Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Honda Player of the Year finalists

Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Carlos Bocanegra were selected as the three finalists for the Honda Player of the Year. The award will be handed out Oct. 5 in L.A. and I expect it to be a landslide victory for Donovan.

Still, I have to scratch my head about the finalists. I voted for Donovan and Howard but I'm not sure Bocanegra belongs in the mix. I voted for Benny Feilhaber for second place and I still think that he had a tremendous year for the US national team. It's not often a player scores the game-winning goal in a cup final, and to do it against the United States' main rival only adds to it.

I wonder how much of it had to do with Bocanegra's status and longevity with the national team. Feilhaber was only capped this year while Bocanegra has been a part of the World Cup team and qualifying and has been pretty much a mainstay for years. I don't think that should have counted against Feilhaber. I believe Feilhaber had a better overall performance in both Gold Cup and Copa America than Bocanegra, who at times looked shaky manning the backline.

If he continues his path of development, though, I suspect Feilhaber will have many more chances to finish in the top third of this prestigious award and perhaps may even win it one day. And if it takes another cup-winning goal for that to happen, so be it.

11 comments:

Nick said...

Come on...LD didn't even play for his team in Copa Amaerica. You can't be serious! The guy is clearly affraid of losing. Before Copa he claimed he wouldn't play because he wanted to help his club team. Then just recently...he leaves his club team high and dry while to travels to Sweden to play in a friendly! He only played 30 min the following MLS match and missed the next match against the Rapids completely.

Why on Earth would you vote for such a player? I don't understand...

Anonymous said...

Its sad that Donovan can be voted Player of the Year when his form has been so inconsistent. He scored in a few goals in friendlies but was limited to scoring almost exclusivily PKs in the Gold Cup. But if not him who? Howard? Maybe but Benny F shouldn't get it b/c of just one goal unless we won the World Cup off the strike.

L.B. said...

I actually opened it up to the readers here to help me fill out my ballot. Honestly, I wanted to vote for Feilhaber but felt conflicted so I opened it up and Landon was pretty much the consensus choice.

http://sidelineviews.blogspot.com/2007/07/more-ballot-help.html

JT (Chicago) said...

Tho I'd like to go with Bocanegra, I can't really say he ever was outstanding. So, I'd have to vote for Howard for coming up with the big saves when needed.

Too bad that performance for your club team isn't taken into consideration for this award.

Anonymous said...

Once again, you critics of LD hold him up to a different standard than anyone else. Boca didn't play in the Copa America either - where's the criticism. Donovan said, after talking to Bob, that he'd gladly play in the Copa America - but Bob chose to not take him. And then you cite the Sweden game and abandoning his club team?! Nick, you're just a blind poser.

Donovan has consistently been the best player on the field for the US Men's National Team this year. Go back and review WITH AN OPEN MIND the game films of the games he's played in: Donovan has been the best player, period.

If any of you critics would just take away your insanely jealous hatred of the man, you'd see that he clearly - CLEARLY - is above everyone else on that team and deserves the award.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Donovan has had a pretty unimpressive year and still be the team's top player is a credit to him. But should a player be awarded the top prize when he is clearly not playing his best? That is a different standard but the reality is when have come to expect more from Donovan and this goes further to the growing expections American soccer fans have of its players and team. Donovan may be the US first player who to deal with this constant pressure regardless of it being club or country.

Even if we apply the same standard to Donovan as we apply to others I still wonder if he should get Player of the Year. He's reluctance to play in Copa America just rubbed me and many the wrong way. Because if he had the choose to go he should have went but he clearly didn't want to go. In fact his statements leading up to the Copa was that he wanted to in LA to not only help LAG get to the playoffs but to be there for the arrival of the great David Beckham. He wanted to be in LA for the building excitment of Beckham coming blah blah blah.

Wanting to help your club make it to the post season was a good enough reason to stay out of Copa America, but then to put that at risk by going to Sweden for a friendly was just stupid. Then he got hurt in the friendly! A player must really be called out on choosing to not to go to a prestigous competition but then jetting off to a friendly exhibition thats to be played the day before an important league game.

Anonymous said...

I like how everyone assumes that Donovan somehow gets to choose when he plays for the Nat team and not. He wasn't picked for the Copa America - or the Galaxy blocked his selection (which they could do since it wasn't on FIFA dates). The Sweden game was on a FIFA date and he was picked. No one could block that. So basically, Donovan played for the National team when he was called up, and didn't play when he wasn't called up. Yep, he is clearly a putz...

I also love how when Beckham plays the whole Chivas game after his Nat friendly, everyone denounces it, but when Donovan only plays the final 30 minutes of the game (when he shouldn't have played at all - just like Beckham) he gets mocked.

Guy can't catch a break, I suppose....

Anonymous said...

Donovan's place on the USMNT is rock solid unlike Beckham who is trying to gain a regular spot with the English national team and break the 100 caps mark. Beckham is trying to prove he is not over the hill by playing for England and make sure he makes the Euro 2008 squad as well as be ready for the Euro qualifiers that he would likely be playing in if had not gotten hurt in the Superliga final.

Donovan had no reason to go to Sweden unless he just wanted to break that all time goals scored thing. Just like Bradley didn't want to call in certain players for the Brazil date b/c some their teams have games that day and are trying to get into or position themselves for the playoffs, Donovan could have had the same done for him concerning the Sweden match. Though Donovan wasn't selected for the Copa America he had made it clear he wasn't too keen on going but threw a bone by saying he would go if choosen. He really made it clear he didn't want to go so I think Bradley didn't bother calling him. Sure they Galaxy didn't have to release him but I can't remember the last time the Galaxy turned down an LD callup. The point is that when teams talk to Bradley about needing a player to stay Bradley will usually not call that player up. Players can decline federations call ups. Recently a Nigerian player refused to play in (correct if I'm wrong) a African Nationa Cup qualifier. Also Toronto's Ronnie O'Brien decline a Northen Ireland or Scotland call up a months ago. Another Toronto player Jim Brennan declined Canada's callup to the Gold Cup. In other words its likely Donovan could have declined the Sweden callup or at least asked not to be selected like Reyna asked Arena.

L.B. said...

Another factor about playing national team games is money. Guys get a couple grand at least (don't know the correct figure off the top of my head) for playing in friendlies and more for cup games and winning cups and all that I believe. So if players do turn down call-ups consistently, not only do they risk losing a spot on the team but they also miss out on money. Not sure if this factors too much here but I think that's just important to note.

With regards to Landon, I think his performances in the Gold Cup and what he helped the team accomplish during that tournament were enough for him to win the award. Others may have voted for him while keeping in mind his hat trick against Ecuador and goal against Mexico but those are just friendlies to me and I place much more significance in Gold Cup. Not saying they're wrong but that's just my criteria.

To me, the list should be three players: Donovan, Tim Howard, Benny Feilhaber. Why? Because those three came up big in what was easily the biggest game of the year, the biggest game the US played since losing to Ghana and the biggest game they'll play again until 2009. That they also did well in other games only supports my claim.

Anonymous said...

fu*ck u all..bocanegra is defenly win this..!!!!!!

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