Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dynamo MVP talk

With just three MLS regular season games remaining, I have yet to see much talk about the season MVP. Perhaps it's my background in baseball, but I think the MVP of the season should be distinct from the whomever might be the MVP of the playoffs. So in that vein, here we go.

When you take the team down to the areas of the field, I think 4-5 realistic candidates emerge.


First, let's take a look up top. Brian Ching leads the team in goals scored and I think there' no getting around the fact that he has bee a monster up there all season. Even when he isn't scoring, the Flyin' Hawaiian is drawing the attention of the defense, creating openings for his teammates and then passing to the open guy. If a major element of MVP consideration is making your teammates better, then Ching has that in spades. In pure numbers, let's look at this: 12 goals and five assists in 22 games, 21 of which he started. He has three game-winning goals and one game-winning assist. Only Brad Davis (more on him in a sec) has a better combined total there (1 GWG and 4 GWAs). From the forward corps, Chingy clearly is the representative in this discussion.


Brad Davis has been a real force when he's been in the game. He's played in 23 games, tied for fourth on the team with Captain Wade-merica, and has been an assist machine. The consistent quality of his deliveries into the box both in the run of play and on set pieces has been devastating to opponents. He instills confidence in his teammates and is a constant threat. He leads the team in assists with eight, three better than anyone else.

Dwayne De Rosario's immediate impact on any game could be best seen in the San Francisco clash last week. That goal he scored in the 88th minute will forever be etched into my mind. As soon as he came on, both teams had a charge put through them. We all just knew that the game had been elevated. How many players in MLS can you say that about? His numbers have been pedestrian -- second on the team with five goals and he also has only two assists. But his influence clearly goes beyond the numbers. Easily on just about anyone's Best XI in MLS at anytime. He's also the only Dynamo player to actually convert a penalty kick this year.

Brian Mullan was a co-winner of this award last year, and deservedly so. Mully's runs are amazing, but all too often you wind up with "Wow, what a move!" quickly followed by "Damn, what happened?" As a generator of chances, he's unparalleled. As a finisher, well.... Numbers-wise, three goals and five assists is nothing to sneeze at, but Ithink he'll wind up in Honorable Mention this year.

Also getting votes: Ricardo Clark. He and Shalrie Joseph are the best holding midfielders in the league. Simple as that.


It's time for me to come clean. After the Pan-Pacifics, the CONCACAF Champions Cup and the first week or two of the season, I was ready to call a quick and nasty end to the Bobby Boswell era. Well folks, that's why Dominic Kinnear is where he is and I'm sitting over here at a computer. Boswell has become the anchor for the second-best (maybe even THE best at this point) defense in the league. The guy is a titan of toughness in there, has been impressive at shutting down so many opposing threats and lighting a fire under the rest of the defense. He's still prone to the occasional brain fart, but how many time have we seen him make up for it on the very next play with a fantastic stop or put down of opposition attack? Earlier in the season, when the offense Just. Could. Not. Score. it was Bozzie that kept us in game after game. No one else on the defense (other than perhaps Wade Barrett?) has been so consistent, so healthy and such a monster.


What more is there to say about Pat Onstad, the best keeper in the history of this league? Maybe he's been a little slower of step than last year, but with a second-best in the league GAA of 1.08 on a team that started as slowly as they did this year, folks, you are looking at excellence personified.

If I had to rank these candidates right now, I'd go;

1. Ching
2. Onstad
3. Boswell
4. Davis
5. De Rosario

When you score more than twice as many goals as the second place guy on your team while still being away for US MNT duty and maintaining your health the way Ching has never done in his career, you get my vote. Still, there are three more MLS games for these other guys to come up with some amazing heroics that could alter my vote. What do you think?


mister3d said...

Ching, Boswell, and Onstad are worthy picks but a game called Dynamo player take away quickly solves the MVP equation.

The game serves as a diagnostic tool that helps focus the mind and measure the emotions. Here we go….

Take away ching and you get kamara or jaqua, hmmm not so bad.

Take away Boswell and you get Ianni, ok not ideal but again not too bad.

Take away Onstad and you get Caig,…..notice your pulse quickening, the cold sweat beading on your back. Just the reading of that statement causes a wave of nausea to wash over you.

Equation solved, Onstad=MVP

*Honorable mention to Nate,”please don’t foul me into concussion,”Jaqua.

Since returning to MLS Nate’s stats have been good and while being instrumental in the dynamo’s successful management of its late season fixture congestion sometimes stats don’t tell the whole story. Simply, the man creates space.

Just as a downed storm-mangled electrical pole creates space around itself by its menacing potential for serious injury, so goes Jaqua on the soccer field. Some players use their speed some their awareness but however you create it space on the field is a precious commodity and those that create it are special.

Do you think Jack Jewsbury doesn’t quail for a second when he sees Jaqua bearing down the field body akimbo all sharp and hard edges flailing about?

Yeah he creates space.

Martek said...

I am following your logic and think you have a very good point. The take-away game does indeed give us a nice look in any MVP discussion. However, I have never been one to get into the whole "Yes, but what does 'valuable' really mean anyway?" discussion. Quite simply, to me, MVP is a Player of the Year award.

And yet, Onstad to Caig.....Hmmm.....

No, no, I'm sticking with Chingy for now. If Onstad's GAA continues to stay this low, or perhaps even get lower, I may have to consider changing or even, egad, splitting my vote.