LA Galaxy striker Mike Magee has been named Major League Soccer’s Player of the Month for March; he is certainly a worthy choice.
It’s not just the five goals he scored for the champs, it’s about “stepping up,” filling the void left when two (and sometimes all three) of the Designated Players that helped the club win consecutive championships were not available.
On the other hand …
Patrice Bernier (pictured) had a great case, too. The Montreal Impact central midfielder had his footprints all over the Impact’s surprising 4-0 start. His one goal and three assists may not illuminate as well as Magee’s five-spot for March, but as a central midfielder he was a busy, busy man going both ways.
It undercores something that still bothers me a little about our game and the way we see it: Scorers remain the default choice on these things.
I have often lamented that a defensive midfielder (like Montreal’s Bernier) would never win a league MVP award here, no matter how influential he was. (Perhaps not a defender, either, although Omar Gonzalez may just be the one to crack that legacy.)
A few years ago, Shalrie Joseph was probably the most dominant midfielder in MLS, a true two-way force. And yet the award always found its way to a man with big goals or assists totals. Tony Meola, who won league MVP for 2000, was the only non-attacker to claim the honor.
I won’t argue too much with Magee; but I wouldn’t have had a problem with Bernier, either. Mostly, I just wish we’d did a little deeper on these things, leaning just a little less on statistical comfort, a little more on our eyes and ears.