Earlier this week I wrote briefly about the MLS MVP race and my two picks so far Brek Shea and Jack Jewsbury. Well, it seems some people are agreeing with me as an article on Goal.com posted after I wrote my piece is listing both men as the fourth and fifth candidates for the award.
But it is the person on top of many people's list that I do not agree with, and that is Landon Donovan. Donovan is having another good season by his standards. He is tied with Thierry Henry for the league lead in goals with eight in 11-games and he also has one assist. LA Galaxy as a team has scored 28 goals over the course of the year. By my calculations, which are rarely right, he has score around a third of LA's goals. The Galaxy, however, have proved time and again this season they haven't missed Donovan when he has been out of the line-up; whether due to the Gold Cup or injury. Compared to Portland's Jewsbury who has scored or assisted on half of Portland's goals I think Donovan isn't quite as valuable. Take into account Donovan has excellent players around him in David Beckham, Juan Pablo Angel, Juninho and a fantastic defense. The Galaxy would be sitting a top or near the top even without Donovan. On the other hand we would not see Portland pushing for a playoff spot in their first MLS year without their captain and true leader on the pitch. Jewsbury's experience and leadership has been the calm in the storm for this club, and he has popped up when it has truly counted. The MVP shouldn't go to the player from the best team who has had a better season than his teammates. Rather it should been given to the player who is the most valuable person to his team, and I do not feel that it is Donovan.
There is also talk of Thierry Henry winning this award which seems utterly ridiculous as well. Henry is tied with Donovan for league lead in goals. The Red Bulls, however, have continued to spit and sputter this season and are unable to find any consistent form. Luke Rodgers has five goals on the season and could be considered just as valuable when he has been in the line-up for the club. Brek Shea's breakout season since David Ferriera was injuried has dwarfed Henry's in my opinion. His play, also since moving from the failed experiment as a defender, has been the catalyst to FC Dallas moving from the foot of the West Conference to the top. He has turned me into a believer this season after looking overrated for the past two season. Now the focal point of the attack Shea is shining bright in Dallas.
Unfortunately, the MLS believes stars sell tickets and not good entertaining football. I don't expect Jewsbury or Shea to win this award regardless of what they help their respective teams accomplish this season. MLS can continue to brag on the stars of the league and the importance of the DP if either Donovan or Henry wins the trophy. This also helps MLS's desire for a LA/New York rivalry, which is an entirely different story.