24 August 2006

MLS Award Tracker: The DCU Review

MLS starts up its award tracker. DC United, rightly so, features prominently. Here's how DC people made it, and how I think it might play out:


#1 - Jeff Cunningham (RSL)
DCU Entries: 2 - Christian Gomez, 3 - Jamie Moreno

Jeff Cunningham will certainly have the edge here. Simply put, without Cunningham RSL is pretty much done for the season, not 2 points out of the playoff hunt. Which sucks, since it will mark yet another year in which MLS's greatest player of the last 10 years will go without an MVP award. Gomez may get another chance, but you wonder how many more chances people will have to vote for Jamie.

Rookie of the Year

#1 - Jonathan Bornstein (CHV)
DCU Entries: None

With so many of DC's players from 2005 returning, there wasn't much space for rookies to break into the line-up. Justin Moose might have had the biggest opening with the departure of Dema Kovalenko, but Josh Gros and the Freddy Adu Wing Experiment knocked him down the depth chart. Rod Dyachenko is just now getting the occasional minutes, and Andy Metcalf and Devon McTavish both have seen a few minutes. Still, no one from DC has simply had the playing time to make a case for this award. Add to that fact that Bornstein is having a great season, and the shutout here is nothing to be ashamed of. Bring them along slowly.

Goalkeeper of the Year

#1 - Troy Perkins (DCU)

Okay, I'll fess up. Even while I thought Troy would get more of his share of starts (I think I predicted about 10 or so) this year, I never imagined he'd be in the running for keeper of the year. But he is. It's not a sure thing for him, since voters may be looking for a reason to go with a more familiar name. I guess that means he'll just have to keep posting clean sheets.

Defender of the Year

#1 - Facundo Erpen (DCU)
DCU Entries: 3 - Bobby Boswell

I'm not sure what logic MLS employed to make this decision, since in my notes I have Boswell having the better season so far. Still, these names both deserve mention, even if I would reverse the order. MLS also puts Greg Vanney at #5, but I'm thinking Drew Moor has had a better season than Vanney as well. No idea what's going on here. A DC player, if we keep the goal scoring down the rest of the season, should take this award.

Coach of the Year

#1 - Piotr Nowak (DCU)

I'll say it even if others won't: Even if DC doesn't take the Supporter's Shield, Nowak has probably earned this award. There were questions galore after last year's ignominous end, Freddy was unhappy, Alecko was uncertain, Dema was leaving, and Kevin Payne was having heart-to-hearts with players and staff the way LBJ would occasionally discuss his feelings on the C-SPAN White House Tapes. Nowak has shown more flexibility, creativity, and inginuity this year while still remaining true to what he believes in. That's an amazing gift, and this race, barring the most amazing type of collapse, should be over.