By Jeff Kassouf
Major League Soccer has begun handing out their year-end awards already, with Jon Busch winning Goalkeeper of the Year, Chad Marshall winning Defender of the Year, and Michael Parkhurst being awarded with the Fair Play Award.
The rest of the awards will soon follow, including the MVP and the naming of the Best XI. However, there are some who should receive awards for their infamous accomplishments.
Biggest Disappointment: This is a no-brainer. For the third straight season, the once-storied franchise of the Los Angeles Galaxy missed the playoffs. LA finished tied for the least amount of points in the entire league – not just the Western Conference – with expansion side San Jose.
The Call-Me-A-Hack Award: While it is true that defenders should be physical and act as enforcers, Atiba Harris of Chivas USA did that and then some. His 73 fouls committed during the regular season is 21 more than the next closest, Andre Rocha of FC Dallas, who played in only one less game.
The Please Don’t Say “Road Trip” Award: DC United had a pretty poor season, especially for their standards, but take a closer look at the team’s road record and you will see that it went 2-11-2. That is a .200 win percentage on the road. Most coaches are happy just to go .500, but .200 is just dreadful.
The 90th Minute Implosion Award: Maybe DC’s poor road record had to do with its 13 goals against in the final 15 minutes of the game, tied with Toronto FC for worst in the league. San Jose came in right behind with 12 goals allowed in this final frame, and all three are watching the playoffs from their respective couches.
The Baseball Player Award: So the drama that has primarily been the controversy of baseball has finally made it to the United States. Jeff Parke and Jon Conway were each suspended 10 games and fined 10 percent of their annual salary for testing positive for androstatriendione (ATD) and boldenone metabolites, performance-enhancing substances. Hopefully this problem does not infiltrate soccer as well.
The Long Drought Award: Between May 4 and June 28 the Kansas City Wizards went 409 consecutive minutes without scoring, the longest streak by any team this season. Many fans will recall that it was around this time that they were being written off as playoff contenders, as they sat at the bottom of the table looking up. Clearly, they turned things around, which is more than DC United can say (who hold the second longest streak of the season at 375 minutes).
The Please Score First Award: There are almost too many candidates to even choose one for this award. Toronto, Kansas City, San Jose, and Colorado all finished the season winless when allowing the first goal, and there are eight teams who finished the regular season winless when trailing at halftime. The worst of them, though, was the Colorado Rapids who were 0-10-0 when trailing at halftime.
Jeff Kassouf is a staff writer for The New Paltz Times and a freelance writer who covers soccer, and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org