Are you still paying attention?
Recovered from Wells Thompson dating your sister yet?
We forge on. In search of truth, hope, and something, anything interesting to say.
(If you missed Part I yesterday, look no further.)
Best American in MLS
Jay Bell: Omar Gonzalez. The emerging USMNT-er is a beast in the air and on set-pieces. Without Beckham, he may not be as huge of a factor on free kicks, but he’s still a prime candidate to head overseas soon.
Biggerstaff: Chris Wondolowski. Well, Chris Wondolowski is the best MLS player, and he is American, so he wins. Kevin Durr is the best American, and currently an MLS player, so he gets second.
J Rodius: Chris Pontius. By the end of 2013 I think we’ll be talking about Chris Pontius as a key player for the 2014 World Cup.
Parchman: Landon Donovan. This is like asking me to pick between a sugared beet and an elaborately prepared red velvet cake that’s suddenly gone missing. I’LL STILL TAKE THE CAKE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
Runner-up: Brad Davis
Matt, TSG: Think about how tough this answer is right now with no Donovan. Where once Donovan reined supreme, now it’s not quite clear. Eddie Johnson is still the most talented, but can’t put it all completely together. You’ve got Zusi, Besler, Beckerman, DeMerit, Gonzalez, Kennedy, and Wondolowski in the greater discussion.
How did I think about this one? I’m drafting a team of only MLSers for the right to the wild card slot (that doesn’t exist) at the 2013 Confederation’s Cup. My foil, John Harkes, is drafting for the other side. Wait, that too easy. My foil is Bruce Arena. Who’s my very first pick from MLS?
I think by this criteria I take Chris Pontius.
All that said, goals win games and Chris Wondolowski scores goals. Can he replicate it in Klinsmann’s system on the international stage? No, but that’s not the question.
Most Anti-American MLS player?
Grossi: Terry Dunfield. Sticking with the local, Terry Dunfield is everything that America prides itself on. He is tenacious, hard-working, bleeds for the cause, and doesn’t know the meaning of, nor stomach the taste of, defeat. Sounds like the perfect all-American, right? Well first off, he is thoroughly Canadian, which always raises the ire south of the border, and secondly, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. His formative time in England has given him an extremely relaxed demeanor and off-pitch personality that doesn’t quite scream professional workhorse – he’s more just one of the lads.
If American soccer can be guilty of anything, it is not finding the joy in the game that other nations thrive on. Terry combines all those skills that define the American player, with a passion that few can rival, all with a smile in his heart.
Thatmy friends, is Canadian.
Jay Bell: Torsten Frings. Duh. (Editor’s note: Torsten Frings regrettably retired today, about 11 years too late by our count.)
J Rodius: Shalrie Joseph. As in, UnAmerican? Or as in hates Americans? When I think of America I think of capitalism. When I think of capitalism I think of greed. When I think of greed I think of Wall Street. When I think of Wall Street I think of Charlie Sheen. When I think of Charlie Sheen I think of Winning. So if Winning is American then Shalrie Joseph is the most un-American player in the league. That dude ain’t won shit!
Parchman: Boniek Garcia. Because he knows how to do cool things with a soccer ball at his feet. ZING.
Runner-up: Marvin Chavez
Matt, TSG: Joia Plata. Robbie Findley …. wait for it … Plata likes to possess the ball, make sharp runs in the attacking third and is a single Junior Mint taller than Omar Gonzalez’s knee cap. If that isn’t un-American, I don’t know what is.
Biggerstaff: Non-alliteration on Chivas USA. My guess is when the season starts, anyone on the Chivas USA roster whose name doesn’t rhyme with man extremity will qualify here.
Player who should have been a goalie?
Biggerstaff: Eddie Gaven. I’d say Mike Magee, but he is top dolla cash money in the playoffs, so maybe Eddie Gaven? He grows weird beards, looks like he has good range and needs to go bald to be Friedel’s understudy.
Jay Bell: Rafa Marquez. Who would try to score when you could kick the ball as hard as you can at him??? I don’t care if he’s not in MLS anymore, he still deserves to be made fun of.
Parchman: Mike Magee. The mini mite!
Runner up: Connor Lade (mini mite the sequel!)
Matt, TSG: Steven Lenhart. Sometimes I think he legitimately would prefer to hand the ball than bring it down with his chest or shoulder.
Best Player in MLS from Africa with the exception of Nigeria?
Parchman: Steve Zakuani. Don’t dispute me. Even on one leg. I vote on potential and the assumption that Brian Mullan does not exist as a person. So there you go.
Runner up: Sanna Nyassi
Jay Bell: Dominic Oduro. He may still blast a few into orbit, but with Federico Fernando Higuaín and company behind him, he should get plenty of opportunities.
J Rodius: Darlington Nagbe. Forget the fact that his game is the type that should flourish under Porter. More importantly, Liberia is in Africa, right?
Grossi: Gershon Koffie. Vancouver’s Ghanaian-born Koffie is the best African player in the league, no contest. After an impressive first campaign, he grew into his defensive role last year and added those surging runs from deep that can be so devastating.
At only 21, should his progress continue on this path, he will only grace this league for another season or two.
Runner-up: Sanna Nyassi
Matt, TSG: Gale Agbossoumonde. Look, I really just wanted to fit the Bossman in this preview. The Togo-born defender might finally get out from under the weight of his hideous Traffic contract and become the player everyone once expected. He can learn from no one better than Ryan Nelson.
Runner-up: Gershon Koffie, Patrick Nyarko
Wildcard: Charles Eloundou — Look out for this kid. 18-year-old Cameroonian for the Rapids who wears #99. I like it already.
Biggerstaff: Kei Kamara. He is an MLS player on loan in the EPL. Yeah, since when does that happen outside of LA’s golden boys? Uh, never. In the MLS, Bakary Soumare, assuming he can get back to his previous form. Dude is a beast and will challenge for MLS defender of the year.