Edson Buddle, the Los Angeles Galaxy’s team MVP, Golden Boot winner, and Humanitarian award winner, is up for another piece of hardware: the MLS MVP award. He’s in good company, as teammate Omar Gonzalez is up for Defender of the Year, and teammate Donovan Ricketts is in the running for Goalkeeper of the Year. For all three players this would be their first win in their respective award categories.
The winners will be announced over the coming weeks, with the Most Valuable Player and Commissioner’s award trophies being presented Novemeber 19, two days ahead of the MLS Cup. The other two candidates for MLS MVP are no surprise, FC Dallas’ David Ferreira and San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski. MLSSoccer.com‘s Extra Time podcast on Monday discussed MVP voting with a discussion between Ferreira’s body of work and how much Wondolowski has meant to San Jose this season, scoring almost half their goals. Also mentioned was Landon Donovan’s post-game quote from Sunday where he argued that Edson Buddle was penalized for going to the World Cup, as he had less goal opportunities over the course of the year.
Omar Gonzalez won the MLS Rookie of the Year award last year. This year he’s competing against Real Salt Lake defenders Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave. Gonzalez started 28 of the Galaxy’s 30 games racking up 2,250 minutes, the most for any Galaxy outfielder.
Donovan Rickett’s competition for Goalkeeper of the Year are Kevin Hartman of FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando. Rickett’s set a club record with a 0.9 Goals against average this year and kept 11 clean sheets which ties a record Kevin Hartman set while with LA in 1999. This is his second year nominated for goalkeeper of the year.
Out of the nine finalists mentioned, eight play for either the Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, or FC Dallas, showing just how tough the competition for the top of the West was this year. Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas will face each other in the first round, creating controversy over the current MLS playoff system. The league overall number two and number three facing off in the first round has inspired some, including former Galaxy president Alexi Lalas, to suggest a more open 1 vs 8 etc. format for the coming years, and a renaming of the respective conferences.