Late posting today since I spent most of the day at the 17th annual Honda Player of the Year Award at the Biltmore in downtown L.A. The award is given to the best U.S. Men’s National Team player of the year as voted by 203 soccer journalists, including yours truly.
To no one’s surprise, Galaxy playmaker Landon Donovan won for an unprecedented fourth time in a landslide, collecting 413 points. In comparison, Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard came second with 122 points and Fulham defender Carlos Bocanegra third with 105 points.
“For U.S. Soccer players, this is the biggest honor we can receive,” Donovan said.
The Galaxy PR folks pointed out that in 2007 Donovan:
*Leads the Galaxy with seven goals and nine assists in 21 games.
*Leads the national team with nine goals scored, including a hat-trick against Ecuador and four goals during the CONCACAF Gold Cup this summer.
*Scored a penalty kick against Mexico to win the U.S.s fourth Gold Cup title with his 34th career goal, tying him with Eric Wynalda as the top scorer in U.S. National Team history.
*Broke Cobi Jones 2000 record for points in a year, collecting 22 points (nine goals and four assists).
*Is the all-time assist leader for the United States with 27 in 96 appearances.
“He’s the most talented player 99 percent of the time when we step on the field with the Galaxy and the national team,” said Galaxy defender Chris Albright. “There’s certainly nobody better in this country as far as what he can do technically.”
Full details from the story in Saturday’s newspaper available here.
Meanwhile, here’s a quick catch-up on the rest of the soccer news.
The Galaxy’s playoff rivals appear to be collapsing around them at the worst possible time. New York, which could have clinched a playoff spot Thursday with a win over Toronto instead lost, 2-1, to the worst team in MLS.
From Ives Galarcep of the (New Jersey) Herald News:
The loss marked the Red Bulls’ fifth straight match without a victory and dropped them to 1-4-3 in their past eight matches.
The Red Bulls (11-11-6) could still qualify for the playoffs this weekend if the Chicago Fire lose to New England and if the Columbus Crew fail to beat FC Dallas.
The victory was Toronto’s first in 12 matches, and the first against the Red Bulls after two losses earlier in the year.
Best lead of the night though came from The Toronto Star:
The last time Toronto FC won a game the loonie was worth less than the U.S. dollar, Britney Spears had custody of her kids and the Canadian Soccer Association had a president.
Next to try tonight are the Wizards, which can reserve a playoff spot with a win over D.C. United in K.C. and losses this weekend by the Galaxy and Columbus Crew. The Wizards have just one win the last six games though, while D.C. can clinch home-field advantage in the playoffs with a win and a New England loss Saturday at Chicago.
Meanwhile, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber Thursday suspended Houston Dynamo midfielder Ricardo Clark nine MLS games and fined him $10,000 for violent conduct directed toward Carlos Ruiz in the 89th minute of Houstons game against FC Dallas last Sunday. It’s the longest suspension in MLS history.
You can see the incident here.
The Loyola Marymount women recorded their second consecutive shutout Thursday and extended their school-record winning streak to seven games with a 2-0 win over Hawaii at Sullivan Field. The Lions got goals from senior Katie Osborne and sophomore Jessica Sharpe.
Next for 7-3-1 LMU is a home game at 1 p.m. Sunday against Sacramento State.
The Cal State Northridge (4-2-2) men tied 1-1 Cal State Fullerton (4-4-2) Wednesday. The Titans played with 10 men for the last 13 minutes of regulation and during overtime after German Moreno was sent off.
The Matadors travel to UC Irvine for a 7 p.m. Saturday game.