Awards Season Begins

Two to talk about.

The three finalists for Honda Player of the Year (given to the best player for the U.S. MNT) are last year’s winner Landon Donovan, (who this year became the U.S. all-time leading goalscorer with 36 goals); 2006 winner Clint Dempsey (who has four World Cup qualifying goals so far); and goalkeeper Tim Howard (with five shutouts so far in qualifying).

That’s the same three I picked and again my vote went to LD.

Yes, I know Howard has looked a mountain of strength and reliability (with some great saves thrown in for good measure) behind a sometimes shaky defense.

Yes, I know Dempsey has been crucial because gawd knows Eddie Johnson (and others) have fired mainly blanks.

But without Donovan the U.S. just doesn’t go. Period. He’s the creative force, the attacking fulcrum, who is unafraid to run at defenders unlike so many American players.

It’s why Klinsey wants him at Bayern Munich in January (assuming he lasts that long in what is turning out to be a bad season already).

Yeah, he’s worth a record fifth award.

The winner will be announced Nov. 11 in downtown L.A.

Donovan haters: feel free to rip away.

The other award is for the top 11 players (and one coach) for the NCAA 50th anniversary team. Voting began Monday and runs until Oct. 15.

Among the finalists: Former Bruins Paul Caligiuri, Brad Friedel and Sigi Schmid and current Galaxy coach Bruce Arena.

Vote here.

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  • Joseph D’Hippolito

    Nick, here are my top three:

    1. Carlos Bocanegra
    2. Michael Bradley
    3. Heath Pearce


    1. Bocanegra not only has provided stability in the back despite his own uncertain club situation but scored in a tough environment in Guatemala (Dempsey scored two of his four goals at home in a rout of Barbados).

    2. Bradley has not been an offensive factor for the national team but he has played solidly in the midfield and adapted to his defensive role quite well after a breakout offensive season in Europe (which should not be discounted).

    3. Pearce might not be the second coming of Roberto Carlos but he has shown stability in a position (left back) that has plagued the national team for how long now? He could very well wind up starting

    Of your three, only Howard merits consideration, I believe. My knock on Dempsey is that two of his four goals came in a rout against an obviously inferior opponent.

    I’m not one of the Donovan “haters” but scoring a record-breaking goal against a weak Swedish side is more of a career accomplishment than anything else. Besides, would Donovan be able to accomplish what he did this calendar year w/o Bocanegra and Bradley?

    As much of an offensive force as Donovan can be, defense gets overlooked (especially by the Honda voters) all too frequently, I must say. If anyone wants to know how important defense is just look at Columbus … or the Galaxy, for that matter.