We’ve pushed through the positional rankings on here and have done a few other previews to get things going for next week. It is time once again to dip back into the other previews for the upcoming 2011 Major League Soccer season. Today I will be taking a look at the possible MVP candidates out there to start the season.
With the season being a little longer and the amount of extra games this season, we’ll see various candidates have more chances to sway the votes of the press, players, coaches and whoever else votes at the end of the season for these awards (yup, that includes yours truly).
I have in mind six candidates right now and of course this could easily change over the course of the season. I’ll try to update this from time-to-time like I have over the past few years on here. (Note: the order below is in no particular order)
1. Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake) – I still believe Morales is the heart and soul of RSL. I know they have that whole we are one team kind of moto but Morales is the biggest reason behind their success over the last couple years in my opinion. In a way he was shafted a bit last season in the MVP votes as he helped guide RSL through a tough MLS season and he also helped RSL win their CONCACAF Champions League group. This could be the year he breaks through and gets the votes for the award.
2. David Ferreira (FC Dallas) – Hard to do a MVP watch list and not mention the reigning MVP. Ferreira will be called to do a tad bit more in Dallas this season as the Red Stripes have some extra CCL games to deal with, plus the chance of more USOC matches too. Ferreria makes this club move offensively and without him they’ll be in a world of hurt. As long as he doesn’t take too many knocks this season (expect him to be fouled a boat load this season), I look for him to be in the thick of things for when it comes to the MVP race.
3. Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) – Being that this is David Beckham’s last year you’d think his name would be listed here but really, that won’t happen with Donovan on the field. Donovan is still the heart and soul of this club and even with some weeks in the summer that he’ll be gone due to Gold Cup matches, I still view Donovan as a force to be reckoned with this season. LA wants to get back to the promise land that is MLS Cup and so does Donovan. He wants a title bad, just wait and see how bad he wants it too.
4. Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) – My gut tells me to watch Henry this season, not because he’ll be healthy and with the club all year, but because I have to think he’s hungry to really prove himself for real in this league. If New York is a true contender it will fall a lot on his feet (not his hands, let’s hope!).
5. Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids) – I really hope Colorado is able to hold on to this guy for the long haul but even if it is just for this year, look out, because I believe he’s going to light up the boards in 2011. Cummings showed he can carry this club both in goals and in assists when needed. Don’t be shocked if he has another large outburst in production this season as he proves to clubs all over the world he is worth a look at.
6. Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union) – Philly fans still feel the cold burn of the snub that Le Toux got last season. While I don’t believe he’ll have the exact same numbers as he did in 2010, I do believe 2011 will be a very nice season for him. He’s got a little more help now in Philly offensively, which should free him up for setting things up more.
Others to watch for: Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo); Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders FC); Kenny Cooper (Portland Timbers); Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC); and Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).