Never say Neven again

On the one hand, it's a shame that Subotic is caught in what, to be honest, is actually a pretty good rule. We really don't need unscrupulous federations doing their Pied Piper routine in the favelas, and this regulation is at least some guardrail against nations recruiting potential players like USC or something.

And yeah, I guess I can understand Soccer House pining away for another player, especially one good enough to play in the Bundesliga.

Still, I wish we would just let the kid go already. He's just not that into us. If I wanted to read about a guy who wasn't interested in playing for the United States, I'd read about Eddie Johnson.
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You know, when the headline on the Wizards site says "Playoff tickets on sale today at 10:00 a.m.", I probably don't actually need to double-check that KC really does hold the tiebreaker over Salt Lake and New York. But I did anyway, and I'm not ashamed of that.
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Anyway, that's not what I wanted to talk to you about. There's a more detailed list of candidates and awards for MLS out right now...and, while I still think all this should be done after the playoffs, it's still fun to see who's getting some of the less-tracked awards. If you don't think it's fun, well, this post offers you very little in the way of entertainment starting about....now.

MVP NOMINEES:
The league doesn't narrow it down for you - you have your pick of every active MLS player. And the drop-down box defaults to alpha order by first name, so in case Aaron Hohlbein wins, you'll know why. But, only active players are listed, so you don't get to pick Brad Guzan or Abel Xavier.

My picks:
1. GBS
2. Landon
3. Shalrie

COACH OF THE YEAR:
Same deal. You can vote for Carver, but you can't vote for Gullit. You also can't vote for the same guy three times, because I had a little bit of trouble after Sigi.

1. Schmid
2. I can't stand Preki, and CUSA were just average in a weak conference, but they were banged up all year, and they did clinch early with not much talent
3. Picking Jason Kreis here looks pretty stupid if RSL ends up missing the playoffs, doesn't it

DEFENDER OF THE YEAR:
Now the league helps you out a little, because either MLS or the teams have whittled down some of the candidates for you. They did include players outside Chicago and Columbus, though, for some reason.

1. Chad Marshall
2. Segares
3. Bakary

I graciously accept any and all criticism regarding the order of these three picks. I slightly less graciously accept criticism about leaving out anyone - I think it was pretty obvious these three were the best in the league this year. Be funny if both the Crew and the Fire crash out in the first round on the end of 6-0 losses, though.

GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR:
Wait, I wanted to pick all three Galaxy keepers, but I can't! Expression of sorrow. You can help juice Conway's total votes, though, if you want.

1. Busch
2. Hesmer
3. Onstad

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:
...Andy Iro's eligible? Huh. I always assume international guys aren't rookies. Yeah, I knew he was from UCSB, I just...well, anyway. MLS Tracker is now trying to sell me on Justin Braun, and they're doing a fine job, to be honest. If Braun had been a two-legged stool, CUSA might have missed the playoffs. I'm gonna do one last-ditch effort for Sean Franklin, though. He had far more starts and far more quality minutes than any of the other candidates, and if Greg Vanney had played at a Franklin level, then the Galaxy win the Supporters Shield this year and Ruud Gullit is your coach of the year. Of course, this was kind of an off-year for rookies, at least it was once Dube got hurt. Amusing fact - DC United has no one eligible for this award.

1. Franklin
2. Braun
3. Dube

MLS FAIR PLAY AWARD:
The Galaxy nominated Donovan and Beckham. Let that sink in for a minute. Did Chris Klein (winner in 2006) not want the thing? Did the Galaxy really think Beckham's constant petulance was sportsmanlike? And, while I'm a depressingly blinkered Landon fan these days, I must say that Donovan rarely dives...compared to Cuauhtemoc Blanco or Carlos Ruiz. The Crew and Fire's excellent defenses produced NOBODY in the league's top ten in fouls committed - but the Crew nominated Ale Moreno, and the Fire nominated Rolfe, Pause and Mapp. Amusing fact - DC United has no one eligible for this award. Are we not taking this thing seriously? Some of us like Fair Play.

1. Zavagnin
2. Denton
3. Angel

COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Okay, exactly how does Jonathan Bornstein make the Best XI last year, then get nominated for Comeback Player of the Year a year later? Doesn't matter, because Santino Quaranta's going to win this thing in a freaking landslide. So is it okay if I don't vote for him? I have trouble voting for comebacks from self-inflicted setbacks.

1. Busch
2. Cooper
3. Albright

ADIDAS REFEREE OF THE YEAR:
Your choices are Michael Kennedy, Jair Marrufo, and Terry Vaughn.

1. It's a beautiful world.
2. For you.
3. It's not for me.

TEAM PUBLIC RELATIONS AWARD:
I voted the Galaxy #2. All the others were tied for #1. Yes, I stole that joke from Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Exactly what do you think you're going to do about it?

NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR:
I'm gonna list the list in full, because even though lists aren't comedy? This list is comedy.

Dan Kennedy
Roberto Nurse
Tom McManus
Emmanuel Ekpo
Louis Crayton
Duilio Davino
Andre Rocha
Tony Caig
Claudio Lopez
Alvaro Pires
Juan Pietravallo
Jorge Rojas
Jamison Olave
Darren Huckerby
Francisco Lima
Rohan Ricketts

What, no Laurent Robert? No Frankowski? No Boyzz or Kandji (I may not be kidding about those two).

1. Huckerby
2. Olave
3. Crayton

THE BEST REGULAR SEASON XI

You are forced to pick a 3-5-2. Oh, hey, I can vote for Vanney in this one!

G: Busch
D: C. Marshall (forgot for a second that T. Marshall was still in the league)
D: Segares
D: Soumare
M: Barros
M: Donovan - wait, he's not on the midfielder list. Great! A chance to put in Van Den Bergh. I enjoy these small chances to express my individuality. He's dangerously close to so-underrated-he's-overrated territory at this point, but that's a Best XI qualification.
M: Joseph
M: Huckerby
M: Morales
F: Donovan
F: Buddle. Yeah, that's right. I'm flipping off Kenny Cooper. You don't like it, write to MLS and make them list Donovan as a midfielder.