MLS announces awards finalists

Landon Donovan 1 (ISIphotos.com) 

Photo by ISIphotos.com

Landon Donovan, Shalrie Joseph and Jeff Cunningham are the finalists for MLS MVP honors and just three of the MLS players identified as finalists for season-ending awards by Major League Soccer.

Donovan is one of several members of the Los Angeles Galaxy to be selected as finalists for honors. Goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, defender Omar Gonzalez and head coach Bruce Arena are all strong candidates to bring home awards this month.

The Seattle Sounders have the most awards finalists, with four players and head coach Sigi Schmid all in the running for awards.

Here is a rundown of all the awards finalists:

GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Donovan Ricketts – Los Angeles Galaxy
Zach Thornton – Chivas USA 

FAIR PLAY AWARD

Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Pat Onstad – Houston Dynamo
Steve Ralston – New England Revolution 
 
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Brian McBride – Chicago Fire
Ben Olsen – D.C. United
Zach Thornton – Chivas USA 
 
DEFENDER OF THE YEAR

Geoff Cameron – Houston Dynamo
Jhon Kennedy Hurtado – Seattle Sounders FC
Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew 
 
REFEREE OF THE YEAR

Alex Prus
Ricardo Salazar
Kevin Stott 
 
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Stefan Frei – Toronto FC
Omar Gonzalez – Los Angeles Galaxy
Chris Pontius – D.C. United  
 
COACH OF THE YEAR

Bruce Arena – Los Angeles Galaxy
Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC
Robert Warzycha – Columbus Crew 
 
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC
Freddie Ljungberg – Seattle Sounders FC
Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC 
 
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

Jeff Cunningham – FC Dallas
Landon Donovan – Los Angeles Galaxy
Shalrie Joseph – New England Revolution

———–

What do you think of these finalists? Anybody a glaring omission? Who do you see winning the awards?

Share your thoughts below.

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57 Responses to MLS announces awards finalists

  1. GD says:

    I think its safe to say that a Sounder will win the Newcomer of the Year…

  2. Martek says:

    Wow, all three Newcomers are Sounders? But then again, I’m hard-pressed to come up with anyone else as good as those three, except perhaps Donovan Ricketts?

    Here’s my $0.02

    GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR
    Donovan Ricketts – Los Angeles Galaxy

    FAIR PLAY AWARD
    Pat Onstad – Houston Dynamo

    COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
    Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

    DEFENDER OF THE YEAR
    Geoff Cameron – Houston Dynamo

    REFEREE OF THE YEAR
    Ricardo Salazar

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
    Chris Pontius – D.C. United

    COACH OF THE YEAR
    Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC

    NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
    Freddie Ljungberg – Seattle Sounders FC

    MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
    Landon Donovan – Los Angeles Galaxy

  3. alisonrose says:

    Wow, some of these are some seriously difficult choices. GK of the year, especially between Keller and Ricketts…as a Galaxy fan I’d of course say Ricketts, but there is no denying that Keller was awesome, too. Newcomer of the year, love that they’re all from Seattle, LOL – and all three have had great years. No idea who I’d pick there…

    Coach of the year though, no question – gotta be Bruce Almighty. Sigi’s done amazingly with Seattle as a newbie team, and obviously Columbus had a grea year, but the story at the Galaxy is just too remarkable, and Bruce deserves recognition for what’s he done there.

  4. jon_ says:

    lol!!! no more Pat Onstad award due to the shoving incident @ Seattle this weekend!

  5. GUTuna says:

    I realize there’s a strong chance of Donovan winning MVP, but for me, it’s gotta be Shalrie Joseph. The man had 9 goals and 9 assists this year for a team that has played most of the season without Twellman or Ralston. He’s played striker, attacking mid, and d-mid. He basically drug them on his back into the playoffs this year. I’ve always loved the guy (as a United fan, no less), but this year has been his best.

  6. JT says:

    i was going to complain about how darius barnes was left off the rookie of the year candidate, but the bigger oversight is nichols left off of coach of the year….

    what the? I can’t think of a coach who did more with less this year….

  7. madmax says:

    Onstad is probably out of fair play now. I love Sounders and El Presidente, but Conde would be in my best three, both he and Marshall missed some games though. Keller and Ljungberg win something, and Montero will miss out. Joseph will win MVP for being both the top offensive and defensive player on NE.

