there!
Each of the seven participating writers submitted three votes in all of the MLS Award categories. A first place vote counted for three points, second place two, and third place one. The results, with requisite commentary, are below. (Note - every player with at least two points is included. Players with only one point just don't belong.)
Looking at this list just makes me wish that we had voted for these awards earlier. The July voting surely would have seen Donovan and Buddle each in the top three, probably with a couple other Los Angeles Galaxy players mixed in for good measure. But with the Seattle Sounders and FC Dallas each boasting long undefeated streaks, it's no surprise to see their attacking leaders at the top.
Read on for more awards.
Gonzalez doesn't know the meaning of a sophomore slump, and he's a big reason for LA's early season dominance. The Galaxy and Real Salt Lake have only given up 16 goals on the season, so finding their top defenders sitting above the rest sounds about right. The fact that a defensive midfielder made this list is a testament to how important Alonso has been for Seattle this season.
Again, hold the voting two months ago and we're talking a totally different story. Ricketts was clearly the best goalkeeper in the league for the first half of the season, but the Galaxy's recent struggles have created some questions. Rimando, on the other hand, has been a consistently excellent shot stopper. The guy has been on his game this year.
Coach of the Year
1. Schellas Hyndman, 16
2. Jason Kreis, 14
3. Bruce Arena, 5
4. Robert Warzycha, 4
5. Hans Backe, 2
Nobody picked Dallas to compete for the Supporters' Shield. But they're doing it. And Hyndman has played a bit role in that. He's got all his guys playing together, with an undoubtedly lower payroll and arguably less talent from top to bottom than roughly half the clubs in MLS.
This is the only unanimous award, and it's for good reason. Thank God for the scoring ferocity of Danny Mwanga, because I really didn't want to have to come on here and write about the overrated Ream. In second place, it's nice to see some national recognition for D.C. United's lone bright spot in their otherwise awful season.
Here's another award that wasn't even close. Saborio has been a great find for RSL, and amid all the big designated player signings, he has proven to be the best new addition to MLS this year. To round out the competition though, notice a theme? Four Europeans. I guess they're pretty good at soccer afterall.
Taking the lead in the most ambiguous award category is the well-rounded Le Toux (9 goals, 9 assists). Full disclosure: I didn't vote for Le Toux because I wasn't really sure he qualified for the award since he appeared in some 20 matches last season. But the guy has clearly taken his game to another level with the Philadelphia Union. Convey is an example of another guy who has rescued a career that was previously left for dead.
That's it for now. Tune in again Oct. 1 for the next round of voting as we continue to track the MLS Player Awards for 2010.