Vermes had to navigate a young team through the struggles of an 11-match road trip to start the season, and not only did KC recover, but the same team that missed the playoffs in 2010 finished in first place in the Eastern Conference in 2011. The squad did so on the strength of a core of young players who had breakout seasons, including Matt Besler, Chance Myers, Graham Zusi and Rookie of the Year C.J. Sapong.
Based on all the media chatter, Sapong figured he had the inside track for Rookie of the Year, but he still wasn’t entirely sure how the dominos would fall. Would voters go for more-fashionable prospects such as Perry Kitchen or Darlington Nagbe? Or would they vote strictly on merit, recognizing the most deserving of the nominees without an eye for anything but on-field accomplishments?
Omar Gonzalez’s international future may still be in limbo, but he can add MLS Defender of the Year to his growing résumé. MLS announced on Wednesday that the towering LA Galaxy center back beat out fellow finalists Jámison Olave, who collected the honor in 2010 and finished second this year, and Nat Borchers to earn the award given to the league’s top defender. The 23-year-old garnered 33 percent of votes from MLS club management, 40 percent from media and 21 percent from MLS players to win the award by a wide margin.
Major League Soccer named New England Revolution midfielder Zak Boggs as the 2011 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year on Wednesday. Boggs received the award for volunteering his time to assist with cancer research at Children’s Hospital Boston. The hospital’s cancer research laboratory will receive a $5,000 donation from MLS W.O.R.K.S on behalf of the Revs midfielder.
At that moment it hit me, if the EPL is having trouble getting promising young Internationals quality First Team experience what does that mean for Marc Pelosi’s chance of seeing first team action any time soon. What is his path toward development? Is choosing to sign with Liverpool at 17 with potentially years of Academy or Reserve Team action the best option for a promising young US international? Are there alternatives for better opportunities to earn the kid more First Team minutes?
Despite their clubs not making it to the playoffs, Beasley and Gomez both had their respective summer transfer moves pay off from a personal standpoint. Beasley took a risk by uprooting his club career and moving to Mexico, but after months and months of stagnation and toiling away on the bench in Europe, he got the playing time and rhythm necessary at Puebla to recapture his form as a dangerous, speedy wing threat. Gomez came to life as both a reserve and starter at Estudiantes Tecos and finished the Apertura season with seven goals, four behind Toluca's Golden Boot winner Ivan Alonso.
As the Los Angeles Galaxy marched through the playoffs on their way to the MLS Cup final, one conclusion was obvious: Landon Donovan still may be the Galaxy's captain, but he is no longer the team's attacking fulcrum. To be clear, Donovan had his moments in Sunday's 3-1 win over Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference final. It was his cross to Omar Gonzalez that led to the Galaxy's first-half penalty, one that Donovan converted. His perfectly weighted through ball to Robbie Keane allowed the Irishman to clinch the victory with L.A.'s third goal of the night.
Everyone connected with the Rapids organization has said publicly that Smith had the final say on personnel matters. But according to Smith, his authority in this area had steadily eroded. His previous public comments had indicated his disagreements lay primarily with technical director Paul Bravo. But now that he has been let go, Smith said that the problem extended to general manager Jeff Plush and, rather bizarrely, chief marketing officer Tim Hinchey, with all three having an increased role in the construction of the roster.
Free agent US international Lee Nguyen is on the verge of inking a multi-year deal to play in Major League Soccer for the first time. MLS confirmed on Wednesday that the league is in final negotiations with the agent of the Dallas-area native, who has spent the past two years playing in his parents' homeland of Vietnam.