  8. kpugs says:

    I can’t believe MLS has the balls to name a referee of the year.

  9. Eric says:

    I can’t think of a single reason why Darrius Barnes was left off this list. He has played more minutes than anyone and held together a Revolution backline that has been injured all season. What a load of crap. Same goes for the fact that Nichol was left off the list for coach of the yar.

  10. madmax says:

    Great point, none of the above is the correct choice.

  11. TopHat says:

    Wow! I hope these are based on the regular season, because Onstad and Salazar should not even be cosidered after that travesty in Seattle last Thursday!!!

  12. Mark says:

    My picks:

    GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR
    Kasey Keller – Seattle Sounders FC

    FAIR PLAY AWARD
    Steve Ralston – New England Revolution

    COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR
    Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

    DEFENDER OF THE YEAR
    Geoff Cameron – Houston Dynamo

    REFEREE OF THE YEAR
    Do away with the award until we get some good refs.

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
    Stefan Frei – Toronto FC

    COACH OF THE YEAR
    Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC

    NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
    Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC

    MOST VALUABLE PLAYER
    Shalrie Joseph – New England Revolution

  13. Milimoney says:

    Cant belive Darius Barnes and Steve Nicol are left off this list. They’ve both had awesome seasons, along with teammate Shalrie Joseph. He’s the only clear choice for me

  14. BrianK says:

    GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

    Keller – entirely new team but he gave them confidence.

    FAIR PLAY AWARD

    NOT Pat Onstad,…not after his cheasy assault on Montero!

    COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

    Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

    DEFENDER OF THE YEAR

    Geoff Cameron – Houston Dynamo

    REFEREE OF THE YEAR

    ?????

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

    Chris Pontius – D.C. United

    COACH OF THE YEAR

    Too difficult for me to pick. Arena – worst to first and had to cope with the Beckham transfer nonsense. Schmid – started from scratch,… won the U.S. Open Cup and made the playoffs! Warzycha – took over defending champions and got through some tough matches in the early going and kept the team on course to win Supporters Shield! Maybe the vote should be made after MLS Cup.

    NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

    Fred Montero – Seattle Sounders FC,…the kid is an impact player.

    MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

    First off,…what about Schelotto? Don’t understand his omission. Scored early in the season to keep his team from realing under a new coach. 12 goals and 3 assists? Sadly, I have to scratch off Cunningham because his team did not make the palyoffs (where were the goals the last matches?) Landon Donovan and Shalrie Joseph is too close to call. Another vote that should wait until MLS Cup is lifted. What if Columbus repeats behind Schelotto? How embarassing would that be?

    (SBI-Brian, the awards are regular season awards, so what happens in the playoffs shouldn’t matter, and really doesn’t since the voting is already closed.)

  15. STX81 says:

    Darius Barnes got robbed.

  16. David says:

    Haha, me neither

  17. rob c says:

    Only thing i can think of against Barnes is that the Revs had a couple ugly losses (like @RSL) that he mightn’t escape blame for. As a Revs fan, of course i think he got screwed though. Watching him play yesterday, then coming back and watching Gonzalez’ performance for LA was like night and day.

    Barnes is Parkhurst, v2.0, 25% bigger, cool under pressure, and still low on fouls!

  18. scott47a says:

    Why not Thornton? Seriously. I’m a Sounders supporter and I think GK of the year has to be Thornton. Only one keeper ever has had a lower GAA.

  19. scott47a says:

    Don’t know about Nichol, but I’ll buy Barnes for sure. If Gonzalez deserves to be considered, so does Barnes.

  20. Postmaster says:

    Heartbreaking that his very deserved removal put a dent in Jair Marrufo’s shot at winning back-to-back Referee of the Year honors. ;-)

    Let’s not overlook one thing that MLS did get right — [eventually].

  21. einar says:

    GK of the year Donovan Ricketts
    Fair play Steve Ralston
    Comeback year Zach Thornton
    DEF of the yearJhon Kennedy Hurtado
    rookie of the year Omar Gonzalez
    coach of the year Bruce Arena
    newcomer of the year Fredy Montero
    MVP Landon Donovan

    Why wasnt wilman Conde a finalist? but than again it is tough this year. It might go down to either cameron or hurtado

  22. Dan says:

    Shalrie Joseph should get MVP, but chances are people are going to vote for Donovan because he’s Donovan. Nicol and Barnes should also get more credit for what they’ve done this season.

