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July 16, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Major League Soccer midseason awards, if I gave them out

lag win.jpgPhoto credit: Mark J. Terrill / AP

We’re just about at the halfway point in the season for all the teams. Seattle’s played 17 games while Philadelphia has just played 13, which makes it tough to find the exact middle. Anyways, here are some midseason awards as I see ’em.

* * *

MVP: Edson Buddle, L.A. Galaxy — MLS form earned him a World Cup roster spot. With 10 goals in 11 games, he’s been absolutely unreal this season.

Runner-up: Landon Donovan, L.A. Galaxy — Who else? He’s the best player in the league (though Thierry Henry might push him on that) and could be off to Europe.

Rookie of the year: Danny Mwanga, Philadelphia Union — No. 1 overall draft pick has five goals and two assists, including some dramatic stoppage-time strikes.

Runner-up: Michael Stephens, L.A. Galaxy — Has already notched seven assists and really established himself as a regular in a loaded roster.

Newcomer of the year: Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake — Probably not the best player on his team, but his production can’t be ignored: 7 goals, 4 assists in 15 games.

Runner-up: Joel Lindpere, New York — An unsung hero for the Red Bulls, he’s played a huge part in the turnaround. Will only get better with new DPs around.

Defender of the year: Omar Gonzalez, L.A. Galaxy — This guy is a beast. Wouldn’t be surprised if he’s off to Europe soon and starting in the USMNT backline for the 2014 World Cup.

Runner-up: Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake — More of a team award than anything. That unit has a running shutout-streak of about 500 minutes. He also has three goals.

Goalkeeper of the year: Donovan Ricketts, L.A. Galaxy — Sure he’s got great players in front of him, but I think he’d start for every team in the league if on an even playing-ground. 9 shutouts and a 0.47 GAA is OK too.

Runner-up: Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake — Diminutive guy has had a great season. The numbers reflect that: seven shutouts, 42 saves and 0.73 GAA. Oh yeah, don’t forget that shutout streak of 498′.

* * *

Bonus awards, team edition

Best team: Los Angeles Galaxy — Less invincible than they were to start the season, but still the class of the league. Very much the MLS Cup favorite.

Runner-up: Real Salt Lake — If any team is going to challenge L.A. it’s the defending champion. A very complete team that’s in a great groove right now.

Surprise team: New York Red Bulls — Had by far the worst record in the league in 2009 and just a year later could be considered a title contender — especially with the signing of Henry and another DP on the way.

Runner-up: San Jose Earthquakes — Quietly having a great season; 22 points in 14 games is nothing to scoff at. Credit Frank Yallop, Bobby Convey and Ike Opara for the improvement.

Disappointing team: Seattle Sounders FC — Could be on the uptick after a road win in D.C. put them at 5-8-4. That’s still is a record that no one would have anticipated going into the year. Injuries have been devastating.

Runner-up: Houston Dynamo — Another top team from last year that’s been struggling. Departures and injuries have decimated this team’s talent and playmaking ability.


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