Being the top rookie in any MLS rookie class is an accomplishment, but being the best rookie in arguably the strongest rookie class in league history makes the 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year award more special than most.
There were plenty of rookies who stepped up and enjoyed solid first seasons, from New England's Darrius Barnes, to Toronto FC's Stefan Frei, to D.C. United's Chris Pontius. All could have been rookie of the year in some other years, but not this year. In 2009, Los Angeles central defender Omar Gonzalez was the clear choice for the honor. His steady play in central defense for the Galaxy was a major reason for the club's return to the playoffs and a reason why the Galaxy is considered a favorite to win a third MLS Cup title.
Gonzalez's season started slowly as he adapted to the speed of play in MLS, but slowly but surely he gained confidence and found his footing and eventually established himself as the team's most consistent and reliable defender.
It was his steady play, and role in the Galaxy's renaissance, that gave him the edge on our ballot ahead of New England's Darrius Barnes and Toronto FC's Stefan Frei.