    GO REVS!

  23. BrianK says:

    Thanks Ives. Based on the regular season results,…Coach of the Year has to be Warzycha and the MVP should have been Schelotto. Columbus Crew finished with the best record in the regular season,…end of story.

  24. lakaix15 says:

    there is only one good ref in this league its alex Prus….

    other thne that each race should be tight

  25. Socrates says:

    Joseph for MVP — bonus points for playing on a crap team.

  26. bayonetbrant says:

    I was about to make the same comment… seems quite comical to me. It’s like Saudi Human Rights for Women Award or something

  27. Black Blue says:

    Goalkeeper – KELLER. Easy.

    Fair Play – uuuhhh…
    Not Keller, he earned a straight red against KC in Seattle’s first home loss. Not Onstad, for stuff. RALSTON, I guess? Can you give it to a guy that only started little more than half his clubs matches?

    Comeback – THORNTON. Done.

    Defender – CAMERON. Dude has been a Revelation in the back line for Houston, and how many defenders have “saves” like he does?

    Referee – My Brother, who refs youth matches.

    Rookie – OMAR. Even with that Horrific match on Sunday.

    Coach – THE BRUCE. What he has done in LA is magical (and proves the parity of MLS)

    Newcomer – That guy from the Sounders. :-)

    MVP – Landon, you’re the US Honda Player of the Year, the MLS MVP goes to SHARLIE. They should start naming tanks after this guy. The M1 Abrams would have nothing on a SJ21 Sharlie.

  28. Nicole says:

    I think Landon should be the MVP. He was a great leader for the Galaxy on and off the field. He scored the goal that qualified the Galaxy for the playoffs, he scored the goal that got them first place in the west. Whereas Shalrie, though he’s played well, didn’t really shine in the final games when needed the most and they had to rely on the misfortune of others to make the playoffs.

    I won’t be sad if either one win it, though. It would be greatly deserved by both.

    Jeff Cunningham, on the other hand, should not win it. He didn’t get his team to the playoffs, bottom line. That’s what eliminated Donovan from winning it last year.

  29. Nicole says:

    Revs are not a crap team.

  30. Juan Carlos Osorio says:

    I don’t understand how I was passed over for coach of the year. I helped out a lot of teams that were playing the Red Bulls. I personally got Seattle off on a good foot. I am deeply hurt.

  31. Non-partial observer says:

    Nichol didnt get nominated because he does the same thing every year.

    He figures out a way to deal with losing key guys and manages to field a competitive squad.

    He consistently makes solid (to spectacular) draft choices and every player buys into the system.

    NE and Houston are light years ahead of the rest of the league in terms of running solid franchises.

  32. strider says:

    MVP – Shalrie, undoubtedly the MOST impt to his team

    GK – Thornton

    Comeback – Thornton (I’m not a Goats fan)

    Fair Play – Keller

    Defender – Hurtado

    Rookie – Gonzalez

    Newcomer – Ljungberg

    Coach – Sigi, it was neck & neck w/ The Bruce, but starting from scratch makes this more impressive. Even Warzycha was deserving though, but not enough this year (too much already in place).

  33. Chase says:

    Garber should make an executive decision and remove Warzycha from this Manager of the Year shortlist after the shocker he oversaw on Saturday…

  34. Hincha Tim says:

    Referee of the year???? As my drill sergeant once said, “that’s like being the corn in a turd”.

  35. kar says:

    I’ve always heard it as a “tallest midget contest” — sure it’s not pc, but it’s accurate.

  36. Sean M says:

    GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

    Donovan the Rastaman Ricketts- LA Galaxy

    FAIR PLAY AWARD

    Josh Wicks…..Sarcasm

    COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

    Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

    DEFENDER OF THE YEAR

    Jhon Kennedy Hurtado – Seattle Sounders

    REFEREE OF THE YEAR

    Howard Webb…..haha we can say he’s american

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

    Omar Gonzalez- LA Galaxy

    COACH OF THE YEAR

    Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC

    NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

    Freddy Ljunberg – Seattle Sounders FC

    MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

    Landon Donovan – L.A Galaxy

    Ives….How about the goal Thorton gave up???it went right beetween his legs….tisk tisk Goalie of the year for sure.

