TSG’s 2011 MLS Awards Ballot

And here you go.

And let the second guessing begin.

First some bullets:

• Had an extremely difficult time for the Best XI as you might imagine. We were committed to choosing four defenders (who plays three defenders in MLS?) The toughest calls were: (1) Osvaldo Alonso (narrowly beating out Kyle Beckerman), (2) Sheanon Williams (narrowly beating out Chance Myers),  and (3) Mauro Rosales (narrowly beating out Landon Donovan and Sebastien Le Toux.)

• Did you realize–thank you Jason Price–that Kasey Keller made 110 saves! That’s ridiculous….especially for a 2nd place team.

• Coach of the Year was really a four horse race. Let’s remind everyone here that the Philadelphia Union are in their second year as a professional team. All they did was completely pull a 180-degree turn in goal differential, survive Sebu Le Toux’s early season doldrums and Freddy Adu being a super sub. Peter Vermes in at #2 while Frank Klopas and Schellas Hyndman both did an excellent job.

• Brad Davis is our MVP followed closely by Brek Shea with Dwayne DeRosario on his heals.

» Let’s take a little bit closer look at Brad Davis versus the competition. He played and started every game. What other candidate can say that?

» He plays defense. David Beckham, Dwayne DeRosario

» He was the only creator in his midfield. Landon Donovan

» Take a step back and–yes this is perhaps an unfair comparison, but–look at each team and remove their MVP candidate(s). Who’s roster wouldn’t you want to have besides the Houston Dynamo. (Sorry Dynamo fans).

» Brad Davis had nobody to take the heat off. Brek Shea nearly nobody.

• Perhaps a little head scratcher–or not–Carlos Valdes is selected as our defender of the year just ahead of Omar Gonzalez, Chad Marshall and George John.

• And a final note: PERLAZA! Oh so close to putting the Megabus in there somewhere.

17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ryan on 2011/10/25 at 12:17 AM

    We had somewhat different ballots. I had Alonso as my MVP. That Seattle team didn’t skip a beat when Montero and Rosales sputtered/were injured and he had almost 50% more tackles than the player in the league with the second-most tackles. Seattle owned the midfield against most teams and while Brad Evans and Eric Friberg are alright, it was largely the Ossie show. I did have Davis as my number two though.

    Defender of the Year we had the same two, but I reversed them with Gonzo number one and Valdes two.

    Coach of the Year I didn’t even consider the four you mentioned. For me, it was Bruce Arena and Sigi Schmid above the rest. No clubs in MLS history have been as strong as they have this season while balancing so many competitions and matches. They both handled their teams marvelously. When Montero was struggling, Rosales was hurt and Zakuani was lost for the season, Seattle didn’t skip a beat and this after the pre-season Blaise Nkufo shenanigans. Arena managed Beckham, dealt without Landon for a month, handled injuries to Ricketts, Berhalter and Leonardo. Most amazingly, Chad Barrett was their best striker this season and they still managed to be one of the best teams in MLS history. No managers in the league handled their temas as masterfully as those two did this season.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/25 at 4:39 AM

      What you have to consider with Arena is that he’s worked with all those players before. Take Schellas–he changed his offense and lost his superstar–not for a month but the whole year. Like Beckham, he dealt with the transfer issues of George John.

      Arena is deserving as well of course.

      On Alonso, you have to say that Seattle easily skipped a beat when Zakuani went down. They were having serious trouble to Rosales arrived. What’s concerning about Seattle is just how much still do through to their backline. They, in a way, mimic Sporting KC with their forwards yet the backline of KC had less to do than Seattle.

      Just pointing that out. I still have Alonso in my Best XI.

      That said, I favor a consistent chance creator for the MVP award. It’s a higher valued skillset as it should be.

      Great season of parity–that’s for sure.


  2. Posted by msg24365 on 2011/10/25 at 5:47 AM

    Tough to argue with those selections.

    I was not a Davis supporter until recently (TSG hype machine apparently working…). One thing that stood out for Shea was that none of his goals were PK’s.

    As much as I am a Union homer, I might actually put an LA defender ahead of Valdes if only because of LA’s ridiculously low GA. As someone who has seen almost every minute Valdes has played this season, I cna vouch – the guy was a difference maker in a huge way this season.

    Tough to exclude Beckham from to XI, but I can’t say that I can pick one of your 11 he definitely replaces….

    IMO DeRo does not get a sniff for MVP. How can somebody who has played for 3 different teams in one season legitimately be considered a candidate?


    • Posted by Bode on 2011/10/25 at 7:20 AM

      Agree with your point re: Shea’s lack of penalty taking. With the statistical revolution already gripping soccer, I’m shocked that a stat as simple as separating penalty kick goals from total goals hasn’t caught on.

      I always thought Torres’ scoring record at Liverpool was extra impressive because he didn’t take penalties.


  3. […] Shin Guardian shares its MLS Awards ballot. Union get votes for Defender of the Year and Coach of the […]


  4. Posted by boosted335 on 2011/10/25 at 11:57 AM

    Terrible best11.
    You seriously rated Zach Loyd, Valdes, and Marshall’s season over George John’s??!?!

    Pass it to your left, cuzz I want some of THAT stuff


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/10/25 at 12:10 PM

      We took a LB, two CBs and a RB

      George John had the transfer scenario while Chad Marshall worked with a weaker offense in Columbus.

      John had consideration. He’s not nearly been as consistent as Marshall who’s had to deal with a new partner and rookies on the backline.


