The MLS individual awards race is heating up! Even though we shouldn't give this things out until after the playoffs. Remember all those Houston Dynamo players we had on the Best XI last year? And all those DC United players we had the year before that?
Kristian Dyer nominates Schelotto, Thornton, Keller, Joseph, Montero and Donovan as the MVP frontrunners - Landon's his pick at the moment, with which I agree.
But what about Least Valuable Player? That race is white-hot. JCO has Roach of the Year sewn up, but there's plenty of competition for the coveted New Bummer of the Year title. And don't forget the Bringdown Player of the Year.
There are no shortage of Least Valuable Player candidates right now. Arturo Alvarez' five goals and two assists are nothing to sneeze at, unless you have a cold or something. But on top of that, he had two separate international careers fizzle in one week - he will no longer play for the United States thanks to his start for El Salvador, and he will no longer play for El Salvador thanks to his start for El Salvador.
It's hard to pick just one Red Bull. And Dane Richards just scored a game-winner the other week. But then, so did David Beckham.
Right now Beckham, the subject of hagiographies such as this latest MLSnet offering, has one goal and one assist. As it says in the Holy Qu'ran, whoop-de-shit.
Is Bruno Guarda dead?
But the favorite for this one, even though his team still has a theoretically decent playoff shot, is Sacha Kljestan. Remember, this guy started off the year - this calendar year - with a hat trick for his country. Although it was the annual Scandinavian garbage friendly. Not going to Celtic in January probably ruined this guy more than we'll ever know.
If Kljestan isn't the LVP - and I'll want to look at the voting if he isn't - he's a stone lock for Bringdown Player of the Year. Like Comeback Player of the Year, there is a lot of criteria that can go into this award. But basically, it's for that special performance throughout the season that completely fails to follow up on the promise from the season before.
I'm tempted to have the criteria for Anti-Coach of the Year require said Roach to finish the season. Because, y'know, Frank Yallop deserves SOMETHING for this year's performance. Along those lines, just because Bobby Convey was in the league before doesn't mean he shouldn't be Unwelcome Newcomer of the Year. Despite Pablo Vitti. Unless we give this award, as a backhanded compliment, to the Seattle Sounders. MLS has a genius recently of finding a new fan base every year, each more annoying than the last. Hello, Philadelphia!
Along these lines, the Fighting Talker podcast (from, like, weeks ago - meant to get to this earlier) had its list of the all-time MLS Mediocre XI. The more specific premise was "the type of player that MLS should have grown past, but hasn't." Rather than load up on DC United players from April 1996 - seriously, that was a bad, bad team before Arena put his foot down - they had minimum standards of games played. Two of their players are still active. You won't agree with their choices, but this isn't necessarily the MLS Worst XI of all-time - hence no Denilson.
EDIT - oh, their Mediocre XI.
GK: David Kramer
D: Chris Leitch
D: Brian Dunseth
D: T-Bone Bonseu, and there has to have been a worse player than this.
D: Eric Denton
M: Petter Villegas
M: Billy Walsh, and all these Metrostars are just cheating, to be honest
M: Joselito Vaca
M: Jason Moore - that #1 DC United pick from a few years ago
F: Johnny Torres
F: John Wolyniec - I think Aaron felt this was harsh, and I sort of agree, although he does admirably fill the "How does he keep getting work?" criterion.