Well, it's time to consider nominations for CONCACAF Player of the Year again. I was reminded of this courtesy of Nick Green's coverage of the FIFA Women's Player of the Year finalists.
In a nutshell, FIFA blew it. Three of FIFA's nominees would technically be eligible for my award - Marta, Kelly Smith, and Cristiane.
...Cristiane. I still have no earthly idea what she's doing among the nominees.
No player representing a CONCACAF nation was even nominated, which isn't surprising considering that the United States has been without a top-flight professional oh wait.
In fairness, the United States women have lost a game this year. The Algarve Cup final, on penalty kicks...the worst way to lose, apparently.
And, in fairness, the United States played Germany, and lost by -1 goals. The stupid USSF site lists that game as being in Germany, but obviously it was in Augsburg, South Carolina, or something.
Hey, if you think the best team in the world right now is Germany, and the best player in the world is Prinz, well, groovy. They will have an opportunity to claim or disprove such assertions next year. But I walk the CONCACAF beat, and as long as I'm making the calls here, Christie Rampone is your easy frontrunner.
Marta? MVP of WPS, brilliant and wonderful player, shut down like an Amish Twitter account when it mattered. You in the galeria dos amendoins are welcome to make your case otherwise, but I'm really going to have to be talked out of Rampone.
She played and coached her underdog team to the inaugural WPS championship while freaking pregnant. Case closed.
"Dan, Rampone didn't play against Germany, for obvious reasons. So doesn't that sort of nullify your point in bringing that game up?"
Yeah, well, in response, here's a commenter on Nick Green's site.
Thank you, nameless Bruin. You have stated the case beautifully. You should have a blog.
After reading Fake Sigi this week, I was briefly tempted to go with Elizabeth Lambert, who on the abuse received to abuse deserved scale is almost approaching Richard Jewell proportions. I realize Lambert's goonery was captured on camera, but then, so were Wambach and Marta taking out opponents for the rest of the season. The women's game isn't as cynically nihilistic as the men's game, but give it time. If it hadn't been Lambert, it would have been some other unsuspecting woman caught between new technology and old assumptions.
Rant over. Now, let's talk about men. Manly men. Men with glistening, rock-hard abs. Men whose prowess and skill arouse envy and excitement to all lucky enough to catch fleeting, teasing glimpses. This paragraph was way too much fun to write.
Sure, I wish Landon had made that penalty, if only because this half of the nomination process would have been even more of a slam dunk than Rampone v. field. Great performances for the national team, leading the team to the top of the Hexagonal, a breakthrough performance in the Confederations Cup, and an MVP run in MLS. If only he'd gotten the damn ring as well.
As it is, I gotta seriously consider Tim Howard, and Andres Guardado, and freaking Carlos Pavon for all I know.
Pavon, for Christ's sake. They'll let anybody be a damn national hero these days.
The astute reader will have noted that I kicked an LA-based MVP to the curb based on the outcome of one game in WPS, and might ask why I don't do the same for MLS, and give this fake award to Kyle Beckerman.
Readers of varying astuteness might meanwhile ask why, when handing out a fake CONCACAF award, I'm giving short shrift to the actual CONCACAF championship tournament. Especially since I subscribe to the theory that the lopsided score helped bring Mexico's World Cup qualification campaign back to life. Surely Dos Santos or Torrado deserve some recognition for that?
Maybe, but I think overall Donovan had the more impressive year, even by his absences. Donovan didn't play in the Gold Cup, or the final two US friendlies, and the Nats were rich, creamery garbage in those games. Therefore, if I can recycle an argument made for Donovan-as-MLS MVP, Landon not only the best player, but the, wait for it, most valuable. His teams cannot do without him.
Besides, Gerardo Torrado's team lost two finals this year for his club. And Tim Howard's team lost the FA Cup.
So if Landon had made that damn kick, I could have warded off all arguments. Oh, well.
CONCACAF Female Player of the Year
...c'mon, it's Rampone
CONCACAF Male Player of the Year
...okay, talk me out of Donovan. Do your worst.