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.