Photo by ISIphotos.com
Jozy Altidore, Landon Donovan and Tim Howard have been named finalists for the 2009 Honda Player of the Year award, given each year to the U.S. national team player of the year.
Donovan has won it two years in a row, and five of the past seven years, while Tim Howard is a finalist for the third straight year. Donovan beat out Howard in 2008 in a year when Howard was widely regarded as the U.S. team's best player (Howard received the U.S. Soccer male athlete of the year award in 2008).
The Honda Award was once the clear-cut most prestigious award available to U.S. national team players, but the over-sized voter pool (made up this year of 221 "sports journalists") has caused the Honda Award to fall behind the U.S. Soccer player of the year award in terms of prestige.
This year's Honda Award race is tougher to call, with all three finalists deserving of consideration. We'll give our vote to Howard, whose performances throughout qualifying and in the Confederations Cup were stellar. Donovan is the clear favorite to win a third straight award and would be a deserving choice (and arguably has a stronger case this year than in 2008, when he won his record fifth Honda Award). Altidore has enjoyed a breakout year for the national team, leading the team in World Cup qualifying goals, but he is likely to finish third out of this group.
Here is your chance to vote. Who do you think has been this year's U.S. national team player of the year?
Who did you vote for? Why did you pick the player you picked? Which player should have been a finalist that didn't make the list?
Share your thoughts below.