Three soccer brains are clearly better than one. So Richard Farley, Noah Davis and I huddled virtually to sort out our ProSoccerTalk picks for Major League Soccer awards.
Steve Davis: Let’s talk about Defender of the Year. I’ll make a cappuccino while you boys start. Which is my way of saying, I don’t have a strong opinion about this one, because I’m not quite on board the Victor Bernardez train as solidly as some of our media brethren and, uh, sisteren.
Noah Davis: Rafa Marquez. Oh wait, this is best Defender of the Year? I’ll take Victor Bernardez. Steve, I know you’re not the biggest fan of the big man but the dude bangs bodies. With all the talk of the Quakes goal-scoring wonders, you still need a guy who can make attackers quake in their shoes. Barnardez fits the bill. Plus: just 100k?
Steve Davis: Regarding the 100 large, as Prince once told us, Money Don’t Matter 2nite. Nor in ProSoccerTalk discussion of post-season awards. So, dig, if you will, this picture:
I’m not down on Bernardez, I just don’t love him for the spot. He’s a bit of a hot-head, and he gets dragged out of position here and there. And 43 goals against? Anybody feeling me?
Richard Farley: I’m with both of you. Wait. What?
I don’t feel overly-confident about Bernardez, but I still put him down.
After listing the 5-6 guys who I had ID’d as viable candidates, his pro-con list was most convincing. After going back on all my game notes, seeing where his mistakes stacked up against the competition’s (and taking into account San Jose’s style and quality of opposition), I gave him the nod over Kansas City’s Matt Besler.
It seems like there are a ton of candidates this year, and I’m hesitant to list them all because I know I’ll miss one. L.A.’s Omar Gonzalez will get some love, depending on how much you weigh playing time. Vancouver’s Jay DeMerit may have been the league’s most “valuable” defender. At his best, SKC’s Aurelin Collin overshadowed his more consistent partner. You’ve got Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers in Utah. At this point, I’ve seen a lot of our friends’ ballots, and I can’t really find fault with the array of choices I’ve seen.
Steve Davis: For me, Collin lost his place in this conversation when he lost his place in team’s starting lineup toward the end of the season.
By the way, OG4 played in 14 games. Man, if he had gotten into, say, 20 …
Richard Farley: Shows you how deep the Omar Gonzalez crush is that he has come up in conversations. Note to self (that I’m posting to a national web site?): Stop hanging out on Twitter.
Noah Davis: I like Gonzalez and he clearly makes that team much, much better defensively, but it’s Defender of the Year, not Defender of the Second Half of the Season plus a Little Bit. But he has to be the favorite for next season, no?
Steve Davis: Excuse me, I got distracted while scribbling ‘Omar Gonzalez’ in the margins of my algebra book. Uh, where were we? Richard was saying something about a media crush?
OK, OK, Noah put the kibosh on any OG4 debate. We’ll call him the clear favorite for 2013 then – even if he’s playing at West Ham or Hannover or wherever.
Noah Davis: For the record, I’m not against the award being changed to Defender of the Second Half of the Season plus a Little Bit.
Steve Davis: Sounds like Bernardez, Center Beast from the Bay, has it. … Hope you guys don’t mind. I though the guy needed a solid nickname, so I took the liberty.
Our choice: San Jose’s Victor Bernardez