  37. daggius says:

    how is pat onstad a fair play finalist when he starts fights by chest bumping people to the ground lol

  38. chupacabra says:

    That’s way too kind of an assessment and totally unfair to corn.

  39. daggius says:

    GOALKEEPER OF THE YEAR

    Donovan Ricketts – Los Angeles Galaxy

    FAIR PLAY AWARD

    Steve Ralston – New England Revolution

    COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR

    Zach Thornton – Chivas USA

    DEFENDER OF THE YEAR

    Geoff Cameron – Houston Dynamo

    REFEREE OF THE YEAR

    Kevin Stott

    ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

    Chris Pontius – D.C. United

    COACH OF THE YEAR

    Sigi Schmid – Seattle Sounders FC

    NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR

    Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC

    MOST VALUABLE PLAYER

    Shalrie Joseph – New England Revolution

  40. thedudeabides says:

    goal keeper of the year-john conway

    fairplay award- Carlos johnson

    comeback player of the year-Juan Pietravallo

    defender of the year- alfredo pacheco

    referee of the year- alex prus

    coach of the year- Juan Carlos Osorio

    Most Valuable player- Juan Pablo angel

  41. Daniel says:

    David Ferreira deserves to be nominated for Newcomer of the Year

  42. Socrates says:

    Look at the team the Revs just put out over the weekend. Now imagine you are FCD or LAG and you can wave a magic wand and take any of those players into your starting XI. Do you want anyone (other than Joseph)? Maybe Barnes? Maybe Reis over Sala? Maybe, but no huge improvements.

    Revs, on the other hand, would happily take multiple players from each of those teams.

    The meaning of “crap” may vary, but you’d have to agree Cunningham and Donovan played with more talent around them than Joseph.

  43. Socrates says:

    Agreed. Cunningham got all the attention but DF was a huge factor in the FCD 2nd half turnaround.

  44. ETJ says:

    Dumb da dumb da dumb

  45. Limo says:

    Shalrie Joseph deserves the MVP award. This does not mean that he is a better player than Landon Donovan. Without him the Revolution not only would not have made playoffs, but very well may not have been at the bottom of the league.

    Cunningham, although having a great season, didn’t lead Dallas to anything but a spot outside the playoffs.

    Landon is definitely one of the most influential players in the whole league. However, LA has been a stronger team who have still gotten results without Donovan. When Shalrie plays and is fit, the Revolution are a completely different team who can always win.

  46. Wondolowski says:

    How is Dominic Kinnear not in the running for the Coach of the year? fatty bruce ill accept as a reasonable candidate but sigi and robert give me a break. on the same budget and squad size, the Dynamo tie in points for the top of the western conference not to mention the fact that they had champions league and us open action as well, lost their star players (D RO and ME) and played quite often without at least two if not three of their best players for much of the season due to national team callups. and somehow Dom has turned Craig Waibel into a legit option at the age of 34. enough said

  47. Wondolowski says:

    oh yeah, and this included losing one of the best utility players in the league for the entire season six weeks into the year; Rich Mulrooney. come on MLS pick it up.

  48. Ian says:

    because, like he said, he’s an LA fan haha

  49. Leonardo says:

    Hurtado – stellar since day 1!
    Montero – most dynamic in the league with an amazing shot

  50. Aaron says:

    with that referee list are the giving the award to the worst referee in the league??? Really people think those three were the best??

  51. Rory says:

    Newcomer of the year should be whoever is wearing that Jeff Cunningham costume in FC Dallas.

  52. Evan Whitney says:

    Have to give my nod towards Shalrie Joseph for MVP although I think the likelihood is great that Landon Donovan will receive it.

  53. Shank says:

    I could win coach of the year if I got my pick of the entire team of players too. Sigi should try to coach the team for a few years before he gets put in the running for that crap. I begrudgingly have to say Bruce for coach of the year.

  54. Wondolowski says:

    thanks shank. forget sigi (and bruce)

  55. Charlie says:

    I think shalrie should win MVP, but I think donovan will. As for omissions, Steve Bicol for coach of the year, & matt reis for keeper of the year. Neither would win it, but both deserve to be nominated.

  56. ian says:

    How is Pat Onstad in consideration for fair play? Anyone watch Houston vs. Seattle last Thursday?

  57. Jon says:

    Of this year’s rookies, Kevin Alston will get a USMNT call-up before any of the ROY nominees.