MLS Goal of the Year (& Other Awards)

It’s that time of the year.

Real Salt Lake forward Will Johnson’s game-winner in a crucial Oct. 18 game against Dallas was voted the MLs Goal of the Year in balloting revealed today. Nicely-controlled and well-executed, but Goal of the Year material? I think not.

MLS detractors will seize upon this as more evidence of the stolidly unspectacular level of play in the league. I will simply note there were better candidates. See it here.

Which begs the question: how many of these previous Goals of the Year do you recall?
2007: Cuauhtmoc Blanco – Chicago Fire
2006: Brian Ching – Houston Dynamo
2005: Dwayne De Rosario – San Jose Earthquakes
2004: Dwayne De Rosario – San Jose Earthquakes
2003: Damani Ralph – Chicago Fire
2002: Carlos Ruiz – Los Angeles Galaxy
2001: Clint Mathis – MetroStars
2000: Marcelo Balboa – Colorado Rapids
1999: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United
1998: Brian McBride – Columbus Crew
1997: Marco Etcheverry – D.C. United
1996: Eric Wynalda – San Jose Clash

Meanwhile, those still seething that Landon Donovan prevailed over Tim Howard for the Honda Player of the Year Award have a chance to put things right in the annual U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year competition. Those two are among the finalists for the Male Athlete of the Year Award. Voting began today.

Shannon Boxx of Torrance is a contender for the women’s version.

Robbie Rogers of Rolling Hills Estates and Maurice Edu of Fontana are among those up for Young Male Athlete of the Year, along with Sacha Kljestan of Chivas USA.

The complete list:
U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Shannon Boxx, Midfielder
Lori Chalupny, Defender
Angela, Hucles, Midfielder/Forward
Carli Lloyd, Midfielder
Christie Rampone Defender
Hope Solo, Goalkeeper

U.S. Soccer Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
Carlos Bocanegra, Defender
Michael Bradley, Midfielder
Clint Dempsey, Midfielder
Landon Donovan, Midfielder/Forward
Tim Howard, Goalkeeeper
Oguchi Onyewu, Defender

U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year Candidates
Kristie Mewis, Midfielder
Vicki DiMartino, Forward
Michelle Enyeart, Forward
Alyssa Naeher, Goalkeeper
Keelin Winters, Midfielder
Courtney Verloo, Forward

U.S. Soccer Young Male Athlete of the Year Candidates
Maurice Edu, Midfielder/Defender
Stuart Holden, Midfielder
Sacha Kljestan, Midfielder
Michael Orozco, Defender
Robbie Rogers, Midfielder
Marvell Wynne, Defender

Vote here.

Finally, UCLA Coach Jorge Salcido was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading a young Bruin team (12 newcomers) to a fifth conference title in seven years and a dominant 7-1-2 record.

And junior midfielder Michael Stephens was named the Pac-10 Men’s Soccer Player of the Year, the third Bruin – Matt Taylor (2003) and Patrick Ianni (2004) were the others – to receive the honor. He has seven goals and nine assists on the season.

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