      • Posted by boosted335 on 2011/10/25 at 1:54 PM

        I think youd be well served to watch Dallas highlights and Columbus highlights and count up how many goals you can put on John and Marshall respectively.
        I think your opinion of Chads consistency would change and so would your ASSUMPTION that John has been in a post transfer slump

        Personally I think it’d be easier to just look at the Castrol Index where John is ranked 8th overall while chad is at 31…by the way John is one of 2-3 players to stay in the top 10 throughout season…(just sayin)

        Anyway I do enjoy your site but sure hope you didn’t get an official press ballot from MLS

        Gonzalez Defender of the year

        John / Gonzalez Best 11 at CB would be the correct answer


        • Posted by Crow on 2011/10/25 at 7:19 PM

          The Castrol Index is not a good thing to base an argument off of. I think George John should be in consideration, but he seemed to fade in the 2nd half of the year. However, I didn’t see all the Dallas games so I’m not really that credible of a source either.


        • Posted by Matthewsf on 2011/10/25 at 10:18 PM

          Everyone has their opinion and currently Alvaro Fernandez is #1 in the Castrol Index and Mike Magee gas been in the top 15 for months.

          George John is a top defender but I doubt he will be named in the Best XI officially and he is not on this official ballot.


  5. Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/10/25 at 1:01 PM

    Regarding Freddy Adu….quite an underwhelming player in the 6 or so appearances I’ve seen him with the Union. He’s poached a few goals but doesn’t add much to their offense IMO. What happens to him next season?


  6. Posted by Kevin on 2011/10/25 at 3:11 PM

    I know its obvious that my Houston bias comes into play here, and I feel as if I’ve just been nonstop with my Houston bias, but I would take Davis’s supporting cast over DeRo’s supporting cast. As much as I think Davis has been big for Houston and obviously earned himself those assists, I wonder at times if people have actually watched Houston play and not just seen the assist stat. For me the most influential figure in Houstons team this year was Moffat coming and bringing with him the bite in midfield that was missing.


    • Moffat has indeed been a bright spot…good lord that guy has a cannon. The Dynamo have certainly improved as a squad with the additions of Moffat, Costly, and Camargo, but other than DC the role players certainly pale in comparison to a club like LA.

      That being said, is there a more underrated GK in the league this season than Tally Hall? Or a better name?


  7. Posted by Crow on 2011/10/25 at 7:16 PM

    I’m a Union fan but completely disagree with the Nowak for coach of the year pick. I am biased because I was disgusted by the way he disrespected the fans and acted like a spoiled brat during the Carlos Ruiz saga, but the Union almost missed the playoffs due to Nowak pulling a Tony La Russa/Raymond Domenech with his roster selections. The Union didn’t break out of their funk until he kept the roster somewhat stable. There was no need for all the rotation- it wasn’t like the Union were playing US Open or Champions League games.

    Am I glad the Union have Nowak for a coach instead of say Backe? Definitely. But he doesn’t deserve coach of the year and its not just because I don’t like him or think his ego comes before the team.

    Peter Vermes gets my coach of the year vote. At the beginning of the year was it Grant Wahl or someone who picked Sporting KC? I remember TSG was down on them and I read into that, especially with their poor start. I know they played alot of early road games, but they have been outstanding since the poor start and play attractive style. What a job at keeping the course!

    I think if the Union bring in a good DP next year, that they and KC will run away with the East. Chicago will be interesting as well.

    As for defense- I don’t think Valdes should win defender of the year. During the rough patch, Valdes made some terrible mistakes that led to draws or losses. With that being said, he was incredible the rest of the year. I think the Valdes/Califf pairing is the best in MLS, though. If the Union could have got a DP at LB like they were trying they would easily have the best back 4 in the league.

    I remember saying before the season started that the Union D would be really good, but TSG and many other outlets said no way. Well, they set the MLS record for shots allowed per game. It does seem, though, that when the Union give up a chance it usually is a really good one for the other team.


  8. Posted by Crow on 2011/10/25 at 7:25 PM

    A Dallas fan ripped me on here several months ago for saying good riddance to Chis Seitz. I laugh when I think that last year the Union had Chris Seitz and Brad Knighton and this year they have Faryd Mondragon and Zac MacMath (who I think is right up there with Hamid and Johnson as the future of American GK’s).

    I just realized that the Union passed on Sean Johnson in the 2010 draft. Two picks before Johnson was taken in the FOURTH ROUND, the Union selected GK Brian Perk. WOW. How did so many teams miss on Johnson? I guess it worked out for the Union in the end, getting MacMath, but they had to spend a 5th overall pick on him. The Union could have got Mwanga, Okugo, McInerney, AND Johnson in the same draft.

    I don’t know if Marfan (Michael Farfan) deserves rookie of the year, but he certainly deserves 2nd half rookie of the year. The kid has some serious skills. What a good draft pick.

    And I’m disappointed that Le Toux didn’t get considered for MVP. He played every minute with NO YELLOW CARDS. He didn’t score early in the season, but still had alot of assists and his work rate is 2nd to none. His “struggles” early on were mainly due to Ruiz. When he is taken out of a game, the Union struggle. He defines what a MVP is in my view.


    • Posted by John on 2011/10/26 at 7:39 AM

      I tend to think that LeToux’s minutes were up there with “under-reported streaks in MLS” I mean how does a forward play every single minute of every single game? The next forward to even get close to Le Toux was Wondolowski….


  9. Posted by Crow on 2011/10/25 at 7:38 PM

    Sorry, final post- thank you so much for recognizing Sheanon Williams. Such a great story and underrated player. Im definitely biased seeing how he was with my home area Harrisburg City Islanders, but to go from the USL to one of the best/best RB’s in MLS is amazing. Williams seriously should be called into Camp Cupcake. He could be a very solid International backup/3rd backup at RB, especially if he continues to develop. He is a strong defender, gets up the field very well in the attack, and has killer throw-ins. I think if you take Le Toux and Williams out of a game- 9 out of 10 games you’ll get a clean sheet vs. the Union.


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